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“The Emergent Church Comes out of the Closet”
by Lighthouse Trails,   
January 13th, 2009

Emergent Manifesto of Hope is the new release from Emersion, a publishing partnership between Baker Books and Emergent Village. The book, edited and compiled by emergent leaders Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt, is a collection of essays by various emerging church leaders.... The back cover of Emergent Manifesto describes it as a "front-row" look at this "influential international movement" and promises readers that they will come away with "a deeper understanding of the hopeful imagination that drives the emerging church."...

A more accurate title for this book would be Emergent Manifesto of False Hope, and a subtitle (albeit a lengthy one) that would describe it perfectly would go something like this:

"The Kingdom of God is already here on earth, includes all people, all faiths, and in fact is in all people and all of creation and can be felt or realized through mysticism which connects everything together as ONE."

This new collective spirituality leads people into a socialistic community where rituals, practices, and social justice become a means of salvation, but not the salvation you think of in a personal sense of being born-again through Jesus Christ. This is a collective salvation [1] that includes whole cultures and communities who follow the way of someone referred to as Jesus.

Tony Jones lays the ground work for the book by referring to the "highest good" (for humanity) and explains that when Emergent began (in 1998) the group was "engaging in some sort of 'socially established cooperative human activity." (p. 14) "Cooperative" is a theme that runs through the book. Doug Pagitt says Emergent is a "call to friendship... with the world" and this "friendship" is a "dangerous leap" in which many ways have been created to connect. (p. 19) ... While often called other terms in the book, the concepts behind them are interspirituality (all religions coming together), panentheism (God is all creation), universalism (all are saved), and mysticism (the means by which this connecting takes place).

In this "sense of interconnection," the book states:

"[R]enewed popularity of the 'kingdom' language is related to the emerging global narrative of the deep ecology movement - a consciousness and awareness that everything matters and is somehow interdependent." (p. 27)

New Age sympathizer, Leonard Sweet (in his book Quantum Spirituality) calls this the Theory of Everything. This theory not only says that all creation is connected but that it is all inhabited with Divinity (God).

The Manifesto describes "themes" of "integrative theology" as: Interest in monastic practices, contemplative and bodily spiritual formation disciplines, celebrating earth, humanity, cultures, and the sensuous (p. 28). In a chapter titled "Meeting Jesus at Bars" the Manifesto favorably includes visiting monasteries, practicing yoga... One writer in the book has this to say:

"I am a Christian today because of a Hindu meditation master.... I believe that all people are children of God." (p.45)...

The Emergent Manifesto belittles personal, one on one relationship with the Lord and insists that it is a collective salvation that really matters. The goal of this cooperative movement is to participate in "the healing of our world" and to "collaborate with our Maker in the fulfillment of God's reign on Earth." (p. 30)

The Manifesto makes clear that followers of this new, collective religion should not be concerned about saving "people from the jaws of hell," but should rather be "motivated ... to be in relationship with people who in many ways are different" (p. 35). The focus should not be on conversion as much as "cultivation of relationships."...

Pagitt states:

"I don't think it is possible to tell the story of faith from the posture of sameness and stability .... Ours is a story of the expanding life of God generating new creation ... of collective faith." (pp. 75-76)

When Pagitt speaks of "expanding life of God" and "new creation," he means that we cannot contain truth or reality within the confines of the written Word of God but that truth is always changing and being created.

Universalism is a pronounced theme in the book as well. Manifesto calls salvation "a collective experience." A Manifesto poem illustrates this:

"Not only soul, whole body!
Not only whole body, all of the faithful community!
Not only all of the faithful community, all of humanity!
Not only all of humanity, all of God's creation!" (pp. 82-83)

And panentheism (God is in all) is exhibited through statements like the following, which talks about the "holiness of humanity":

"[W]e are agents for change in the world (salvation, redemption, and reconciliation ... it is a celebration of the holiness of humanity in which the fullness of God was pleased to dwell ... it is our holy fleshiness." (p. 88)

....There is a continual hammering away and chiseling down of the image of Christians (the kind who take the Bible literally and stand by its authority). This effort to villainize Christians is reminiscent of Germany in the 30s when artists would draw distorted pictures of Jews with certain facial features making them look weird, and when rumors and stories would run amuck even suggesting that Jews would rape your daughters, so don't trust them.... It was a campaign, not based on fact, but based on a demonic kingdom that hates anything that has to do with Jesus Christ.

In the Manifesto, Brian McLaren boils down the world's evils to the fault of Western Christians and suggests that these resisting Christians might even become militant against people one day.... McLaren states:

What are we in the so-called emerging churches seeking to emerge from? I asked myself. We are seeking to emerge from modern Western Christianity, from colonial Christianity, from Christianity as a "white man's religion ... into a faith of collaborative mission.  ...this kind of emergence must lead to a convergence... a convergence of postconservatives and postliberals into what Hans Frei and Stanley Grenz termed a new "generous orthodoxy." (p. 150)

In Ray Yungen's upcoming book, For Many Shall Come in My Name, he discusses this very thing and shows how New Age leaders have been framing a social mindset that will eventually become hostile to Bible believing Christians. Yungen explains how it will all be justified as doing humanity a favor by getting rid of them, and when he quotes the words of New Ager Neale Donald Walsch as saying that God believes Hitler did the Jews a favor by killing them, it sends chills up the spine. And whether they realize what they are doing or not, Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren and other emergent leaders are framing a similar mindset....

For those who are still skeptical about the Emergent Manifesto's message, pick up a copy sometime of Alice Bailey's The Externalization of the Hierarchy, or Al Gore's Earth in the Balance. And when you read those words by those "change agents" see if you notice that the message is the same, just dressed in a different outfit called Emergent.

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