The History of the Emerging Church Movement – Elliott Nesch

Artistic, universalist, liberal Christians are rising in Generations X and Y, under the leadership of Brian McLaren (A Generous Orthodoxy, 2004), Rob Bell (Love Wins, 2011), and other kindred spirits. It is called the “emerging/emergent church movement.”


An old, old spirit of the devil.

A good response to this type of universalism is in Mark Galli’s God Wins: Heaven, Hell, and Why the Good News Is Better Than ‘Love Wins’


58:50 – 1:23:48 – The video has a section on “Contemplative Mysticism.” I have some reservations about this section, which could be more thoroughly explained in my e-book How to Experience God. But in brief, I agree with the critics that Rob Bell’s brand of contemplation should be rejected, because he is a universalist, and is therefore leading contemplatives toward union with a false god–namely, the god of Hinduism, the New Age, yoga, Eastern meditation, and universalism. But for these critics to reject the Desert Fathers is all wrong; A. W. Tozer would have thought it was ludicrous. A thorough study of their theology and practice will find they were one with the orthodox church fathers–namely Athanasius and Jerome, and in John Cassian’s The Conferences, you see a well developed Biblical theology of spiritual disciplines and charismatic experience. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just because Christian mysticism is being abused or misused by liberal Christian universalists, it does not follow that the original mysticism of the Desert Fathers, or even of various Catholic saints, was all wrong. I continue to stand against devotion to the Virgin Mary and praying to dead saints. But I have yet to find any good reason to stop “looking unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2)–which all Christ-centered mystics see as the ultimate verse on contemplative prayer (for example, Isaac Ambrose’s Looking Unto Jesus). Also, to completely reject the tradition of Catholic mystical theology is not only ignore centuries of charismatic activity and wisdom in the history of the church–it is to leave the church with very little remaining to evaluate and judge modern moves of the Spirit.

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