Quotes By Prominent Authors & Speakers
in the Emerging
Church Movement


Compiled by Charlie Campbell
Director of The Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministry
Twitter: @CharlieABReady


INTRODUCTION: If you are new to finding out about the Emerging Church Movement, I suggest that you start by listening to this one hour long overview I give of the movement. Below is a small sampling of some of the things leaders in the Emerging Church Movement are saying that I find troubling, even heretical and dangerous.
Read what they have to say and remember to compare what they say with the Bible; be a Berean (Acts 17:11).

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"I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it's a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think that the church needs to just … this is the world that we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are." Rob Bell (online source)

“We do not think this [Emerging Church Movement] is about changing your worship service. We do not think this is about…how you structure your church staff. This is actually about changing theology. This is about our belief that theology changes. The message of the gospel changes. It’s not just the method that changes.”  –Tony Jones (“A New Theology for a New World.” A workshop for the 2004 Emergent Convention in San Diego)

I must add, though, that I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts.” –Brian McLaren

"I now believe that GLBTQ [Gay, Lesbian, Bisexuals, Transgender, and Queers] can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (as least as much as any of us can!), and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state." –Tony Jones (http://blog.beliefnet.com/tonyjones/2008/11/same-sex-marriage-blogalogue-h.html#more)

“I am not sure I believe in God exclusively as a person anymore either…. I now incorporate a pantheistic view, which basically means that God is ‘in all,’ alongside my creedal view of God as Father, Son, and Spirit.”
Spencer Burke (A Heretics Guide to Eternity, p. 195)

“I don’t think we’ve got the gospel right yet….I don’t think the liberals have it right. But I don’t think we have it right either. None of us has arrived at orthodoxy.” –Brian McLaren (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/november/12.36.html?start=4)

“God is going to judge the life and repair, and restore and heal the life of everybody in the same way.”
Doug Pagitt (in an interview with Todd Friel on Way of the Master Radio)

"A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better...This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear." Rob Bell (Love Wins, Preface, VI)

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“Ask me if Christianity (my version of it, yours, the Pope's, whoever's) is orthodox, meaning true, and here's my honest answer: a little, but not yet...To be a Christian in a generously orthodox way is not to claim to have the truth captured, stuffed, and mounted on the wall...But we keep seeking." Brian McLaren (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 333)

“The Christian faith is mysterious to the core. It is about things and beings that ultimately can’t be put into words. Language fails. And if we do definitively put God into words, we have at that very moment made God something God is not"
Rob Bell (Velvet Elvis, p. 32)

“Ultimately, I hope Jesus will save Buddhism, Islam and every other religion, including the Christian religion, which often seems to need saving about as much as any other religion does.” –Brian McLaren
(quoted in The Truth War by John MacArthur, p. 35)

"Our message and methodology have changed, do change, and must change if we are faithful to the ongoing and unchanging mission of Jesus Christ.” –Brian McLaren (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 214)

“What if tomorrow someone digs up definitive proof that Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archeologists find Larry’s tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time of Jesus, whose gods had virgin births? …Could you still be a Christian? Is the way of Jesus still the best possible way to live?”
Rob Bell (Velvet Elvis, p. 26-27)

“Frankly, many of us don’t know what we should think about homosexuality. We’ve heard all sides but no position has yet won our confidence so that we can say ‘it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us.’...Perhaps we need a five-year moratorium on making pronouncements.”
Brian McLaren (http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2006/01/brian_mclaren_o.html)

“A lot of arguments happen among religious and non religious people about the question of who’s going to hell and who’s going to heaven and uh, a lot of times Christians get into this argument by saying ‘we have the only way to heaven.’ And uh, people often ask me what do I think is the way to heaven. I have a problem when they ask me this question because it assumes that the primary purpose of Jesus’ coming and the primary message of Jesus was a message about how to get to heaven.” –Brian McLaren
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OH1yOmij7Q4&feature=related, accessed on January 18, 2008)

"God has an incredibly high view of people. God believes that people are capable of amazing things. I have been told that I need to believe in Jesus. Which is a good thing. But what I am learning is that Jesus believes in me. I have been told that I need to have faith in God. Which is a good thing. But what I am learning is that God has faith in me."
Rob Bell (Velvet Elvis, p. 134)

“So we must stop looking for some objective Truth that is available when we delve into the text of the Bible.” –Tony Jones (Postmodern Youth Ministry, p. 201)

"What we know means nothing. What we live means everything."
Barry Taylor (from a talk at Capo Beach Calvary in San Juan Capistrano, California).
(In response to this, contrast Taylor's words with Jesus' in John 8:32 and Paul's pattern of starting off with doctrine in his letters to the Romans, Ephesians and Colossians before talking about how to live. Right actions follow right beliefs. That is the pattern set up in the Bible).

“The church has been preoccupied with the question, "What happens to your soul after you die?" As if the reason for Jesus coming can be summed up in, "Jesus is trying to help get more souls into heaven, as opposed to hell, after they die." I just think a fair reading of the Gospels blows that out of the water. I don't think that the entire message and life of Jesus can be boiled down to that bottom line.” –Brian McLaren

“Emergent doesn't have a position on absolute truth, or on anything for that matter. Do you show up at a dinner party with your neighbors and ask, 'What's this dinner party's position on absolute truth?' No, you don't, because it's a non-sensical question." –Tony Jones (http://theoblogy.blogspot.com/2005/11/national-youth-workers-convention.html)

Well, for our community, this [living an environmentally conscious life] isn’t rooted in the fact that it’s gaining steam in popular culture. It’s always been rooted in the very nature of God. The central Hebrew prayer, Deuteronomy 6, says, “Hear O Israel the Lord your God, the Lord is One,” so we live with awareness that all of reality is one. [How does he get that from this passage? He sounds like a pantheist.] We are connected with all things everywhere, and I would argue that in the last couple hundred years, disconnection has been the dominant way people have understood reality. And the Church has contributed to that disconnection by preaching horrible messages about being left behind and that this place is going to burn [Has he read 2 Peter 3:7ff?]–absolutely toxic messages that are against the teachings of Scripture, which state that we are connected to God, we are connected to the earth, we are connected to each other. When any of those connections fracture, the whole thing starts to fall apart. Your relationship with God is tied into your relationship with the soil. Go back to Genesis." Rob Bell (Relevant Magazine, "Rob Bell Tells it like it is," January/February edition, 2008)

“Let me offer 10 suggestions for reclaiming the Bible for contemporary readers…Drop Any Affair You May Have with Certainty”
Brian McLaren (Adventures in Missing the Point, p. 81-84)

“We should consider the possibility that many, and perhaps even all of Jesus’ hell-fire or end-of-the-universe statements refer not to postmortem [after death] judgment but to the very historic consequences of rejecting his kingdom message of reconciliation and peacemaking. The destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 67-70 seems to many people to fulfill much of what we have traditionally understood as hell.”
Brian McLaren (http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2006/05/brian_mclarens_2.html)

“For Jesus, heaven and hell were present realities. Ways of living we can enter into here and now. He talked very little of the life beyond this one…” –Rob Bell (Velvet Elvis, p. 147)

When I say I'm a universalist, what I really mean is that I don't believe you have to convert to any particular religion to find God. A I see it, God finds us, and it has nothing  to do with subscribing to any particular religious view." Spencer Burke (A Heretic's Guide to Eternity, p. 197)

“I’m writing with the assumption that most of you who are reading this book have concluded what I have:  Preaching doesn’t work…preaching, as we know it, is a tragically broken endeavor….The value of our practices—including preaching—ought to be judged by their effects on our communities and the ways in which they help us move toward life with God.” –Doug Pagitt (Preaching Re-Imagined, p. 18, 19, 28)

[In Yoga] it’s not how flexible you are, it’s not whether you can do the poses, it’s not how much you can bend yourself, it’s can you keep your breath [breathes in and out] consistent [breathes out] through whatever you are doing. And the Yoga Masters say this is how it is when you follow Jesus and surrender to God. Is it’s your breath being consistent. It’s your connection with God regardless of the pose you find yourself in. That’s integrating the divine into the daily." Rob Bell (transcribed from his sermon on breathing)

What's more, I'm not sure I believe in God exclusively as a person anymore either....I now incorporate a panentheist view, which basically menas that God is "in all," alongside my creedal view of God as Father, Son, and Spirit....As I see it, we are in God, here on earth. This is how our relationship is defined. God does not just have to be reached up to; he is hear as the surrounding Spirit." Spencer Burke (A Heretic's Guide to Eternity, p. 195)

“…my point in all this is that the doctrine of the Trinity is still on the table. Some people, it seems to me, would like for us to no longer debate certain ‘sacred’ doctrines -- the Trinity, the nature of Christ, the nature of scripture, the nature of marriage etc. And these persons tend to get very jumpy when emergent-types discuss these sacrae doctrinae, especially in books and at conferences that are being taped. ‘This is dangerous,’ they say." Tony Jones (http://theoblogy.blogspot.com/2004/12/de-trinitate.html)

“Repentance is what happens when your eyes are opened and you see what has already been done. ‘I’ve missed it, and now I see it’.”
Rob Bell (http://www.sfpulpit.com/2007/11/21/rob-bell-the-gods-should-be-angry)

“Anytime someone makes you feel guilty about how you are living, that is part of the old system (pre-Christ).”
Rob Bell (http://www.sfpulpit.com/2007/11/21/rob-bell-the-gods-should-be-angry)

"So this is reality, this forgiveness, this reconciliation, is true for everybody. Paul insisted that when Jesus died on the cross, he was reconciling “all things, in heaven and on earth, to God.” All things, everywhere. This reality then isn’t something we make come true about ourselves by doing something. It is already true. Our choice is to live in this new reality or cling to a reality of our own making."
Rob Bell (Velvet Elvis, p. 146)

“And so these first Christians passed on the faith to the next generation who passed it on to the next generation who passed it on to the next generation until it got to us. Here. Today. Those who follow Jesus and belong to his church. And now it is our turn. It is our turn to step up and take responsibility for who the church is going to be for a new generation. It is our turn to redefine and reshape and dream it all up again” Rob Bell (Velvet Elvis, p. 164)

QUESTION: "How would you present this gospel on Twitter?" (posed by Christianity Today to Rob Bell)

ANSWER: "I would say that history is headed somewhere. The thousands of little ways in which you are tempted to believe that hope might actually be a legitimate response to the insanity of the world actually can be trusted. And the Christian story is that a tomb is empty, and a movement has actually begun that has been present in a sense all along in creation. And all those times when your cynicism was at odds with an impulse within you that said that this little thing might be about something bigger—those tiny little slivers may in fact be connected to something really, really big."
Rob Bell (Interview in Christianity Today: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/article_print.html?id=81195)

"And during his lifetime, Abraham—like Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad—had an encounter with God that distinguished him from his contemporaries and propelled him into a mission, introducing a new way of life that changed the world...How appropriate that the three Abrahamic religions begin with a journey into the unknown." Brian McLaren (Finding Our Way Again, p. 22, 23)

"If we hold that Jesus wanted us to “believe” certain ideas or “do” certain things in order to be a Christian, we are holding to heresy. In that bar on Hawthorne, I finished the last paragraph and felt a kind of sickness at the thought of whether or not I was telling the truth. But after further consideration, and after rewriting the book, I realized the formulaic version of Christianity was irrational, and for that matter, unbiblical." Donald Miller (http://www.donaldmillerwords.com/searching.php)
(In response to this, compare with John 8:24 and Matthew 10:38.)

"That statement, 'The methods change, but the message stays the same' is actually a lie." –Shane Hipps (teaching pastor at Rob Bell's church, in interview with Rob Bell: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6QiyElRG3c&feature=related)

"Maybe some evangelicals should tear the book of Romans out of their Bibles and read a Romans-free Bible for a few years. Then they can paste it back in."Tony Jones (from his blog at tonyj.net, February 26, 2008)


 Charlie-Campbell

CHARLIE H. CAMPBELL (Twitter: @charlieabready)
Charlie Campbell is the Director of the Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministry and a popular guest speaker at churches and conferences. He is the author of numerous articles, books, and DVDs, including:

•  Scrolls & Stones: Compelling Evidence the Bible Can Be Trusted
•  Evidence for the Existence of God
•  One Minute Answers to Skeptics
•  Archaeological Evidence for the Bible
•  The End Times: Ten Upcoming Events in Bible Prophecy
•  The Case for the Resurrection

•  Teaching and Preaching God's Word

His DVDs and books have been endorsed by Norman Geisler, Charles Colson, Chuck Smith, Ed Hindson, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Jeremy Camp, and many others.

 

 

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