This is Part 3 of a blog post asking the question: IS THE GRACE BRETHREN STATEMENT OF FAITH COMPATIBLE WITH EMERGENT THEOLOGY?
What We Believe About the Triune God:
2. THE ONE TRUE GOD. Existing eternally as three persons the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:22; Matthew 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14).
Ours is a good statement reflecting sound doctrine about the nature of our Holy God. Many emergents believe and teach the Trinity and most aspects of God’s character but many of these concepts are re-worked or mingled with pagan ideas. The result is a “god” who in some cases is not recognizable as the God of the Bible.
Erwin McManus promotes Greg Boyd who is an open theist (1) and beckons us to be co-creators with God in his writings (2) or “Co- (re) creators” as Pagitt suggests (3). What God is this?
Can we connect with Him through unbiblical mystical practices or would the God of Scripture that we uphold detest these practices?
Bell redefines the holiness of God, which messes with our biblical understanding of this important attribute (4). McLaren speaks of an instance in which he himself was interconnected to God and all things in mystical terms described as the ultimate “We” (5). This again smacks of a panentheistic view (6).
Pagitt says: “The idea that there is a necessary distinction of…creation from creator is being reconsidered.” (7). Others like Spencer Burke are embracing panentheism (God is in all things) and doesn’t view God as a person.(8)
Many emergents are pursuing relationship and spirituality through unbiblical teaching and practice.
These are not compatible with the view of God we are referring to in our Statement of Faith.
(1) McManus not only promotes some in the emerging church movement but lends his support of open theist Greg Boyd as well. Here’s an important warning about that by Jim Brown:
“I warned that Erwin McManus, a leader of the Emergent Church movement was headlining “Student Life” events across the U-S. McManus has endorsed a book promoting open theism, a theology which calls into question the sovereignty of God, denies His omniscience, and is gaining a foothold in many “evangelical” seminaries today. That alone, I believe, should concern parents, youth pastors and churches that are sending their teenagers to attend conferences led by the Los Angeles pastor and author.” http://www.apprising.org/archives/2007/08/darwining_down.html
(3) "God also invites us to be re-created and to join the work of God as co-(re)creators." Doug Pagitt Church Re-Imagined, p. 185.
(5) McLaren describes this mystical experience in A Generous Orthodoxy p. 199
(7) Listening To The Beliefs Of Emerging Churches, p. 142.