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Monday, December 03, 2007



Yesterday I decided to see for myself what one of these "emergent churches" - Saddleback Church - was like. I didn't think I could be shocked. I was. The operation is utterly diabolical and therefore tragic.
I could say much more about what I saw and heard, but I'll only report that of seven speakers, two were homosexual activists (one of them being a founder of ACTUP). The crowd didn't seem to mind. I don't understand how this particular church is considered conservative. What I saw was complete anarchy.

Ed Peters

Jackson, you've BBEN to Saddleback? God bless you.

pilgrim kate

Is Saddleback church considered one of the 'emergent' churches? I thought it was one of the original
'megachurches' which haven't usually been seen as part of the admittedly amorphous 'emergent' movement.


Yes Ed, I've been meaning to go and see for myself for some time now, so that if I argue with people and they say, "Have you even been there??" I can now say yes. It was utterly appalling and depressing, much more than expected. I went to both the rock concert service and the hula dance service, as described here:

Kate, I think Saddleback is considered one of these "emergent" or "emerging" churches because of its rejection of tradition, gospel of self-actualization, prosperity, virtual wholesale rejection of theology, etc. etc. Search around on youtube for material on "the emergent church." Most of it is critique by Protestants, but you'll get the point. I've been looking for a Catholic take on this diabolical nonsense, but I can't find anything.


I might give a few more random observations.

As I pulled in I saw several Disneyland-type trams roving around the parking lots. Most symbolic.

A man came on stage and told the story of how hard it was to come out as a homosexual. He's now a pastor (having studied at the Moody Bible Institute) in a church affiliated with the Saddleback "Purpose-driven" network. The point of the story was, of course, self-acceptance. Its climax was this:

"I finally realized that I have a heavenly father that loves and accepts me just the way I am."

Then Rick Warren took the stage and commanded:

"Turn to someone and say, 'Only you can be you.'"

As I said before, yet another speaker was a founder of ACTUP.

Another Warren quote:

"God doesn't want you to be anybody else but you."

During a slide presentation, Pastor Rick displayed and spoke of this slide:

"My purpose is to
-Bring & Go!"

That's exactly as written.

Another Pastor Rick gem:

"Every time you worry, this means God is not at the center of your life."

I couldn't help thinking: "Then Mary really blew it at Cana."

Is your taste for the cafe environment? Then during the service you can sit at the Cafe Terrace and eat pastries and drink coffee while watching the circus on multiple t.v. screens.

Everywhere you walk on the huge "campus" (this is what they call it, words such as "church," "cross," and "sin" being studiously avoided), you hear the service. Speakers are everywhere. T.V. screens are everywhere.

Everything is fragmented, tailored to individual tastes, entirely consumerized. Theological content is virtually nil. Theirs is a Christ who demands little more than that you be comfortable and tapped into your "purpose" at all times. The mixture of lies and truth is - like the fragmentation - utterly diabolical. E.g., Warren spoke of the importance of character. Yes, Rick, we know character formation is crucial, but how can it be built without any consciousness of sin?

Some more things I wrote on my notepad (I posed as a journalist to avoid having to say things like, "Only you can be you."):

-"It would be very easy to feel superior, above this.
And it would be easy to dismiss it as just a farce. In fact it's an unmitigated tragedy! - and I've escaped it only by the grace of God."

This last part is definitely true. I spent much of my youth in Lake Forest, Saddleback's location.

-"THIS is the wide road. Total conformity to the world."

-"2 Tim. 4:3-4"

See for yourself if you ever get the chance. I guarantee it'll be more shocking than you imagine.


So basically these "emerging" churches are churches that refuse to hold fast to any sort of rules based in tradition(or the Bible). In other words, they just conform to fit what the people "want" or "feel like" at the moment.


That was my impression, Susan. Totally consumerized.

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