A number of postmodern (i.e. Emerging/Emergent) leaders have written statements criticizing “fundamentalism”. (I hope to list links with such quotes from these various leaders.)
I am defining fundamentalism here as “old fashioned”, born again, biblically sound Christianity. In the early 1900s, the term fundamentalist was applied to those who followed The Fundamentals in the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy. This is how I am using the term “fundamentalist” here – not as in “Independent Fundamentalist Baptists” – although IFBs would agree with many of the articles in The Fundamentals. (In this article IFB Bro. David Cloud provides a good IFB discussion of the term “fundamentalist”.)
Below, Lighthouse Trails discusses one of the most shocking anti-fundamentalist statements I have read thus far from the Emergent/Emerging Church movement. This is an excerpt from the Lighthouse Trails Research book review of Brian McLaren’s book, entitled Finding Our Way Again. (McLaren, Tony Campolo, Leonard Sweet, RIchard Foster and others have at times taught and/or “preached” in the Evangelical Friends denomination. And people wonder why I am upset with the Evangelical Friends…) Click here for the entire review of McLaren’s book.
… something in McLaren’s book has given this writer a motivation to continue with the work we do at Lighthouse Trails as long as we have breath. In McLaren’s chapter titled “Moving On,” he gives a detailed analysis of how the emerging church is God’s answer to a stifled, fearful Christian church. He explains that this merging church must infiltrate the “institutions that rejected it,” adding that “conservative Protestants have repeated their Catholic sibling’s earlier mistakes (referring to the Catholic church’s one time rejection of Galileo). Then he says: “But over time, what they reject will find or create safe space outside their borders and become a resource so that many if not most of the grandchildren of today’s fundamentalists will learn and grow and move on from the misguided battles of their forebears [biblical believers]” (p. 133). You see, McLaren and his emerging church fellows (Pagitt, Sweet, Warren, et.al) want to change the minds of our children and grandchildren. That is why Rick Warren once said that the older traditional ones will have to leave or die because they won’t change, thus the emphasis in the emerging church on the youth.
What’s alarming is that McLaren’s vision of infiltration is working. And he knows it. Listen: “At the center, safe space happens. A learning community forms. New possibilities emerge. A new day dawns. If the guardians of our fragmented religious institutions forbid their members to meet in the center, the members will not be able to comply. They will simply go undercover and arrange secret liaisons … Eventually, the shared resources, vitality, and new possibilities that unfold … will penetrate and reinvigorate … Trying to stop [this] … is a losing game … against the plotline of God’s universe.”
In the last chapter of McLaren’s book, “Theosis (via Unitiva),” he sums up his calling by stating that “The purpose of the via purgativa [the practices] is to prepare us for the via illuminativa [the awakening], and the purpose of the via illuminativa is to prepare us for the via unitiva [all is one], the union of our nature with the nature of God” (pp. 171-172). He calls God “fire” and says, “We join God in being fire … Before the beginning … God was All, and All was God” (p. 175). This is the exact same message that Eckhart Tolle and Oprah are propagating. But while many Christians are now condemning Tolle’s message, they don’t realize that the very same message is permeating their very own churches. For those readers who care about the spiritual future of their children and grandchildren, it is vital they understand the meaning of McLaren’s spirituality in particular and the merging/contemplative movement in general. We believe this is an extremely compelling motivation and should prompt us as believers to defend the faith and the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
God bless you, all of you at Lighthouse Trails Research. And God bless all of you in various discernment ministries, who are working the expose the Emergent/ Emerging Church and Spiritual Formation/ Contemplative Spirituality.