Mennonite Brethren still okay with Brian McLaren

It appears that the Mennonites are still praising the false teachings and ‘beautifully poetic moving’ ideas of Brian McLaren. In the Cross Currents section of the February 2015 issue of the MB Herald is a book review of the newest Brian McLaren book called We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation and Activation. The review is written by Brad Sumner, regular writer for the MB Herald and pastor at a Mennonite Brethren church plant (Jericho Ridge, B.C. Canada). A mixture of light criticism and praise, the review leans toward applause and affirmation of the book’s commendable emphasis on spiritual formation among many other things – McLaren’s approach to scripture, emphasis on justice and nonresistance that resonates with the Mennonite Brethren, caring for creation, and enough ‘skillfully phrased’ family/child inclusive questions to sustain conversations for a year. The following excerpt is from the review:

Concerning reorientation toward the Bible

What will likely create some tension, however, is the elasticity with which McLaren treats the Bible itself. For him, Scripture seems to be an allegory of possibilities where factual truth and actual truth become interchangeable and sometimes intermingled.
McLaren has a tendency to denigrate biblical authority to make a contemporary point. For example, when discussing violence in the Old Testament, he indicates that “in the minds of the originators of these stories, God as they understood God did indeed command these things.” He goes on to suggest that what is truly important is how we understand God, not necessarily how the original writers or hearers heard or understood him…
As Mennonite Brethren, we have a very different outlook, as expressed in Article 2 of our CCMBC Confession of Faith: “We accept the Bible as the infallible Word of God and the authoritative guide for faith and practice.”

Community emphasis on activation

For those with an already firm view of biblical authority, the book holds wonderful benefit for personal contemplative reading…I could see the material being used as a post-Alpha learning circle that meets weekly to journey deeper into the themes of Scripture.
…on the whole, the book is pithy and full of vitality and worthwhile topics for conversation along the road.

Source:
http://mbherald.com/we-make-road-walking/

Why recommend ANY teacher who does not submit to the Bible as the inspired Word of God? Why promote the ‘skillfully phrased’ (some might say “hissed”) questions of a false teacher as a good source for teaching children and new Christians?

This review by Pastor Sumner, an avid reader and prolific blogger, is also posted at his blog Leadership Confessions, where admiration for Brian McLaren, whom Sumner calls “a sometimes controversial author and public theologian,” is expressed more than once. Previous book reviews and author promotions on his blog include (among many others) many such “controversial” authors. Such as Danny Silk of Bethel Church, Henri Nouwen, Parker Palmer, George Fox, Kathleen Norris, Ann Voskamp, Leonard Sweet, Gary Thomas, and Larry Crabb. Sumner also refers to “The Emotionally Healthy Church”, by Peter Scazzero, and Shane Claiborne’s “Common Prayer – A Liturgy For Ordinary Radicals” as ‘helpful’ books. Also included among his many postings is a quote from Understanding the Ennegram (“Psychology without spirituality is arid and ultimately meaningless, while spirituality without grounding in psychological work leads to vanity and illusions”). Many of these are authors are leaders in the emerging church and contemplative spirituality movements. The Ennegram, which quite a few of them also promote, is an occult tool.

There is an old quote by Oscar Wilde, whose life turned out to be a tragic mess, that goes like this: “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” Sadly, many of today’s pastors and Christian leaders read more books off the shelf than they do the books of the Bible.

“And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” Ecclesiastes 12:12

It is time to weep and pray for the pastors.

“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:4

__________

Related:

*Find out more about Mennonites and McLaren’s book here:

McLaren’s New Book – A New Kind of Year Long Church Curriculum
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/mclarens-new-book-a-new-kind-of-year-long-church-curriculum/

*Learn more about McLaren’s Bible interpretation methods and plans to influence children, here:

Muddy Emerging Convergence in Sunday School Curriculum
https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/muddy-emerging-convergence-in-sunday-school-curriculum/

Note: to read previous articles on this blog about Mennonite and their enchantment with Brian McLaren, enter his name in the search box.

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Mennonites and the Eco-Gospel

A new collaboration of Mennonite Church Canada and Canadian Mennonite University called the CommonWord Book Store and Resource Center[1] just opened at the beginning of this year. On their website they state that they are “passionate about Anabaptist resources for the home and congregation,” however, what can be found there is a plethora of spirituality, from earth worship and indigenous peoples resources to contemplative spiritual formation curriculum and resources by emergent church leaders. Within the virtual walls of this library are enough non-anabaptist resources to make Menno Simons roll over in his grave. For example, the closest Brian McLaren (whose materials fill their web pages) comes to “anabaptist” is his Plymouth Brethren roots.

Shortly after opening, the top ten most popular resources[2] at CommonWord included Heaven is for Real: Based on the incredible True Story DVD[3], Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry: Conversations on Creation, Land Justice, and Life Together[4], Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal by April Yamasaki[5], and Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life (Curriculum) by Richard Rohr[6].

While there may be some biblical resources to be found at CommonWord, more commonly there appears to be a lack of materials that teach the power of God and His Word. For example, Becoming an Energy Saint is a video that was promoted this January on CommonWord’s New Resources page[7]).

Is this environmental message of eco-theology truly what some Mennonites want in their church congregations as a teaching resource?

Carl Teichrib, researcher and writer, confirms that the interfaith green gospel has not only invaded Mennonite organizations, but many church denominations.

“Today’s Christian community is rife with green social and political messages, eco-theology, and interfaith action on the environment. Examples abound, such as the G8 World Religious Summit of 2010, a major interfaith meeting with strong representation from across the Protestant/evangelical spectrum, working in cooperation with world religions to push global green governance and a form of eco-spirituality.
Another example is the commissioned Mennonite Central Committee report, Earth Trek: Celebrating and Sustaining God’s Creation. In it we discover a combination of questionable theology, pantheistic-based messages, troubling political and social activism, mystical meditations and texts on the sacredness of Earth, the promotion of family planning through the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (part of the global abortion industry), favorable connections to The Earth Charter Foundation and Friends of the Earth – and at the end of the book we find this suggestion; “this week, make an offering to the earth, in the form of a prayer or some other gift.” (bold in original)
In Canada, the United Church sings “O Beautiful Gaia” – a song to the Greek goddess of Earth – as found in their More Voices hymnal. Across North America congregations hold Earth Day services, hear sermons on global warming, and engage in environmental campaigns. Example after example could be given. It’s like we’re facing a tsunami of green.”

SOURCE: Bridging Faith and Earth
By Carl Teichrib (www.forcingchange.org)
https://forcingchange.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/bridging-faith-and-earth/

Have some Christians, perhaps in name only, gone so far from their roots that they don’t know who they truly are in Christ? One can only pray that such souls will turn away from the earthy green gospel and turn their hearts to the Maker of heaven and earth.
_____

Endnotes:

[1] http://www.commonword.ca/Home
[2] http://www.commonword.ca/MostPopularResources
[3] Is “Heaven Is for Real” for Real?: An Exercise In Discernment
http://www.thebereancall.org/content/heaven-real-real-exercise-discernment-0
[4] http://www.commonword.ca/ResourceView/2/16064
[5] See: Pausing to Examine Sacred Pauses https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/pausing-to-examine-sacred-pauses/
[6] This book by Franciscan Priest Richard Rohr is endorsed by Dr Mehmet Oz, Brian McLaren, Cynthia Bourgeault
http://www.amazon.com/Falling-Upward-Spirituality-Halves-Life/dp/0470907754
[7] http://www.commonword.ca/ResourceView/48/17430

Mennonites Promoting the Mesa Document – the New Direction of the Same Old Emerging Conversation

My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change
Proverbs 24:21

For ninety years, Mennonite World Review has independently published a newspaper to serve Mennonites and the Anabaptist movement. In more recent years they began publishing a website and The World Together Blog. This Anabaptist-themed blog contains articles written by Brethren, Brethren in Christ, Mennonite Brethren, Conservative Mennonite, Quaker and other “Anabaptist-influenced thinkers”. This blog seems to be one of the ways that Plymouth Brethren defector Brian McLaren has been making inroads into Mennonite circles. One of the current articles on The World Together Blog by change agent McLaren concerns the direction the emerging conversation has taken and how it has led to his latest project, the Mesa Document.

Here is an excerpt of McLaren’s article as it appears on the Mennonite blog:

What’s happening in the emergent church conversation?
Nov 19, 2014 by Brian D. McClaren

I was asked recently for my view of what’s happening in the emergent/emergence conversation in North America. Here’s a very short overview, from my perspective.
The conversation continues to grow, not by creating a new slice of the pie, but by seasoning nearly all sectors of the pie. Even where the word “emergent” is not used, ideas from emergence leaders are being considered and adopted, leading to new experimentation and openness.
Influence in the Roman Catholic world is still relatively small, but growing numbers of Catholic scholars and leaders are listening, reading and engaging, from lay people to (yes) the Vatican. Catholic influence on the emergence community continues to be strong, especially through the spiritual practices of the monastic and contemplative traditions.
Much of the Mainline Protestant world has opened its arms wide to the emergent conversation, from bishops to parachurch organizations to denominational leaders to local pastors to grassroots activists. A few years down the road, I think Mainline engagement will become even more overt and significant, but already most Mainline Protestant denominations are experimenting with creative new approaches to church planting and worship/liturgy renewal. Key next steps may include the creation of a national, trans-denominational campus ministry, collaborative and transdenominational church planting and “branding,” new approaches to theological and ministry education, and the development of a new genre of progressive Christian worship music.
The evangelical community has, by and large, decided to double down against LGBT inclusion and equality, and because many emergence leaders see equality as a natural and unavoidable expression of the gospel, their voices have been marginalized by prominent gatekeepers. But beneath the surface, influence continues to expand, especially among young evangelicals and those uncomfortable with the marriage between American evangelicalism and the religious right. Along with LGBT equality, surprising numbers of evangelicals are quietly but consistently moving towards greater concern for the full equality for women, the environment, racial and interfaith reconciliation, the elimination of torture, peacemaking, poverty reduction and related issues. And theologically, they are eager to engage with questions that have been suppressed — including rethinking penal substitutionary atonement theory, biblical inerrancy and interpretation, and the violence of God. For practical reasons, it will often be best, in the short run at least, for these conversations to happen without association with the term “emergence.”

SOURCE:
http://mennoworld.org/2014/11/19/whats-happening-in-the-emergent-church-conversation/

After perfectly describing what the one world church of the anti-Christ might look like, McLaren goes on to explain in this article that, as the first wave of the emerging church leaders are aging, a new wave of young (politically correct, sin tolerant, atonement rethinking, Bible doubting) leaders is rising. These radicals are “making room for Catholics, Mainline Protestants, Evangelicals and others to work together for the common good.” Since this new unstructured wave of emergent spawn requires new structuring, McLaren recently got a group together to make a global document of sorts, detailing their new ideas and goals. In May of 2013, Brian McLaren asked for large sums of money to go toward this project which was yet to be named[1]. What he has to show for this effort is called the Mesa Document.

The Mesa Document pdf[2] explains how the goals for this restructuring were formulated in Thailand, based on conversation, dreams and friendships around the world, and is dated Halloween, 2013. An excerpt describes:

“The journey was often frightening and difficult. Whenever we found someone who shared our questions, desires, and dreams, we gathered around a table for conversation. Through conversation, we became friends on a journey. And from our friendships, we gained the courage to try new things. . . We chose the name Mesa, the Spanish word for table, because it suggested a space of conversation, companionship, and nourishment for life, work, and action.”

They are always attempting to try ‘new things,’ but had they consulted the Bible for wisdom, they might have save themselves a lot of time and resources, for as the wisest man in the world said, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.” (Ecc. 1:9-10) Then in the book of Acts we saw the wise Bereans who studied in contrast with all the Athenians and strangers who spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing. (Acts 17:21). All scripture is written for our benefit, but only to those who study and take heed.

Although McLaren and friends say they believe in Jesus, nothing is mentioned about the Holy Spirit’s guidance in the re-writing of this new kind of church (because they don’t believe the written word is inspired or inerrant). According to McLaren’s perspective, here are the new directives on the Mesa Document:

• We believe in Jesus and the good news of the reign, commonwealth, or ecosystem of God, and we seek for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven by focusing on love — love for God and neighbor, for outsider and enemy.
• We seek to know, serve and join the poor in the struggle for justice and freedom . . . through advocacy, relationships and action.
• We seek to honor, interpret and apply the Bible in fresh and healing ways, aware of the damaging ways the Bible has been used in the past.
• We seek to reconnect with the earth, understand the harm human beings are doing to it, and discover more responsible, regenerative ways of life in it.
• We seek the common good, locally and globally, through churches of many diverse forms, contexts and traditions, and we imagine fresh ways for churches to form Christlike people and join God in the healing of the world.
• We build inclusive partnerships across gaps between the powerful and vulnerable – including disparities based on wealth, gender, race and ethnic identity, education, religion, sexuality, age, politics and physical ability.
• We engage conflict at all levels of human society with the creative and nonviolent wisdom of peacemaking.
• We propose new ways of encountering the other in today’s pluralistic world and we collaborate with other religious and secular groups in alliances for the common good.
• We host safe space for constructive theological conversation, seeking to root our practice in theological reflection and seeking to express our reflection in practical action.
• We value the arts for their unique role in nurturing, challenging and transforming our humanity.
• We emphasize spiritual and relational practices to strengthen our inner life with God and our relationships with one another.

Why did McLaren and friends travel all the way to Thailand to re-define words into a language the new kind of gatekeeper-phobic church will be comfortable with? As much as McLaren has been preaching that everything must change, these “new” concepts sound like the same old ways the emerging church has been using to integrate ideas the world already accepts: reconnecting with mother earth, social justice, the new tolerance, politically correct peace building, ecumenism, interfaith, LGBT inclusiveness, transformation of humanity through the arts and inner spiritual disciplines. The world drinks this church blend the same way it accepts the New Age message of Oprah’s tour with Rob Bell.[3] In their process of redefining terms for the new kind of church, McLaren and friends have ignored the words of Jesus (whom they claim to believe in) when He said to His beloved friends, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15:9)

What began in Thailand in 2013 will be completed in 2017 with a final Mesa gathering. Meanwhile, more gatherings and conversations will take place until then.[4] Other emergent friends of McLaren associated with Mesa are Doug Pagitt, Frederick Buechner, Phyllis Tickle, Steve Chalke and Tony Jones. In fact, partnering with Mesa is Oasis, where Steve Chalke is founder of the Oasis Charitable Trust.[5] McLaren’s friend Chalke denies the penal substitutionary atonement by Jesus Christ on the cross, calling the cross ‘cosmic child abuse’.

McLaren ends his article on the Mennonite blog by expressing interest to see where others would add, subtract or differ. In answer to that, Menno-lite would like to propose that these new leaders add the words that God has already said (in the Bible), from which McLaren and friends appear to have subtracted. But that would just start another never ending conversation out of which a barrel of semantic monkeys would emerge.

In conclusion, those who call themselves Mennonites and point to such false teachers would do well to read the words of their founder and namesake, Menno Simons, who said…

“it should be observed that the church of anti-christ is brought forth by faithless preachers, who are actuated by the spirit of anti-christ … who, with the false prophets preach Peace, Ezek. 13:16”
-Menno Simons [6]

*To find out more about Brian McLaren and this project, read here:

The latest diabolical ideas to ‘EMERGE’ from BRIAN McLAREN
http://www.takeheed.info/pdf/current-concerns-2013/McLaren_and_Mesa.pdf

_____

Endnotes:

[1] DONATION PLEA: BRIAN MCLAREN RESPONDS
http://standupforthetruth.com/2013/05/donation-plea-brian-mclaren-responds/
[2] The Mennonite blog article has a link to the Mesa Document entitled Mesa Friends in Pattaya, Thailand (31 October 2013)
http://www.mesa-friends.org/downloads/Statement%20from%20Mesa%20Pattaya%20October%202013%20FINAL.pdf
[3] Rob Bell and Oprah Wrap Up New Age Tour—EQUALLY YOKED
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=16411
[4] http://mesa-friends.org/
[5] http://www.oasisuk.org/changemakers
[6] Menno Simons, CONCERNING THE CHURCH, AND AN INSTRUCTIVE COMPARISON HOW WE MAY DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST, AND THE CHURCH OF ANTI-CHRIST.
http://www.mennosimons.net/ft068-concerningthechurch.html

Related:

Brian McLaren and a New Era of Bible Reading
http://www.thebereancall.org/content/brian-mclaren-and-new-era-bible-reading

Brian McLaren’s Platform at Menno Weekly
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/brian-mclarens-platform-at-menno-weekly/

MB Herald Promotes Brian McLaren
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/mb-herald-promotes-brian-mclaren/

MB Herald calls A New Kind of Christianity “a book on freedom”
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/mb-herald-calls-a-new-kind-of-christianity-a-book-on-freedom/

The Morphing of the Emergent Movement: Can You See It Now
http://standupforthetruth.com/2014/11/the-morphing-of-the-emergent-movement-can-you-see-it-now/

Upcoming Conference Concern (UPDATED)

Because some Mennonites have had a connection with Sabeel, and because Paul Wilkinson, who has been mentioned on this blog, recently spoke in a Mennonite Brethren church in Canada and warned about an upcoming Sabeel conference in that very city, today Mennolite is linking to a post at Olive Press about Sabeel’s upcoming Canadian conference. Originally scheduled for two months from now, it has recently been changed to next spring. The Canadian Friends of Sabeel conference is called Facing the New Jerusalem:
 Face-to-Face with Christian Zionism and with Palestinian Christians, and will be held in a university in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada. Read about it here:

Canadian Friends of Sabeel or Enemies of Israel? http://olivepress.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/friends-of-sabeel-canada/

Related:

What is Christian Palestinianism? https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/what-is-christian-palestinianism/

Mennonite Palestinianism https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/mennonite-palestinianism/

Sabeel, Merton, Mennonite Convergence https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/sabeel-merton-mennonite-convergence/

McLaren’s Palestinian Justice Speech, Part 1 https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/mclarens-palestinian-justice-speech-part-1/

McLaren’s Palestinian Justice Speech, Part 2 https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/mclarens-palestinian-justice-speech-part-2/

The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 1 – What’s it all about? https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-1/

The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 2 – In the Name of Christ https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-2/

The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 3 – Pawns at the Checkpoint https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-3-pawns-at-the-checkpoint/

More Mennonite connections with Sabeel, for research purposes:

Network seeks to mobilize Israel-Palestine peacemaking
http://mennoworld.org/2014/08/12/network-seeks-to-mobilize-israel-palestine-peacemaking/

Mennonite Palestine Israel Network (MennoPIN)
Steering Committee
http://mennopin.wordpress.com/about/steering-committee/

__________

*** UPDATE:

Those who are interested can find new information here:

Anti-Zionist Lectures in Canada
https://olivepress.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/anti-zionist-lectures-in-canada/

McLaren’s Palestinian Justice Speech, Part 2

In the last half of his plenary talk at a FOSNA conference this April in Portland, Oregon, in his case to prove that Christians are responsible for creating the injustice that currently exists in Palestine, Brian McLaren went into further detail about his problem with all the accounts in the Bible where God said to wipe out the surrounding nations, people and even animals, in what he calls the ‘texts of genocide.’

“Through its appropriation of “texts of terror” and especially through the application of those texts to the Jews, the Christian religion created the conditions for the oppression of Palestinians.”
-Brian McLaren, Seeds of Hope and Justice for Palestinians and Israelis [1]

McLaren then talked about the holocaust being one of many world wide genocidal atrocities which the church has been behind, saying that “The lament that Christians should have is that Israel is treating Palestinians exactly the way Christians treated Jews, and we now lament that past.”

But is it true that the Christian religion created the conditions for oppression of Palestine? While many atrocities in the world have been done in the name of Christ, is it true for McLaren to say that Israel is treating Palestinians the way Jews were treated in the Holocaust?

First of all, it was Hitler and the Unholy Alliance who were behind the annihilation of the Jews. Secondly, Israel today treats the Palestinians better than they are treated by their own leaders. Where is the genocide happening in Israel? Just this week Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu showed to the world “the true Israel, the advanced, modern and tolerant Israel, in effect, the only country in the Middle East that ensures complete freedom of worship to those of all faiths, guards the holy places and ensures the rights of all – Jews, Muslims, Christians, everybody.”[2]

Israel is not oppressing Palestinians. The exploitation of Palestinians appears to be coming from a leadership that does not want peace, using its people as pawns while trying to annihilate Israel.

The reality is that Israel, not only as a country, but as individual citizens, lives at peace with the Palestinians. Hard to believe – but it’s true. Since 1947, when Israel accepted the U.N. Partition Plan, which gave them sovereignty over a crumb of land, Israel has continuously reached out to the Arabs for peace, only to be met with a just as continuous chant of no, no, no.

Israel at Peace, Palestinians at War http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/gideonisrael/israel-at-peace-palestinians-at-war/

(It is important to understand all the facts in the above article if one is to counter the anti-Israel myths.)

Nearly at the ten minute mark in the second half of his talk, McLaren says that “More of us are going to have to stand up to the Christian Zionists and others…”

Christian Zionists everywhere should be alarmed by that statement and prepared to stand up for Israel and ask McLaren and friends how they think this is going to look.

In a classic misinterpretation of the Bible, McLaren said that after Jesus read the scroll of Isaiah and rolled it up (Luke 4), what he meant by doing that is that it’s time to move on from the ‘vengeance way’ of reading the Bible, the ‘exclusive way’ – and on to a ‘universal way’ of reading the Bible.

One day men like McLaren will tremble at the real reason that Jesus stopped reading in the middle of the prophecy. He purposely stopped at the comma because the next part was about his second coming. Jesus came the first time to do his ministry in order to set the captives free. We are now living in the comma, in the age of grace, the church age, before His second coming. When the other half of the Isaiah prophecy is fulfilled – then the world will see that the ‘vengeance’ part was not left out by Jesus to move on to a ‘universal way’, as Mclaren would have his listeners believe.

At the 12:22 minute mark, McLaren says: “It is time to join with Jews, Muslims, and others who seek peace, justice and the common good.”

Someone should ask McLaren to explain why (if the religion of Islam truly seeks peace) do the Muslim nations want to destroy Israel and drive them into the sea? If they really want peace, why did they not accept the peace offerings they were first given? Are Palestinians really ‘victims’ of an ‘occupation’?

Palestinians would not have become refugees in 1948 had they agreed to the 1947 UN Partition Plan. There would have been no Palestinian refugees, had they chosen not to attack and terrorize the Jewish community in Palestine in 1929, 1936-1939, and later in 1948, when they attempted to extinguish the nascent Jewish state. History repeated itself in 1967. After the Six Day War, Israel offered to negotiate peace with the Arab States. The response came from the Khartoum, Arab Summit, “No to Peace, No to negotiations with Israel, and No to recognition of Israel.”
… The “occupation” mantra is meant to appeal to emotions and not facts. Israel is the legal administrator of the territories until a peace settlement is reached. The “occupation” could have ended in 1967 if the Arab states and the PLO had agreed to make peace as UN Resolution 242 required. The Palestinians could have acquired statehood in 1947, or once again under the Oslo Accords process. They chose instead to launch an intifada (uprising) against Israel, rather than “end the conflict.”

The Self-Inflicted Palestinian Victimhood http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/joseph-puder/the-self-inflicted-palestinian-victimhood-2/

Near the end of his talk, McLaren promotes his new book, “We Make the Road by Walking” (a re-imagined re-telling of the Bible). On his powerpoint beside his book is a CS Lewis photo with the caption: “It is time to reclaim the Bible as “a book for grown ups.” This CS Lewis quote seems to be out of context. It is from Mere Christianity, where Lewis makes fun of those who reject the Christian’s idea of heaven because they don’t want to spend eternity playing harps. He says, “The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them” (p 121, Mere Christianity). Perhaps it is time for someone to suggest to Brian McLaren that if he cannot understand the Bible, he should not try to re-tell it [3].

Under McLaren’s powerpoint topical sentence: “We cannot be naive about the possible subconscious motivations for maintaining the status quo,” he notes that what happened recently with World Vision (hiring gays)[4] was just a matter of economic bullying by the elite. One of his other points, which he does not read out loud, is; “legitimization for a new scapegoat Islam”.[5] Does this mean that McLaren thinks that Islam is being bullied by the elite?

McLaren ends his presentation with a ‘thanks to Sabeel for the great leadership’ [6] followed by a very short Q&A where at 16 minutes he says that ‘the fundamentalist ways of reading the text are just soooo unfair to the text. When you really love a text you realize there is so much more going on.’ Does McLaren love the Biblical text enough to realize there is so much more going on?

After reading the question (at 19:30, followed by audience laughter): “Do you think peace in Israel will signal the end times?” – the moderator then asks McLaren to briefly comment on Revelation. McLaren answers that Revelation is a literature of the oppressed… a message that is speaking the truth indirectly. Like the sword on the guy riding on the horse that is coming out of his mouth (Revelation 19)[7]. If you wanna take that literally, says McLaren, that is comic. He then explains that the unarmed peaceful Messiah who rode in on a donkey is the real message, that peace is more powerful, and that the blood on his robe is only the blood of the powerless victim that overcomes the violence of his oppressor. (This is in keeping with the heretical non-violent atonement theory of Steve Chalke and others which denies the penal, substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross.)

Teachers like McLaren cannot discern that the sword in Jesus’ mouth represents the power of His Word, that His robe is stained in either the blood of His enemies or His own blood (a reminder of the cross). They cannot see that this is not the meek and mild Jesus who came the first time as a lamb. This Jesus is the returning King, the Lion of Judah, who by His righteousness will demand attention and submission when He comes back (as prophesied) to the rebellious world in the day of vengeance at the end of this age of grace. How sobering for any man who dares to take away the power of that image in the words describing the things which shall be hereafter, as told to us in the revelation of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:19

Why is it important to critique the clever words of those like McLaren? Because of the way they are valued by Christian denominations, some Mennonite, who have allowed emerging church literature and resources with McLaren’s name on the label into their churches and institutes of learning, or have had him in as a guest to speak, or are involved in the same causes as McLaren and friends that contradict the Word of God. The question of urgency in these perilous times is: are you a friend Jesus, the soon returning King? Or Brian McLaren, friend of Sabeel and FOSNA[8], who says the guy on the horse with the sword is comic?

 

Endnotes:

[1] At about 4 minutes into the Part 2 youtube clip of his presentation, see: Christian responsibility for Palestinian Justice, Part 2 of Brian McLaren’s plenary talk at “Seeds of Hope and Justice for Palestinians and Israelis” at a FOSNA(Friends of Sabeel North America) conference, April, 2014 in Portland, Oregon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hM7Us1wDzk
[2] Netanyahu: Pope visiting only Mideast state to offer true freedom of religion http://www.jpost.com/LandedPages/PrintArticle.aspx?id=353279
[3] https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/mclarens-new-book-a-new-kind-of-year-long-church-curriculum/
[4] World Vision: Why We’re Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/march-web-only/world-vision-why-hiring-gay-christians-same-sex-marriage.html?paging=off
[5] Powerpoint slides available at
http://www.slideshare.net/brianmclaren/sabeel-2014
Published on Apr 21, 2014 by FOSNA Sabeel (Friends of Sabeel North America) (www.fosna.org)
[6] “Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, headquartered in Jerusalem, has been a persistent source of anti-Zionist agitation in mainline Protestant churches in the United States since its founding in 1994. The organization subjects Israel, Jews, and Judaism to intense scrutiny while remaining nearly silent about Arab and Muslim extremism in the Middle East. In addition to publicizing the writings of its founder, Anglican priest Naim Ateek, Sabeel broadcasts its message via regional conferences in the United States and regular study missions to Israel. Far-Left American and Israeli Jews are given prominent display at Sabeel conferences, where Israel is held up to a strict biblical standard of conduct while its adversaries are held to no standard at all. By giving its followers the sense that they are engaging in a showdown with the forces of evil embodied by Israel and its U.S supporters, Sabeel reenacts the church-synagogue rivalry documented in early Christian writings.”
Read this and much more about Sabeel here:
Updating the Ancient Infrastructure of Christian Contempt: Sabeel http://jcpa.org/article/updating-the-ancient-infrastructure-of-christian-contempt-sabeel/
[7] Revelation 19 http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Rev&c=19&v=13&t=KJV#s=1186013
[8] “Rather than truly seeking ways to coexist or to build up a normal Palestinian-Arab society, FOSNA has assembled a roster of Israel-haters and antagonists to present discussions and workshops geared toward delegitimizing and defaming Israel, hurting the Jewish state economically, and eroding support for Israel – particularly among American Christians…
.. Sabeel and Friends of Sabeel also distort history, international law, and the situation on the ground – casting Israel as “oppressors” and responsible for every “injustice” that allegedly afflicts Palestinian-Arabs. Everyone else is apparently blameless for their claimed suffering…
… Further, Sabeel considers all of the land as “Palestinian,” accuses Israel of practicing “apartheid,” and dates the “occupation” to 1948. The facts that the Palestinian Arabs rejected the U.N. Partition Plan in 1947 that offered them a state of their own, that the international community gave the land to the Jewish people for “close settlement” (as per the Mandate for Palestine issued by the League of Nations), that Judea and Samaria and the eastern half of Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip were illegally occupied respectively by Jordan and Egypt from 1948 to 1967, and that the charge of “apartheid” is laughable do not seem to matter.”
Source: The Palestinian Narrative: Seeking Peace by Waging War http://www.levitt.com/news/2014/03/29/

Related:

McLaren’s Palestinian Justice Speech, Part 1 https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/mclarens-palestinian-justice-speech-part-1/

*Find this blog’s 5 part critique of McLaren’s teaching at Canadian Mennonite University in 2011, here: https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/cmu-student-found-refreshing-winds-very-cool/

**The following links may provide answers to some issues McLaren mentioned:

Why did God condone such terrible violence in the Old Testament? http://www.gotquestions.org/Old-Testament-violence.html

Why Would a Loving God Tell Israel to Wipe Out Her (enemies?) http://www.thebereancall.org/content/why-would-loving-god-tell-israel-wipe-out-her

Why would God order the destruction of men, women, and children? http://carm.org/bible-difficulties/joshua-esther/why-would-god-order-destruction-men-women-and-children

Christians condemn the Quran and Islam for all the violence taught therein, but say nothing about all the OT brutalities such as God commanding the utter annihilation of the Amalekites, including women, children and animals. Why this inconsistency? http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_amalekites.htm

Klavan’s One State Solution: Give the Middle East to the Jews http://moriel.org/MorielArchive/index.php/discernment/israel/klavans-one-state-solution-give-the-middle-east-to-the-jews

SABEEL ECUMENICAL LIBERATION THEOLOGY CENTER http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/sabeel_ecumenical_liberation_theology_center

Attacks on Christian Zionism http://www.levitt.com/essays/christian_zionism

Palestinian Liberation Theology http://www.levitt.com/news/2012/02/15/palestinian-liberation-theology/?shared=email&msg=fail

***Also see:

The End of Evangelical Support for Israel? The Jewish State’s International Standing http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=15597

‘Jesus Was a Palestinian’: The Return of Christian Anti-Semitism by Melanie Philips http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/jesus-was-a-palestinian-the-return-of-christian-anti-semitism/

Bethlehem’s ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ Conference: A Personal Report By: Brian Schrauger http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/bethlehems-christ-at-the-checkpoint-conference-a-personal-report/2014/03/18/0/?print

Who Are the Peacemakers? http://blogs.jpost.com/content/who-are-peacemakers-0

NEW ARTICLE:

Palestinian Liberation Theology Exposed Jan 20, 2014
Reverend Dr. Naim Stifan Ateek (Arab Palestinian Anglican priest and founder of Sabeel International Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem) attempts to revise history.
http://www.frontpagemag.com/2015/susan-warner/palestinian-liberation-theology-exposed/

McLaren’s Palestinian Justice Speech, Part 1

The Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) regional conference recently took place this last April at First United Methodist Church in Portland, Oregon[1]. It was called Seeds for Justice and Hope for Palestinians and Israelis – What is required of US?

Since there are quite a few Mennonites who are fond of both Brian McLaren and Sabeel, it is fitting for this blog to draw attention to what was taught during McLaren’s one hour plenary session.

During the first half hour[2], McLaren’s talk began with his background in the Plymouth Brethren, Darby, dispensationalism, and the Jesus people movement. From there he went to questioning his beliefs in the Bible, fast-forwarding to Greenbelt to Sabeel to Israel – all parts of his journey to rethinking and writing.

Unfortunately, McLaren’s experiences on his quest left him with a jaded perception of ‘church’ as a place where there are questions you can’t ask and explanations you can’t give. Through his doubting and rethinking process, he concluded that in the same way that the Christian religion created Europe and failed Europe, the Christians created the injustice that currently exists in Palestine. Quoting several Bible passages that he calls Texts of Terror (Deuteronomy 7, Lev. 25, 1 Samuel 15:1-3, Rev. 19:11), McLaren explains that these are tickets to oppress, because people who think they are on God’s side feel they can do what is in the text, from the Middle East to Europe to the colonization of America, to slavery. (McLaren says that Columbus Day should also be changed).

Continuing on, in the last half of McLaren’s talk[3], he refers to passages from the book of the Revelation as “Texts of Terror.”

McLaren picks extreme examples of controversial speakers to make his points in this regard. One of those he quotes, who doesn’t even represent mainstream Christianity, is fringe speaker ‘Jeremy’ Boykin. (His name is actually ‘Jerry,’ not Jeremy, as McLaren has on his power point.) McLaren mentions that Boykin is a representative of Family Research Council when he said “The sword today is an AR-15, so if you don’t have one, go get one. You’re supposed to have one, it’s biblical.”[4] Boykin, an ecumenical Knight of Malta, is hardly a solid representative of the fundamentalist dispensational viewpoint.

Oddly enough, McLaren also quotes “a preacher down the road” who has said that:

“Jesus is not a pansy or a pacifist. In Revelation, Jesus is a pride fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. He is saddling up on a white horse and coming to slaughter His enemies and usher in his kingdom. Blood will flow. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.”[5]

McLaren does not mention that the name of this pastor down the road is the controversial Mark Driscoll (Seattle), who was once his friend and partner at the beginning of the emerging church movement, but has since distanced himself from McLaren and his false teaching.[6] Many Christians find that Driscoll takes too many liberties with his irreverent grunge vocabulary approach of teaching, earning him the reputation of the cussing mouth pastor[7].

Couldn’t McLaren have found more respected mainstream examples to represent the dispensational view of the book of Revelation? There are many pro-Israel Bible scholars and excellent, well respected teachers he could have chosen from who teach what the Bible says about the return of Jesus the Messiah as conquering King.

McLaren appears to have a few bones to pick with this view he was raised in as he defends his ‘re-thought’ position against it. Perhaps there has been a need in his pro-Palestinian camp to counter the effects of biblically grounded teacher Paul Wilkinson, who has recently been presenting his excellent expose of Sabeel and defense of Darby[8]. If you watch McLaren rehash and trash this same dispensational teaching model he grew up in as a Plymouth Brethren (in order to justify and invest his re-imagined ideology in the anti-Israel campaign), and then compare it with the presentation by Paul Wilkinson on the same topic, it becomes evident who is speaking in the power and name of God.

The next blog post[9] will examine McLaren’s views he expressed in the second half of his presentation where he went into detail on what he calles the ‘texts of genocide’ and ‘terror’ in the Bible, and blames Christians for the injustice in Palestine.

ENDNOTES:

[1] Seeds for Justice and Hope for Palestinians and Israelis http://mideastpeace.net/Portland_Sabeel_Conference_2014/Schedule.htm
[2] Christian responsibility for Palestinian Justice Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mz_caQ67gBM
[3] Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hM7Us1wDzk
[4] See: Knight of Malta, Jerry Boykin quote – “…the sword today is an AR-15…go get one…it’s biblical” http://ephesians511blog.net/2014/02/26/knight-of-malta-jerry-boykin-quote-the-sword-today-is-an-ar-15-go-get-one-its-biblical/
[5]http://web.archive.org/web/20071013102203/http://relevantmagazine.com/god_article.php?id=7418
[6] According to Driscoll: “In the mid-1990s I was part of what is now known as the Emerging Church and spent some time traveling the country to speak on the emerging church in the emerging culture on a team put together by Leadership Network called the Young Leader Network. But, I eventually had to distance myself from the Emergent stream of the network because friends like Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt began pushing a theological agenda that greatly troubled me.
-Mark Driscoll and the Emerging Church: http://www.driscollcontroversy.com/?page_id=9
[7] See: PROFANE PREACHERS CONTRIBUTE TO KILLING THE CONSCIENCE: http://www.newswithviews.com/West/marsha238.htm
[8] What is Christian Palestinianism: https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/what-is-christian-palestinianism/
[9] https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/mclarens-palestinian-justice-speech-part-2/

RELATED:

Mennonite Palestinianism https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/mennonite-palestinianism/

The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 1 – What’s it all about? https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-1/

The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 2 – In the Name of Christ https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-2/

The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 3 – Pawns at the Checkpoint https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-3-pawns-at-the-checkpoint/

Sabeel, Merton, Mennonite Convergence https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/sabeel-merton-mennonite-convergence/

“COME AND SEE”: MENNONITE LEADERS VISIT ISRAEL/PALESTINE http://www.mennoniteusa.org/2014/03/24/come-and-see-mennonite-leaders-visit-israelpalestine/

Related Update:

McLaren would be pleased to know that his wish for to Columbus Day to be re-imagined has become a reality in Seattle, Washingtion (see: SEATTLE SAYS GOODBYE TO ‘COLUMBUS DAY’ @ http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/10/11/Seattle-Says-Goodbye-Columbus-Day). As he has said, everything must change, and so it has begun in America.

McLaren’s New Book – A New Kind of Year Long Church Curriculum

As readers discovered in yesterday’s post, Mennonites have supported the agenda of the contemplative spirituality and emerging church movements to teach and influence their children. Mennonites have even shown their support of Brian McLaren’s agenda to shape their entire families. In 2012, an announcement by MennoMedia Staff appeared on the Mennonite Church Canada website called Brian McLaren headlines Shaping Families line-up in December.[1] Shaping Families was a radio broadcast for three years but now remains as a faith-based resource website. Linked with Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite church Canada and Mennoninte Missions Network, it continues to offer various interviews that Third Way Media/MennoMedia produced in the last number of years. At Shaping Families, Brian McLaren remains as a family shaper on one of their resource pages.[2]

Since 2012, McLaren has been working very hard on his plan of re-imaging church curriculum. His new book, a retelling of the biblical story, will be released next month…

We Make the Road by Walking
A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Actiivation
On Sale Date: 06/10/2014

From critically acclaimed author Brian McLaren comes a brilliant retelling of the biblical story and a thrilling reintroduction to Christian faith.

This book offers everything you need to explore what a difference an honest, living, growing faith can make in our world today. It also puts tools in your hands to create a life-changing learning community in any home, restaurant, or other welcoming space.

The fifty-two (plus a few) weekly readings can each be read aloud in 10-12 minutes, and offer a simple curriculum of insightful reflections and transformative practices. Organized around the traditional church year, these readings give an overview of the whole Bible and guide an individual or a group of friends through a year of rich study, interactive learning, and personal growth.

Perfect for home churches, congregations, classes, or individual study…

http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/brian-d-mclaren/we-make-the-road-by-walking/9781455514007/

We Make the Road by Walking is praised by Phyllis Tickle, Rachel Held Evans, Rob Bell, and Tony Jones.

McLaren describes his new book on a series of walking youtube clips…

“an overview of the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation and a fresh re-orientation to the Christian faith…”

___
“I grew up going to church…”

___
“…even whole churches could use it as a kind of year long curriculum…”

___
“None of our religions are finished…”

___

The new church curriculum has been re-imagined, the Bible is being retold… let the undiscerning allow it to be introduced to their churches. The question is: will there be a children/youth version to follow, as promised? Will the Mennonites who find McLaren’s winds of doctrine very refreshing[3] allow more of his teachings to blow into their teaching establishments?

These are perilous times. Watchmen on the wall! Where art thou?

Endnotes:

[1] November 29, 2012, Mennonite Church Canada/MennoMedia http://news.mennonitechurch.ca/brian-mcLaren-shaping-families
[2] http://www.shapingfamilies.com/2012/12/1/Program/Brian+McLaren+on+Faith
[3] https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/cmu-student-found-refreshing-winds-very-cool/

Related:

Mennonites Teaching Contemplative Spirituality to Children https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/mennonites-teaching-contemplative-spirituality-to-children/

Muddy Emerging Convergence in Sunday School Curriculum http://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/muddy-emerging-convergence-in-sunday-school-curriculum