Emergent Church goes Wild -er

For some who know not the new Liberal move in today’s church, this will be a shock. Those of us who know the more recent degradation of the church, it is a confirmation of that which we have been warning.

Here are excerpts from article from The Economist (a liberal rag) which speaks of the “emergent” church and its latest push for universalism and ecumenism.

We see a coming together within the Emergent Church, oddballs, disaffected Calvinists (Francis Shaffer’s son and others) with all sorts of “religionists” who hold an annual fest near Raleigh, NC. It appears to be a modern Emergent church version of Not-Quite-Woodstock of the 60s.


It is described as “Fun in the woods with gay, tattooed and generally liberal folk” and called the Wild Goose Festival—named after a Celtic symbol for the Holy Spirit. The event explicitly pitched its appeal to artists and musicians, nonconformists, post-Christians, non-Christians, disaffected evangelicals and a liberal evangelical subset known as the “emergent” church.

[…] Instead of Bible studies, there were labyrinth walks. Instead of praise-and-worship music, there was hymn-singing in a beer garden and a bluegrass liturgy presided over by a tattooed female Lutheran minister. Visitors were greeted with buckets of water in which to baptise themselves, and tubs of mud to remind them that “dust thou art”. … Lecture topics ranged from sex trafficking and social justice to authority in the church and interfaith relations. Visitors could learn from Tom Prasada-Rao, a singer, how to chant “Om” and “Hallelujah Hare Krishna”, or hear Paul Fromberg, a pastor from San Francisco, talking about his 2005 wedding to another man. “God is changing the church through the bodies of gay men,” Mr Fromberg told a packed session on human sexuality. Not quite Woodstock, yet

[…]  Also under discussion was “religious multiple belonging”—in other words, belonging to a clutch of different faiths at once. Several disillusioned evangelical leaders attended. One was Jay Bakker, son of Jim and Tammy Bakker of the defunct-Praise-the-Lord-TV-network fame, who gave meandering talks on growing up fundamentalist. Frank Schaeffer, who has made a career out of criticising his evangelical parents Francis and Edith Schaeffer,called the Bible “Bronze-Age mythology” and confessed he had a “conflicted ambivalence” about abortion.

[…]  They hope that the emergent cohort will rise from the ashes of an evangelicalism ruined by right-wing politics. As 78-year-old Phyllis Tickle, [New Age] author of several books on emergent Christianity, put it, “We’re at the start of a 500-year upheaval in culture and the church.”

Most evangelicals do not view the emergents so kindly. The few conservatives at the festival privately complained that the panels were stacked with liberals and that issues dear to them, such as abortion, were neglected. Greenbelt has often met similar criticism in recent years.

Mainline Protestants, however, seemed delighted by the festival, and may well latch on to the emergents to shore up their shrinking numbers. Buoyed by their success, Wild Goose’s organisers are planning to repeat the festival next year in the same bucolic place.

——– END——

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6 responses to “Emergent Church goes Wild -er

  1. 1 Cor 14:23, seems like the unlearned or the unbeliever entering the church was an unusual thing vs. the norm. Churches no longer seem to be about growing believers but about drawing in the world.

  2. David, there is a great commentary at Clear Gospel Campaign regarding the “Market Driven Church.” I think this answers, at least tangentially, some of the issues you have raised. Following are salient excerpts, as well as a link to the full discussion:

    We believe that Christian leaders are, first and foremost, men and women capable of skillfully handling the Word of God, and of imparting this skill to others (2nd Timothy 2:2)…

    Because the lost, as well as immature believers are, as a rule far more intent on satisfying their baser needs than feeding on the pure words of eternal life (John 6:26-27, 67-69), we note that they are particularly susceptible to those who would prey upon their immaturity…

    We further note that a disproportionate percent of those having any theological maturity within the Market Driven Church came to a knowledge and a maturity in Christ somewhere else. By failing to disciple congregants into Christian leaders of sound doctrine at the rate proportional to its growth in raw numbers, the Market Driven Church can only sustain itself nominally within the framework of evangelicalism by siphoning mature believers from other church backgrounds.


  3. David, the right gospel is a good start. However, in my area, the “hip” megachurch that seems on the surface to have a clear gospel, coalesces with LS churches, supports ecumenical causes sponsored by LS organizations (such as “Samaritan’s Purse and “Operation Christmas Child”), and engages in cultish type hero worship of the pastor.

    I would dig a little deeper.

  4. I don’t know if this is the appropriate thread to post under, and I apologize for digging up an old one…

    I have a concern which ultimately leads to several questions. It seems like many churches today are using varieties of things to attract young people to the church. Some of these churches are non-LS as well. My questions are:
    1. Is it biblical to attract young people to the church using the seeker-sensitive approach (assuming church holds non-LS gospel)?
    2. Is engaging culture necessarily worldliness? If not, what would constitute worldliness?
    3. Should one separate from this type of environment (young, hip, lights, tech, yet non-LS gospel)?
    4. Living in Berkeley, CA, it is difficult to find traditional churches. Is the traditional way of doing church and modern way of doing church necessarily against each other?

    Assistance with Bible verses would be very helpful.

  5. Bruce,

    It is sad to see the obvious visual and advertised abominations being perpetrated..

    But you are right — the more subtle error creeps into the churches unannounced and unnoticed; the damage is just as bad if not worse.

    1 Timothy 4:1-2
    “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”

    Looks like many of the “churches” are there !!!

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  6. Wow Jack:

    This festival, as described in this article was a complete blasphemy against God as well as a mockery of Christianity, decency and morality. It reminded me of the blasphemous mocking prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel in 1 Kings 18. But they got their just due didn’t they?

    My greater concern is for the deleterious effects of the “emergent” movement inside of the churches. This is more subtle, coming under the guise of a higher spiritual awareness or awakening, or many other insidious forms. I plead with Christians to read and study the Bible. Be informed about dangerous movements within and without Christendom. And don’t take every famous preacher or author’s words as the gospel.