Here are some quotes form Bob Dewaay’s great book on the Emergent Church (the title is perfect): The Emergent Church: Undefining Christianity
“But theirs is a theology of “hope”. They evidently believe that Peter was dead wrong when he predicted the demise of the earth in a future conflagration of God’s judgment. They rather believe that God is re-creating the world now with our help. So the mission has to be defined in terms of making the world a better place for all. Brian Mclaren is a Christian, he says, because he believes God is saving the world, and that means “planet earth and all of life in it.” In a backward chain of reasoning, the pagan world determines their practice; their practice determines their theology; and their theology is one of hope because they decided it is the one they like best because it states that the world has a universally bright future with no pending, cataclysmic jugment.” (Location 554 0f 3207 Kindle Edition)
“According to Mclaren’s reading of the gospel’s, the church got it wrong. It historically understood that it was supposed to preach the gospel, which would rescue people from God’s wrath against their sin through application of the blood atonement. But finally-after all these years- Jesus’ message is understood by a select few who are better readers than those who have gone on before. They have discovered that Jesus never intended that we warn people about how to escape future judgment and how to receive the gift of eternal life so they will join Him when they die. He never intended for us to think that we needed Him to do something for us in order to avoid going to hell. He actually was hoping we would go to work to help God fulfill His dreams of a better world.” (Location 569 of 3207 Kindle Edition)
“Mclaren’s hopeful theology is the only thing, in my opinion, that separates the rest of The Secret Message of Jesus from the old-fashioned social gospel of theological liberalism. As I have read his book I found the social gospel on nearly every page. When people practice the social gospel (working to make the world a better place by promoting and practicing ideas common to both theological and political liberalism) they supposedly help God’s “dreams” come true. This idea of helping God solve the world’s problems has been promoted by various streams of liberalism for more than s century.” (Location 584 of 3207 Kindle Edition)
” As I continue to read the literature being published by the leaders of the Emergent Church it becomes clear to me why they have so much disdain for systematic theology. What we just saw in comparing Mclaren’s teaching on God’s “dreams” and Biblical material about God’s sovereign decrees (see Is. 46:9-10, Eph. 1:11, Ps. 119:89-91,; Ps. 115:3) is a good case in point. If Mclaren were forced to be “systematic” in his use of Scripture he would be required to deal with passages like those I cited. But he does not. He tells us how he reads the gospels and what he has gleaned, but he sees no need to give account for any other material in the Bible even though other passages contradict to his own teachings. That is how he is able to sustain his social gospel-by neglect of the whole counsel of God.” (Location 607 of 3207 Kindle Edition)
“The way Emergents read the the church’s mission means that the reader determines the meaning;the biblical authors do not.What they have determined is that one need not be a Christian to participate;salvation has nothing to do with avoiding future judgment or goin to heaven;holistically saving planet earth is essential;changing society as a whole is essential;the church has not gotten the mission right in 2,000 years or even understood what it was;and that the Emergent Church is the best hope that,finally,God will be able to have His dreams fulfilled.” (Location 667 and 676 of 3207 Kindle Edition)
“We have a choice: We can follow the mission that Jesus gave the church as understood by the Apostles who gave us the New Testament, or we can become “missional” and find a more appealing mission by consulting other religions and our own “missional” community’s sensibilities. The one is very clear and has been normative for 2,000 years. The other is confused, fuzzy and unclear and was recently discovered by some innovative men. If we choose the latter we also are choosing to that Jesus’ warnings about hell are false. That is a most dangerous choice to make.” (Location 736 of 3207 Kindle Edition)
The Emergent folks love to hover around their select passages (Matthew 4:23, 9:35, 24:14, Mark 1:14-15, Luke 9:1-6, Matthew 4:17, John 3:16, Mark 2:5, Luke 7:48, Mark 2:28, John 12:47 and John 17:1-3 being their favorite). Note how they hover in the Gospels. But they distort those passages making them completely nonsensical and dislike Paul because he contradicts their man centered theology.
“For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” (Ac 20:27–32) Soli Deo Gloria!
For His Glory,