Emergent Manifesto of Hope
is the new release from Emersion, a
publishing partnership between Baker Books and Emergent Village. The
book, edited and compiled by emergent leaders Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt, is a collection of essays by various emerging church
leaders.... The back cover of Emergent Manifesto describes it as a
"front-row" look at this "influential international movement" and
promises readers that they will come away with "a deeper
understanding of the hopeful imagination that drives the emerging
A more accurate title for this book would be Emergent Manifesto
of False Hope, and a subtitle (albeit a lengthy one) that would
describe it perfectly would go something like this:
"The Kingdom of God is already here on earth, includes all
people, all faiths, and in fact is in all people and all of
creation and can be felt or realized through mysticism which
connects everything together as ONE."
This new collective spirituality leads people into a
socialistic community where rituals, practices, and social
justice become a means of salvation, but not the salvation you think
of in a personal sense of being born-again through Jesus Christ.
This is a collective salvation
that includes whole cultures and communities who follow the
way of someone referred to as Jesus.
Tony Jones lays the ground work for the book by referring to the
"highest good" (for humanity) and explains that when Emergent began
(in 1998) the group was "engaging in some sort of 'socially
established cooperative human activity." (p. 14)
"Cooperative" is a
theme that runs through the book. Doug Pagitt says Emergent is a "call
to friendship... with the world" and this "friendship" is
a "dangerous leap" in which many ways have been created to connect.
... While often called other terms in the book, the
concepts behind them are interspirituality (all religions
panentheism (God is all creation),
universalism (all are saved), and mysticism (the means by
which this connecting takes place).
In this "sense of interconnection," the book states:
"[R]enewed popularity of the 'kingdom' language is related to the
emerging global narrative of the deep ecology movement -
a consciousness and awareness that everything matters and is
New Age sympathizer, Leonard Sweet (in his book Quantum
Spirituality) calls this the Theory of Everything. This
theory not only says that all creation is connected but that it is
all inhabited with Divinity (God).
The Manifesto describes "themes" of "integrative theology" as:
Interest in monastic practices, contemplative and bodily spiritual
formation disciplines, celebrating earth, humanity, cultures, and
the sensuous (p. 28). In a chapter titled "Meeting Jesus at Bars"
the Manifesto favorably includes visiting monasteries, practicing
yoga... One writer in the book has this to say:
"I am a Christian today because of a Hindu meditation master....
I believe that all people are children of God."
The Emergent Manifesto belittles personal, one on one
relationship with the Lord and insists that it is a
collective salvation that really matters. The goal of this
cooperative movement is to participate in "the
healing of our world" and to "collaborate with our Maker in the
fulfillment of God's reign on Earth."
The Manifesto makes clear that followers of this new, collective
religion should not be concerned about saving "people from the jaws
of hell," but should rather be "motivated ... to be in
relationship with people who in many ways are different"
The focus should not be on conversion as much as "cultivation
"I don't think it is possible to tell the story of faith from
the posture of sameness and stability .... Ours is a story of
the expanding life of God generating new creation ... of
collective faith." (pp. 75-76)
When Pagitt speaks of "expanding life of God" and "new creation," he
means that we cannot contain truth or reality within the confines of
the written Word of God but that truth is always changing and being
Universalism is a pronounced theme in the book as well. Manifesto
calls salvation "a collective experience." A Manifesto poem
"Not only soul, whole body!
Not only whole body, all of the faithful community!
Not only all of the faithful community, all of humanity!
Not only all of humanity, all of God's creation!" (pp. 82-83)
And panentheism (God is in all) is exhibited through statements like
the following, which talks about the "holiness of humanity":
"[W]e are agents for change in the world (salvation, redemption,
and reconciliation ... it is a celebration of the holiness of
humanity in which the fullness of God was pleased to dwell ...
it is our holy fleshiness."
....There is a continual hammering away and chiseling down of the
image of Christians (the kind who take the Bible literally and stand
by its authority). This effort to villainize Christians is
reminiscent of Germany in the 30s when artists would draw distorted
pictures of Jews with certain facial features making them look
weird, and when rumors and stories would run amuck even suggesting
that Jews would rape your daughters, so don't trust them.... It was
a campaign, not based on fact, but based on a demonic kingdom that
hates anything that has to do with Jesus Christ.
In the Manifesto, Brian McLaren boils down the world's evils to
the fault of Western Christians and suggests that these
resisting Christians might even become militant against people one
day.... McLaren states:
What are we in the so-called emerging churches seeking to emerge
from? I asked myself. We are seeking to emerge from modern
Western Christianity, from colonial Christianity, from
Christianity as a "white man's religion ... into a faith of
collaborative mission. ...this kind of emergence
must lead to a convergence... a convergence of
postconservatives and postliberals into what Hans Frei and
Stanley Grenz termed a new "generous orthodoxy."
In Ray Yungen's upcoming book,
For Many Shall Come in My Name,
he discusses this very thing and shows how New Age leaders have been
framing a social mindset that will eventually become hostile to
Bible believing Christians. Yungen explains how it will all be
justified as doing humanity a favor by getting rid of them, and when
he quotes the words of New Ager
Neale Donald Walsch as saying that
God believes Hitler did the Jews a favor by killing them, it sends
chills up the spine. And whether they realize what they are doing or
not, Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren and other emergent leaders are
framing a similar mindset....
For those who are still skeptical about the Emergent Manifesto's
message, pick up a copy sometime of Alice Bailey's The
Externalization of the Hierarchy, or Al Gore's
Earth in the Balance. And
when you read those words by those "change agents" see if you notice
that the message is the same, just dressed in a different outfit