I have great concern for what I have seen of the emerging church and their elevation of emotion and demotion of doctrine. To be fair, emergent is a broad blanket, and no two emergent figureheads are the same. One spearhead of the movement, Brian McLaren, I have been disturbed to read, and more disturbed by the number of peers who admire him and think him a great theologian. My uneasiness grows as I have delved into A Generous Orthodoxy, in which McLaren skirts his position on key issues such as Hell.
McLaren, from what I gathered, sees his views on Hell and on salvation -when asked if he is a universalist, exclusivist, or inclusivist- as nonimportant to being a missional Christian. Expounding his position, he argues that debating about views of Hell (are many, few or none going to Hell) is comparable to seeing a sign for three cities in Florida, when all along he is supposed to be in Los Angeles, he is far off from his goal; reason about Hell and salvation?; he just wants to be missional; he wants to be where people are.
This is at best a non-Biblical abstraction, and at worst a dilusion to many thirsty souls, needing some spirituality and drinking the tainted springs welling up from this teaching. This veils a clear Gospel message with obscurity, “… unless you repent, you will likewise perish,” (Luke 13:2); “BEAR fruits in KEEPING with repentance… Every tree therefore that does not bear GOOD fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire,” (Luke 3:8-9); “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrows and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few,” (Matt 7:13-14); “Now the works for the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God,” (Galatians 5:19-21); et al.
In stark contrast to this teacher’s diversion on the subject of Hell, I refer the reader to William Carey, a missionary to India who spent seven years without a convert; he wrote as the treatise for his mission “An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians, to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens.” His thesis did not divorce the reality of heathens going to Hell from his call to be missional; it fueled it. Eternity weighed more on his heart than the breath of mortality. May it do so for us and may we learn to engage the proponents and those immersed in these thoughts with kindness, “able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correction [our] oponents with gentleness. GOD may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will” (II Timothy 2:24-26).