Tuesday, May 06, 2008

...by David Green

I found this wonderful article web-surfing. There is much truth in David Green’s astute words about Mr. McLaren’s emergent, heretical, fast-food philosophy of faith. I strongly commend it to you. -Steve

What if the Emergent Church crowd could re-write some of the “mean” parts of the Bible? What would it look like? The following is an account from the story of Elijah & the prophets of Baal. (Much of the narrative is from actual things Brian McLaren has written in his books.)

Elijah said to Ahab, "You have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and you have followed Baal. Although I don't agree with that decision, I can't condemn it. After all, no one has all the truth. I understand that Israel has some truth and so does the religion of Baal. We're all seekers of ultimate truth. Therefore, let us unite with the prophets of Baal. Now then send and gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel, together with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table. And let us all have a conversation" (I Kings 18:18-19).

So Ahab sent a message among all the sons of Israel, and brought the prophets together at Mount Carmel. And Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will we hesitate between two opinions? Forever, I say! The Lord might be God, or Baal might be God. We all have our own personal opinion as to who God is, but let's face it: We might be wrong. So let us be open to Baal. Remember, Judge not lest ye be judged!" But the people did not answer him a word (I Kings 18:20-21).

Then Elijah said to the people, "I alone am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal's prophets are 450 men. I'm not saying this proves that Baal is the true God, but it is a powerful argument for Baal, wouldn't you agree? So let's be open to what the prophets of Baal have to teach us.” (I Kings 18:22).

"Now ---- it, I know that some of you have proposed that we put Baal to the test and see if either Baal or Yahweh will give us a sign from heaven. But this is wrong. Even if fire came down from heaven, that wouldn't prove anything. If we thought that fire proved that Yahweh was the true God, we would be arrogant. Our certainty would be based on evidence that could easily be explained by natural phenomenon. So instead of having the arrogance of certainty, let us instead have a humble conversation and unite in the unity of love with the prophets of Baal." And all the people answered Elijah and said, "That is a good idea" (I Kings 18:23-24).

So Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "We respect your beliefs, prophets of Baal. We Israelites do not have absolute certainty about the God of Israel. In truth, we might be wrong. We're only relatively certain that we're onto something when we worship Yahweh. Therefore we don't judge you when you call out to Baal or when you cut yourselves with swords and lances until blood gushes out. Additionally, we don't believe that Yahweh is at war with Baal. God has not called his followers to gain victory or to triumph over his enemies. Yahweh does not want us to conquer the hearts of men through evangelism. "Conquest" is a trait of evil, white, European, male Christianity. We're above and beyond such mean-spirited hurtfulness" (I Kings 18:25-29).

Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. And Elijah took the same number stones as there are world religions, and he said, "To the prophets of Baal and to all sincere worshipers of deities, we unite with you in true love and unity. The lion is lying down with the lamb. Amen?" (I Kings 18:30-39).

Then Elijah said to the people, "Shake hands with the prophets of Baal. Hug them as your spiritual brothers”. So they hugged them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and made them members of his church. (I Kings 18:40).

an encore presentation


4given said...


SJ Camp said...

Exactly... well said.

donsands said...

That's what I call hard hitting. I pray Brian McLaren would be able to see something like this, and recognize his dreadful error.

One of my best friends is a friend of Brian McLaren.
Though my friend, who is a prof @ Washinton Bible College, sees that there is concern, and he has become very disturbed with McLaren's theology, (if he has a theology).
It is extra difficult sometimes to speak the truth in love.

But by His grace, and Spirit, I am able to overcome my timidity, anger, and confusion, for He has given us a spirit of love, power, and a sound mind.

Mike Ratliff said...

Powerless drivel.

I do struggle with calling a spade a spade at times because of the anger it generates with those stuck in the muck of compromise. However, we must rebuke as the Lord would. Shouldn't we?

Tony Hicks said...

Good post, Steve. Someone has said that trying nail down what McLaren and Co. believe is like nailing jello to the wall. D. A. Carson has written an excellent critique of the emergent phenomenon.

jazzycat said...

That was good and it is certainly loving to confront false teaching as the Bible calls us to do in many passages....


pelos60 said...

sounds similar to the modern day freemason movement.

Michele Rayburn said...


D.J. Cimino said...

I wonder what Jesus actually said to the thieves in the temple?

"I understand that you are just trying to earn some extra money for your family, but please don't do this. This should be a house of prayer. If it makes you feel better we can do some centering prayer and by faith speak some extra money into your bank account!"

It's amazing that something like that could easily be taught in todays churches...

Baptist Superman said...

First you have metrosexuals, then you have liberals, and now emergent men? These guys need to reaquant themselves with John Deer and overalls. Keep up the good work, Steve.

Bush in 2008

Seeker Sexual said...

Easy Baptist Superman...That's a little below the belt. I for one think we should be above reproach and seek relevance in our churches. If the emergent's are doing this, then horray for them.

FYI you forget Seeker Sexuals.

Bush 2008! Jeb that is.

S.K. Schultz said...

I dont know if I should laugh at that or shake my head in amazement...


Rusty said...

lol, hilarious

Douglas said...

no fear of God

Mike Ratliff said...

seeker sexual,
You must be kidding. The point is that seeking so-called relevance in the church causes compromise of the gospel. The gospel needs no "relavancey" tweeks because to do so waters it down and removes the working of the Holy Spirit from it.

4given said...

I'd say, shake your head in disgust.
Amen, Douglas.

Len said...

which writing of McClaren's is that from? Thanks

Matt Brown said...

Both hysterically amusing and deeply disturbing...

REM said...

Thanks for post. Kinda spooky. i will now read McLaren's book to discern if there is anything of value there. Later

Joe B. Whitchurch said...

What a riot! Better be careful in these days of biblical illiteracy that people don't think those biblical, textual, teasing liberties are the real deal! Not only does this shoe sadly fit well on the gurus of emerging church, but it also fits those whose only approach to evangelism is friendship in the pop culture understanding of 'friendship'. Thanks for this one, written on my birthday believe it or not. Visit my blog sometime at Puddleglum's Foot.

Joe B. Whitchurch said...

Oh yes, I failed to say this but really should..., your blog is the most attractive visually and web design-wise that I have seen on blogspot. Nice postmodern *EPIC* communication styles. (-: LOL. Experience as I'm experiencing it by reading and looking and typing, Participatory as I'm participating by responding with a post, Image with good photo images and even humorous art, and Communal as you have lots of respondants in your online community. Would love to have you inform me of how you did some of this creative stuff sometime.

donsands said...

I wonder if they sell "Happy Meals"? No doubt all the meals are happy meals.

DaveMoore said...

Two Wheaton College students that attend our church are enamored with B. McLaren & postmodernism; our Pastor is aware of the problem & is giving them large doses of objective Biblical truth. Unfortunately, the college instruction they get is partly to blame.


boxcarvibe said...

It's not just Hybels and McLarens church's...there are so many that are trying to fit their mold...but still be "different". I'm leading our family's search for another church because our current pastor has consistently watered-down his preaching...to the point where videos, jokes and extra-biblical and secular authors are mentioned more than scripture.

It's depressing. As we go about the process of moving, we visit other churches and check out their websites. So few are willing to admit they are expository in their preaching and teach from God's Word. It has to be " what feels good"...and fills your tank for the rest of the week.

So like what "4given" said..."ugh".

Craig said...

It's amazing how you can post a sensationalized parody of what a particular church leader may or may not believe and have a world of people disgusted with that leader based on what they have read.

I understand and sympathize with your desire to restore what you perceive as true orthodoxy to the church. I don't, however, understand or sympathize with childish slander.

SJ Camp said...

There's nothing childish about this whatsoever.

Are you outraged when it comes to McLaren denying the authority and veracity of Scripture; challenging the sufficiency of the atonement; redefining biblical Christianity; and allowing postmodernism to become his polity by which he governs local church?

What I find is childish is A Generous Orthodoxy; what I take very seriously sir is biblical Christianity.

The parody is not sensationalized... Your response has proven that it is right on target.

David Green said...

Len asked: "which writing of McLaren's is that from? Thanks"

My response: It's from "The Church on the Other Side," "More Ready Than You Realize," "Finding Faith," "A Generous Orthodoxy" and also McLaren's website

Craig said: "I don't, however, understand or sympathize with childish slander."

My response: That story was not childish slander. It is what McLaren teaches. McLaren is working for a time when Christians everywhere will unite in worship with Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans and other "Baal worshipers." If you don't believe me, maybe you'll believe McLaren's own words from his website:

A visitor at McLaren's website said: "...I dream of a time where we can all gather; Muslim, Christian, Pagan, Jew, Buddist; and pray in loving peace with one another. A true peace where the Lion and the Lamb lay together in harmony..."

This was the essence of McLaren's answer: "...I hope by your writing and my posting this, you will have helped your dream come true..."

If anyone has "slandered" McLaren and made him look like a man who unites with Baal worshipers and who blasphemes the blood of Christ, it is McLaren himself.

David Green

Craig said...

Your concern over your perception that McLaren is a heretic may be well founded. If you feel a sense of duty as a follower of Christ to point out his theological shortcomings, then I have no problem with that and don't think it is childish in the least.

But this post goes beyond a reasoned critique of McLaren. It gets into the silly-land of junior high feuds where you take what you believe about someone's character and beliefs and create an exaggerated caricature of that person. Your followers then respond to that person not on their merits alone, but on the caricature you have created.

Craig said...

Your concern over your perception that McLaren is a heretic may be well founded. If you feel a sense of duty as a follower of Christ to point out his theological shortcomings, then I have no problem with that and don't think it is childish in the least.

But this post goes beyond a reasoned critique of McLaren. It gets into the silly-land of junior high feuds where you take what you believe about someone's character and beliefs and create an exaggerated caricature of that person. Your followers then respond to that person not on their merits alone, but on the caricature you have created.

David Green said...

Craig said: "...this post goes beyond a reasoned critique of McLaren. It gets into the silly-land of junior high feuds where you take what you believe about someone's character and beliefs and create an exaggerated caricature of that person. Your followers then respond to that person not on their merits alone, but on the caricature you have created."

My response: Craig, What exactly is the difference between the doctrine of "emergent Elijah" and the doctrine of Brian Mclaren? Please let us know at your earliest convenience.

Craig said...

Mclaren on Scripture:

"I believe that all Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness, so the people of God can be adequately equipped for all good works. I believe that everything written in the Scriptures is written for our instruction, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope. I believe that God spoke to us through the prophets in various times and various ways, and spoke to us climactically in the Son, who is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of God's being. I believe the Scriptures point to Jesus. I believe that the prophets of Scripture spoke from God and were carried along by the Holy Spirit. I believe some portions of Scripture are hard to understand and people distort them, but I believe the Scriptures can make people wise in a saving way, if we nobly and diligently seek the Scriptures to learn what is true..."

Pasted from http://www.anewkindofchristian.com/archives/000154.html

Of course you will have a response to this of which I can respond to ad infinitum, which goes beyond my point-- that there are more constructive (and-- here comes the buzzword-- loving) ways of pointing out perceived theological fallacies than what was put forth.

If you are comfortable with that, then have at it. I made my way to this site by way of seeing what is going on these days with a Christian musician who greatly influenced and shaped the faith of my early years and who I owe a great deal. My intention wasn't to be the emergent voice "crying in the wilderness."


David Green said...

Craig, I don't know how that quote from McLaren contradicts anything in "The Emergent Elijah." We already know that McLaren believes that the Bible is "uniquely authoritative *for Christians*."


That does not change the fact that McLaren teaches that the Koran (among other holy "scriptures") is *also* a legitimate way to know God, and that all good Muslims (among other "Baal worshipers") are *also* God's spiritual sons and daughters.

This is why McLaren is looking for the day when "Muslim, Christian, Pagan, Jew, Buddist ... pray in loving peace with one another. A true peace where the Lion and the Lamb lay together in harmony..."

McLaren and the "emergent Elijah" are one and the same.

donsands said...

"The Christain faith, I am proposing, should become (in the name of Jesus) a welcome friend to other religions of the world, not a threat. ...Ultimately, I hope that Jesus will save Buddhism, Islam, and every other religion, including the Christian religion, which often seems to need saving about as much as any other religion does." - Brian McLaren

Brian has a big problem with the simplicity of the gospel in my opinion. He's got a big heart for people, but he needs to be studying the Scriptures more thoroughly, in order to coincide with the way he says he esteems them. He takes a verse here and there and then puts a tremendous amount of human thought with them. he sort of says what he says, and then backs his way into Scripture. This is my take on him.

I feel for Mr. McLaren. He's actually a friend of a friend of mine. But he's on very disturbing ground. May the Lord open his eyes. Amen.

Craig said...

Ok, I crown you all what your "iron sharpening iron" hearts ultimately desire-- I crown you winners of this conversation.

Enjoy life. We'd probably be great friends outside the limitations of an online forum. But in this context you will just make me like you-- angry.

And Steve, I meant it when I talked about how pivotal your music was in my faith development (as well as many of those in my community.) Thank you for acting on the talents and gifts God gave you.


David Green said...

Craig said: "Enjoy life. We'd probably be great friends outside the limitations of an online forum. But in this context you will just make me like you-- angry."

My response: That's one of McLaren's standard rhetorical arguments. The "modern" church is "angry" and mean-spirited. Therefore there's no place for it in the future. Therefore it must be scrapped and replaced with the "postmodern" church, which is "the church on the other side," the church that has a better and more "generous" Gospel: McLaren's Emergent Church.


Roderick123 said...

I was thinking about craig's challenge that even if McLaren is teaching error, that this method of satiring his error is the wrong method. Then I thought again of Elijah's interaction with those prophets of Baal.

And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.” -- 1 Kings 18:27

Ridicule has it's place craig, & since McLaren will not listen to reason, logic, & above all, Scripture -- the only thing left for him & his followers is ridicule.

Arrogance like McLaren's must be ridiculed so as to hopefully break him of it. THEN & nly then we might be able to really have a "conversation" -- but on THE Word (not words that are authoritative to Christians only), which is authoratative for ALL people. Amen?

Scruples said...

I think Craig has a point. Often I find Steve and his followers on this blog employ characterization to build a straw man with which to argue their case. This could be done just as easily with Steve. For example, instead of transporting McLaren back to Elijah's day so he could have an "emergent conversation" with the prophets of Baal, suppose we transported Elijah's fire and brimstone approach to defeating false religion into today's world. Steve could be characterized as Elijah at the switch of a smart bomb aimed at physically annihilating a gathering of "emergent" false religionists. Shock and awe! Wouldn't God be glorified in that! (I say it with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek).

For a fairer approach to addressing the important questions of Biblical authority, false religion and the emergent church I think we need to Apply the Four Way Test to Christian Blogging:
1. Is it the TRUTH? 2. Is it FAIR to all concerned? 3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? 4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

I wonder how Steve's articles and various commenters would change their tone if they employed this test to everything written here?

The Seeking Disciple said...

Great post Steve. While I admit that I had to laugh a bit, it is scary that emergents will read this and think, "Yeah that is how it should have been!" The emergent movement is by far one of the most dangerous movements to hit the Church in quite some time.

Patrick Eaks said...

Thanks for sharing this great post with us. I do believe that the end of the emergent movement can be summed up in one word - universalism. May we take heed to the Holy Spirits words to us through the book of Jude: Jude - 1:3-5 - 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. 5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.


SJ Camp said...

In all fairness we are not just talking tone here with McLaren - this is an issue of truth first.

Brian's tone is affable and kind from what I have read of him and it means nothing. A warm soothing delivery of his message is no substitute for the biblical gospel. I am disturbed that so many within the emerging/emergent camps are so easily swayed and fooled by this tactic. What Mr. McLaren is sadly proclaiming much of the time is not rooted in a biblical orthodoxy, but in a convenient, cultural heterodoxy.


SJ Camp said...

the seeking disciple and patrick:
Thank you for your comments and I do agree with both of you. This movement is the Trojan horse that has infiltrated the reformed camp with error and ecumenism that is gangrenous to the body of Christ.

Even within the general more conservative movement of the emerging church, men like Driscoll, though more orthodox than men like McLaren, Jones or Pagitt, are still a concern for the church. Their Trojan horse of appeal-to-culture, contextualization of the gospel, and the resulting compromise in sanctification is also undermining the purity of the gospel and the authority of God's Word.

I call them "Young, Reckless and Reformed." It is unfortunate that godly but undiscerning bloggers like Justin Taylor, Tim Challies, Tim Brister, and Josh Harris have drank the Driscoll Kool-Aid.

As I say that, if it wasn't for Piper's wholehearted endorsement of Driscoll, he wouldn't have been welcomed in the greater reformed and evangelical arena. Piper knows better and he has much to answer for.

"Watch your life AND doctrine closely..." Amen?


Naomi A. said...

Oh my.