Emergent Church Mergings…

Bull posted up this interesting article on Signposts:

http://apprising.org/2009/08/brian-mclaren-of-emerging-church-to-celebrate-ramadan/

Apprising Ministries asks if you might remember Anne Holmes Redding, who claims to be both a Muslim and Christian simultaneously, and whom we discussed in An Emerging Christian Muslim Priestess For Allah Says, “Jesus Led Me Into Islam.”

Well, the Global Family takes another step forward; we just couldn’t make this kind of stuff up as, at his website Brian McLaren, unquestionably a leader in the egregiously ecumenical Emerging Church aka Emergent Church—morphing into Emergence Christianity (EC)—tells us in Ramadan 2009: Part 1 What’s going on?:

Ramadan is the Muslim holy month of fasting for spiritual renewal and purification. It commemorates the month during which Muslims believe Mohammed received the Quran through divine revelation, and it calls Muslims to self-control, sacrificial generosity and solidarity with the poor, diligent reading of the Quran, and intensified prayer.

This year, I, along with a few Christian friends (and perhaps others currently unknown to us will want to join in) will be joining Muslim friends in the fast which begins August 21. We are not doing so in order to become Muslims: we are deeply committed Christians. But as Christians, we want to come close to our Muslim neighbors and to share this important part of life with them… (Online source)

However lovely the sentiment, God has clearly told us not to do what McLaren and the “Christians” committing this violation of Scripture with him are about to do because those in the false religion of Islam:

sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons… Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? (1 Corinthians 10:20; 2 Corinthians 6:14-15, NASB)

And yet, as we see in Ramadan 2009: Part 2 Why is a committed Christian joining faithful Muslims in observing Ramadan?, McLaren is the type of teacher the supposedly evangelical Rob Bell is allowing in his church. It’s time to wake-up to the fact that these men are developing a whole other quasi-Christian religion based on their synthetic reality skewed by their Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism.

Think that is odd? A friend of mine who goes to an emerging church e-mailed me this article a few months to invite me to an emergent church HOLISTIC event. See anything peculiar about it?

http://www.emergentvillage.com/events/christianity21

Your invitation from Doug Pagitt:

A little over a decade ago a series of national events took place that played a crucial role in the creation of the network and movement that is Emergent Village. These events catalyzed thousands of people as they started new churches, were encouraged to consider new career opportunities, formed organizations of care and support for the needy, and launched a network of friendships around the world. Many who participated still tell stories of the significant meaning they found in these early national gatherings.

October 9-11, 2009, an event called Christianity21 will take place in Minneapolis, and a decade from now this event will be talked about as a crucial component in the Emerging Christianity and Missional Church conversation that is now taking place.

I would like to invite you to be part of this special event. I would even go a step further and encourage those who were part of the events in the late 1990’s to bring those you are connected with to this catalyzing gathering. And those who are new to the conversation, join in on this and have your own meaningful experience at a significant national event.

We have designed Christianity21 not only for professionals, but with entire communities in mind. We know that much of the best future thinking and ministry is not limited to professionals so this event takes place Friday through Sunday giving people with a “normal” jobs a chance to attend. Christianity21 will include topics and presenters that people with all levels of Christian and leadership experience will benefit from.

Christianity21 includes:

  • innovative adult learning approaches – 21 voices, 21 ideas, 21 minutes
  • creative use of speakers and media – multiple learning styles including conversation, art, presentations, and interactive experiences
  • interactive design – this event is not a sit and listen event as much as it is a participate and create gathering
  • cutting edge thinking from the nation’s top religious thinkers & community practioners (see list below)
  • a rarely assembled network of attendees (see list below)
  • economically priced – $195

At the risk of sounding like the ShamWow guy, I want to stress that this event is offered at the ridiculously low price of $195. Not only is that lower than any other national full-featured event, it is even lower than the price of the events from a decade ago.

Christianity21 will be a holistic event offering onsite yoga, spiritual directors, natural health coaches, ministry career guides, music from the Solomon’s Porch community in Minneapolis, healthy food, plenty of time for rest, interaction and connecting with others.

Presenters include:
Alise Barrymore, Diana Butler Bass, Carla Barnhill, Kelly Bean, Debbie Blue, Julie Clawson, Seth Donovan, Lisa Domke, Makeesha Fisher, Mimi Haddad, Elaine Heath, Sybil MacBeth, Alyce McKenzie, Sally Morganthaler, Shauna Niequist, Jenell Paris, Nanette Sawyer, Danielle Shroyer, Jeanne Stevens, Phyllis Tickle, Lauren Winner, Denise VanEck, Nadia Bolz-Weber

Join these folks and many more as a participant in Christianity21:
Shane Claiborne, Chris Seay, Spencer Burke, Tim Conder, Mark Scandrette, Becky Pierson, Shane Hipps, Tony Jones, Darin Pederson, Aran Walter, Ron Tester, Doug Pagitt, Amy Moffitt, Melody Rockwell, Lydia Kelsey, Kelly Hughes, Ellen Bruckner, Dan Sather, Carly Stucklen, Robin, Mundy, Mike Croghan, Rebecca Schlatter, Susan Hansel, Kara Root.

We know how important leader networks and informal blog communities are for those working on new and emerging ways of Christianity. And, we know how important face-to-face meetings are in development of these communities.

So, we would like to support you by helping you gather “your folks” together at a reduced cost or entirely free experience at Christianity21.

If you lead a Network (meaning there are a group of people who you regularly meet with or organize) and you would like to attend Christianity21 as a group or come a day early and have your own meeting go to http://christianity21.com/network for details about how you can attend for free.

If you are a blogger or informal organizer go here – http://christianity21.com/blogger for details about how you can come for free.

www.Christianity21.com – We live in a time of epochal change.

Many find this change exciting; for others, it’s a challenge. Call it globalization, pluralization, or postmodernism, this change affects our economy, politics, government, and education—all of society. And, of course, our faith and our churches are not immune to change.

So, we have gathered 21 of the most important voices for the future of Christianity—21 voices for the 21st century—to speak into our future as people of faith in this age. They represent a diverse array of backgrounds, interests, and passions, and they will provide a wide range of innovative and challenging presentations.

Christianity21 is less a conference and more a happening, an event—a gathering of voices and ideas that will shape the future of our faith. And to the 21 voices, we want you to add your voice, whether you’re a seeker or skeptic, leader or layperson, disciple or doubter.

We hope you consider joining your voice to ours at Christianity21.

Where is all this to lead the emergent church? Will it only be emerging further away from the rest of the church or will it merge back? I expect Greg can give us good knowledge on the state of the emergent church.


11 thoughts on “Emergent Church Mergings…

  1. In preaching the gospel we aim to reveal the truth to people. That truth is Jesus. Jesus is in all things, above all things, through all things and all things are held together by Him.

    So there must be elements of truth even in events like Ramadan. Where and how is Jesus present in Ramadan? If He’s there, it will be a lot more attractive for muslims to recognise the Christ in their religion than for us to sell them our personalised brand of Christianity which is irrelevent to them.

    If your not comfortable in celebrating Ramadan – don’t do it, but don’t forget Christmas started as a Pagan festival!

  2. Unless I’m mistaken, Jesus was a practicing Jew whilst also being our “Christian” example. He even tithed and attended synagogues – some people wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that either.

  3. yes, and Paul also used the altar of the unknown God (a part of pagan Greek religion) to introduce the people to Christ.

    It all depends on the intent and extent of their involvement in Ramadan. But generally it dosent hurt to acknowledge the good things in someone else’s religion. Fasting and praying is in itself a good practice.

  4. As a young Christian I was very impressed by a Passover meal I was invited to by a (Christian) friend.
    I don’t think that there is any problem with a good dose of cultural understanding, after all, Christianity isn’t about our culture. It was once a counter culture and has somehow become the ruling paradigm, but in doing so it has had to bastardise itself (the already mentioned Christmas festival, and our celebration of the goddess Eostre).

    If we start thinking our culture is Christianity then we end up forcing pacific islander women to wear shirts (and think that they are then converted). Somehow equating shirts with salvation and breasts with paganism. Or we end up assuming that Christianity is a capitalist religion and therefore Socialism is Satanism.

    As long as the Christian celebration of Ramadan doesn’t end with the participants expressing the belief that Mohammed is the ultimate prophet and Jesus is an also ran then I don’t see it as being problematic.

  5. I’m repasting my comment which I put in the wrong thread:

    “Do you think its possible that Brian McLaren might regard them as his brothers and sisters because they are fellow human beings, rather than ‘Christian brothers and sisters’, or has he stated that it is a religious unity?

    RE’s verse, 1 Cor 9:20-23 can be said to say that we walk alongside others as brothers to win them to the gospel.

    […snip…}

    I’m not saying that what Brian McLaren is doing is right or wrong, but I’d be interested to know more about the context.

    The seeker sensitive churches were probably motivated by that same scripture at least to start with. The issue becomes when do we become what we walk with? We need to be strong in our faith AND in our understanding to carry through in that walk at times.

  6. I worked with a Muslim celebrating Ramadan – quite difficult I think in our office environment. I’m not sure how he would have felt about a Christian woman joining him in the fast – he seemed to feel compelled to be distant at the best of times.

    So much depends on context.

    I think if it is a way of reaching out to their Muslim neighbours, then that is what it is – not that different to refusing alcohol in the presence of ‘weaker’ Christians who don’t believe it is right, though we have the freedom to drink or not drink as we choose.

    Really, it is probably an instance where you hope that the Holy Spirit is directing the act, rather than an act of unification with another belief system.

    I went to my friend’s Hindu wedding ceremony; it was all in Sanscrit; we observed all the rituals for their sake. I was hardly going to say, I’m a Christian; I can’t come to your wedding because the ceremony is wrong (or something more tactful). The loving thing to do was to attend and pray they are blessed in their marriage, and celebrate with them.

    So is the context the issue here, rather than the action, or is it just plain wrong to participate in Ramadan no matter what the context? I don’t think the latter is the case; more detail on the intention, on how far they go, and context would be interesting.

    Agree with wazza that whatever the circumstances, Jesus is the one who we must honour with our actions, and that is the key to whether this is OK or not, really.

  7. adhd librarian – like your comments re culture. Hard sometimes to separate our culture from our faith. But love transcends these boundaries.

  8. “Apprising Ministries asks if you might remember Anne Holmes Redding, who claims to be both a Muslim and Christian simultaneously, and whom we discussed in An Emerging Christian Muslim Priestess For Allah Says, “Jesus Led Me Into Islam”.”

    But this is so wrong! The Holy Spirit in us points us to Jesus not Allah! It can’t be the Spirit or Jesus of the bible leading her, specifically if she holds an office under Allah and not Christ.

    The above is just creepy beyond belief.

    Of course respect culture and traditions… But why don’t we all become KKK Dragon status or inner circle priest or priestesses of the occult or witch-craft to evangelize to them? Would the Holy Spirit ever do such a thing?

    Maybe he might to save one? I doubt it though if it puts us at risk. Then Paul did say he will happily be killed, cursed or condemned to see anyone saved.

    Oh gosh! If that is the case, ask for prayer constantly and don’t promote like first article seems to promote.

  9. James White, a well-known apologist and debater of muslims, mormons, catholics, athiests etc and currently here in Australia debating muslims make an interesting comment in one of his interviews.

    “Question: One source states that “Islam is the fastest growing religion and the second largest religion in the world” with growth of “over 235 percent in the last fifty years.” How should the church and Christians in general respond to such statistics?

    Well, with understanding, first. Almost every group I deal with makes such claims. There are many Muslims coming to know Christ. That’s a fact. At the same time, how do you determine a “real” Muslim from a cultural one? Many Muslims are so merely out of tradition, just “going with the flow” so to speak. So while Islamic expansion is a reality that must be dealt with, at the same time we need to be realistic. It is true that, for example, Muslim immigrants in France are having 4.56 children/woman in comparison with the native French population only have 1.5. However, the second generation is only having half as many children, as they become culturally impacted. So we need to be concerned, yes, but we need to be realistic as well.”

    http://cal.vini.st/2009/08/interview-with-dr-james-r-white-part-1/
    http://cal.vini.st/2009/08/interview-with-dr-james-r-white-part-2/

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