[BLOG UNDER CONSTRUCTION]
Emergence Christianity does not have a doctrinal statement. But if it did have one, what would it look like? This question is not as complex as it sounds. In a nutshell, Emergence Christianity is New Age thinking with a Christian twist. I plan to develop this blog further, showing biblical Christian doctrinal statements, followed by statements from Emergence Christianity leaders. In almost all cases, their statements are the exact opposite of biblical Christian beliefs.
Some of the closest beliefs to Emergence Christianity are those of Unitarian Universalists.
And to back up my point, consider these comments made by former Emergent Bill Kinnon at the following web page, where he comments on Jeremy Bouma‘s EXCELLENT critique of the Emerging/Emerging Church movements:
I think this is a hard but good and important post. BMcL’s A New Kind of Christian was a very important book for Imbi (my wife) and I when we read it 10 years ago. We became evangelists for Brian’s books for a time – but are no longer. Our paths have diverged significantly from the one Brian has taken (in my humble estimation.)
I’ve read most of A New Kind of Christianity (which arrived on Thursday) as I’ve had time and am disturbed by the cross-less Christianity that Brian describes. There are also some things I do like in the book but by and large, Brian appears more Unitarian Universalist in his understanding of the faith – in spite of how mean, nasty and unloving I am for saying that. 🙂 The easiest form of debate is to suggest that anyone that dares question you is arguing ad hominem. (I will unpack the reasons for my stated opinion above in a blog post I hope to put up in the next 24 hours.)
And check out this excellent blog by Ken Silva on “Christian Universalism”:
Note especially Ken Silva’s statement from the above blog, discussing the terminology of Christian Universalism:
As we pointed out in Rob Bell And Christian Universalism, [Christian Universalism] (CU) is also sometimes called Universal Redemption (UR), or even Evangelical Universalism as Gregory MacDonald (a pseudonym) wrote in the 2006 book The Evangelical Universalist.
Now on to another Internet article. Consider this description of Unitarian Universalist beliefs, copied and pasted from Contender Ministries, a born again Christian discernment website. Although Christian Universalism is technically different from Unitarianism Universalism (UU), it does share many of UU’s tenents.
The entire article can be found at:
General Unitarian Universalism Beliefs
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion that claims to be “born of the Jewish and Christian traditions.” They believe that personal experience, conscience, and reason should be the final authorities in religion. In the end, religious authority lies not in a book, person, or institution, but in ourselves. We put religious insights to the test of our hearts and minds. In other words, the UU’s espouse a humanist believe of each individual in a position superior to God or scripture. The UU believes that each individual’s spiritual path for truth should not be hampered by a creed or set of rules. It describes itself as a “free faith.” Past this, it is hard to be very specific. If the UU cult believes in anything, it is everything, and it stands for nothing. Whew!
UU Beliefs About God
UU’s are definitely not married to the concept of God. Some UU’s claim to be Christians, while others claim to be agnostic, Buddhist, Hindu, or even pagan! I really can’t describe their belief in God any better than they do in their own words. Here is a sampling from the Unitarian Universalist Association website: “Some Unitarian Universalists are nontheists and do not find language about God useful. The faith of other Unitarian Universalists in God may be profound, though among these, too, talk of God may be restrained. Why? The word God is much abused. Far too often, the word seems to refer to a kind of granddaddy in the sky or a super magician. To avoid confusion, many Unitarian Universalists are more apt to speak of “reverence for life” (in the words of Albert Schweitzer, a Unitarian), the spirit of love or truth, the holy, or the gracious. Many also prefer such language because it is inclusive; it is used with integrity by theist and nontheist members.” To sum up, the UU’s believe that belief in God is too exclusionary, so they don’t have much regard for its use.
UU Beliefs About Jesus
The UU belief about Jesus will not take more than a few sentences. They UU’s deny the deity of Jesus Christ. Their belief on the nature of Jesus pretty much parallels that of the New Age — that Jesus was an example of a good and moral man. Nothing more, nothing less. In light of this, it would be hard to call the UU cult Christian.
UU Beliefs About the Bible
The UU’s do not believe – as Christians do – that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. It is more of a guide than scripture to the UU. Let us once again view the UUA’s own words regarding their view of the Bible: “We do not, however, hold the Bible-or any other account of human experience-to be either an infallible guide or the exclusive source of truth. Much biblical material is mythical or legendary. Not that it should be discarded for that reason! Rather, it should be treasured for what it is. We believe that we should read the Bible as we read other books (or the newspaper)-with imagination and a critical eye.” The UU sees the Bible as no more than a good issue of Readers Digest.
UU Beliefs About Salvation
Salvation to the UU is a guarantee. They do not believe in Hell. They do not believe that there is a penalty for sin. As Christians, we believe there IS a penalty for sin, but that penalty has been paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. All each person has to do is to accept that. But to the UU, that would seem exclusionary. There is no sin, there is no penalty for sin, there is no hell, therefore, there is nothing to be saved from. That is the belief of the UU.