Thursday, October 26, 2006

McLaren' Secret Agents

Yesterday Herescope ran an excerpt from a report about Ed Silvoso and a conference in South Africa for the transformation of the African continent. Today's post is an excerpt from the same Discernment Ministries newsletter -- another report on yet another neoevangelical leader.

What follows is an eyewitness account of a recent talk by Brian McLaren, an Emergent Church leader. It is remarkable how similar their messages were despite being a continent apart. Their "transformation" agenda involves a "paradigm shift" and turning believers into "change agents." Both are focusing on marketplace transformation as the key to building the "Kingdom of God" on Earth; McLaren with his emphasis on your "vocation."

Report on Brian McLaren,
Emergent Church leader

On October 24, 2006 Brian McLaren spoke at the Wake Divinity School, Wait Chapel, North Carolina. A friend of Discernment Ministries went to hear this talk and below are some notes taken during this event:

The audience size was minimal. On the program was written:

“As we come together, let us settle into stillness. Slowly ever so slowly, we center our minds and our hearts. Let your cares and your weariness fall away. Enter deeply into silence. Rest in God's presence. Come Creator into our lives. Open now the windows of our soul.”

We sang a hymn to the tune of “Guide me Oh thou Great Jehovah”… but with different words:

“God of Grace and God of glory,
on thy people pour thy power,
crown thy ancient church's story:
bring it's bud to glorious flower…”

The Scriptures were Isaiah 6:1-8 and Mark 1:13-20, and McLaren said that the “kingdom of God HAS BEEN Fulfilled.” Here were my first hints that Kingdom Now theology was ready to be presented! (I was already rolling my eyes!)

McLaren stated things like, “If you ask me, the Gospel of Mark is where it all begins.… I'm not sure "the church really began at Pentecost.… We are the continuation of disciples of Jesus.” He spoke about King Uzziah at this point.

McLaren then that he had been out preaching on ‘VOCATION’:

1. Vocation – called to FOLLOW
2. Most important to be a follower of Christ

McLaren seemed to be bragging – “I’ve been told by one pastor that I am truly one of the ONLY pastors to FOLLOW Jesus.” I was reminded of the Scripture in Jude 16b: “and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.”

McLaren said that “call” means to live in the way taught, to follow. His second point is that we are called to be sent – to serve. He used phrases such as:

o “ learning is to be sent out”
o “Jesus calls us to follow – to learn”
o “Fish for people”
o “Jesus doesn't call us to be someone else, but to be called YOU”
o “what we know He takes and uses that”
o “Jesus take who we are and uses it”
o “Fishing for human beings”

His third point was that we are called for something bigger. And the fourth point is that we are called to leave. He said that:

"Our VOCATION in the Kingdom of God = Jesus' message"

By now I was chuckling to myself because this was very predictable dominon theology. McLaren then said that “the Kingdom of God does't stop when we die, nor after we die, but it is KINGDOM NOW.”

He went on to explain things like,

“Save us from our weak resignation. We want to live this HOUR, We want to live these DAYS. What does this mean?? NOW!! We are a secret agent of the Kingdom of God wherever we are.”

At this point McLaren made the most startling theological claim. He said that:

"To REPENT means to RETHINK"

[Ed. note: Many Scriptures come to mind. Repentance is much more than ‘re-thinking.’ It also means “turn from your wicked ways.” But this ‘re-thinking’ process is how the change agent leaders are getting people in the pews to drop their old theology, convictions and holy lifestyle so that they can then think and live in these new ways to “build the Kingdom on earth.]

McLaren showed a slide on a screen of a tortoise and a baby hippo. This showed how this orphan baby hippo is lonely and for days wants to be cared for by the stupid tortoise. In my opinion, it was sad to see this. Then he showed how eventually with the small-brained the tortoise had, that it somehow had a little emotion of caring for the hippo. And they stayed near each other.… There were numerous slides showing this story on the screen.

We were to compare the Christian to this tortoise. McLaren said that in the situation today we live in a culture orphaned. We are left high and dry. He said, “The government has failed us,” and that there are “arguments and trivial disorder” and “an exercise in weapons of mass distraction.” He stated that science leaves us orphaned, culture leaves us orphaned, and that we lead our lives at a busy pace with less peace so that we destroy ourselves. The economy leaves us orphaned. Makes some people richer, instead of solving problems.

He then claimed that religion doesn't matter. Religious people will use verses to legitimize things. He said, “Religion has betrayed our culture.” Here I could see McLaren's hate for believers and disdain for the cross… seriously!

He said that believers need to follow Jesus – to join him. And then we are sent back into the world with hope. He said we are to follow Jesus into the world!

Then he quoted a Sonnet from Edna St Vincent Millay from Huntsman What Quandry. One can read it here: This is a very bleak poem in my opinion!! Incidentally, in 1944 Millay suffered a nervous breakdown and was unable to write for two years. Read about it at:

McLaren spoke of our impact “upon this age that never speaks its mind….” He then said:

“We have a shower of facts – desperate for wisdom.… Hear Jesus say, Follow me…. I want to send you into the world…. Today is the beginning of creation, like wind on the water…. We can become more preoccupied with our vocation…. Follow Jesus to hear our vocation….”

Excerpts from his final prayer include these statements:

“Let us approach God and let us hear Him…. Say through Jesus we hear Him to follow Him…. Weave a fabric -- we and purpose. Here we are Lord. You just speak the word and we will be healed. AMEN”

There was no “in Jesus’ name” at the end of that prayer. We left at this point. Evidently they sang “We are one in the spirit” and recited from the program:

“Lord have mercy upon us
Christ have mercy upon us
Lord have mercy upon us
Christ hear us

“From all sin, form all error, from all evil.
From famine and disease, disaster by fire or flood,
From pride and trust in our own wisdom and strength,
From needless worry and anxiety,
From the selfish desire of becoming great.
From Envy, green malice
preserve us gracious Lord and God.

“Unite all the children of God in one spirit;
Put far from your people all who deceive;
bring back all who have gone astray;
bless our labor and make us diligent in our daily tasks;
teach us to love our neighbors and our enemies;
grant that we may pattern our lives after your example.
Hear us Gracious Lord and God

“Direct all governments in the way of justice and peace;
Deliver us from the sins which lead to war and conflict;
enable us to love this world as you love it;
Have mercy on your whole creation;
Hear us, Gracious Lord and God.

"Good Shepherd, we commend to your care those in need;
watch over those who travel;
Help those in danger, trouble, or anguish;
Protect and provide for the poor, the hungry and the homeless;
Bless and strengthen the sick and the afflicted;
Hear us gracious Lord and God. Amen."

The meeting concluded with a benediction by Dr Richard Groves of Wake Forest Baptist Church, a choral benediction and an organ postlude.

[Ed. note: Much of this talk about vocation and creation is characteristic of the marketplace transformation movement, of which Ed Silvoso (see first report this newsletter) is a leader. These men have created new doctrines that teach that man can restore paradise conditions on Earth by building the “Kingdom of God” on Earth.]

The Truth:

"Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations." (Ezekiel 14:6)