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By Paul Proctor

April 4, 2007

In a rather unsettling new article entitled, Influential Baptist Layman Challenges Emerging Church, Christian Post reporter, Audrey Barrick, greets readers with this stunning little announcement:

An influential Baptist in Missouri believes the Emerging Church movement is one of the most dangerous and deceptive movements infiltrating Southern life and he's out to stop it. Roger Moran, a member of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, is a conservative layman at First Baptist Church in Troy, Mo. But he's also considered the most powerful Baptist in the state, St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper reported Monday.

In the article, Barrick goes on to say:

Moran's driving concern is the rise of the emerging church and its threat to the future of the Baptist church in Missouri and across the nation.

"Not since the stealth tactics of the CBF (Cooperative Baptist Fellowship - a group of more moderate Baptists which left the SBC) have we seen a movement operate so successfully below the radar of rank and file Southern Baptists," said Moran at an SBC Executive Committee meeting earlier this year.

She continues with a warning from Moran:

"In my home state, the Missouri Baptist Convention is on the brink of a near civil war - and at the heart of our struggle has been the blatant dishonesty of those who are determined that Missouri Baptists will embrace this new postmodern approach to ministry…"

Now, I don't know what all troubles brother Moran about the Emerging Church - and though I am extremely pleased to finally see someone's objections to the EC make it to the pages of a widely read publication like The Christian Post, I am troubled that the more unchristian aspects of the movement were curiously overlooked by the reporter. Though I share Moran's stated objections, which were clearly cited in the piece, one would think, after reading it, that the practice of speaking in tongues, playing R-rated movies and serving alcohol during services, were the only concerns.

Since other Christian denominations have for some time, utilized all three of these things in one way or another as part of their worship, wouldn't this reduce what might otherwise have been considered Christian concerns into merely Baptist concerns - at least in the eyes of the average non-Baptist churchgoer, thereby silencing the alarm, so to speak, as to the more pressing dangers of the EC, until the story is remembered as little more than a silly account of another agitated old fogy crying "wolf" over denominational differences and worship styles? And, wouldn't that insure that those who recall the article might never be interested in hearing the subject addressed again, having already made up their minds that the controversy is largely nonsense?

Somehow, I kind of doubt this was Moran's intent or doing. I might be wrong, but I would be more inclined to place the blame for this little oversight elsewhere, if you'd care to call it that - maybe at the feet of the writer, editor or publisher of the piece.

In my view, the conspicuous absence of the real Emergent threat to the Church makes this Christian Post article as dangerous as the movement itself because it dialectically distracts those who are not yet familiar with it from truly understanding the spiritual peril it poses to Southern Baptists and protestant Christianity in general - thereby undermining any opportunity for scriptural rebuke, correction, conviction and repentance - effectively neutralizing the opposition. I seriously doubt there are many Southern Baptists reading this commentary right now that haven't seen an R-rated movie or know at least one brother or sister in Christ (and probably several) who, though they be in leadership positions, not only speak in tongues but probably consume alcohol outside of church on a regular basis. So, just how shall we rally them and those they lead into rebuking the Emerging Church when the Christian Post suggests, by way of its incomplete information, that Emergents are simply doing in church what many Southern Baptists have been doing elsewhere all along?

That renders the CP article little more than an SBC invitation to hypocrisy, does it not? And, only a fool would grab the ears of that snapping dog.

The end result? - More SBC compromise, complicity and capitulation toward the new global spirituality of "whatever it takes" and "whatever works" - all while the Emergent church marches on in unaccountable rebellion against God and His Word.

If this isn't a Trojan horse, then I don't know what is.

You see, not a single word was written in the article about the overtly pagan practices, mystical beliefs and outright rejection of absolute truth that distinguishes the Emergent Church from the Southern Baptist Convention and most other mainline Christian denominations. The words "spiritual formation," "contemplative," "centering prayer," "breath prayer," "Labyrinth" and "lectio divina" were nonexistent in the piece. Neither was anything said about how the mind-emptying mantras of the Emergent Church are designed to lead their practitioners into an altered state of consciousness, called "The Silence" where voices and visions are the order of the day. Not once were its similarities to Hinduism, Buddhism, the occult and New Age ever even suggested. Worst of all, there was absolutely no warning whatsoever given to readers that such practices can result in demonic influence and the deification of self.

As far as I'm concerned, this Christian Post article is just one more example of the controlled opposition at work in the Church today. Frankly, I wish they'd just go ahead and change the name of their publication to The Post Christian because it would certainly be more representative of our time. Instead of alerting and informing the Body of Christ in a thorough and responsible manner about the Emerging Church movement, propaganda pieces like this only disengage, dissuade and discourage the brethren from the spiritual battle we are called to by turning their ignorance, apathy and iniquity against them until they run for the tall grass in search of fig leaves rather than courageously standing and calling for repentance in obedience to God's Word.

And you know what? It's working - because this Emergent leaven is everywhere in Southern Baptist life today and almost no one in SBC leadership and authority that I know of is resisting it - at least not publicly.

In fact, by and large, today's church welcomes it and celebrates it because it puts butts in the seats and makes participants feel culturally relevant, spiritually savvy and tingly all over - today's measure of success.

To them, I suppose that's worth a civil war.

"These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." - Proverbs 6:16-19