Emerging Spirituality--Something New? Not At All.

There is a lot of talk today about emerging spirituality. By listening to the media and well-known evangelicals, one would think that Brian McLaren and other emerging leaders created this concept themselves. This could not be further from the truth.

The concepts of ancient wisdom and new frontiers (better known as emerging spirituality) have been used for a very long time, and many of those using them are anything but Christian. On the contrary they oppose the very foundation of Christianity and deny the essence of who Jesus Christ really is.

Spend some time looking around on the Internet and at your local Christian bookstore. You will see titles such as: The Emerging Church, Emerging Worship (both by Dan Kimball), Church in Emerging Culture by Len Sweet, Alternative Worship: Resources for and from the Emerging Church by Sally Morgenthaler, and Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church by D.A. Carson. With titles like these, and more coming on the scene every week, the average Christian would have no trouble believing that this emerging spirituality is absolutely Christian and Christian originated.

But with a little study we can see this emerging spirituality has roots that we cannot ignore any longer. I would like to first draw your attention to a book called As Above, So Below, written by Ronald S. Miller and the editors of New Age Journal. The book discusses, in a most positive note, the ancient wisdom that is so prevalent in the emerging church movement. Shamanism, Feminine Spirituality and interspirituality are promoted heartily. But it is the first chapter we must now look at. The chapter title? "Emerging Spirituality." The author quotes Aldous Huxley who says the "highest common factor" which links the world's religions is metaphysical (contemplative), which helps everyone to recognize the divinity within all humans and creation (p. 2). Miller's emerging spirituality is referring to the emerging of all religions and the understanding that man is Divine.

Catholic Monk and contemplative Thomas Keating would agree with Huxley, I am sure, for he believes it is the contemplative dimension that will bring the world into harmony and oneness.

Barbara Marx Hubbard, author of Emergence: The Shift from Ego to Essence, and a present day mystic, publicly despises Bible- believing Christians and believes we are coming into a time period of the emerging human who finally recognizes his own Divinity.

She states: "You and I are sitting at the hub of the emerging world.... now actually evolving our human species and our world itself.... we are living through an evolutionary crisis, a crisis of the birth of something new. It is vital now that what is emerging converges, ... so that as the structures in the old system destabilize, elements of the emerging system self-organize as the new culture cocreated by a more conscious and empathetic humanity." Interview with Andrew Cohen and BMH

The ancient wisdom and the emerging human that McLaren and other emerging church leaders are seeking is none other than the emerging spirituality that Barbara Marx Hubbard, Thomas Keating and other New Agers practice and promote. McLaren and these "Christian" leaders will be greatly disappointed in the end and will lead thousands, possibly millions, astray. These concepts date back long before this "new" emerging church movement began.

Barbara Marx Hubbard and Brian McLaren are wrong when they teach that we as humans are emerging into something great and much better than where we are presently at. The Bible says there is nothing new under the sun. While "Christian" emergers think they are onto something totally different, totally unique, they will find that they are walking right into a trap, a trap that will hinder them from running into the arms of the only Savior and hope for man.

Contemplative Terms
Recognize these "inside" terms used by contemplatives:


  • Labyrinths
  • Enneagrams
  • Prayer Stations
  • Breath Prayers
  • Jesus Candles
  • The Jesus Prayer
  • Lectio Divina
  • Taize
  • Palms Up, Palms Down
  • Yoga
  • The Silence
  • Sacred Space
  • Ancient Prayer Practices
  • A Thin Place
  • Divine Mystery
  • Spiritual Direction



  • Ignation Contemplation
  • Contemplative
  • Centering
  • Centering prayer
  • Prayer of the Heart
  • Dark night of the soul
  • Practicing the Presence
  • Divine Center
  • Inner light
  • Mantra
  • Awareness of Being
  • Slow Prayer
  • Being in the Present Moment
  • Beyond Words
  • Spiritual Disciplines
  • Spiritual Formation

Many of these terms are considered "inside" terms according to many contemplatives, such as Youth Specialties writer, Michael Perschon. On April 16th, 2006, Youth Specialties issued a new article by Perschon that coincidentally illustrates the very thing we are saying here.

"Fitness buffs have an inside language. The really serious ones like to use proper anatomy terms, like gluteus maximus instead of bum. They still mean bum but, like most experts, enjoy having some special knowledge others don't have. People who practice contemplative prayer are often no different. Like any other practice, contemplative prayer has its own inside language, which is clear to the initiated but means little to outsiders. Much of the writing on contemplative prayer uses this inside language."Michael Perschon, Contemplative Prayer Practices

See Perschon's other articles on contemplative prayer.

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