The Emerging Conversation: Getting Past the Bull

Recently I attended a debate about the Emergent Church Movement featuring Brian McLaren (taking the side of the Emergent Movement) and Bryan Holland (offering a critique of the movement). This debate took place in Malone College in Canton, Ohio.

When the debate started, McLaren started off by saying that the Emergent movement was not a movement at all, but instead a conversation. He then went on to say that he was not a Leader or Spokesman, but instead a man that is only a partaker in the conversation. I am honestly surprised that anyone would even believe that he is just a humble conversationalist. Let’s just take a look at how the dictionary defines a leader, so that I might make my case.


a person or thing that leads.

a guiding or directing head, as of an army, movement, or political group.

Ok, so keeping that in mind, I want to note that McLaren is an accomplished writer. He has wrote a multitude of books, that I’m going to show here.

Finding Our Way Again
Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crisis, and a Revolution of Hope
The Voice of Luke
The Voice of Acts: The Dust Off Their Feet
The Secret Message of Jesus
A Generous Orthodoxy
The Last Word and the Word After That.
A New Kind of Christian
The Story We Find Ourselves In
Church in Emerging Culture; Five Perspectives
Adventures in Missing the Point
A is For Abductive
More Ready Than You Realize
Finding Faith: A Search For What Makes Sense
A Search for What is Real: Finding Faith
Finding Faith

-All of these titles were taken from

So if you count all of those titles, there is a total of 16. Now I don’t have a problem with someone writing a bunch of books. What I do have a problem is when someone writes books on how Everything Must Change and Finding faith and yet claims that he is not leading anyone. The definition talks about a guiding or directing hand as a leader. The fact is that, despite how much McLaren denies it, he is not only advocating a way of thought he is leading and guiding them.


The truth is though, that I wouldn’t have any problem accepting him as a leader. There was something I noticed, however, while watching him that I could just not dismiss. Throughout his whole argument, I heard absolutely no use of scripture to back up the points he was trying to make. Let me show you a picture of why this is such a big deal.

2 Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness

If he isn’t using the Lord’s scripture to make his points, then I am afraid that this man isn’t following God’s leadership, and instead following his own path. Christ asks that you are to follow him and his leadership. If you aren’t under the lords leadership and following his path, it will lead to destruction.

Matthew 4:19-20

19And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

Matthew 7:13-14

13“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.


Whenever the Israelites forsook God and decided to follow their own path, they would be pillaged and plundered because of it.  This was illustrated in the cycle of harlotry in Judges.

Judges 2:16-22

16Then the LORD raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them. 17Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them. They turned aside quickly from the way in which their fathers had walked in obeying the commandments of the LORD; they did not do as their fathers. 18When the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them. 19But it came about when the judge died, that they would turn back and act more corruptly than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them and bow down to them; they did not abandon their practices or their stubborn ways. 20So the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He said, “Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers and has not listened to My voice, 21I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, 22in order to test Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk in it as their fathers did, or not.”

If McLaren,his fellow Emergent Conversationalists, and whoever chooses to follow their leadership continue down this path, of not following the Lord and his leadership, it will only lead to destruction. I don’t want that to happen, and I can only pray that God opens McLaren’s eyes to the problems of his philosophy and that he will repent, so that he won’t lead anymore people down this path.

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