Christian News, January 28, 2013, Vol. 51, No. 04
The January 9, 2013 and January 23, 2013 issues of The Christian Century have full page notices announcing a forum on the emergent church movement sponsored by The Christian Century and the Wisconsin Council of Churches. Brian McClaren, a leader of the emerging church movement is the speaker. The Christian Century says: “THE CHURCH THAT IS EMERGING - “Many sectors of the Christian Church are retrenching, Christian leaders are feeling anxious and trying to figure out how to survive. Yet, many Christians are seeing the pressures of today as the birth pains for a new kind of Christian faith for tomorrow.” McClaren’s most recent book is Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity In a Multi-Faith World. McClaren is a Universalist who does not believe Christianity is the only saving faith.
When the Concordia Journal of Concordia Seminary featured the Emerging Church in its Spring, 2012 issue the lead story of the June 25, 2012 Christian News was “Seminary Journal Clashes with CTCR on Emergent Church.” CN photographed the entire 11 page article from the Concordia Journal and its masthead. It has the names of some 50 faculty and staff members. Travis Scholl is listed as Editor and Managing Editor of Theological Publications.
While Scholl lives in Missouri, the LCMS’s 2012 Lutheran Annual reports that he is a member of the Atlantic District. Scholl had Atlantic District President David Benke write an article or the Concordia Journal on Father Richard Neuhaus praising Neuhaus, graduate of Concordia Seminary who denied such doctrines as the inerrancy of the Bible and justification by faith alone. Neuhaus was a pro-homosexual universalist certified by the seminary even though he promoted his liberal views during his days at Concordia Seminary before he joined the Evangelical Lutheran Church and then the Roman Catholic Church. The Concordia Journal has also published articles by Dr. Matthew Becker, an outspoken supporter of evolution and the ordination of women. Becker is a professor at Valparaiso University but is listed in the Lutheran Annual as a member of the Northwest District. Thrivent has been using Scholl in its move to reach out to members of other denominations and not just Lutherans. The Thrivent Board of Directors has no problem with having an ELCA lesbian as a member of its board. When CN reprinted the article in the Spring 2012 Concordia Journal by Chad Lakies, CN also published an article CN had previously published exposing the anti-Christian nature of the Emerging Church movement. CN wrote to Lakies, who is now teaching at Concordia University, where Becker previously taught:
* * *
June 6, 2012
Professor Chad Lakies
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
Dear Professor Lakies:
June 6, 2012 Professor Chad Lakies Concordia Seminary, St. Louis Dear Professor Lakies: I have just read your “The End of Theology? The Emergent Church in Lutheran Perspective” in the Spring 2012 Concordia Journal.
During the last several years, Christian News has published a good number of articles on the Emerging Church. At times it is difficult to pin down exactly what the defenders of the Emerging Church believe just as it was 50 years ago. To find out what the young scholars of the time believed, like Pelikan and Marty, who were bringing in new insights to the LCMS, the best thing to do was to ask them questions.
The Concordia Journal says that you accepted a call to serve as assistant professor of theology at Concordia University, Portland, OR. Dr. Matthew Becker formerly held such a position at Portland. Christian News also asked him some questions.
Would you please answer these simple questions?
Should there be room on the LCMS clergy roster and in the schools of the LCMS’s Concordia University System for professors and pastors who:
1. Deny that the Bible is inerrant in all matters? Yes___ No ___
2. Maintain that God used evolution to create the world? Yes___ No ___
3. Insist that God did not create the world in 6/24 hours days? Yes ___ No ___
4. Maintain that women should be permitted to become pastors in the LCMS.
Yes ___ No ___
5. Teach that Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and other non-Christians can get to heaven without saving faith in Jesus Christ. Yes ___ No ___
6. Believe there should be room in the LCMS for a theologian like your predecessor, Dr. Matthew Becker, who also wrote for the Concordia Journal. Yes ___ No ___
He makes it clear in The Day Star Reader that he champion’s evolution and women pastors.
Sincerely yours, Herman Otten, editor
Lakies did not respond.
* * *
The entire notice promoting the emerging church on the back cover of the January 9, 2013 Christian Century is on page 8 together with a page from the Winter 2012 The Vine and Branches of Abiding Word Ministries on “The ELCA’s Latest Foray Into Heresy? An examination of the ELCA’s acceptance of the false teachings of the Emergent Church.” It says: “The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has struck a new theological low by publishing and promoting a new adult Bible study that attacks the foundations of the Christian faith, including the doctrine of Christ’s atonement. Animate Faith, released by the ELCA this past August, is being taught in their congregations all over America. The study might better be called ‘Animate Unbelief.’ It incorporates the distortions and ramblings of an assortment of Emergent Church Leaders.”
“Session 1: God – Faith Is A Quest is taught by Brian McClaren, considered the founder of “Emergent Church.’ When McLaren talks about God in this course, it is not the God of the Bible he is referencing.”
“The Emergent Church’s Retreat into the Reformation Darkness,” an article by Paul M. Elliott in The Trinity Review, and reprinted in the November, 2012 The Evangelical Methodist, says: “In the Emergent mind, Jesus Christ is emphatically not the only Savior from sin and Hell.”
The Trinity Review says: “Students of church history will recognize much of Emergent Church thinking on the Bible as the warmed-over 20th-century Neo-orthodoxy that destroyed most mainline Protestant churches as well as many conservative ones. Emergents are following in the insolent footsteps of Karl Barth, Rudolph Bultmann, Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich and others. These in turn were influenced by early 19th century philosopher Soren Keirke- gaard, whose great gift to theology was to assert that there is no such thing as objective truth.”
“The Emergent Church is spreading a new wave of spiritual poison through religious academia. The fact that Emergents are welcomed on the faculties and in the classrooms of openly liberal seminaries is no surprise. But today Emergents also find a friendly response in the majority of reputedly more conservative Bible colleges and seminaries. It ranges from favorable classroom exposure to outright advocacy by professors and administrators. Reputedly conservative schools that have fallen into the Emergent web include Biblical Theological Seminary, Biola University, Covenant Theological Seminary, Dallas Theological Seminary, Erskine College and Seminary, Houghton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, Taylor Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, and most Southern Baptist schools. “It only takes a few years of exposure to false teaching for young minds to become the generation that will carry the poison out of the seminaries and colleges, into the pulpits, and into the pews.
“There is another reason why so many in the Evangelical and Reformed camps are accommodating and even embracing the Emergent Church movement. That reason is intellectual pride. The Emergent Church movement is all about the pride and glory of man, not the glory of God.
“We have seen this pride and glorification of man in place of God in the Emergents’ essential approach to what they falsely call ‘Christianity.’ The central focus of the Emergent religion is not the Christ of the Bible, but an all-inclusive assembly of people from all sorts of ‘faith traditions.’ We have also seen the same pride in the reaction of Emergents who are insulted by the doctrine of salvation from sin and Hell by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. They reject such a doctrine because it means that true Christianity is an exclusive rather than an inclusive faith. “We have also seen that the Emergent Church movement is all about prideful man’s embrace of misery and paradox as the keys to ‘higher knowledge.’ The Emergent focus is not on Biblical orthodoxy, but on ‘a generous orthodoxy’ – ‘orthoparadoxy.’ Emergent leader Rob Bell boasts, ‘This is not just the same old message with new methods. We’re rediscovering Christianity as an Eastern religion…’”
“Christian, do not be confused or deceived. Christ’s true Church has no place for the Emergent Church’s ‘generous orthodoxy.’” The Christian Century and the Wisconsin Council of Churches have also sponsored a forum featuring Marcus Borg, a leader of Jesus Seminar, which totally rejects historic Christianity. (Bonhoeffer and King, p. 290). Some of the man articles CN has published exposing the liberal theology of the pro-homosexual and pro-abortion Christian Century are in the Christian News Encyclopedia.