This year, from August 8th through 11th, the Wildgoose Festival will take place in Hot Springs, North Carolina. The festival is an emergent “church” event, which since its inception has included on the speaker list names like Brian McLaren, Phyllis Tickle, Jim Wallis, Richard Rohr, and Tony Jones. This year, Christianity Today editor and popular evangelical author Philip Yancey will join McLaren, Tickle, and a number of other hardcore emergent at the festival. Intervarsity Press, a long-standing evangelical publisher, is one of the sponsors helping to finance the event.
The Wildgoose Festival began in 2011, started by a group of North Americans who had been attending a festival in the UK called Greenbelt1 and were “inspired” to begin a similar event in the U.S. A history statement reads:
A place to meet each other in a renewed moment – a space for change. In the spirit of vibrant, category-defying Celtic Christianity, we saw our desire embodied in the Celtic Church’s way of speaking about the enigmatic Holy Spirit: The Wild Goose, who wanders where she will. Who can tame her? No one. Far better it is to embark on a Wild Goose Chase, and see the terrain of our faith be transformed.
Translated, what that means is that Christianity cannot be defined, or confined, to one particular set of beliefs (doctrine), that it is always changing, always transforming (thus the Bible, as Phyllis Tickles says, is a nice poetic book of beautiful stories, but not an authority from God). This has been the mantra-cry of the emergent church (see Faith Undone for a history of the current emergent church). Today, the emergent church has evolved into a full-blown Eastern-style mysticism-energized, quasi-Marxist, liberal, anti-atonement, pro-homosexual marriage “community.”
Joining Yancey, McLaren, Phyllis Tickle, and Intervarsity Press will be Richard Cizik (formerly in leadership at the National Association of Evangelicals but left after showing support for homosexual marriage), Troy Bronsink, Mark Scandrette (see Faith Undone on Bronsink and Scandrette), Ian Morgan Cron, and a fairly large number of other emergent-embracing speakers. Past speakers have included Lynne Hybels, the now late Richard Twiss (Indigenous People’s Movement), and Doug Pagitt.
The point we want to make in this brief conference alert is that when you have one of the most prolific evangelical authors and an editor of THE Christian magazine – Philip Yancey – along with a formerly traditional evangelical publishing company – Intervarsity Press – participating in an event like the Wildgoose Festival, you can see how much the emergent church has influenced and infiltrated evangelical Christianity. And even still, Christian leaders and most pastors remain silent.