One might ask why it is important to understand the relation between the Leftist/Marxist – Islamist Alliance and the Emerging Movement among Churches and Mosques. It is because it indicates the movement of a historically conservative church and other organizations into the fold. These Emerging Church and Mosque Movements are the elephants in the pew. The Radical Islamist Movement has realized that the tactical weapons of terrorism and suicide bombing may not be achieving their goal for world domination, and that seduction, economics and political action are more effective in winning the war. In the letter: A Common Word Between Us and You the strategy is apparent in their conference of September 2007 held under the theme of “Love in the Quran.” In this essay, I address how the Leftist/Marxist – Islamist Alliance is approaching the goal of achieving a one religion and one-world government.
The public failure of the Soviet Union in 1991 interred Lenin’s theory of social causation in his Red Square casket, although, like Dracula, the monster occasionally climbs out of its casket and wanders through American college campuses and churches, seeking whom it may devour.
As I wrote in the article The Leftist/Marxist
– Islamist Alliance Aligns Against Jerusalem1:
“The West has a worldview based on the analysis and actions influenced by looking through the lenses of politics and economics, whereas the Islamists look at the world through the lens of ideology. It is time for the West to place importance on looking at events happening around the world through the lens of ideologies. In the case of the Muslims, their worldview and subsequent actions are shaped by their vision for world domination, the establishment of Islamic kingdom of God on Earth – the creation of worldwide Caliphate and the End Times.”
An inability to understand the ideology behind the Emerging Church Movement, cultural Marxism and political Islam could spell disaster for the West.
Al-Qaeda and the Emerging Church
Frank Pastore in his article for Townhall of July 22, 2007, Why Al Qaeda Supports the Emergent Church, wrote:
“The greatest threat to world peace is radical Islam. If not for the United States, millions more would be suffering under the tyranny of Shariah law all over the world. Our Muslim enemies know post-Christian Europe has already lost the will to fight. Africa, Asia, and South America seem to be already lost. Russia, China, and India would rather trade than fight…for now. And the United Nations continues to be irrelevant.
Only the United States, and more specifically, only the conservative, evangelical Christians of America are who stand between radical Islam and their quest for global domination.
If the world is to be saved from Muslim conquest, it will be America who does it. And if America is to be saved, only conservatism can do it. And if conservatism is to be saved, it will be those Bible-believing patriots who do it–those conservative, evangelical Christians who are the bedrock of the American way of life.
Why? Because only Christianity has the intellectual and spiritual horsepower to defeat radical Islam and prevent the world from returning to the darkness of the 7th century. After all, the story of the birth and growth of Western Civilization is pretty much the story of the birth and growth of Christianity. The divide between East and West today, fundamentally, is the divide between Islam and Christianity. Christians and Muslims know this, it’s the secularists who don’t get it–or at least won’t admit it.
A post-Christian, post-modern, secular-socialist America will be no match for a radical Islam fueled by petro-dollars and threatening the use of nuclear weapons.”
The Rise of Arianism
While the controversy over Arianism arose centuries ago, the controversy is far from over. Today it continues with the geopolitical events of potentially devastating consequences facing the world and even the U.S. election in 2008. The issue facing Constantine in 324 has a similarity to that facing the Church and world leaders today.
Heresy often wares a pretty face. Those who describe Arius (CE ca 250/256 – 336) and his followers as ogres do us a disservice. Here was a bright, energetic, attractive fellow, the kind of citizen whom any Rotary Club would welcome—not unlike Governor Mitt Romney – the wealthy Arian Mormon espousing family values and even conservative economics. The Mormon Church claims to be Christian. Singing sea shanties and teaching Bible stories to the Wednesday night faithful, Arius was an immensely popular man. His story reminds us that heresy does not bludgeon us into belief. We are seduced.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), is a convert to Mormonism and apparently persuaded his wife to convert from Judaism as well in contrast of Mitt Romney just sticking with the faith of his father and mothers (and mothers, and mothers …). This makes Reid the most powerful Mormon politician in the United States, as least for now. The election of Romney would be a huge shot in the arm for Mormonism. It would be instant credibility. Do you think Christians want to stand before God, after they die, and explain why they helped elevate to the highest level of global influence a person who represents false Christianity? Mormons reject the Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed – which are based on the Bible and were agreed upon by the ancient Christian churches as statements that true believers should affirm.
The particularity of the Gospel has always been a stumbling block to whom dualism is a cardinal assumption. Treat Jesus as a moral teacher, like Gandhi, and the Christianity win universal acclaim. We even see this among Muslim scholars where 138 Muslim scholars, clerics and intellectuals have unanimously come together for the first time since the days of the Prophet r. to declare the common ground between Christianity and Islam. This was presented in the form of a letter: A Common Word Between Us and You at conference in September 2007 held under the theme of “Love in the Quran” by the Royal Academy of The Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Jordan, under the Patronage of H.M. King Abdullah II. Indeed, the most fundamental common ground between Islam and Christianity, and the best basis for future dialogue and understanding, is the love of God and the love of the neighbor. See: http://www.acommonword.com/
“Never before have Muslims delivered this kind of definitive consensus statement on Christianity. Rather than engage in polemic, the signatories have adopted the traditional and mainstream Islamic position of respecting the Christian scripture and calling Christians to be more, not less, faithful to it.”
“A Common Word Between Us give them a starting point for cooperation and worldwide co-ordination, but it does so on the most solid theological ground possible: the teachings of the Qu’ran and the Prophet r, and the commandments described by Jesus Christ u in the Bible. Thus despite their differences, Islam and Christianity not only share the same Divine Origin and the same Abrahamic heritage, but the same two greatest commandments.”
In several ways our times, in the third millennium, are not unlike those two thousand years ago. At the end of the first century, forces beyond its control threatened the church, which was only two or three generations old. Natural disasters, persecution, and the arising of numerous heresies threatened it. Within the period of six centuries, a new force arrived on the scene—Islam. This force and the associated ideologies not only threatened the Church, but ultimately led to the destruction of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse in what is now Western Turkey and the capitulation of Christian Church in the East.
For some observers, the triumph of Islam in the East in the seventh century was regarded as the judgment of history upon a degenerate Christianity. In the Letters to the Seven Churches in Revelation 1-3, the Apostle John warned the churches of these problems. The degeneration had already begun. However, the degeneration could not become well developed in a persecuted church. But when the Church was freed from the danger of persecution by the ascension of Constantine, that seed of degeneration began to develop rapidly. That fact is not without its significance as we try to realize conditions in Arabia in the seventh century. It helps to explain the readiness of Christian Arabs to accept Islam. Similarly today, the Church is in a state of degeneration and Arianism, New Age, Gnostic Gospels, Sufism. Baha’i and Islam are gaining mainline positions in the churches, press, and universities in the name of the universal “Interfaith” movements.2 In many Western countries, Islam is on the rise as Christians are accepting it as an acceptable alternative to Christianity. As we see the warning to “wake up” in the Letter to the Church in Sardis:
Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Revelation 3:3
Arianism was a fourth-century Christian heresy named for Arius (c.250-c.336), a priest in Alexandria. Arius denied the full deity of the preexistent Son of God who became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Arius held that the Son (Jesus), while divine and like God (“of like substance”), was created by God as the agent through whom he created the universe. Arius said of the Son, “There was a time when he was not.” The belief that Jesus was not really God, just the highest creation of God, was one of the first Church heresies. It was defeated simply because it is unscriptural; there are just too many New Testament verses that cannot be explained within this schema. Arianism became so widespread in the Christian Church and resulted in such disunity that the Emperor Constantine convoked a church council at Nicaea in 325.
Interestingly, one of the great theologians of the early church, St. John of Damascus (ca. 675-749) was convinced that Islam was at its root not a new religion, but a variation on a Judeo-Christian form. St. John wrote the first Christian critique of Islam in his work entitled The Fount of Knowledge.3 He closely related Islam to the heterodox4 Christian doctrine of Arianism. (After all, this doctrine, like Islam, took as its starting point a similar position, stating that God could not become truly human without somehow compromising his divinity.) In other words, St. John viewed Islam in the same manner in which we view Mormonism or the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I might add that Martin Luther had a similar evaluation of Islam. See: Clash of Ideologies
–The Making of the Christian and Islamic Worlds, David J. Jonsson Xulon Press 2005.
Although many believed that the beliefs of Arianism would die with the church council at Nicaea, Arianism (although not its name) continues in several modern non-trinitarian or anti-trinitarian religions today. In addition, belief in Arianism among the clergy in Spain and elsewhere provided fertile ground for the early missionary work of Muslims in their conquests.
Today, Christians are converting to Islam via initial beliefs in Arian doctrines followed by Unitarian, and finally conversion to Islam. Some of the religions incorporating the doctrines of heresy of Arius include: Islam, Baha’i, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon), Jehovah’s Witness, Unitarian, Unification Church, Church of Christ, Scientist, etc. Hilaire Belloc, the Catholic historian, in his book entitled Survivals and New Arrivals, commented that Arianism, the modern name of which is modernism, has come back with a vengeance in the Church. These cults do have in common the Arian view of a Jesus who is different than the Jesus of the Bible, who is God, equal and co-equal with the Father and Holy Spirit.
The Doctrine of the Godhead, according to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LSD), is similar to Arianism. The LDS Doctrine of the Unity of the Godhead is reminiscent of the Arian explanation of the unity of the Son with the Father: Jesus is seen as subordinate to God the Father, in that Jesus acts only according to his Father’s will. They are “one” in the sense that there is no possibility of a disagreement between them, and they are both perfected and sinless. The LDS also believe, similar to the Arians, that the Christ is a separate being, but “co-eternal” with God the Father, and yet that there is only one (capital “G”) God. However, the LDS is unique in believing that there are many exalted beings, or gods; and in their belief that three distinct beings comprise the Godhead. This agreement and close intimacy of three distinct beings, according to LDS doctrine, is properly labeled Tritheism compared to Trinitarian definitions of monotheism, which the LDS disputes. LDS themselves do not object to their Godhead being referred to as a kind of Trinity, but assert that it is merely a very different idea of the Trinity as compared to most of the rest of the Christian world. Some such as Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Washington-based Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission have therefore referred to Mormonism as the 4th Abrahamic Religion. Hence separate from Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Similarly we see the rise of heretic Emerging Church Movement and their attention to postmodernism, praxis, postevangelical and support of leftist political issues. To quote from C.C. Lewis who says it well, “You can never make a good omelet out of rotten eggs.” Isn’t that the fundamental fallacy of all “secular progressive” movements, including communism, Islam or Jim Wallis socialism? Man and societies simply are not perfectible through rearranging of rotten eggs?
We are seeing today the use religion, not the Judeo-Christian religion on which West was built, but the other religions – pluralism, Arianism, Islam and atheism to go from the Church to the Schoolhouse to the White House. This movement can be seen in factions of both the Republican and Democratic parties.
The CABAL is supported by the wealth of supporters and the ‘intellectuals’ seeking global power. The motivation however extends beyond power. The motivation of most reformers can be seen as being laudable and for the benefit of all mankind. Isn’t this what appeals to the typical, good hearted, kindly church persons such as Rick Warren, Tony Campolo, Brian McLaren, Jim Wallis, and this extends to many others. All seem to believe in their being Messiah to a corrupted society that must have basic change to survive and for the good of mankind. This is a very laudable aim. The communist ideal of “from each according to his ability to each according to need” is also very laudable. Can’t this be seen in being part of ushering in the Kingdom of God for the benefit of all of mankind? The communist sees the inevitable end of history coming about through practicing dialectical materialism. The Islamic sees himself as an essential part of process ushering in the world governed by Shariah law – really both the same thing, man’s (arrogant) belief that it is his responsibility to be part of an essential process which has the highest of goals for the betterment of the world and mankind. But none of these variations on the same laudable goal (perfect world, perfect mankind) can be achieved for one reason; SIN and that issue can only be dealt with at the cross of Jesus Christ who alone can transform an individual and through individual transformation.
The supporters include the Islamists with their oil wealth, the leftists with their influence in the media and schools and universities, and those just seeking global power. This support extends even to the World Bank which is planning to authorize a $900 million loan to Iran, defying requests from an influential congressman to stall it.
Currently, the main Iranian bank handling the World Bank transactions is Bank Melli, an institution designated last month by the American Treasury Department as financing the country’s nuclear program. World Bank officials told the New York Times in a story published on November 4 that the World Bank was looking to support the current projects through alternative methods in light of the new American sanctions.
The Emerging Church Movement
The leaders of what is now called Emergent Village are Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Chris Seay, and Tim Keel — along with others like Karen Ward, Ivy Beckwith, Brian McLaren –
New Age/Mystic/Contemplative, Mark Oestreicher, John Shelby Spong author of The Sins of Scripture and others such as and Mark Scandrette, author and Spiritual Director of ReImagine ministries. Mark Scandrette is also a senior fellow with Emergent Village, a growing generative friendship among missional Christian leaders. The Emergent Village is a part of the Emerging Church Movement. Mark Scandrette wrote the book Soul Graffiti: Making a Life in the Way of Jesus.
To put this in perspective, Brian McLaren calls hell and the cross “False Advertizing for God. The interview on with Brian McLaren by Leif Hansen is available here. http://www.understandthetimes.org/mclarentrans.shtml
Interview took place 1/8/2006 and 1/12/2006 Brian McLaren discusses his philosophy in The Last Word and the Word after That: A Tale of Faith, Doubt, and a New Kind of Christianity and A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/
conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist
/calvinist, … anabaptist/anglican, metho (Emergentys)
Mark Scandrette lectures frequently with the U.S. Center for World Missions, leads retreats and workshops and provides life coaching and spiritual direction.
Brian McLaren public speaking covers a broad range of topics including postmodern thought and culture, Biblical studies, evangelism, leadership, global mission, spiritual formation, worship, pastoral survival and burnout, inter-religious dialogue, ecology, and social justice.
He serves as a board chair for Sojourners/Call to Renewal (sojo.net), and is a founding member of Red Letter Christians, a group of communicators seeking to broaden and deepen the dialogue about faith and public life. He is also a board member for “Orientacion Cristiana,” and formerly served on the boards of International Teams (www.iteams.org) in Chicago, Mars Hill Graduate School in Seattle (mhgs.edu), and Off The Map (off-the-map.org). He has taught or lectured at several seminaries in the U.S. and abroad.
Giving voice to Sojourners’ intense anti-Americanism, Jim Wallis called the U.S. “… the great power, the great seducer, the great captor and destroyer of human life, the great master of humanity and history in its totalitarian claims and designs.” Sojourners is a member organization of the Win Without War and United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalitions. Sojourners is supported by the Cawley Family Foundation, Crystal Trust, the Delaware Community Foundation, the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, the Gannett Foundation, the Gill Foundation, the Laffey-McHugh Foundation, the Longwood Foundation, the MBNA Foundation, the Open Society Institute, www.soros.org the Peninsula Community Foundation, and the Philadelphia Foundation.
Richard Foster and others have derived their so-called spiritual formation approach from Catholic “saints” and mystics. Foster created The Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bibleto biblically support his mystical approach, yet its commentaries libel the Scriptures and demean sound doctrine. Foster introduced Eastern mystical techniques to the church decades ago in Celebration of Discipline. Now his spiritual formation agenda is foundational to the Emerging Church, a widespread movement of 20-to-30-year-old evangelicals who are attracted to the sensual liturgies (candles, incense, chanting, vestments, rituals, statues, icons, etc.) of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy as a supposed means of enhancing their spiritual formation. See: Weaning Evangelicals Off the Word-Part 1 McMahon, T.A. February 1, 2007
What is the Emerging Church?
I reference in the next sections the presentation: What is the Emerging Church? by Scot McKnight given at the Fall Contemporary Issues Conference Westminster Theological Seminary Oct 26-27, 2006. Scot McKnight is a widely-recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. He is the Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University (Chicago, Illinois). A popular and witty speaker, Dr. McKnight has given interviews on radios across the nation, has appeared on television, and is regularly asked to speak in local churches and educational events. Dr. McKnight obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Nottingham (1986). McKnight’s award-winning blog, Jesus Creed http://www.jesuscreed.org/ He writes widely on the Emerging Church.
To quote Scot McKnight: “Also constantly misused in the debate today are the terms “emerging” and “emergent.” But, “emerging” is not the same as “emergent.” Please listen. “Emergent” refers to Emergent Village — an official clearinghouse for this conversation where there are cohorts across the world who officially associate themselves with EV. Emergent Village, or emergent, is directed by Tony Jones, a PhD student at Princeton, former youth minister, and now an energetic traveler on behalf of EV.”
McKnight refers often to D.A. Carson’s book, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church.
To quote Scot McKnight: “There is no such thing as the emerging “church.” It is a movement or a conversation — which is Brian McLaren’s and Tony Jones’s favored term, and they after all are the leaders. To call it a “church” on the title of his book is to pretend that it is something like a denomination, which it isn’t. The leaders are determined, right now, to prevent it becoming anything more than a loose association of those who want to explore conversation about the Christian faith and the Christian mission and the Christian praxis in this world of ours, and they want to explore that conversation with freedom and impunity when it comes to doctrine.”
“Emerging,” on the other hand, is bigger, broader, and deeper.”
Dr. McKnight suggests reading Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger, Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postrnodern Cultures (Baker, 2005). “Why? As I said before, the courteous thing to do is to let the movement speak for itself. Which is exactly what Gihbs-Bolger do? They show the center of the EM movement is about ecclesiology not epistemology.”
“Emerging churches are communities that practice the way of Jesus within postmodern cultures. This definition encompasses the nine practices. Emerging churches (1) identify with the life of Jesus, (2) transforms the secular realm, and (3) live highly communal lives. Because of these three activities, they (4) welcome the stranger, (5) serve with generosity, (6) participate as producers, (7) create as created beings, (8) lead as a body, and (9) take part in spiritual activities.”
“This definition and delineation is the result of doctoral student research (Bolger) and professor (Gibbs) collaboration. Bolger is now a colleague of Gibbs at Fuller Theological Seminary.”
“It is the only study complete enough to hand on to others and say, “Here, this is what emerging really is.” Tony Jones is doing his own study and others have offered shorter analyses. But, for now, this is the study to which we must refer and I suggest that each of you — if you want to indulge in emerging discussions — buy and read this book.”
There are four rivers flowing into Lake Emerging
Each of these rivers flows with its own integrity into Lake Emerging according to Scot McKnight. The rivers may be named the Four Ps.
- Postevangelical, and
Postmodern River Flowing into the Lake Emerging
To quote Scot McKnight: “It is not always the piety that gets limber when one begins to read and absorb postmodernity. Sometimes it is the theology that can begin to be limber. I quote from Peter Rollins’ new book, How (Not) to Speak of God: “This understanding [of the emerging theological movement] includes a rediscovery of ideas such as: concealment as an aspect of revelation; God as hyper-present; the affirmation of doubt; the place of silence; religious desire as part of faith; Christian discourse as a/theological; God-talk as iconic; a recognition of journey and becoming; truth as soteriological event; and orthodoxy as a way of believing in the right way”. That’s pretty limber, I say. It’s also quite suggestive. Many in the emerging movement like this sort of talk.”
I find the comment about truth as a soteriological event most interesting and disturbing. Let’s address the concept of “being saved” from the various religions. It appears from the writings of the EM that the historic belief in truth as presented by the Christian doctrine is subject to discussion based on postmodernism.
Soteriology is the study of salvation. The word comes from two Greek terms: soter, meaning “savior,” and logos, meaning “word”, “reason”, or “principle”. Many religions give emphasis to salvation of one form or another, and as such have their own soteriologies. Some soteriologies are primarily concerned with relationships to, or unity with, gods; others more strongly emphasize cultivation of knowledge or virtue. Soteriologies also differ in what sort of salvation they promise.
In Christianity, individuals are saved from eternal punishment through Jesus death on the cross. Christian soteriology traditionally focuses on how the Triune God ends the separation people have from him due to sin by reconciling them with himself. (Rom. 5:10-11). Christians receive the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38), life (Rom. 8:11), and salvation (1 Thess. 5:9) bought by Jesus Christ through his innocent suffering, death (Acts 20:28) and resurrection from death 3 days later (Matt. 28). This grace in Christ (1 Cor. 1:4) is received though faith (Eph. 2:8-9) in him (Gal. 3:22, Rom. 10:9), which is caused by God’s Word (Rom. 10:17). Christians teach the reception of Christ by grace alone through faith alone. But this represents the “Big Picture” rejected by the EM as metanarrative.
In Buddhism, especially in Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, people are thought to be saved from the endless cycle of reincarnation through bodhisattvas or through Amida Buddha. In Hinduism, especially in the bhakti tradition, devotion to a god can bring salvation from reincarnation. Islamic soteriology focuses on how humans can repent of and atone for their sins so as not to occupy a state of loss. Salvation in the afterlife comes from God’s recognition and acceptance of the individual, with regards to their virtue, obedience and/or good deeds performed in their earthly life.
McKnight defines postmodernity, not as the denial of metanarratives or the denial of truth as it so often done at the level of urban legend, but as the collapse of metanarratives because of the impossibility of getting outside such assumptions to prove them on a rational, foundationalist, and objective method that enables us to construct from the bottom up universal knowledge. While there are always good as well as naughty entailments when opting for a philosophical stance, evangelical Christians ought to embrace elements of this understanding of postmodernity.
In fact, Jamie Smith, in his Who’s Afraid of Postlnodernity?, argues just this: that postmodernity is compatible, at times, with classical Augustinian epistemology. Faith seeking understanding, trust preceding the apprehension or comprehension of truth, and the recognition that even the mind — voila’ the noetic impact of the Fall — is in need of illumination in order to comprehend the gospel. All of which is to say that postmodernity as a philosophy forces upon the postmodern person the admission that our “stories” are embedded in space and time, and the confession that our community and our faith determines where our minds journey.”
The Postmoderns’ Goals and Potential Impacts
The promotion of the postmodern worldview is a tactical weapon being used by the Radical Political Center for the control of governments and the Islamic movement in the non-Muslim countries to ultimately establish a global Islamic state. To the causal observer this may seem absurd considering the fact that Islam appears as such a strict code. However, the Muslims realize that before you can impose control you must change a population’s beliefs in the Biblical worldview and belief that absolute moral truths exist. The cultural Marxists are joining forces with the Neo-Nazis and Islamists that are leading the demonstrations in cities worldwide.
Man by nature seeks consensus. But the means he manipulates for this end do not always serve the purpose. Human history is full of momentous events whereby certain individuals or groups have endeavored to effect an agreement but the consequences of these events have far exceeded the innocence of their initiators. Religions or belief systems have always occupied a significant place in man’s struggle for consensus. Some contemporary intellectuals have stressed the importance of inter-religious communication to the degree that without a factual understanding between the adherents of various world religions, they claim, the future of mankind will remain under threat.5 In seeking this consensus we witnessed in 2004 the beginning of the rise of the ‘Axis of
Appeasement’6. The name that is commonly used for this new era is postmodernism.
Following in the footsteps of the pre-postmodern Nietzsche – God is dead, the intellectuals that were the philosophers of Frankfurt School developed philosophies known as “Critical Theory’ or ‘Cultural Marxism’ thus promoted postmodernism to go after the hearts and minds of the population. The intellectual ‘reformers’ of Islam are utilizing these same successful tactics used to create the Postmodern Era and are now utilizing ‘Critical Islam’ as the guideline – the strategic weapon for communication with the adherents of other religions. Thus one of their slogans is:
‘From the Schoolhouse to the White House’.
The uniformity of fundamental beliefs among believers of the same religion is no longer in intact, due to exposure to various propaganda influences of different cultural orientations. Easy access to the knowledge of alien cultures has caused considerable polarization among co-religionists; so much that difference of opinion between two members of a religion on essential matters may become greater than that may exist between members of two different religions. A good example of this is the discrepancy in respect of worldview between a traditional Muslim and a secular one. The former may feel that a practicing Christian is nearer to him than the secular Muslim as far as the similarity between their respective fundamental (metaphysical) beliefs is concerned. In such a situation it would be more befitting for a Muslim that is anxious to propagate his belief, to start with his coreligionist: the so-called secular-minded Muslim, rather than attempting to convert a Christian. It is also this ‘Moral Trade Deficit’ within the Christian church that provides the vacuum being filled by postmodernism and ‘Critical Islam’.
A survey by the pollster George Barna found only 4 percent of the general population have a biblical worldview and suggests many of the nation’s moral and spiritual challenges are directly attributable to this fact. For the purposes of the research, a biblical worldview was defined as believing that absolute moral truths exist; that such truth is defined by the Bible; and firm belief in six specific religious views. Those views were that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life; God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He still rules it today; salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned; Satan is real; a Christian has a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people; and the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.
Among the most prevalent alternative worldviews was postmodernism, which seemed to be the dominant perspective amongst the two youngest generations. One of the most striking insights from the research was the influence of such a way of thinking upon people’s behavior. Adults with a biblical worldview possessed radically different views on morality, held divergent religious beliefs and demonstrated vastly different lifestyle choices. People’s views on morally acceptable behavior are deeply impacted by their worldview. There often more concerned with survival amidst chaos than with experiencing truth and significance.”7
As we witnessed following the 3/11 terrorists attacks on the trains in Spain during run up to the election in 2004, the terrorists were able to control the election. The populous were more concerned with survival amidst chaos than with experiencing truth and significance. One more step toward achieving Ossam bin Laden’s goal of returning Andalusia into the caliphate. Al Qaeda has often mentioned Andalusia (southern Spain) as the western anchor of its dream pan-Islamic Caliphate–a territory stretching from Spain in the West to Indonesia in the East. Reference: Al-Qaeda: The Next Goal Is to Liberate Spain from the Infidels Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi, October 11, 2007 Jerusalem Issue Brief:
The influence of the postmodern society is affecting our worldview as reflected in family values. Much of what we see happening today was called for in the writings of Fredric Engles – The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.
Friedreich Engels, Karl Marx’s co-author, wrote an 8-point plan for destroying the family, which might be summarized as:
(1) Working mothers, (2) free and easy divorce, (3) elimination of sex roles in marriage, (4) housekeeping as a social industry, (5) communal child care or day-care centers, (6) elimination of the concept of illegitimacy, (7) an open definition of “family,” and (8) unrestrained sexual activity.
Sometimes one comes across something, said or written by someone, which comes as a bit of a surprise, especially if that statement was made a long time ago. Such a surprise was mine when first I came across the following statement by Brock Chisholm, 1959 Humanist of the Year, the Canadian psychiatrist who became the first Director General of the World Health Organization. In the February 1946 issue of Psychiatry, Chisholm wrote,
“To achieve world government, it is necessary to remove from the minds of men their individualism, loyalty to family tradition, national patriotism, and religious dogmas.”
The above is the extract most often quoted, but his statement continued as follows:
“We have swallowed all manner of poisonous certainties fed us by our parents, our Sunday and day school teachers, our politicians, our priests…The reinterpretation and eventual eradication of the concept of right and wrong which has been the basis of child training, the substitution of intelligent and rational thinking for faith in the certainties of old people, these are the belated objectives… for charting the changes in human behavior.”
Postmodernism as a philosophy is currently universally pervasive. Postmodernism is beginning to reign in politics and in our universities and institutions of learning. While the philosophy holds sway in establishing thought patterns, evangelical Christianity is either dismissed or marginalized.
The Frankfurt School
The Frankfurt School of philosophical thought was started from The Institut für Sozialforschung (Institute of Social Research). In the beginning, the School and the Institute were indistinguishable. The Institute was started as part of the University of Frankfurt in Germany. The Institute was established by the German Communist Party in 1923 by Felix Weil, and was able to function with considerable autonomy. Carl Grünberg was director of the Institute from 1923-1929. Grünberg was an avowed Marxist and made Marxism the theoretical basis of the Institute’s program. The Institute did not have any official party affiliations, however. Grünberg stressed the importance of the historical context of meaning and results to research. Max Horkheimer assumed control of the Institute in 1930. Horkheimer emphasized the relationship between social philosophy and science. His main focus was interdisciplinary study. Like Grünberg, Horkheimer believed that Marx’s theory should be the basis of the Institute’s research.8 9 10
Max Horkheimer, decided that Karl Marx’s idea of gaining power by violent revolution was off base: Marx went for the throat, Horkheimer went for the mind and heart. These philosophies became know as ‘Critical Theory’ or ‘Cultural Marxism’.
Following the teaching of ‘Critical Theory’ espoused by the Frankfurt School; Muslim intellectual ‘reformers’ are taking the lead in a global project of producing a new tradition of progressive Islam ‘Critical Islam’ to gain acceptance of Islam broadly in the West. 11
“Whoever controls the media, controls the culture.” Dr. Ted Baehr
“Whoever defines the word, defines the world.” John Locke
“The pen is mightier than the sword.” William Shakespeare
The Frankfurt tour de force was called ‘Critical Theory’, which maintained that Western Culture was rampant with destructive elements such as, authority, capitalism, family, loyalty, patriotism, tradition, heritage, etc. And as such, were repositories of racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and all other isms. How one leads to another, they never say. The Frankfurt School taught that the most important lesson students could learn was to “graduate conditioned to display the correct attitudes.” Translation: Sweep young minds of old morals and values and fill them with the idea that the West is guilty of crimes against every civilization it has ever encountered; and that these crimes flow from the Western character, shaped by Christianity.12
A cultural vacuum was created in North America in the 1960s that would be filled in the 1970s by French poststructuralism and German critical theory of the Frankfurt School. Those approaches would dominate American literature departments for the next quarter century, devastating the humanities and reducing their prestige and power in the world at large.
Prominent members include Max Horkheimer (philosopher, sociologist), Theodor Weisengrund Adorno (philosopher, sociologist and musicologist), Walter Benjamin (essayist and literary critic), Herbert Marcuse (philosopher), Eric Fromm, and, Jurgen Habermas. Each of these philosophers believed, and shared Karl Marx’s theory of Historical Materialism. Each of these individuals observed the beginning of Communism in Russia, and the resulting fascism in Italy. They lived through the First World War, the rise and fall of Hitler, and of course the devastation of the Holocaust. They formed reactions that were attempts to reconcile Marxist theory with the reality of what the people and governments of the world were going through. Each member of the Frankfurt school adjusted Marxism with his additions, or “fix” if you will. They then used the “fixed” Marxist theory as a measure modern society needed to meet. These ideas came to be known as “Critical Theory.” 13
As we will see, the philosophy of postmodernism is extremely destructive. Christian leaders are stretched to the utmost to deal effectively with it.
Every definition and every view of postmodernism will vary. My view of it runs in the following order:
First, there is the language game called ‘deconstruction’.
Second, there is moral relativism. There are no absolutes and no certainties. Hence, there are no absolute morals.
Third, there is pluralism which is allied to relativism. Pluralism means there is a level playing field for all religions. Religion is a matter of personal choice. The one great heresy is to say that your religion is correct and all the others are wrong. Tolerance is the essence of postmodernism. No one religion is superior or to be deemed the final authority.
Fourth, there is existentialism in which feelings rule. It is not doctrine or even empirical facts that count. It is what I feel that is right.
Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity towards metanarratives.
This statement defines where I have conflict with the Emerging Church and saying that postmodernism is compatible with Biblical beliefs as defined by McKnight above.
Who is attempting to Destroy America?
One must wonder who ‘they’ are. Who in America today is at work destroying our traditions, our family bonds, our religious beginnings, our reinforcing institutions, indeed, our entire culture? What is it that is changing our American civilization?
Indeed, a thoughtful person should ask himself or herself whether or not all this ‘change’ from America’s traditional culture is simply a random set of events played out by a random set of players, all independent of each other—all disconnected from any central premise or guidance. It is entirely possible that chance is at work here and all of these ‘threads’ of American culture are the random workings of the human intellect (the pursuit of what is possible, vice what is appropriate) in a free, democratic society.
But suppose you were to learn that nearly all of the observations made in this article are completely consistent with a ‘design’—that is a concept, a way of thinking, and a process for bringing it about. And suppose one could identify a small core group of people who designed just such a concept and thought through the process of infusing it into a culture. Wouldn’t you be interested in at least learning about such a core group? Wouldn’t you want to know who they were, what they thought, and how they conjured up a process for bringing their thoughts into action? For Americans with even a smidgeon of curiosity, the answer should be a resounding yes!
If such a core group could be found, then it would still depend on your personal ‘world view’ as to its significance. If you believe in the ‘blind watchmaker,’ that is, all cosmic and social events are random and guided only by the laws of nature, ‘evolutionary’ in the sense of competing with other random events for survival in a ‘stochastic’ world, you may choose to believe that such a core group was meaningless—it may have existed but so what? It may have been only one of an unaccountably large number of such ‘groups’ in the world’s history. And you may believe that any particular group’s ‘window of opportunity’ to influence future generations was passed by and did little to influence the course of America’s history.
If you believe, instead, that nature has a ‘design,’ and that all events can be connected and we humans can make sense out of many of them if we will only ‘connect all of the dots,’ then you may believe that this small core group has great influence, even today, in American Culture. If this is your world view, you may (but not necessarily) even believe in a ‘conspiracy. and ‘conspirators’ which and who aim to alter our culture on a vast scale.
It is clear, however, that irrespective of one’s ‘world view,’ it is informative to at least know of such a core group (if it, indeed, existed), what it believed, what it set out to accomplish, and what methods it followed to take action on its beliefs.
Just such a core group did, indeed, exist. That is, history identifies a small group of German intellectuals who devised concepts, processes, and action plans which conform very closely to what Americans presently observe every day in their culture. Observations, such as those made in this series of article, can be directly traced to the work of this core group of intellectuals. They were members of the Frankfurt School, formed in Germany in 1923. They were the forebears of what some proclaim as ‘cultural Marxism,’ a radical social movement that has transformed American culture. It is more commonly known today as ‘political correctness.’
We have to ask, are we not seeing the rise of the same beliefs in the Postmodernist approach taken by the Emerging Church and the Emergent Village impacting the Church today.
The final Judgment
- The Certainty of it. This is seen in the fact that the Scripture promises it, Christ describes it, God’s law demands it, conscience confirms it, justice requires it.
- The Manner of it. Christ will be the Judge. It will be a judgment of every nation. It will be a judgment of every individual. It will be a judgment according to works.
- The finality of it. It will be a judgment with eternal implications of heaven or hell. In their faithfulness and effectiveness in preaching on the Great Judgment the English Puritans set us an example to follow.
To quote Scot McKnight “More to the point, emerging thinkers embrace a proper confidence and a chastened epistemology: LeRon Shults claims “from a theological perspective, this fixation with propositions can easily lead to the attempt to use the finite tool of language on an absolute Presence that transcends and embraces all finite reality. [First, there is the language game called ‘deconstruction’] Languages are culturally constructed symbol systems that enable humans to communicate by designating one finite reality in distinction from another. The truly infinite God of Christian faith is beyond all our linguistic grasping, as all the great theologians from Irenaeus to Calvin have insisted, and so the struggle to capture God in our finite propositional structures is nothing short of linguistic idolatry.” (From Emergent-US (May 6, 2006).) Flaubert once remarked, when trying to express his love for his mistress, that the “language to do so was inept.” That, my friends, is where some emerging postmodern Christians are trying to say. Language is inept to talk absolutely about God.”
“What I’m suggesting in this first point is that postmodernity, at various levels, is a recognizable river flowing into Lake Emerging: it is conscious, it is intentional, and it is desirable.”
[Note: This strikes me as having overtones of the Muslim proposition that God is unknown. Where Jesus said if you know me you will know my father.]
The Pharisees asked him, “Where is your father?” Jesus replied, “You don’t know me or my Father. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.” John18:19 NASB
Then Jesus cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, “You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know.John 7:28
and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. John 8:55
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” John 14:7
8:17-20 If we knew Christ better, we should know the Father better. Those become vain in their imaginations concerning God, who will not learn of Christ. Those who know not his glory and grace, know not the Father that sent him. The time of our departure out of the world, depends upon God. Our enemies cannot hasten it any sooner, nor can our friends delay it any longer, than the time appointed of the Father. Every true believer can look up and say with pleasure, My times are in thy hand, and better there than in my own. To all God’s purposes there is a time. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
Praxis River Flowing into the Lake Emerging
It is interesting that Scot McKnight chose Praxis to define the second river flowing into the Emerging Church River. Praxis is the heart of the emerging movement. Gibbs-Bolger did: “Emerging churches are communities that practice the way of Jesus within postmodern cultures.”
Praxis is the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted or practiced. In Ancient Greek the word praxis referred to activity engaged in by free men. Aristotle held that there were three basic activities of man: theoria, poiesis and praxis. There corresponded to these kinds of activity three types of knowledge: theoretical, to which the end goal was truth; poietical, to which the end goal was production; and practical, to which the end goal was action. Aristotle further divided practical knowledge into ethics, economics and politics. He also distinguished between eupraxia (good praxis) and dyspraxia (bad praxis, misfortune)
What is the Hegelian Dialectic – Praxis?
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) was a 19th century German philosopher and theologist who wrote the Science of Logic in 1812. For many historians, Hegel is “perhaps the greatest of the German idealist philosophers.”
In 1847 the London Communist League–Marx and Engels, used Hegel’s theory of the dialectic to back up their economic theory of communism. Now, in the 21st century, Hegelian-Marxist thinking affects our entire social and political structure.
The Hegelian dialectic is the framework for guiding our thoughts and actions into conflicts that lead us to a predetermined solution. If we do not understand how the Hegelian dialectic shapes our perceptions of the world, then we do not know how we are helping to implement the vision for the future. Hegel’s dialectic is the tool which manipulates us into a frenzied circular pattern of thought and action. Every time we fight for or defend against an ideology we are playing a necessary role in Marx and Engels’ grand design to advance humanity into a dictatorship of the proletariat. Both Marx and Hitler have their philosophical roots in Hegel.
The concept of praxis is important in Marxist thought. In fact, philosophy of praxis was the name given to Marxism by 19th century socialist Antonio Labriola. Marx himself stated in his Theses on Feuerbach that “philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” Simply put, Marx felt that philosophy’s validity was in how it informed action.
Praxis is also key in meditation and spirituality, where emphasis is placed on gaining first-hand experience of concepts and certain areas, such as union with the Divine, which can only be explored through praxis due to the inability of the finite mind (and its tool, language) to comprehend or express the infinite. In an interview for YES! Magazine, Matthew Fox explained it this way:
Wisdom is always taste—in both Latin and Hebrew, the word for wisdom comes from the word for taste—so it’s something to taste, not something to theorize about. “Taste and see that God is good,” the psalm says; and that’s wisdom: tasting life. No one can do it for us. The mystical tradition is very much a Sophia tradition. It is about tasting and trusting experience, before institution or dogma.
In fact, the Hebrew word for reason (“ta’am”), not wisdom (“chochmah”), is the same as the Hebrew word for taste (“ta’am”).
The First River Worship
Scot McKnight believes praxis involves worship. These things matter, and the emerging movement believes that praxis shapes theology and theology shapes praxis Doug Pagitt, for instance, in his Body Prayer is big on letting our bodies express our heart’s prayers; Dan Kimball is as creative as anyone when it comes to the physical expression of worship; we could go on. Some fluff incense around the room, some light candles, and some have a service where there is multi-tasking.
The Second River Orthopraxy
Scot McKnight believes praxis involves Orthopraxy a term derived from Greek (ὀρθοπραξις) meaning “correct practice” (as orthodoxy means “correct teaching”), referring to emphasis on religious ritual as opposed to faith or grace etc.
Typically, traditional or ethnic religions (paganism, animism) are more concerned with orthopraxis than orthodoxy, and some argue that equating the term “faith“ with “religion“ presents a Christian-biased notion of what the primary characteristic of religion is.
The emerging movement thinks how a person lives is more important than what they believe, that orthopraxy is the most important thing. And that the power of a life forms the best apologetic for the way of Jesus.
To quote Scot McKnight: “Which leads us precisely to the emerging issue with theology: we are left alone in what we think is right theologically and being alone isn’t enough when it comes to theology.”
“So, they don’t try to compose theological statements; they rely on the great creeds and confess them as part of their heritage. And instead of worrying about getting everything just right— and they point to the fact that no two scholars agree — not even Michael Horton and Benjamin Breckenridge Warfield agree — leads them to concentrate on living the way of Jesus. We may not get it right when it comes to theology, so what we are called to do is live right — which most of them have either enough theological integrity to admit they don’t get it right in practice or they have enough postmodernist irony to say the same. Either way, they get humbled both by theology and by praxis.”
The Third River Social Justice
To quote Scot McKnight: a third element of the praxis river is social justice. The emerging movement believes — nearly uniformly — that Christians are summoned by God to work for justice in this world. Scot McKnight said that this emerging emphasis on justice is not the same as the Religious Right’s focus on the family (that’s a clever little combination) nor is it the Religious Right’s advocacy for either anti-abortion or military support. [Hence the support of Leftist/Marxist – Islamist Alliance in the Anti-War movement and all the related NGOs] Justice, for this group, is exactly what Walther Rauschenbusch and Jane Addams said it was.
Why would Communists who are known as atheistic materialists be interested in religion? The answer is simple. Socialist “theologian” and associates of the British Fabian Society, Dr. Walther Rauschenbusch, wrote in 1893: “The only power that can make socialism succeed, if it is established, is religion. It cannot work in an irreligious country.”14
The time was 1914; the Federal Council of Churches had become one of the major outlets in America for Marxist propaganda. On February tenth of that year a group of conspirators met in the home of millionaire industrialist Andrew Carnegie and laid plans for something called the Church Peace Union. In Pioneers For Peach Through Religion, Charles S. Macfarland (at the time General Secretary of the F.C.C.) reveals that this group included only those religious leaders who were in some way connected with the Federal Council of Churches. This newly formed organization was the brainchild of top conspirator Andrew Carnegie, who used it to capture for the Insiders the controlling clique of the Federal Council by subsidizing the Church Peace Union to the tune of $2 million.15
Shortly after the meeting with Carnegie, two international church conferences were promoted by the F.C.C.’s Church Peace Union — one for Roman Catholics, to be held at Liegé, Belgium, and the other for Protestants at Constance, Germany. Both were scheduled to convene on August 1, 1914. Which, by an odd “coincidence,” was the very day that war was declared between Germany and Russia.16
Several months later, at Cambridge in England, the Fabian Socialists set up an International Fellowship of Reconciliation to protest the War while propagandizing for Socialism. This was followed a year later on November 11, 1915, by the formation of an American Branch of F.O.R., organized by such stalwarts of the Federal Council of Churches as Harry F. Ward and Walther Rauschenbush. They were aided in this project by leading Socialists Norman Thomas, Oswald Garrison Viliard, and Jane Addams (at whose home in Chicago the Webbs stayed during their visit to America). In April 1917, one month after the Czar had been forced to surrender control of his government to Socialist Alexander Kerensky, The United States was finally maneuvered into World War I, thus ending 141 years of neutrality. That fall, a relative handful of Bolsheviks led by Nikolai Lenin captured the Government of Russia, thereby establishing a base for the Marxists’ continuing world revolution.17 In Red China between 1949 and 1976, 40 million died by outright killings, manmade famine and Gulag; and 10 million died in the Soviet Block: late Stalinism, 1950-53; post-Stalinism, to 1987 (mostly Gulag).
The beginning of true liberty is Jesus Christ. And therefore the first and last target of all subversion is biblical faith. Hence it is that the Church has been the first target of infiltration and subversion; and is the most subverted institution in the United States today. Dr. R. J. Rushdoony18
To quote Scot McKnight: “That’s the heart of the emerging movement’s concern with social justice. Many have spoken to this concern, but none as has Brian McLaren in his The Secret Message of Jesus, which defines kingdom as the “interactive relationship of humans with God and others.”
The signature of modern leftist rhetoric is the deployment of terminology that simply cannot fail to command assent. As Orwell himself recognized, even slavery could be sold if labeled “freedom.” In this vein, who could ever conscientiously oppose the pursuit of “social justice,”—i.e., a just society?
This culmination of centuries of ideas and struggles became known as liberalism. And it was precisely in opposition to this liberalism—not feudalism or theocracy or the ancien régime, much less 20th century fascism—that Karl Marx formed and detailed the popular concept of “social justice,” (which has become a kind of “new and improved” substitute for a store full of other terms—Marxism, socialism, collectivism—that, in the wake of Communism’s history and collapse, are now unsellable).
The Fourth River Missional
To quote Scot McKnight: “This praxis river is first and foremost about being missional. We need to get this straight: the emerging movement would probably run and hide if you got too direct them and asked them if they believe in “evangelism.” Their response might be along this line: “Well, in fact, we do, but we don’t call it that. We call it missional and we see missional as bigger than evangelism.” So, let me define what I see going on in the emerging movement when it comes to this term “missional.””
“The central element of this missional praxis is that the emerging movement is not attractional in its model of the church but is instead missional: that is, it does not invite people to church but instead wanders into the world as the church. It asks its community “How can we help you?” instead of knocking on doors to increase membership. In other words, it becomes a community with open windows and open doors and sees Sunday morning as the opportunity to prepare for a week of service to the community, asking not how many are attending the services but what redemptive traits are we seeing in our community. It wants to embody a life that is other-oriented rather than self-oriented, that is community-directed rather than church-oriented.”
To finish this praxis river off, Scot McKnight now returns to his opening principle of defining a movement by listening to what the movement is saying. Let me go to the narrower element, but in which may well speak for a broad range of emerging Christians — to Emergent Village’s website on its “Values and Practices.” These statements embody what is meant by the praxis impulse of the emerging movement:
First, a commitment to God in the way of Jesus.
Second, a commitment to the Church in all its forms (universal church). [The Emerging Global Church – Rick Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. Plan & UN Goals]
Third, a commitment to God’s world.
Fourth, a commitment to one another.
To each of these are attached, in educate-like fashion, practices.
Dialogue and fellowship with other Christians.
To be involved in at least one issue of peace and justice. [Consider United for Peace and Justice]
To participate in emerging events.
Post-Evangelical River Flowing Into The Lake Emerging
To quote Scot McKnight: “A third river flowing into Lake Emerging is post-evangelical. DA Carson got this right: the emerging movement is a protest against evangelicalism, and to make the lines clear the emerging movement often defines evangelicalism in simple, un-nuanced terms.”
“Having said this, however, let me make an observation I hope sticks with you: I would say that the vast majority of emerging Christians are evangelical theologically or evangelical conversionally, but they are post-evangelical when it comes to describing the Christian life and theology.”
“How so? To be an emerging post-evangelical is to be post-Bible study piety, to be post-systematic theology, and to be post “in/out” in perception.”
Again to quote Scot McKnight: “This means, catch this, all theology is always a conversation about the Truth who is God in Christ through the Spirit. It is never final; it is never fixed. It is always in flux. This flux-like nature of theology can be anchored in postmodernity’s skepticism about metanarratives, but more likely it is anchored in a proper confidence and a chastened epistemology. We ought, to rub it in a hit, to admit that the poetic impact of the Fall has an impact as well on our theology. In this sense, and I hope you see the wisdom here, the emerging movement is radically reformed. It turns its theology against itself.”
Scot McKnight offers here a warning to you and to the emerging movement: “any movement that is not evangelistic is failing the Lord. We may be humble about what we believe and we may be careful to make the gospel and its commitment clear, but we better have a goal in mind — the goal of summoning everyone to follow Jesus Christ and to discover the redemptive work of God in Christ through the Spirit of God.”
Political River Flowing into the Lake Emerging
“Lake Emerging also receives a river called political, and here I’m talking now only about the USA. Tony Jones is regularly told that the emerging movement is a latte-drinking, backpack-lugging, Birkenstock-wearing, group of 21st Century left-wing hippie wannabes. Put directly, they are Democrats. And that spells “doomed” for conservative evangelicals.”
Scot McKnight leans left in politics. He doesn’t think the Democrat party is worth a hoot, but its historic commitment to the poor and to centralizing the government for social justice is what I think the government should do. He says doesn’t support abortion — in fact, he thinks it is disgusting; he believes in civil rights, but he dosn’t believe homosexuality is Christian. But, he is a pacifist. And, with the emerging movement, he thinks the Religious Right doesn’t see what it is doing — and that means, yes, he does think Randy Ballmer’s new book, Thy Kingdom Come, is a good book — not always right, but right (or should I say
“left” or “Christian”?) in its direction.
What McKnight sees (sometimes) in emergent in the USA is Walther Rauschenbusch, the architect of the social gospel. Brian McLaren has become good friends with Jim Wallis — and he has read almost everything Jim Wallis has written in book form. Wallis’ hero, so far as I can see, is Rauschenbusch. He loves Mother Theresa and the like, but what he sees in Wallis is Rauschenbusch one hundred years later. Now, unlike perhaps some of you, he doesn’t think everything Rauschenbusch said was cock-eyed or bull-roar. Most evangelical critics of Rauschenbusch have read as much of him as they have of Pelagius. But it hasn’t stopped them from thinking they know them — and it is more likely that they know more about Pelagius than Rauschenbusch.
“Rauschenbusch, as you know, faced the challenge of a spiritual vs. a social gospel, and without trying to deny the former, led his followers into the latter. The results were devastating for mainline Christianity when it comes to the summons to personal conversion. The results were also devastating for evangelical Christianity for, apart from very few, it has struggled to maintain a balance itself. Jim Wallis, beginning with his justifiably well-known Call to Conversion, and now in his scrapbook of ruminations, God’s Politics, has had one thing to say to the evangelical church since the rise of his own social conscience: justice in the world matters to God.”
He’s right, but — to use the title of McIntyre’s book — “whose justice?”
McKnight comments: “And what is justice? How will we define justice? In my estimation, justice is being right with God, with the self, with others, and with the world — but what is “right” is what God says is right, not what the US Constitution says. So, when I read many in the emerging movement talk about justice, I’ve got the suspicion of the skeptical Viennese fella named Freud — who thought there was more going on at the table than met the fork — I think I’m hearing the Democratic platform. I could be wrong. But that is what I see.”
“The emerging movement, at least the impulse in the emergent movement in the USA, will have to decide — and it will be done at the individual level — what the word “right” means before it can work for `justice.” Deciding what is right, in fact, shapes everything about the emerging movement and, for that matter, the Reformed movement.”
1 The Leftist/Marxist
– Islamist Alliance Aligns Against Jerusalem by David J. Jonsson October 16, 2007
4 Webster’s 1913 Dictionary, Heterodox comes from Greek “heterodoxos,” “of another opinion,” from hetero—”other” and doxa for “opinion,” from dokein, “to believe.” Contrary to, or differing from, some acknowledged standard, as the Bible, the creed of a church, the decree of a council, and the like; not orthodox; heretical; said of opinions, doctrines, books, etc., especially upon theological subjects.
11 Dr. Peter Mandaville”Exporting Critical Islam? The Transnational Influence Of Muslim Intellectuals In The West” Paper Presented at The AMSS 32nd Annual Conference Indiana University, Bloomington, IndianaSept. 26-28, 2003 <http://www.amss.net/Abstract_32ndConference/PeterMandaville28.htm>
Frankfurt School, Critical Theory <http://home.cwru.edu/~ngb2/Pages/Intro.html>
by Dr. James W. Wardner, D.M.D., 1996 Pg 153
15 APOSTASY-The National Council Of Churches, http://reformed-theology.org/html/issue07/apostasy.htm Accessed: November 6, 2007
David J. Jonsson is the author of Clash of Ideologies —The Making of the Christian and Islamic Worlds, Xulon Press 2005. His next book: Islamic Economics and the Final Jihad: The Muslim Brotherhood to the Leftist/Marxist – Islamist Alliance will we released in spring 2006. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics. He worked for major corporations in the United States and Japan and with multilateral agencies that brought him to more that fifteen countries with significant or majority populations who are Muslim. These exposures provided insight into the basic tenants of Islam as a political, economic and religious system. He became proficient in Islamic law (Shariah) through contract negotiation and personal encounter, and presently writes on the subject for the Global Politician. Mr. Jonsson can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org