Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Erwin the Barbarian

The 2009 edition of the Christian Youth event known as Break Forth (I think "Break Wind" would be a better name) will take place in Edmonton, Alberta from January 30-February 1 (go here for further information). Among the scheduled speakers are William P. Young, author of The Shack, and Erwin McManus, author of several books, including The Barbarian Way.

Youth ministries in evangelical churches (including my own) have been promoting The Barbarian Way for a couple of years, so I decided to read the book, and I didn’t like what I read. I don’t think Mr. McManus handles the scriptures well; for instance, he takes prophetic passages from Ezekiel 36 and Joel 2 which refer to the nation of Israel and tries to apply them to the church. Also, any instance of obedience to God in the scriptures is interpreted by Mr. McManus as being an example of the "barbarian" way.

Mr. McManus tells us to "fight for the heart of your king" by using an incident from Scottish history. I can’t find anywhere in the New Testament where Christians (excuse me--"Christ followers") are told to do that. We are told to earnestly contend for the faith, which is just what Mr. McManus & co. refuse to do. And Mr. McManus’s exhortation to become "mystic warriors" smacks to me of Roman Catholicism; I predict that Mr. McManus will proceed further in this direction in the coming years. I haven’t read Soul Craving, but apparently, he already is doing that.

The Christians whom Mr. McManus scorns as "civilized" or "domesticated" strike me as merely being "mature." Mr. McManus would prefer to have "Christ followers" remain "raw" and "untamed," i.e., immature. Contrast that with New Testament passages such as Eph. 4:13, Phil. 3:14, Heb. 5:14 and 6:1, and James 1:4, which exhort us to become mature.

The anecdotes that Mr. McManus tells about letting his 11-year-old daughter drive an ATV, and encouraging his 12-year-old son to jump off the roof reveal him to be a very irresponsible father (Mr. McManus admits that he won’t be invited to any parenting conference).

This "barbarian" movement has just started to come into the church in the last couple of years; let’s wait 5-10-20-25 years to see the results. I wasn’t even halfway through this short book (long before I got to the part where Mr. McManus says we should be like the rhinoceros) before I was concluding that this movement will produce a lot of carnage and destruction. When it does, you can be sure that it will be the "civilized" and "domesticated" Christians who will be left to clean up the mess--if we haven’t left our churches by then.

If the accusations of Mosaic alumnus Ruben Aguilar are accurate, there has already been a fair amount of carnage at Mr. McManus’s own church (links to Mr. Aguilar’s sites are provided below).

Go here for an earlier review by Gary Gilley of The Barbarian Way. For Ruben Aguilar’s review, go here.

Mr. Aguilar’s sites on Mosaic Church can be found here (Note: the links to Apprising Ministries that appear on this site are outdated. Go here instead); here; and here. This site contains reviews of all of Erwin McManus’s books. Another blog of interest is Solid Foods.

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Jephson,

    Thanks for the link!

    Yvonne W.
    (Solid Foods Blogspot)