Light Brings Salt

 

Volume 3, Issue 26 June 26, 2005

Iron Range Bible Church

Dedicated to the Systematic Exposition of the Word of God

 

'Emerging Church Movement' a threat to the Gospel

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--A recently developed way of envisioning church known as the "Emerging Church Movement" deals carelessly with Scripture and compromises the Gospel, according to a prominent evangelical scholar and a Southern Baptist seminary president.

But Brian McLaren, one of the movement's leaders, told Baptist Press that such criticisms are unfounded and that the Emerging Church Movement is "seeking to be more faithful to Christ" in the current postmodern cultural context.

"McLaren, who is the founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church near Baltimore, Md., and was listed as one of 25 influential evangelicals by TIME magazine, said that he rejects the label 'movement' to describe the Emerging Church.

"I generally don't even use the term movement at this point," he said. "I think it's more of a conversation. It's a group of people who are talking about the Gospel and church and mission, especially in terms of changes going on in our culture that some people call a shift from modern to postmodern culture."

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., questions McLaren's claim to be giving a credible witness for the Gospel. In an Internet commentary posted on crosswalk.com Mohler argues that McLaren's claim to uphold historic Christian faith and simultaneously avoid articulating truth in propositional form is self-contradictory.

Responding to McLaren's book, "A Generous Orthodoxy," Mohler writes, "Embracing the worldview of the postmodern age, he embraces relativism at the cost of clarity in matters of truth and intends to redefine Christianity for this new age, largely in terms of an eccentric mixture of elements he would take from virtually every theological position and variant."

"... As a postmodernist, he considers himself free from any concern for propositional truthfulness, and simply wants the Christian community to embrace a pluriform understanding of truth as a way out of doctrinal conflict and impasse."

"When it comes to issues such as the exclusivity of the gospel, the identity of Jesus Christ as both fully human and fully divine, the authoritative character of Scripture as written revelation, and the clear teaching of Scripture concerning issues such as homosexuality, this movement simply refuses to answer the questions," Mohler writes.

"Homosexuality either will or will not be embraced as normative. The church either will or will not accept a radical revisioning of the missionary task. We will either see those who have not come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as persons to whom we should extend a clear gospel message and a call for decision, or we will simply come alongside them to tell our story as they tell their own."

When asked whether a person must trust Christ as dying to make atonement for sin in order to be a Christian, McLaren replied, "I want to help people understand everything they can about the cross. ... I wouldn't say that having that understanding (Jesus dying as a substitute for sinful humanity) is all that it means to be a Christian. I think that some people might have that understanding and not be interested in following Jesus. They want Jesus' blood to pay for their sins so they can go to heaven, but they aren't really interested in following Jesus in this life."

Mohler concludes that McLaren and other leaders in the Emergent Church represent "a significant challenge to biblical Christianity." "Unwilling to affirm that the Bible contains propositional truths that form the framework for Christian belief, this movement argues that we can have Christian symbolism and substance without those thorny questions of truthfulness that have so vexed the modern mind," Mohler writes.

"The worldview of postmodernism -- complete with an epistemology that denies the possibility of or need for propositional truth -- affords the movement an opportunity to hop, skip and jump throughout the Bible and the history of Christian thought in order to take whatever pieces they want from one theology and attach them, like doctrinal post-it notes, to whatever picture they would want to draw" (BP News, David Roach, Mar 23, 2005).

 


Isis - The Queen of Heaven

 

The Goddess has now emerged from the dark moon phase of a long-term lunar cycle at a time when humanity is collectively passing through a dark phase in the precessional age solar cycle. With the rebirth of the Goddess, we are being given the opportunity to reclaim her dark aspect.

- Demetra George, Mysteries of the Dark Moon: The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess, p. 266.

 

Author Berit Kjos commented recently, You probably wouldnt expect to find goddesses in a conservative farming community in North Dakota. I didnt. But one day when visiting my husbands rural hometown, a neighbor told us that a new bookstore had just opened in the parsonage of the old Lutheran Church. You should go see it, she urged.

I agreed, so I drove to a stately white church, walked to the parsonage next door, and rang the bell. The pastors wife opened the door and led me into a large room she had changed into a bookstore, leaving me to browse. Scanning the shelves along the walls, I noticed familiar authors such as Lynn Andrews who freely blends witchcraft with Native American rituals, New Age self-empowerment, and other occult traditions to form her own spirituality.

Among the multicultural books in the childrens section, one caught my attention. Called Many Faces of the Great Goddess, it was a coloring book for all ages. Page after page sported voluptuous drawings of famed goddesses. Nude, bare-breasted, pregnant, or draped in serpents, they would surely open the minds of young artists to the lure of sacred sex and ancient myths.

Driving home, I pondered todays fast-spreading shift from Christianity to paganism. Apparently, myths and spiritualized sensuality sound good to those who seek new revelations and higher truths. Many of the modern myths picture deities that fit somewhere between a feminine version of God and the timeless goddesses pictured in earth-centered stories and cultures. (Kjos, A Twist of Faith, pp. 10-11)

Commenting on this universal goddess aspect, Professor Cesar Vidal writes, The importance of mother goddesses in the various mythologies of paganism is so evident that even a shallow description could easily fill entire volumes . . . The mother goddess received different names and external appearances, but, in substance, she was always the same. In Egypt, she was called Isis. In Crete, she was represented as a mother who made friendly contact with snakes. In Greece she was known as Demeter, and in Rome she was worshiped as Cybele, the Magna Mater (Great Mother), a mother goddess of Phrygian origin. There is practically no ancient culture that did not worship this type of deity. (The Myth of Mary, pp.74, 75)

Our modern culture likewise has a propensity to following the Queen of Heaven. The New Age Movement has been a real force in this, bringing the Gaia concept to the forefront-the idea that the Earth is a living organism, a hypothesis intrinsically linked to the goddess movement and Mother Earth.

Christianity isnt immune to the allure of the goddess. In 1993, at the Re-Imaging Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2000 women from a variety of protestant denominations were introduced to Sophia, the goddess personification of Divine Wisdom. Furthermore, this particular event, which included creating a sacred space and Sophia invocations, received funding from a number of major protestant/evangelical church bodies.

Mother Earth, too, can be found in our modern church cultureespecially through Earth Day celebrations within the Christian community (See Goddess Earth by Samantha Smith and Dave Hunts Occult Invasion: The Subtle Seduction of the World and Church).

But goddess influence within churches goes beyond Mother Earth and Sophia. The biblical figure of Mary has been erroneously elevated to a goddess status by Roman Catholic theologians. She is known as the Queen of Heaven, Mother of God, Eternal Virgin, Queen of Peace, Our Mother, Lady of the Good Death, Co-mediatrix, and Blessed Mother. Thousands of shrines around the world commemorate her. Visions, apparitions, visitations, and channeled messages accompany the mystical experiences of her followers.

Detailing the broader New Age Goddess and feminist influence within church and society, Berit Kjos writes, ... This new spiritual movement is transforming our churches as well as our culture. It touches every family that reads newspapers, watches television, and sends children to community schools. It is fast driving our society beyond Christianity, beyond humanism -even beyond relativism toward new global beliefs and values. No one is immune from its subtle pressures and silent promptings. That it parallels other social changes and global movements only speeds the transformation. Yet, most Christians like the proverbial frog-have barely noticed.

The point that Mrs. Kjos makes is essential to understanding our times: Christianity is facing a paradigm shift of global proportions, and the goddess thrust of the New Age Movement is an important facet of this spiritual and societal-wide change. It matters what influences your thinking!