This is Part 6 of a blog post asking the question: IS THE GRACE BRETHREN STATEMENT OF FAITH COMPATIBLE WITH EMERGENT THEOLOGY?
What We Believe About Salvation:
5. MAN. … The necessity of the new birth for his salvation (John 3:35).
When McLaren says he endeavors to see people become “disciples” while remaining in their Hindu and Buddhist contexts as “followers of Jesus”(1), that is problematic to me. He questions major aspects of the gospel (2) There is a push to affirm truth in all religions and the glory of God present in all people whether they are saved or not. Leonard Sweet calls this “flickers of the sacred” that might even be in Hindus (3). Merton and Nouwen who are loved by many emergents say similar things. Some emergents, like Doug Pagitt, espouse a universalism of sorts (4)
A recent trend as outlined in some of the essays in An Emergent Manifesto of Hope is that clear teaching and preaching of the gospel is an impure attempt to subjugate people to our belief system in the church (5).
I see no real compatibility in this area.
(1) "I must add, though, that I don't believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts."—Brian McLaren http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/newmissiology.htm
“McLaren says that's why congregations in the "emergent church" movement focus more on social action than trying to convert people to Christianity.
McLaren says that if people are "happy being Muslim, or Buddhist or Jewish or atheist," he doesn't think it's right to try to "shoe-horn them out of their religion" into Christianity.” http://www.thepath.fm/news/newsitem.cfm?id=24885
(3) http://www.letusreason.org/Popteac23.htm and read his online book Quantum Spirituality at www.leonardsweet.com