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.”


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



[2] The Mennonite blog article has a link to the Mesa Document entitled Mesa Friends in Pattaya, Thailand (31 October 2013)
[3] Rob Bell and Oprah Wrap Up New Age Tour—EQUALLY YOKED


Brian McLaren and a New Era of Bible Reading

Brian McLaren’s Platform at Menno Weekly

MB Herald Promotes Brian McLaren

MB Herald calls A New Kind of Christianity “a book on freedom”

The Morphing of the Emergent Movement: Can You See It Now


MCC and the Emerging Social Gospel

Last Saturday on November 2, Westside King’s Church in Calgary hosted Survival of the Weakest. Keynote speakers included Ron Sider (pioneer of the evangelical left), Shane Claiborne (new monastic Red Letter Christian), and various representatives from the Mennonite Central Committee, who came together to ‘discuss and examine God’s mission to renew all things’.

“Survival of the Weakest will create an environment to expose the systemic dysfunction that has co-opted the Church’s engagement in issues of freedom, peacemaking and spiritual formation…”

– Calgary 2013, Survival of the Weakest

Survival of the Weakest is a project of a group called Epiphaneia Network. Many of the speakers at past Epiphaneia projects have been essential names in the emerging church and contemplative spirituality momement. These include Brian McLaren, Chris Seay, Donald Miller, Jim Wallis[1], Brennan Manning, Leonard Sweet, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove[2], and Rachel Held Evans, to name a few.[3] Contributors to their recent project, called Letters to a Future Church, also include emerging left contributors.[4]

To find the Mennonite Central Committee with Claiborne and Sider at Epiphaneia is not surprising. (Read Carl Teichrib’s research on the MCC at

Ron Sider[5] is considered to be one of the leaders of the Christian left that emphasizes social justice over the preaching of the gospel to save souls (such as Jim Wallis, Shane Claiborne, and Tony Campolo).[6] One of many examples include a recent warning by a network of evangelical leaders about global warming titled, “Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action.” Some of the signatories included Brian McLaren, Ron Sider, Jim Wallis, and Rick Warren.[7]

New monastic activist Shane Claiborne has often found an audience with the Mennonites. Just a few weeks ago he spoke at Canadian Mennonite University’s Peace-It-Together youth conference (October 18-20).[8] Claiborne’s controversial beliefs place him among “socialist, or “progressive,” Christians who advocate deeds and actions that they believe will achieve justice and peace upon the earth.”[9]

Once again we see that peace loving Mennonites are found on the same page with emerging, new monastic, progressive socialist leftist Christians. The contemplative element only helps to give a form of religious spirituality to this false gospel that is being delivered by false teachers. This new kind of Christianity may sound peaceful, but it is spiritually dangerous.


[1] Jim Wallis and Shane Claiborne are Red Letter Christians. See:
What are Red-Letter Christians?
Repost: Sojourners Founder Jim Wallis’ Revolutionary Anti-Christian “Gospel” (and Will Christian Leaders Stand with Wallis)
Jim Wallis
[2] Wilson-Hartgrove is a leader in the new monasticism movement:
Also see:
[3] See list:
[4] See book:
Watch clip:
[6] See: A Generation Adrift (Part 2), TA McMahon
[7] A Call to Repentance
[8] Shane Claiborne & Mennonites, Again
Nine Churches Say “No” to Shane Claiborne at US Mennonite Brethren Youth Conference“no”-to-shane-claiborne-at-us-mennonite-brethren-youth-conference/
[9] Jim Wallis, Shane Claiborne and Progressive Christianity

Shane Claiborne & Mennonites, Again

Shane Claiborne and social justice is coming to Canadian Mennonite University.

Ordinary radical preaches Jesus and justice
Shane Claiborne set to address annual Peace-It-Together youth conference

By Aaron Epp | Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WINNIPEG, MB—How can Christians view their faith in a way that engages the world, addresses injustice and makes God’s love manifest?

That’s a question Shane Claiborne is interested in exploring when he speaks at Canadian Mennonite University next month. The activist and author will speak at the university’s Peace-It-Together youth conference October 18-20.

Claiborne spoke to ChristianWeek by phone from his home at The Simple Way—a community he helped start in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighbourhood. It focuses on loving God, loving its neighbours, living simply and making a difference in the area through a variety of different initiatives.

Claiborne points to a quotation from the Presbyterian writer and theologian Frederick Buechner: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

More here:

To understand why this is a concern, read the following:

Jim Wallis, Shane Claiborne and Progressive Christianity

[To find previous posts on this blog about Shane Claiborne and the Mennonites, type his name into the search box in the upper left hand corner.]

Nine Churches Say “No” to Shane Claiborne at US Mennonite Brethren Youth Conference

Nine Churches Say “No” to Shane Claiborne at US Mennonite Brethren Youth Conference

Earlier this year the “Christian Leader” magazine covered the Shane Claiborne controversy. This post serves to clarify some of the issues of concern. – Administrator

Shane Claiborne is a sincere, “ordinary radical” committed to achieving justice for the poor. He has devoted his life to this end. For him, loving Jesus and loving the poor go hand-in-hand. The sincerity and seriousness with which he pursues this is admirable in many ways. Yet nine Mennonite Brethren churches kept their youth home from the US Youth Conference last Easter because he was the keynote speaker. Why would these churches question the decision of setting him up as an example and teacher for our youth? His influence goes beyond what he would say at the conference through his books, website, and public appearances.

Continue reading this article HERE at The Mennonite Brethren Network.


Claiborne’s next stop – Emerging Festival (UPDATED)

MB youth hear controversial Claiborne – UPDATED

Jim Wallis, Shane Claiborne and Progressive Christianity

Shane Claiborne’s Common Prayer

The NCR Sheds More Light on the Mennonite Brethren’s 2011 Youth Convention Speaker, Shane Claiborne

MB Herald Spotlights Claiborne’s Socialist Propaganda

McLaren’s Bible Interpretation promoted by Menno Weekly

“Scripture is something God had ‘let be,’ and so it is at once God’s creation and the creation of the dozens of people and communities and cultures who produced it” -Brian McLaren, p. 162 Generous Orthodoxy, Following Jesus Christ without the Bible

In their slide into further apostasy, Menno Weekly’s most recent blog posting encourages readers to watch a video from author Brian McLaren, Anabaptist empathizer and blogger for Menno Weekly. In this video, because McLaren believes that scripture is just the creation of man, he has the audacity to say that “Maybe what we should do is to get Jesus to edit the Lord’s prayer … to sound more like the way we think.”

Video: McLaren on heaven, hell and the kingdom of God

What McLaren is promoting here is the social gospel of this world, not the gospel of the Kingdom of our Lord. The problem with this theory is that even non-believers would agree with what is said in this video. This is what happens when men change God’s Word to mean what they think it should mean. Brian McLaren has said that Everything Must Change, and he has certainly been busy making that change come about. Too bad some Mennonites are encouraging his personal interpretation of the words of Jesus, because in doing so, they may also be partnering with Lucifer.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost. 1 Peter 1: 20,21


Treason in the Church: Trading Truth for a “Social Gospel”

Lessen focus on eternity, McLaren says at Willow Creek student ministries conference

Brian McLaren’s Platform at Menno Weekly

Lucifer Emerging (Updated)

McLaren’s ‘Refreshing Winds’


Brian McLaren Leads Commitment Ceremony At Son’s Same-Sex Wedding

McLaren family wedding ceremony included “traditional Christian elements.”

Claiborne’s next stop – Emerging Festival (UPDATED)

Two weeks from now, Shane Claiborne will be meeting up with old friends Brian McLaren, Richard Rohr, Phyllis Tickle and Tony Campolo, where they will all be speakers at the Wild Goose Festival. (See Wild Goose Festival’s Emerging Spirituality.) Watch the promotional:

Wild Goose Festival – June 23 – 26, 2011 – Shakori Hills Farm, NC

= = =

*Claiborne recently spoke to the Mennonite Brethren youth, as seen in the latest MB Herald report here:

Contentious convention charges up youth

*Read more about Claiborne’s appearance at the MB youth convention here:

MB Youth hear controversial Claiborne – UPDATED

*Read more on the Claiborne/McLaren/Rohr/Campolo connection here:

The NCR Sheds More Light on the Mennonite Brethren’s 2011 Youth Convention Speaker, Shane Claiborne

*Also related is this Eastern Mennonite University 2008 Podcast:

Shane Claiborne – Sustainability God’s Way

Shane Claiborne of The Simple Way speaks on “Sustainability God’s Way: Earth Care, People Care.”This service is part of a chapel series focused on the theme of sustainability – part of a year-long emphasis on creation care at EMU.

*More on the connection Mennonites have with the Wild Goose Festival here:

Naked Emperors, Undead Christians, & Seedling Signs

And here:

Wild Goose Chasers (***NEW!!!)




Outreach Report 6-23-2011: The Wild Goose Chase
[HT: Apprising Ministries]

A broader church
Fun in the woods with gay, tattooed and generally liberal folk


Mennonites and Shane Claiborne – Conscientious Tax-Cheat

Mennonites may be interested in the following article about new monastic Shane Claiborne, who was scheduled to be the keynote speaker for the 2011 National Youth Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Churches this April 16-19.

Conscientious Tax-Cheats
by Mark Tooley, President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy
April 15, 2011

Self-professed “urban monastic” Evangelical Leftist Shane Claiborne has publicly announced his withholding 30 percent of his taxes to protest all U.S. defense spending. A strict pacifist who was in Baghdad in 2003 to protest the U.S. liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein, Claiborne is an icon for young evangelicals opposed to the American “empire.”

“While I am glad to contribute money to the common good and towards things that promote life and dignity, especially for the poor and most vulnerable people among us, I am deeply concerned that 30 percent of the federal budget goes towards military spending, with 117 billion going to support the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” he explained in his recent letter to the IRS….

More here:

Mark Tooley concludes that most Americans of faith are far more sensible and responsible than Evangelical Leftists like Claiborne. This is why Mennonites should be very concerned that he was allowed to speak at the youth conference last week and influence this generation with his innocent sounding social gospel propaganda.


*Related Menno-lite posts on Shane Claiborne:

Jim Wallis, Shane Claiborne and Progressive Christianity

MB Herald promotes Ecumenism, New Monasticism

Youth convention speaker raises eyebrows

The NCR Sheds More Light on the Mennonite Brethren’s 2011 Youth Convention Speaker, Shane Claiborne

MB leaders respond to concerns about conference speaker

Shane Claiborne will be the keynote speaker for the 2011 National Youth Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Churches

MB Herald Spotlights Claiborne’s Socialist Propaganda

Shane Claiborne’s Common Prayer


An Ecumenical Evening With Shane Claiborne, Theme Speaker at Annual Meeting