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The Evolution of the Emergent Church

In my last post in this series A Harlot, An Emergent and a Pope Walked into a Bar… we looked at how Ken Wilber’s Integral Consciousness is becoming instrumental in bringing together the Emergent Church and the Mystery religions. The end goal being of course, the creation of the One-World Religion.

When we talk about the Emergent Church we must understand that nothing is by emergentaccident, nor coincidence. Even the terms “Emergent”/ “emergence” /“emerging” have greater significance than we are led to believe.  In this post I would like to examine the use of the word “Emergent/Emergence”.  I would also like to prove it’s atheistic and New Age roots.

Emergent Church leader Doug Pagitt says:

doug pagitt“Five years ago or so when numbers of us started using this phrase “emergent,” there were a number of reasons why we thought this word worked well. The reason I was most excited about it is the use in a forestry term or an agriculture term. Emergent growth is the growth in a forest that is growing below the surface, that if you were to knock away the dead pine needles and leaves and branches, you would see the growth that’s happening there …. So it’s not against, it’s not over in another field, it’s not something that wants to destroy the forest; in fact, it’s going to grow because of the protection of it — the idea that there was this emergent growth that was happening in Christianity, that was protected and that was going to have the chance to survive because of the environment. We wanted to talk about what is the nature of that emergent growth of Christianity in the world…” (source: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/2005/07/08/july-8-2005-doug-pagitt-extended-interview/11764/)

As lovely and organic as that all sounds, “emergent” has a much greater meaning and a wider application than Pagitt acknowledges here.

The term “emergent” was coined by philosopher and skeptic G. H. Lewes, who wrote:

“Every resultant is either a sum or a difference of the co-operant forces; their sum, when their directions are the same — their difference, when their directions are contrary. Further, every resultant is clearly traceable in its components, because these are homogeneous and commensurable. It is otherwise with emergents, when, instead of adding measurable motion to measurable motion, or things of one kind to other individuals of their kind, there is a co-operation of things of unlike kinds. The emergent is unlike its components insofar as these are incommensurable, and it cannot be reduced to their sum or their difference.”

 

To apply this philosophical Theory of Emergence to a religious context: one might say that typically two opposing elements, or religions, such as Christianity and Islam when compared, have differences between the two that are easily detectable and measurable.

However, as Lewes says, it is otherwise with “emergents”. Within the Emergent philosophical framework, the two religions are not compared as two opposing elements but rather become a “co-operation of things of unlike kinds”. And “The emergent is unlike its components insofar as these are incommensurable, and it cannot be reduced to their sum or their difference”. The differences therefore become immeasurable, undetectable as the two opposing elements are merged.

(Sounds a lot to me like the Hegellian Principle…you may remember from Satan’s Tool in the Emergent Church: a “thesis” combined with an “antithesis” makes a “synthesis”.)

Does philosophy have the ability to influence? Is the Emergence Theory of Lewes affecting Christianity?

Well…Berlin will soon be building the world’s first “House of One”, a synagogue, mosque and church all in one:  http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27872551

Lewes’ Emergent Theory underpins the “emerging area of discourse” that is Integral Consciousness.

“..in philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence is central to the theories of integrative levels and of complex systems.” (source: Wikiepdia)

ken wilberKen Wilber’s Integral Consciousness theory seeks to build a new platform of truth and reality. This new platform is created by bringing together a synthesis of the “best of pre-modern, modern, and postmodern reality. It is portrayed as a “theory of everything” and offers an approach “to draw together an already existing number of separate paradigms into an interrelated network of approaches that are mutually enriching.” (source: wikipedia)

As we saw in the last post the Emergent Church is heartily promoting Ken Wilber and his New Age ideas and philosophies.  This is no surprise considering that both Ken Wilber’s Integral Consciousness and the Emergent church are based on Emergent Theory.

An integrative level, or level of organization, is a set of phenomena emerging on pre-existing phenomena of lower level. Typical examples include life emerging on non-living substances, and consciousness emerging on nervous systems….The sequence of levels is often described as one of increasing complexity….” (Corning: Wikipedia, emphasis mine)

 

Doug Pagitt addresses this very topic here:

“But emergence theory also began to be used in this conversation at the same time, and emergence theory has to do with complexity and that which is going to develop out of chaos and complexity — that what we would look at and think is just random actually starts to form patterns to it, and that’s a helpful way to think about this, too, that there seems to be this chaos that’s happening, but if you were to study it long enough you begin to see the patterns…. That’s not a bad way to talk about it as well” (source: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/2005/07/08/july-8-2005-doug-pagitt-extended-interview/11764/)

If Doug Pagitt’s quote sounds alarmingly like the Theory of Evolution it’s because Emergent Theory and Evolutionary Theory go hand in hand.  In fact Emergent Theory was one philosophy that paved the way to Darwinism.

 

“[In] evolutionary processes, causation is iterative; effects are also causes. And this is equally true of the synergistic effects produced by emergent systems. In other words, emergence itself… has been the underlying cause of the evolution of emergent phenomena in biological evolution; it is the synergies produced by organized systems that are the key.” (Corning: wikipedia)

The premise of evolutionary theory is that a higher set of phenomena arises or emerges out of a pre-existing lower level of phenomena.

This is the basis of both Emergent and Integral Consciousness theories. That out of a lower order comes higher order. You know, like apes turning into humans…

SO in summary:

  • Ken Wilber’s Integral Consciousness theory says that humans Altitude handout. Pagesevolve to a higher level of consciousness. (This is standard New Age doctrine.)

“Some see the process of integration as incarnating Christ consciousness, some call it becoming the Divine Human, but perhaps it is most accurate to think of it as a “new normal” for those of us who want to be pioneers and begin to live in a new way, fully connected with our divine potential.

What is clear is that integrating aspects of this higher octave of our being HAS been demonstrated by historical mystics and that we are getting closer to being able to replicate this in a wider way.” Barbara Marx Hubbard, New Ager, occultist (http://theshiftnetwork.com/NextStageOfHumanEvolution)

 

  • Emergent theory says that there is a “co-operation of unlike kinds” and that distinctions and measurable differences between unlike kinds disappear.

 

  • Emergent theory lead to Evolutionary theory.  And Integral Consciousness is based on Evolutionary theory.

 

And the main point of it all:

  • The Emergent church promotes Ken Wilber’s Integral consciousness. Integral Consciousness is the evolution of human consciousness into godhood or divinity; 

 

  • The Emergent church have deliberately called themselves by the name of “emergent” because they see themselves as the next level, the higher level of a “set of phenomena emerging on pre-existing phenomena of lower level” in the “evolution” of Christianity. Christianity as we have known it is outdated, irrelevant, politically incorrect, low-level. But through these “emergents” a new relevant, higher-level of Christianity is evolving. 

 

  • Ultimately this higher-level of Christianity is heading towards “emergence”: the “co-operation of unlike kinds” as consistent with emerging theory. In other words: the creation of a one-world religion.

 

Once again the devil is using human pride to further his plans. Pride in intellect, pride in attaining to “higher levels”, pride in reaching “god-hood.” There is nothing new under the sun…

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil…” Genesis 3:4,5

 

 

Of interest:   Brian McLaren, in collaboration with a New Age yoga teacher, has recently brought out a video series “integrating Naked spirituality, Yoga, Tai Chi and Chi Gong” ( http://brianmclaren.net/archives/get-involved/).