A list of quotes from Emergent Church leaders to make you cringe

by Matt Slick
Return to Emerging Church Section

There are a lot of quotes in the emerging church section, but I placed some of the better ones here for quick reference...and a gasp or two.  My comments follow in green.

  1. Jones, Alan
    1. "The other thread of just criticism addresses the suggestion implicit in the cross that Jesus' sacrifice was to appease an angry God.  Penal substitution was the name of this vile doctrine."1
      1. Alan Jones denies essential Christian teaching.  Jesus did offer us a penal substitution, a legal substitution on the cross.  That is, he took our place (Isa. 53:4-6), became sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21), and bore our sins in his body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24).  These scriptures demonstrate penal substitution and Alan Jones denies it.  Since he denies so many other things, such as the virgin birth and the reliability of Scripture, it is no wonder he denies essential Christian theology.
    2. "I see the world through the images of Christianity, which teaches me that I encounter God in everyone I meet regardless of what they believe."2
      1. Is God in a murderer, the rapist, and the thief?  Is God in the atheist, the Muslim terrorist, the serial killer, and the Satanist?  Jones does not think very deeply.  His statement is ludicrous.
      2. God is omnipresent but his "indwelling" is of believers only.
  2. McLaren, Brian
    1. Is Christianity true? a little: "Sit down here next to me in this little restaurant and ask me if Christianity (my version of it, yours, the Pope's, whoever's) is orthodox, meaning true, and here's my honest answer: a little, but not yet.  Assuming by Christianity you mean the Christian understanding of the world and God, Christian opinions on soul, text, and culture... I'd have to say that we probably have a couple of things right, but a lot of things wrong, and even more sprints before is unseen and unimagined."3
      1. Christianity is just a little true?  What?  Which part of Christianity is just a little true?  Is it the Trinity, justification by faith, Jesus' physical resurrection, eternal damnation, eternal salvation, etc.?  Since it is only a little true, perhaps he might like to enlighten us and provide us a list of all the false teachings Christianity has.  McLaren wouldn't last five minutes in a serious debate on this topic.
      2. Please understand that I am not trying to be mean.  It is just that McLaren is wrong.  He contradicts scripture.
    2. Buddhist, Hindu, and Jewish disciples don't have to adhere to Christianity: "I must add, though, that I don't believe making disciples must equal making adherence 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.  This will be hard, you say, and I agree.  But frankly, it's not at all easy to be a follower of Jesus in many "Christian" religious context, either."4
      1. Back the truck up.  Christianity is the religion centered around following Jesus.  Jesus commanded that we come to him (Matt. 11:27).  He commanded that we make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20).  So, logically, it means that to make disciples means that those disciples should adhere to Christianity -- the religion that is based on Christ and his teachings.  Perhaps Brian McLaren could tell us how someone can follow Christ without adhering to Christianity.  Heck, maybe the Buddhist and the Muslim are really following Christ when they are nice to people and go to their temples to meditate on their false gods.
    3. Mystical approach to the Bible: "This mystical/poetic approach takes special pains to remember that the Bible itself contains precious little expository prose."5
      1. Such statements make me wonder if Brian McLaren has read the books of Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude.  There is plenty of non-poetic, non-metrical, non-versed, prose contained within them.
  3. Pagitt, Doug
    1. "Sin is disintegration."  Radio discussion on Faith and Reason, with Matt Slick.
      1. I told Doug that sin was lawlessness according to 1 John 3:4.  He actually said that was wrong.  Sigh.  Scripture is wrong?
    2. "Since the church has been one of the main perpetrators of parental fear-mongering, it's only fair we take up the cause of creating a culture of parenting that is less about what we don't want for our children and more about what we do want."6
      1. What is meant by parental fear mongering?  The Bible teaches us to discipline our children with love.  Are we to have them walk around in church free, causing mayhem, being irresponsible?




  • 1. Jones, Alan, Reimagining Christianity, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, 2005, p. 168.
  • 2. Ibid., p. 64.
  • 3. McLaren, Brian, A Generous Orthodoxy, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004, p. 296, italics in the original.
  • 4. Ibid., p. 260.
  • 5. Ibid., p. 155.
  • 6. Pagitt, Doug and Tony Jones, eds., An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, p. 52.

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.