Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Celebrating "Open" Inclusiveness

Part 9: The Emerging Church - Circa 1970

If God is not limited to any special kind of time, space, or galaxy, the possibilities of God are greater. In a way, the Muslim concept of God hints at this "open" inclusiveness: "God will continue creating, and maybe recycling. Even after the death of the earth, he can continue creating," said Muhammad Tahir, of Washington, D.C., editor of Islamic Items, in an interview. Tahir, noting the Koran says God created all creatures, adds, "They [creatures] could be on earth or other planets. Mankind is just a small segment of God's creation."[1]

Brian McLaren of Emergent Church fame announced that he intends to celebrate Ramadan this year, "joining Muslim friends in the fast which begins August 21."[2]

This fact is not surprising given the history of the Emerging/Emergent Church movement. From its earliest inception this movement was devoted to a wider, broader, "open" faith. It wasn't just ecumenical in the sense of multi-denominational. It intended to be ecumenical in the sense of all religions on the planet, and even beyond the planet! In the futurist worldview, which gave rise to this Emergent culture, God is "open-ended."[3]

Bruce Larson, in his 1970 book the emerging church, in Part V "Dreaming Dreams," left open the option that God was doing "a new thing," which meant He could change His goals and His strategy. This wasn't merely a discussion about a local church changing its own vision, goals and strategy. Larson explained that "the nature of God as revealed in Jesus Christ and the New Testament clearly indicated that God can do once again a new thing, and give new orders to His people."[4] Thus, from its earliest beginnings this movement opened itself to new revelation, new visions, new dreams and new truths.

This accounts for how and why McLaren and friends can further their "own spiritual growth, health, learning, and maturity" by participating in Islam, and "also hope" that their "experience will inspire others to pray and work for peace and the common good, together with people of other faith traditions."[5] McLaren calls this his "inter-religious collaboration for the common good."[6] His recommendation? PeaceMoms, changing the world through the "savvy" marketing of "peacemaker" moms.[7]

McLaren links his expanded ecumenicity with Islam to "peace" and "nonviolent means,"[8] implying that those who don't go for this type of activity are in favor of degrading the planet, consuming its scarce resources, and are dangerously violent. Sadly, these bodacious mischaracterizations typify McLaren's "everything must change" narratives.

The Truth:

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." (John 14:6)

To be continued. . . .

1. Hiley Ward. Religion 2101 A.D.: Who or What Will Be God? (Doubleday, 1975), p. 63. See Part 1 of this series for an explanation of the significance of Hiley Ward's book. Interestingly, this quotation comes in a section of the book, "Not Pantheism But Penentheism," describing how Matthew Fox, in 1973, had called for "panentheism" as part of the emerging futuristic spirituality. http://herescope.blogspot.com/2009/05/emerging-church-circa-1970.html
2. See story posted at http://apprising.org/2009/08/brian-mclaren-of-emerging-church-to-celebrate-ramadan/. McLaren: http://www.brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/ramadan-2009-part-1-whats-going.html.
3. Religion 2101 A.D., Ibid.
4. Bruce Larson & Ralph Osborne, the emerging church (Word, 1970), p. 141.
5. http://www.brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/ramadan-2009-part-1-whats-going.html
6. http://www.brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/ramadan-2009-part-2-why-is-a-com.html
7. http://www.peacemoms.com/
8. http://www.brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/ramadan-2009-part-2-why-is-a-com.html