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.