"Somethingism": The 'New" Liberal Christianity

Peter Jonestruthxchange.com

In once very Christian Holland, a “new” kind of Christianity has appeared, called “Something-ism.” A theologian in Amsterdam, says: “There must be ‘something’ between heaven and earth, but to call it ‘God’, for the majority of Dutch is a bridge too far.” A pastor of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, states that “God does not exist at all as a supernatural thing. God is…a word for human experience.” A better expression of pagan One-ism you could not find!

This pastor goes on to explain that Jesus is a man, “living out of the spirit of God he found inside himself.” This “new” Christianity “takes God out of the box” of doctrine and redefines the Faith as inner feelings and outer social action.

Though theological liberals present their latest view as “new,” it is the same old option of the worship of creation rather than the Creator. The priceless Gospel of Two-ism is under attack, just as it always has been.

Harvey Cox, a Harvard liberal theologian, in his book The Future of Faith (2009), contains a scandalously false reconstruction of “Christian” theology, to demonstrate “new” theological development. He divides church history into three parts: the Age of Faith (Jesus and his immediate disciples, with no doctrine or creeds); the Age of Belief (4th century till now, with creeds about Jesus); and the Age of the Spirit (the present). Conveniently, this third age is very similar to the first! He affirms: “Just as creeds did not exist in the first Age of Faith, so they are [fortunately] fading in importance now.” According to Cox, it is “important to eliminate the spurious use of ‘belief’ to define Christianity,” because “the spirit is moving in other religions too,” and we must learn to “appreciate the dazzling array of myths, rituals and stories in other religions.” He anticipates a future where “a religion based on subscribing to mandatory beliefs is no longer viable, [which is] a perversion you do not see in Buddhism or Hinduism, where there is no equivalent of the Nicene creed.”

The superficial character of this analysis is mind-boggling. Clearly there are creeds in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 15:3-11; Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 1:13-20; 1 Timothy 1:15; 2:5-6; 3:16). The Gospel is a “credo” because it is the account of God’s saving action “for us.” Of course there is no Nicene Creed in Buddhism and Hinduism because there is no transcendent God and no unique act of God, from the outside, to save us.

Buddhists and Hindus—and Cox—find “god” within, in a purely One-ist occultic experience. Here is the proof: In describing the present age as “an inexorable movement of the human spirit whose hour has come,” Cox plays his hand. The spirit of which he speaks is faith in “the human spirit.” “God” is merely the event of faith in human action.

Cox is fooling many. Of this book Richard Mouw, President of Fuller Theological Seminary, says: “Insightful, provocative, and inspiring—I even found myself uttering a hearty evangelical ‘Amen!’” Little wonder other, less sophisticated evangelicals are saying amen, preferring “deeds to creeds.” Many Millennial Christians, taught to embrace multicultural diversity, believe that being a follower of Jesus Christ is “not about defending some statement from a church creed or theology; it is about testifying to our relationship with Christ through a life of sacrificial love for all people.” Faith in experience and social action becomes the “new” Christianity.

Lest we think that Cox is one lone voice, here are others in the multitude, teaching this One-ist theology:

Rachel Held Evans, a successful evangelical author, declares that to reduce God’s revelation to some creed or systematic theology to which everyone is required to give assent in order to be a Christian, is to “underestimate the scope and power of God’s activity in the world.”

Sally Morganthaler, an Emergent cohort who has lectured on leadership at many evangelical schools such as Fuller, explores “the convergence of a developmental (evolutionary) view of life and spirituality…towards holism (the both/and).” No room for creeds here, as she searches for One-ist, mystical spirituality.

Pastor Danielle Shroyer at Journey Church (Dallas, TX), states: “I cannot say exactly what we believe except that experience is a higher authority than Scripture. I do not believe the Bible is the Word of God…”

This “spiritual” refusal of creeds and Scripture—our own form of Dutch “Something-ism”—is yet another attempt by the enemy to smash the church like a Japanese tsunami. While these One-ist lies will prove catastrophic to some forms of Millennial Evangelicalism, they can never snuff out the power of the Gospel. We rejoice because the power of God the Creator that raised Jesus from the dead has redeemed us from sin in order that we might live to His praise and glory. “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Is. 59:11

If you would like to learn more about how Two-ism is superior to One-ism in every way and why, in the end, it will conquer the lie, please join us at our annual think tank this coming February in Escondido, CA. This year we will consider “The Beauty of Two”. For more information and an application for this free event, click here.

About the author: Dr. Peter Jones is Director of truthXchange, and Adjunct Professor of New Testament, as well as Scholar in Residence, at Westminster Seminary California. He has written The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back (1992), Spirit Wars (1997), Gospel Truth/Pagan Lies (1999), Capturing the Pagan Mind (2003), Cracking DaVinci's Code (2004, co-author, James Garlow), Stolen Identity (2006) and The God of Sex (2006). Peter Jones is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America, and is married to Rebecca Clowney Jones. They have seven children and twelve grandchildren. For recreation, Dr. Jones enjoys playing jazz piano and golf.