My one pastor who does understand the dangers of the emergent church in our old church has noted my use of lighthouse trails and other websites, and says to be careful. He says Rick Warren is not in the same “boat” so to speak as people like Pagitt, Bell, McLaren and the like. Making such connections because one person speaks at a conference, writes on a book jacket, etc. seems flimsy to some. I agree. Two speakers at one conference may not be related, one may be completely emergent while the other is completley orthodox and on message as a Christian. However, if you look at the goals of the conference, then the connections are messy. If the goals of the conference are emergent style goals, then the speaker who appears not to be emergent just may be so. If the person positively quotes emergent types…is there a problem? If they recommend a book, is that enough to make it a problem? What if a person comes out and says they are not into the emergent stuff, and yet they have all the connections in the world? Are we to just take them at their word?
Lighthouse trails does show connections. Book jackets, the backs of books, acknowledgements, conference speakers, quotes on web sites, book recommendations, speakers who show up at a church or college, and many more things are shown to prove contemplative or new age beliefs are seeping in. If Fred is considered on the bad side of things, and there is a middle person who is clearly linked to Fred (we’ll call him Clyde)…and then Clyde is the influence of Ralph…is Ralph connected to Fred? Let’s say most people recognize that Fred is taking great liberties with the Bible, and is actually throwing it out or twisting it in a way most Christians would cringe at. Now Clyde, Clyde recommends Fred’s books in his own books. They have meetings together often. They speak at the same conferences. Clyde is less objectionable than Fred at first listen. Then there is Ralph. Ralph has meetings with Clyde but never Fred. Clyde acknowledges Ralph in his books, and others who like Ralph too. Clyde, Ralph, and a few others who like Ralph speak at a conference together. Clyde comes to Ralph’s church and trains people there. Is this enough of a connection to Fred to say Ralph has some issues because he’s connected to Fred even though it’s through someone else?
I have to admit, I tend to believe that following connections and people we recommend for reading is important. I also think if the conference theme is obviously questionable, then speaking at the conference suggests approval unless a person actually takes a strong stand at such conference and speaks against the theological problems presented there… Oh, I’m rambling and not sure if this post makes sense….but maybe you see my thinking here?