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Emergent “Post-colonial” Disingenuousness

After Brian McLaren of the “Emergent” brand of neo-evangelicalism was named one of the top 25 most influential Evangelicals in America today by TIME magazine (Feb. 7, 2005), Homiletics Online published an interview with him entitled “A Generous, not Suspicious, Orthodoxy” [http://www.tinyurl.com/c4n99]. In this interview McLaren discusses a new term that he has invented: post-colonial.

“HOMILETICS: So a new kind of Christian is one who transcends these labels?

“McLAREN: I don’t want to use the word “transcend,” as it sounds superior. But a new kind of Christian is someone who doesn’t feel like he or she fits anymore, and feels he or she is moving into something beyond these polarizations. Another word for post modern is post-colonial. Part of what goes along with a colonial approach to Christianity is a very control-oriented approach to things. One way to describe colonialism is that the people of Europe or people of European descent know how things are and the rest of the world needs to conform to their way of thinking.” [emphasis added]

[Note: the invention of new terminologies by post-modern evangelical leaders is often employed in a dialectic manner: 1) A traditional Christian practice or doctrine is described as bad because of any number of reasons, including a good dose of revisionist history; and 2) Therefore, we need to replace this bad practice or orthodoxy with a better method, formula, doctrine, or practice. Out with the big, bad OLD. In with the seductive, generous, broad-way NEW.]

The case was recently made by McLaren, at a Fuller Theological Seminary “book signing” and “conversation” (11/8/05) that there is something wrong with colonial. Colonial, according to McLaren, represents all of the worst aspects of exporting American religion abroad. Therefore, evangelicals need to become post-colonial, whereby Americans stop imposing their westernized Christianity on the Third World. This means American Churches need to sit down in “conversation” with churches and believers in other parts of the world, accept their experiences and versions of Christianity as valid, accept them as equals and learn from them. This means embracing things that on the surface may seem New Age or pagan as valid expressions of the faith. McLaren mentioned examples — some cultures’ view of God include viewing God as “Chief,” “Brother,” “Ancestor,” and a number of others. This type of contextualization (syncretism of Christianity with paganism) is apparently acceptable to McLaren.

So, colonial now refers to American Christianity, which is lumped in with all of the bad aspects of western culture. In fairness, it must be noted that there is much to criticize about American Christianity, and many of its worst aspects are currently being exported overseas via the evangelical media. But McLaren’s inference is that colonial also means anything pertaining to the traditional Gospel of the Bible. McLaren’s solution — post-colonial — represents a syncretism of new gospel theologies and pagan practices.


McLaren’s use of the term post-colonial is disengenuous. The Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan that Rick Warren is implementing in Africa is colonialism. This plan for Africa is all about building an empire, a network — a partnership of church, state (UN and nations) and corporations. As such, it represents a horrible new form of western “colonialism.” In fact, it could be termed “Christian imperialism” because it is being done in the name of “advancing” (in a military sense of the word) the Kingdom of God on Earth.

McLaren’s interconnections with Rick Warren are multitudinous. They were both “projects” of Bob Buford, and were fed the same diet of Peter Druckerisms. Like two sides to a coin, they are both implementing the same global Plan. McLaren is filling the theological niche in his attempts to reach the younger generation with a neo-paganized gospel. Rick Warren is filling the methodological niche by setting up a global church-state-corporate partnership structure.

Rick Warren is exporting (marketing) his purpose-driven brand of American Christianity to the Third World — particularly targeting Africa. He is creating “toolkits” (methodologies) which rely upon the system of accountability (monitoring, databanking and assessing results) promulgated by Peter Drucker. Some of Warren’s global partners have plans to implement a systemic methodology invented by humanist psychologist B. F. Skinner (rewarding the compliant, penalizing the noncompliant). The plan is based on the 3-legged stool concept of Drucker — Corporate (businesses, markeplaces), Church (private sector, charities, foundations) and State (international and national governments, who set the standards for accountability). This Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan is the most massive exportation of western colonialism in history — and it is all being done in the name of building the Kingdom of God on Earth!

How deceptive, then, for McLaren to create the term “post-colonial.” Post-colonial ominously appears to represent a brave new world of “Christian imperialism” that “advances the Kingdom” with a syncretized pagan-gospel in partnership with multi-national corporations and global governance entities.

[For background reading on this commentary, see www.discernment-ministries.org newsletter reports on the Global Day of Prayer, The Second Reformation, and “The Pied Pipers of Purpose.”]

The Truth:

The Emergent, syncretized, neo-pagan gospel soup is best described by the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer:

“While I was in Finland some years ago, A Bible-believing university professor there used the following illustration. A new liberal, he says, is like a shopkeeper who keeps many things under the counter. When the old-fashioned liberal comes in and asks for old-fashioned liberalism, the new liberal reaches under the counter and says, ‘That is just what we have here.’ When the Bible-beliving Christian comes in, the new liberal reaches under the counter and says, ‘That is just what we have here.’ The new theology is able to do this because of its both-and mentality. Opposites can still be mutually true.” (The Church Before the Watching World, p. 125)

For good reading, see Apprising Ministries article “EMERGENT CHURCH: Is There Absolute Truth?” at http://tinyurl.com/avbne

I John 2: 18-26

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.”