FROM DAVID CLOUD'S "WAY OF LIFE":
EMERGING CHURCH’S “3.0 CHRISTIANITY” DESTROYS BIBLICAL AUTHORITY (Friday Church News Notes, November 28, 2014, www.wayoflife.org,email@example.com, 866-295-4143) - In a message presented at the Greenbelt Festival in England in August, emerging church leader Brian McLaren sought to destroy absolute biblical authority by claiming that we have entered a new era of Bible reading. He divided church history into three parts: Bible 1.0 was the Roman Catholic approach to Scripture whereby the Bible “was read and controlled by the religious elite.” Bible 2.0 was the Protestant approach to Scripture by which “the Bible itself was viewed as inerrant” and believers tested everything by it. Bible 3.0 is the new approach recommended by McLaren whereby the multiplicity of interpretations available on the Internet allegedly render any one authoritative interpretation invalid. He says that Bible 3.0 is to be “in conversation with everything and everyone.” He says, “Bible 1.0 didn’t give up to Bible 2.0 without a fight. And it’s very difficult for Bible 2.0 to imagine a world of Bible 3.0,” but, “If we are ready, we are going to discover the Bible as better, deeper and richer than before” (“Brian McLaren: ‘We’ve entered a new era of Bible reading,’” ChristianityToday.com, Sept. 4, 2014). McLaren’s “deeper and richer” Bible reading is the one-world church’s approach which is tolerant of other views and exalts unity, “social justice,” etc., over doctrinal purity. McLaren grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home, but he rejected the faith of his parents and his godly grandparents, who were Brethren missionaries. He is a dangerous heretic who has robbed many of their biblical faith. In response to the Bible 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 thing, we would observe that McLaren’s view of history doesn’t start early enough. In truth, Bible 1.0 is not the Catholic Church. It is the New Testament churches under the direction of Christ’s apostles. Bible 1.0 is the Christianity of those who believe that one infallible faith was delivered in the New Testament Scriptures and is to be contended for (Jude 3). Bible 1.0 is the Christianity of those who take the words of the resurrected Christ seriously when He said that His disciples are to be taught to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mat. 28:20). There is no room for the confusion of multiple interpretations here. Bible 1.0 is the Christianity of those who believe that Paul committed absolute truth to faithful, born again men who were to teach “the same” to others (2 Tim. 2:2). Bible 1.0 is the Christianity of those who are taught to test, beware of, mark, avoid, and reject false teachers and heretics (Rom. 16:17-18; Eph. 4:4; Phil. 3:2, 17-18; Col. 2:8; 2 Tim. 3:5; Titus 3:10-11; 1 Tim. 4:1-4; 1 John 4:1). This is impossible for those who believe in a variety of acceptable interpretations. By McLaren’s scheme, no one is a heretic. Rather, all are sincere seekers with different “perspectives.” Further, Bible 1.0 is the Christianity of those are taught to study to show themselves approved unto God by “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15) and who “have an unction from the Holy One” to know the truth (1 John 2:20, 27). This means that the Spirit of God leads His redeemed people to the correct interpretation of Scripture. (For more on this see “Beware of Brian McLaren” by using the search engine at www.wayoflife.org.)
EMERGING CHURCH CHANGE AGENTS (Friday Church News Notes, November 28, 2014, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143) - Emerging church leaders like Brian McLaren are very effective change agents. His popular breakout book A New Kind of Christian presents theological liberalism in the guise of a wiser, kinder, gentler type of Christianity called “Postmodern.” The book recounts a pastor’s journey from a position of holding the Bible as the absolute standard for truth, a position in which doctrine is either right or wrong, to a pliable stance in which “faith is more about a way of life than a system of belief, where being authentically good is more important than being doctrinally right” (from the back cover of A New Kind of Christian). Chameleons like McLaren can talk like Bible believers when it suits their purpose (as he did in an interview with me in at the 2009 National Pastor’s Conference in San Diego). But he has publicly rejected (by re-definition) such fundamentals of the faith as the inerrancy of Scripture, the necessity of the new birth, the substitutionary blood atonement, the literal return of Christ, and eternal judgment. In other words, he has rejected the New Testament Christian faith and has become its enemy. He is a dangerous man, but he is clever and patient, and he is by no means alone in his war against biblical Christianity. He is joined by thousands of “new thinkers” who are leavening individuals, homes, churches, and schools with heresy. McLaren has indicated that he is targeting the children and grandchildren of today’s fundamentalists.
EMERGING CHURCH SPREADING BY “SEASONING” (Friday Church News Notes, November 28, 2014, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143) - In his blog this month, Brian McLaren says that the emerging church is growing in influence, “not by creating a new slice of the pie, but by seasoning nearly all sectors of the pie” (“More on the emergent conversation,” BrianMclaren.net, Nov. 17, 2014). He is exactly right, and the “seasoning” extends even to many “fundamentalist” churches. What McLaren calls “seasoning,” the Bible calls “leaven,” and it twice warns that “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (1 Cor. 5:6; Gal. 5:9). The church at Corinth and the churches in Galatia were being careless about error. They were entertaining it, countenancing it. They were “bearing with it” (2 Cor. 11:4). But if a small amount of error is countenanced, it will eventually leaven everything. This is why we have warned that most independent Baptist churches will be emerging within 20 years. Large numbers of them are entertaining error. They haven’t capitulated, but they are playing with it. They are arguing, “But this is just a small thing; let’s ‘major on the majors.’” They are playing with contemporary worship music, which even in its most “conservative” form is a definite bridge to the one-world church of the Getty’s and Townend’s and Redman’s and Kendrick’s and Zschech’s. Some are even playing with contemplative prayer, as we document this month in the report “Pensacola’s A Beka Promoting Catholic Contemplative Mystics.”
THE INVASION OF THE EMERGING CHURCH (Friday Church News Notes, November 28, 2014, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143) - Brian McLaren did not invent emerging heresy. It is in the very air we breathe today. He is a product of it, and he in turn has become a purveyor. He grew up with the priceless heritage of being the son and grandson of Bible-believing Christians, but at some point he was converted to modern unbelief. His book A New Kind of Christian is doubtless biographical to some degree. An evangelical pastor is converted by a likable man named “Neo,” who befriends him in a crisis of faith. At the beginning of the conversations, the pastor is afraid that Neo’s ideas are corrupting him (p. 26), but he quenches the fear, continues to listen to the voice of the serpent, and becomes a convert to heresy. McLaren, the author of the book, considers this transformation a good thing, of course. This reminds me of the 1956 movie The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, in which the earth is invaded by aliens in the form of seed pods. Each pod is capable of transforming a human being into an alien by capturing his soul if the individual is sleeping nearby. The invasion is quiet and insidious. One by one, unsuspecting human beings are transformed into aliens with alien thinking and objectives who seek to transform everyone else. A doctor discovers what is happening and tries to warn people, even standing on a highway screaming to the motorists, “They’re here already! You’re next!” but he is ignored. Like The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the emerging church is an alien Christianity. It spreads quietly and subtly, from individual to individual. It puts people at ease by downplaying its radicalness and by using the comfortable old biblical and theological terms, yet with new definitions. McLaren and his friends would tell you that they believe in Biblical inspiration, salvation, atonement, judgment, and the kingdom of God, but they re-define these terms in modernistic ways. They are “sincere and caring.” They profess to love Jesus and the truth. The emerging heresy takes over the hearts and minds of those who are sleeping and are not alert to the danger, who have been lulled to sleep by the popular thinking that judging is carnal and “critics” are mean-spirited troublemakers and that preaching and teaching should be kept on a “positive note” and “not deal with personalities.” It is especially effective in converting second generation Christians who often lack the spiritual dynamism and vigilance of the first generation. It spreads through the “seed pods” of literature, Internet blogs, MP3 sermons, Bible College classrooms, and friendships. It captures the hearts of pastors’ sons, who then insidiously convert unsuspecting congregations. I remember being frightened by The Invasion of the Body Snatchers when I was a kid. After watching it, I awoke one night and saw a watermelon beside the refrigerator outside my bedroom door; fearing that it was a seed pod, I cried out to mom to come save me! The Invasion of the Body Snatchers was fiction, but the invasion of the emerging church is very real, and I am doing everything I can to warn and protect as many people as I can. This is a major motivation for the production of such things as the Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible and the One Year Discipleship Course and An Unshakeable Faith and the Advanced Bible Studies Series. We need parents and pastors and teachers and missionaries who will provide serious discipleship to the next generation to protect them from the invasion of apostasy.