As Lighthouse Trails reported last week in our article, “Some Say the Emerging Church is Dead – the Truth Behind the Story,” a new emerging network/alliance is forming among several disgruntled emerging church leaders such as Dan Kimball, Erwin McManus, and Scot McKnight.1
According to McKnight, the new network/alliance will be “committed to the Lausanne Covenant.” One blog posting said that the Lausanne Covenant is “more typically evangelical than Emergent Village is presumed to be.” However, documentation shows that Lausanne is currently on the same theological path that the emerging church has been on all along with respect to ecumenism, global peace, eschatology, and mysticism. The fact is, Lausanne has had plans for some time to work together with emerging church leaders.
A 2005 Lausanne Committee report titled “The New People Next Door” states that they hope to bring together “younger emerging leaders” from around the world and that “[t]ransformation was a theme,” adding: “We pray for peace and reconciliation and God’s guidance in how to bring about peace through our work of evangelization.”(2 This 64-page report by Lausanne claims it is “heavily drawn” from the book, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity by Philip Jenkins (p. 57), a book strongly pro-ecumenical and pro-Roman Catholic. Jenkins is also author of The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice.
To reach its objectives, Lausanne has turned to Rick Warren, who will be at The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in South Africa in 2010. Warren, one of the emerging church’s strongest supporters and also a major proponent of the contemplative prayer movement, has shown an affinity to both Dan Kimball and Erwin McManus as well as other emerging leaders. To see where Rick Warren stands on the contemplative issue, one only needs to look as far as Warren’s list of recommended spiritual resources. One of the books that Warren resonates with is Adele Ahlberg Calhoun’s Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, which openly promotes eastern-style meditation.3
Leighton Ford, Honorary Life Chairman for Lausanne, is also helping to bring about the goals of Lausanne. Ford came out of the contemplative closet with his recent book, The Attentive Life: Discerning God’s Presence in All Things. The book offers a collection of quotes by and references to some of the most prolific eastern-style meditation teachers, including Thomas Keating, David Steindl-Rast, Gerald May, Kathleen Norris, and atonement rejector and Episcopal priest Alan Jones (Reimagining Christianity). It is Steindl-Rast who suggested that the Gospel “gets in the way” between Christian and Buddhist dialogue (see A Time of Departing.
The fact that Lausanne is working with two highly influential contemplative proponents, Ford and Warren, reveals the organization’s affinity toward mysticism, an affinity which is shared by the emerging church, including Kimball and McManus.
As Lighthouse Trails and its authors have stated on numerous occasions, the “fruit” of contemplative prayer is interspirituality and panentheism. While the seemingly heart cry of the emerging church (and Lausanne) has been missions and global unity, the underlying force is mysticism, which we believe will be Satan’s instrument to deceive the whole world (Revelation 12:9). Mysticism (i.e., the occult) is overtaking all segments of society, and this means that the world is falling under the spell of sorceries (magical arts) that according to the book of Revelation will deceive all nations (Revelation 18:23 – see last chapter in FMSC).
It is ironic that Kimball, McManus, and McKnight are suggesting that they must leave emergent behind (at least in name) because certain segments of the movement are not theologically conservative enough. Translated: Brian McLaren and others deny the atonement, and that is just too radical, they say. But the apple may fall quite close to the tree in this case–
A few years ago, former New Age follower Warren Smith wrote an article titled “Evangelicals and New Agers Together.” In the article, he identified a man named Jay Gary. Gary served as a conference planner on Lausanne for three years in the 1980s. Smith points out in his article Gary’s endorsement of New Age leader and former assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, Robert Muller. What’s more, as Smith points out, in Muller’s book New Genesis: Shaping a Global Spirituality:
Muller said he often heard himself being described as a “Teilhardian.” He admitted that “…now after a third of a century of service with the UN I can say unequivocally that much of what I have observed in the world bears out the all encompassing, global, forward-looking philosophy of Teilhard de Chardin [a staunch mystic and panentheist].”
Muller’s unabashed identification with Chardin should have put Gary on immediate alert. Instead he seems oblivious to the dangers of Muller’s doctrine. Perhaps because of his contact with Muller and others, even his own writing seems to have an underlying Teilhardian quality.
Gary had apparently so imbibed Muller’s fondness for Teilhard’s writings that one of Gary’s chapter subtitles, “Hymns of the Universe” is the actual title of one of Teilhard de Chardin’s most mystical books about the Cosmic Christ! And wouldn’t Gary find it curious that in Chardin’s book this mystical godfather of the New Age also talks about a star that the world is waiting for – a star that heralds the coming of the Cosmic New Age Christ.
Jay Gary is a link in this emerging shift that should not be ignored. Today, he is a member of and a speaker for the World Future Society where New Age leader Barbara Marx Hubbard is on the “Global Advisory Council.” Interestingly, the man who Kimball and McManus wish to distance themselves from (Brian McLaren) talks about Jay Gary in McLaren’s own book, The Secret Message of Jesus (p. 179). In referring to “eschatological [end-time] intentions,” McLaren says Gary writes “brilliantly” in his explanation of the future of the world where Gary describes a “creative future” that is much different than the future that is described by those who believe the book of Revelation.
The Lausanne that Kimball, McKnight, and McManus are “committed to” is an organization that while appearing to be more evangelical than the “emergent church,” gives ample reason to believe they are on the same track as McLaren and other radical, Bible rejecting emergents. The break-away emergents (Kimball, McManus, etc.) see themselves as more conservative orthodox members of the emergent movement, but in reality they embrace the same mysticism and the same eschatology beliefs that have led McLaren and others like him into radical apostasy. In essence, nothing is changing at all – it will be like the child who hides his peas under the mashed potatoes – they’re still there but just out of sight for awhile.
For those who are skeptical, let us leave you with this. It’s been sometime since Jay Gary has been a part of Lausanne – now it is Rick Warren who is there as the influencer. But Jay Gary and Rick Warren share something vital in common – Leonard Sweet. Sweet was invited to Regent University a few years ago to speak with Gary who is on staff there. And just a few months ago, Rick Warren had Sweet come and speak at the Small Groups Conference at Saddleback. Sweet is a New Age sympathizer, and yet both men find him appealing. So nothing has changed at Lausanne, and for Kimball and McManus, who claim to be going in a more theologically sound direction, they may be jumping from the frying pan into the fire and unfortunately taking a vast number of young people with them.
The Call to Global Oneness by Berit Kjos
The World Christian Movement by Al Dager