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The Church Growth Movement's Evolution Into The Emerging Church
Part 4 -  Building On Principles Of Nature: Erwin McManus' Eastern Religion Influences

"Oh house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are like soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers." Isaiah 2:5-6

By Greg DesVoignes

Many of the articles on the old Christian Research Ministries website were the result of people contacting us with concerns about doctrines and similar things that are effecting their lives, churches, or those of friends and family members.  This article is one of these.  It came as a result of a question from a concerned parent about a church called "Mosaic" and the pastor, Erwin McManus.  Up until long after I started research on the CGM, I had not heard of either.

Having researched the Church Growth Movement since the late 1980s, it was several years since the last article was written on this subject in Part 3 - The Rise of Corporate Babylon In The Church.  But back in 2003, the research on Mosaic revealed yet another twist in this extra biblical movement which shows a disturbing trend in the area of false teachings and the acceptance of them.  This article confirms what was said in Part 3 concerning this trend and the result of the CGM integrating non biblical material into the church.

I suggest you read parts 1, 2, and 3 first to give you a background on making the following information a little more enlightening in regard to the trends and development that leads into this article.


The research on Mosaic and McManus included going over a few hundred web sites on the Internet, and from studying Erwin McManus' book, "An Unstoppable Force". This book shows the foundational platform for Mosaic’s philosophy and techniques, as well as McManus’ what may have influenced him, and sources for that foundation. With some exceptions, I did not check his use of scripture in the book.

Erwin McManus considers himself, and is called, a Futurist, cultural architect, creativity expert, consultant, and was a professor at Bethel Theological Seminary.  I would say that he is a well educated person. Mosaic itself is supposed to be a Southern Baptist church with a different twist.

Mosaic’s stated goals and ideals are that of making "radical disciples for Christ". It is McManus’ belief that churches have fallen away from the basics of what the Biblical church should look like and be doing. While some of the goals and other things that McManus says can be taken as true, it is the foundation of which he bases the way to get there and the goals based on that foundation that are of concern.

I would place Mosaic in the category of the CGM and Emerging Church, but with more of an outward profession of the eastern religious ideology of the New Age. McManus’ initial influence for Mosaic came after visiting Bill Hybel’s Willow Creek church and Rick Warren’s Saddleback church1. While McManus disagreed at that time with the approach of both of these Church Growth systems [Corporate styled], he is still associated with them. As examples, he speaks at leadership conferences with them, and Rick Warren wrote the Forward in McManus’ book, "An Unstoppable Force".2 However, like Hybels and Warren, McManus also goes outside the Word of God and uses some of the same outside influences that the latter two do. I will get into the difference in approach, style, influences, and foundation shortly.

Mosaic’s Organization

Mosaic was at the time of the original article on them, an exclusive type of church requiring membership. Membership also has a few rigid requirements to it. Required 10% tithe "and beyond", and active participation in various groups and required attendance to group meetings. Total commitment to the church is a must. One can attend Mosaic without being a member, does not have to tithe the 10%, but cannot be involved in any type of ministry, yet can still receive counseling and "be loved", "cared for", "accepted", etc.3

Mosaic states there are no paid staff members, but all are in a "volunteer" status. It is these volunteers that, in part, set up the services each Sunday. The services also show an influence from the outside and are similar to other CGM services in some ways. According to what I have read, Mosaic’s target was the "creative arts" group in Hollywood and their goal was creating a multi ethnic church.  Mosaic, by association and design, is a Church Growth Movement church.

The structure and organization fits that of what is considered by some, a "Service Commune".  McManus says that the benefit of becoming a member is the ability to serve Christ.  I would like to point out that it does not take becoming a "member" of a particular organization to serve the Lord.  As Paul pointed out in Corinthians, there are many members of the body of Christ, and many gifts given to serve.  Many of these can be, and are, done outside the realm of an organization.  Paul also pointed out that it is our very lives which are given in service to Jesus in everyday living that benefits the Kingdom of God.

In the realm of the CGM, it is membership and the small group requirement that serves as the means for changing the member's thinking and is used for the introduction of those things from outside the realm of a Biblically pure based church.


Mosaic Services

In part, Mosaic services are designed to create "multi sensory experiences". Part of this includes aspects of "the Arts" going on during services. So during a service there may be artists painting, sculpting, African drums playing, dancing, etc. Erwin’s philosophy on this is that, "They are not there to illustrate or inform, their function is simply to inspire. Witnessing the creative process helps put the audience in the frame of mind to hear the message".4

While McManus says that these "creativity" experiences are not distracting from the message, I cannot see how they are not. If their purpose is to inspire, I find it hard to think that attention is focused on them at times and not the message.  You can also see these type of things going on in some of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) related churches such as Bill Johnson's Bethel Church in Redding, CA.

Now these things may sound innovative, but cannot be found as the Biblical method of coming to know God. There is obviously some source outside the Word of God where these things came from.  For instance, where did the idea come from that the arts or creative process inspires a person or that witnessing these things puts the audience in a frame of mind to hear the message?  Like I said, they may sound innovative, but they are actually quite ancient.  I will illustrate this later.

When doing research, I attempt to see whom the writer uses for endorsements, references, quotes, and how he used these in the writings. These persons, as well as the content of the writing, can show the underlying sources and influences and where they came from. Such is the situation with "An Unstoppable Force".


Shaping Influences

Both the content of the book and the referenced quotes show that while there are Biblical aspects, Mosaic’s foundation is built primarily upon a model of Nature as observed in Eastern religions or what one would call New Age thinking. The same doctrine is being used in some "House Church" teachings in which it is referred to as "Biotic Principles".

Below are examples of those McManus quotes in the book. The information on them was gleaned from going over numerous on-line pages for each one.


A Greek philosopher who wrote in riddles. He believed all things are one, that the world consists of law-like interchange of elements symbolized by fire and governed by a law of change, and that the underlying law of nature manifests itself as a moral law, and the theory of nature and human condition are intimately connected.

Martin Segailman

Psychologist and writer of the positive thinking book, "Learned Optimism"

Joel Arthur Barker

A "Futurist" who is supposed to be the one who pioneered the concept of paradigm shifts in explaining the importance of vision to drive change within organizations. He writes business books. One such book is "Tactics Of Innovation: How To Make It Easier For People To Accept New Ideas".

Phil Jackson: NBA Coach

Jackson practices Zen Buddhism and wrote an endorsement for a book on Zen called "No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart Of Zen" by Kwong Roshi. Jackson also wrote a book called "Sacred Hoops", from which Erwin quotes from.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Wright was an "Organic Architect" who designed structures according to nature and the surrounding environment and stated that people derive countenance and sustenance from the atmosphere of the things they live in.

Gregory Bateson

Anthropologist, Social Scientist and Cyberneticist. One of the things he wanted to accomplish was to see the schematic of our minds were attuned to the ecology of a place. In this he said that if we failed to understand that ecological conditions that are part of the sense of a place, self destruction is risked.

Marshall McLuhan

He studied the media’s effect on people and had a perception that media was an extension of the human body, electronic media was an extension of the nervous system and that it imposed assumptions on the psyche of the user.

Jacob Bronwski

Historian and mathematician who believed there was no absolute truth. and believed that art depicts the truth of human experience. He taught the need for a universal ethic that fosters tolerance, mutual understanding, appreciation of differences and a sense that all people share a common destiny in nature’s "cosmic drama"

Robert Root-Bernstein

Professor of physiology at Michigan State University where he performs research on autoimmune diseases, the evolution of physiological systems, the nature of scientific creativity, and sciences-arts interactions.

Not quite a list of apostles, prophets, or disciples of Christ.  In fact these are not associated with the word of God at all.  So in these, we can see the possibility of the integration of the ideals philosophy, psychology, anthropology, sociology, evolution, and other aspects of Eastern religions, i.e. New Age, into the building of the church.  Mixed with the Bible, this gives a false sense of McManus' teachings and that of CGM as a whole, seemingly being of God.  However, this is against all that the word of God speaks of; mixing the World and aspects of other religions with his pure word.

Now let's see the effect and influence that can happen when going to these resources.

Foundation Based On Nature

McManus stresses the need to use metaphor in the building of the church. The following quotes show the use of this and his foundational thinking of his view of the church.

"In this book we’ll use several different metaphors to describe pastoral leadership, the first of which a pastor as a spiritual environmentalist. He has the unique task of leading the people of God to become who they really are. For a species to survive and propagate in a given ecosystem, a least five basic characteristics need to be present. One, a balanced ecosystem; two environmental adaptation; three spontaneous reproduction; for the nurturing instinct; and five, life-cycle harmony.5

"When God creates, he creates with relational integrity. Everything is connected and fits together. This is not only true in the physical realm, but even more so in the spiritual. The Bible tells us that when man sinned, all creation groaned.....

According to Scripture, everything is connected, and every action has at least some effect on the whole. In the same way the church is part of the whole; she is both influenced by the world around her and called to influence the world in which she exists. Too often the church does not realize that she is part of a greater societal and spiritual ecosystem and that her role is to be the very fiber that produces health within that ecological system"6

In these quotes one can see the aspects of evolution and Eastern religious beliefs of the "whole is greater than the sum of its parts".  As noted in another article, this type of environmental thinking comes out of the concept of "Deep Ecology" witch is part Evolution and part Buddhism.  You can see information about this ideology in the article "Birthing Of The False Church Through Ecumenism"

We need to ask if Scripture puts the church as part of some ecosystem in the world, or does it say that we are not part of the world. As McManus stated, when man sinned the earth groaned. However, the natural is falling away, the spiritual [the body of Christ] does not and is not part of any natural system.  Also, is the church supposed to be influenced by the world around it? Only those who adopt things from the world. We are told not to be conformed to the world or the things in it.

Jesus said in his well known prayer to the Father concerning his disciples,
"I have given them my word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world... Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."  John 17:14, 16.

Rather a simple concept here.  We are not of the world, we are separated from the world by the word of God, which is truth; not the words and concepts of those of the world; not Environmentalists.

In looking further at what McManus says, the doctrine he speaks of is more than just "metaphor", it is also a belief system.


McManus goes further with his putting the church into an ecosystem.

"The second environment deals with an external factor, and that factor is change.  Every living system that is fruitful is required to adapt to the environment in which it has been placed.  Species that thrive are species that adapt.  Species that do not adapt to change do not survive because change is an ever-present reality.  This is the difference between macroevolution and microevolution. This is not describing the change of one species into another species, for God clearly created each species according to its own kind, but it is the improvement of a species within its own kind."7

This is evolution and not in the realm of Christianity.  How does he apply this to the church?

"The church must acclimate to a changing world, or she will destine herself to irrelevance or even extinction. What this means for the pastor as spiritual environmentalist is that he must understand the changing environment in which he church has been called to serve.

One of those dramatic changes in our environment is the shift from words to images. To do church in a way that is entirely text driven is the kiss of death."8

So when we hear by the CGM leaders that there is a need for the Church to be "culturally relevant", that concept came from the theory of Evolution, and Buddhism, not God. So this is the foundation from where McManus starts and justifies the rest of the philosophy. In order for a church to survive, it must adapt in the same way a species adapts, or it is gone. In seeing what he states here about the improvement of species of its own kind, I would say this is quite Darwin and deep occult.

Keep in mind McManus' statement about "our environment" shifting from words to images.  This is a subtle thing going on even within the church and I believe it will be instrumental in the acceptance of the anti-Christ.

Now one must ask, if this is the belief system that is being taught, how long can the "non members" of these type churches remain non members when they are taught this false evolutionary concept of non adapting?  Adapting means joining the crowd in order to survive.

And what did Paul tell Timothy about teaching? Text or images?

"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." 2 Tim 4:2-4

Images, metaphor, and symbols have long been a method of other religions to teach and transform people, and is also part of the New Age method. The demon possessed psychologist Carl Jung wrote a lot about symbols and transformation as did one of his followers the late myth expert, Joseph Campbell.

What is the real truth then?  McManus and other CGM leaders - futurists say that the church must change to fit the culture or die.  The Bible says that the World must change to fit into the principles of God's word of life or die eternally.

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2

A Call To Become Modern

In his attempt to convince the church to adapt or die, McManus says;

We seem blind to the tremendous opportunities that await us. The search for the experiential, the desire to connect to those things primal and natural, the cynicism toward commercialism and even materialism, the extraordinary openness toward spirituality and mystery, the value and longing for community, and the reawakening inevitably of the aesthetics and the search for beauty are all hidden in the postmodern journey."9

This sounds more like Buddhism and its philosophies.  It is much deeper than this.

In his desire to convince the need of moving forward to keep up with the culture, McManus interjects another aspect outside the Bible; Physics. He says,

"How do we regain the kind of momentum that ignited the first-century church? How can we give up on speed without falling behind? Does nature have something to say about this? Science tells us that the cosmos has a great deal to teach us. The formula for momentum is P=MV2.....10

McManus then uses several pages in showing how he believes this applies to churches and leadership. In his chapter "Change Theology", McManus continues on this same thought saying,

"Within the word momentum, we find the inescapable reality of change. Remember our definitions of speed, velocity, and momentum: They are all in relationship to time - more specifically to the distance covered in a certain period of time. The movement of a church is really no different"11

While making some true statements on the need to change one’s heart, get rid of traditions, he takes us back to the core of the foundation; becoming relevant. When doing research on the Church Growth Movement I found this same theme prevalent in the business books sold by Fuller and those associated with them.

And again we see that he has interjected a combination of science in relationship to a theory of nature.  (More on this in the article on Ecumenism)  When McManus compares the church to a scientific formula [momentum] in saying it is no different; it this true?  We still have to remember that the church is not part of nature.  Nature is withering.  And in the realm of this spiritual body of Christ, what is the real change agent.  According to the word of God, it is the Holy Spirit.

"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 2:5

The Arts

The importance of the "Arts" is being pushed in this country and even a lot of government money is spent on grants to do this. Why? The Arts and it's images have long been considered a change agent, descriptor, and molder of a culture. Some of the more well known New Age writers have spoken of the importance of this.

Joseph Campbell, in his book "The Inner Reaches Of Outer Space: Metaphor and Myth as Religion" says,

"Beauty we may regard, then, as a normal and proper intention of the Way of Art, affirmative in its sensuous glorification of life, and this grounded in physiology. To this degree, the Way of Art coincides with the Way of Beauty. However, there is another and further, possible degree or range of the revelation of art that is beyond beauty, namely the sublime, which has been defined as "that which arouses sentiments of awe and reverence and a sense of vastness and power outreaching human comprehension... And from the perspective of viewing art, the same Nietzche declared; "Art is the proper task of life, art is life’s metaphysical exercise.... Art is more worth than truth."12

This is a good example of the thought that images are worth more than text.

McManus also has art, or the arts, as a significant part of his building of the church. He says,

"The Christian faith grew through story - not text. Only later did the stories become Scripture. While the Scripture must be held in the highest regard, we must not neglect the power of story"13

"One of the arts that leaders must craft is the selection of great stories."14

"Another significant tool in the process of cultural architecture is aesthetics. In any culture the expression of beauty is a significant shaper of the cultural ethos. In many ways aesthetics are an expression of what a culture holds true through the abstract medium of images and sounds. Music, poetry, and dance are not simply extraneous expressions of culture. They are the soul of the culture. When a culture holds certain values and ideals as true, the expression of those truths goes beyond words. Art uses a canvas as a medium for communicating the soul of people.

Art expresses culture; art transmits culture; art creates culture"15

So now we can see why McManus incorporates these things in his services. It appears that he equates the arts as having equal, if not more power than the word of God.  A bio on McManus from a book store website says about being a "Creative",

"Erwin Raphael McManus sees the imagination as the principle vehicle through which we create a better self, a better world, and a better future."  Source:

While the words may be a little different than those of Joseph Campbell, the concept is the same. It is almost like these things are a replacement for the power of the Holy Spirit whom is the real shaper of people and the church. Does God need the assistance of these other things?  And what expresses, transmits and creates the Church?  Is it the Arts?  Are the Arts the soul of the Church?  Not according to God.

I said near the beginning of this article that I would give an illustration of how these innovative techniques are really ancient philosophies.  The following are quotes from a book on the religion of Theosophy.  Theosophy is the root of the New Age religion in America.  The book is "First Principles of Theosophy" by C. Jinarajadasa, Theosophy Press, 1901, fourth printing, 1928.  It is a book on Buddhism with some Christian terminology.  As you read these quotes, see how they compare with the concepts in "An Unstoppable Force".   I have underlined some of the key doctrines from "First Principles of Theosophy" that exist in the concepts of "An Unstoppable Force".

"Theosophy is the wisdom arising from the study of the evolution of life and form.  This wisdom already exists, because the study as been pursued for long ages by properly equipped investigators into nature's mysteries.  The investigators, who are called the Masters of the Wisdom, are those human souls who in the evolutionary process have passed beyond the stage of man to that next higher, that of the "Adept"...

These Masters of the Wisdom, the agents of the Logos, direct the evolutionary process in all its phases, each supervising his special department in the evolution of life and form.  They form what is known as the Great Hierarchy or the Great White Brotherhood..." pg 1

So this is what Theosophy is, and where it comes from: a hierarchy of demons called the Great White Brotherhood.   Now on to some of its doctrine which is part of this evolutionary process.

"The cultural growth of humanity will not be complete till all can function on the plane of Nirvana.  So far, the highest achievement of mankind has been to touch, through the efforts of a few geniuses, the Buddhic plane through Art...

When the genius, whether of religion or art, of philosophy or science, breaks through into the Buddhic plane, what he creates enshrines the essence of art....

Any one expression of art contains within it some of the characteristics of all the others; a picture is a sermon, and a symphony is a philosophy... pg 201

Mankind is being taught to attain to THAT, which exists out of time and space, by using time and spaceOur highest tool of cognition, so far, is creative art...."

(Recall that McManus said using text alone is a "kiss of death")

From literature, according as time-values or space values are dealt with, the arts develop.  On the side of time, literature leads to drama, and drama tends to poetry, and poetry leads to music... On the side of space, the word painting of literature is linked to painting, and painting in two dimensions rises to a three dimensional manifestation in sculpture, and sculpture to those wonderful abstract conceptions of rhythm and beauty which architecture gives.... pg 202

All the forms of art lead man's consciousness to grasp those values in life which the Monad finds on the Buddhic plane.  The artistic sense of humanity is rudimentary as yet, but with the growth of Brotherhood more of art will be sensed in life." pg 203

So according to Theosophy, it is the Great Brotherhood who is behind the push of the arts.

"But the Ancient Wisdom in no hesitating voice proclaims that every part of Nature's design reflects the plan of a Divine Mind.  This 'God's plan, which is evolution' is not mechanical..." pg 228

And of adapting to the environment Theosophy teaches,

The instincts of self-preservation and propagation are seen in the animal kingdom also. As structure becomes more complex, the organism is better fitted to adapt itself to the changing environment, better able, with less. and less expenditure of force, to live and produce similar organisms. But a new element of life appears among the higher vertebrates." Pg 10

"It will be evident that b, c and f survived only because they were able to adapt themselves to the environment of nature, which is constantly changing around them; and a, d, e and g died because they were not strong enough to adapt themselves to that environment. The former survived because they were the strongest and the fittest, in an environment full of struggle and competition; and being the fittest to survive, they become the channels of the evolving life of the group- soul; they then produce descendants who possess this quality of fitness to survive which had been developed for a given environment." pg 117

So it should be evident here that the ideals of McManus parallel the ideals of the eastern religion of Theosophy

This interjection of evolutionary ideals within the CGM is not new with McManus' book either.  It goes back to the late 80s.  Similarities can also be seen in the book by C. Peter Wagner, Win Arn, and Elmer Towns, "Church Growth - State of Art", Tyndale, 1989.  In speaking on the subject of adapting to change in churches, they came up with different categories of those who will adapt to change in regard to accepting CGM ideas.  These categories are:

Innovators [Dreamers having the gift of faith], Early Adopters [Know a good idea when they see it - have the gift of wisdom] , Middle Adopters [Inclined to maintain status quo- influenced by those who oppose change: no gifts listed for this category], Late Adopters [Last to endorse new ideas - vote against changes but will adopt with majority: no gifts listed] and Laggards [No gifts listed].

Of the "Laggards" they say,

"New ideas seldom, if ever, are adopted by this group.  Their commitment is to the status quo and the past.  They often sow discord after change.  Often they are the leaders of division within the church". pg 87

It further says,

"By providing a measurable step by step process under the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit, it is possible to overcome obstacles and find a sense of renewal, progress, and God's blessing in the life of the pastor, the people, and the church." pg 87

Now let's go back to "The First Principles Of Theosophy" and look at an evolutionary comparison.

"At Initiation, the Soul 'enters the Stream'. This is the ancient Buddhist phrase, which describes the great transition which takes place in the life of the initiate... He enters the great tide of the Will of the LOGOS, which has determined that, on this Earth Chain, the majority of our humanity shall commit themselves to His Plan, before the great day of testing in the Fifth Round, when the laggard souls must drop out of evolution as the failures of the Earth Chain...

But it is not a condemnation, but rather an evolutionary arrangement for those souls who must drop out, because they cannot keep pace with their more spiritually equipped fellows." First Principles Of Theosophy", pgs 219, 220

Obviously in Wagner's book only the Innovators and Early Adopters are those listed as spiritually equipped, as are those in Theosophy.  The Evolutionary theme is the same; adapt to changes or die.  In the case of Theosophy it is a temporary removal until you "get it right" and adapt. (Rapture excuse?)  What happened in the CGM is of those that declined to adapt, many were either asked, or told to leave their churches.

I want to note here that this "First Principles Of Theosophy" was written over 100 years ago; the doctrines go back to ancient times.  Who are the Great White Brotherhood?  According to occult religions they are spiritual entities, formerly people who have evolved on a spiritual plane to become "Adepts".  To those in the occult, Jesus was just one of these who had evolved, as well as Matreya, whom those in the New Age are waiting for as the world leader.  These are what Paul described as those we are engaged in spiritual warfare against saying;

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12

Yet instead of rejecting these things, their teachings are being used in the church to build it.  We need to ask, what is really being built under the surface?

Of these things Paul also warned that;

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils."  1 Timothy 4:1

I also have a problem with McManus' statement that Christian faith grew through story and not text and that only later did the stories become Scripture. The Old Testament is Scripture and was written before the beginning of the Church. Text was taught. And we also see that Jesus opened the minds of his disciples to understand those Scriptures. We are told the Bereans searched them daily, and the writers of the New Testament quoted them consistently.

Paul warned and instructed Timothy;

"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou has learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Tim 3:13-17



McManus also places the importance of the use of aesthetics to transform people, again drawing from outside Biblical teaching. He says;

"The influence of the nurture of aesthetics goes beyond the arts. An aesthetic culture is also the environment from which the world’s greatest scientists, thinkers, and leaders will emerge. Robert Root-Bernstein, a professor of physiology at Michigan State University and McArthur Prize fellow writes in "Hobbled Arts Limit Our Future" concerning the arts: ‘The arts, despite their reputation of being subjective, emotional, nonintellectual pursuits, make science and invention possible. As a scientist and inventor who has had a lifetime association with art and music, I know whereof I speak’."16

"The big implication for the church is that we will lose our ability to communicate to culture if we do not regain a commitment to the development of aesthetics... Any leader who engages in this endeavor must go beyond having a value for aesthetics and must understand and use the power of aesthetics for the creating and shaping of ethos."17

"Aesthetics" is defined as: "the branch of philosophy dealing with such notions as the beautiful, the ugly, the sublime, the comic, etc., as applicable to the fine arts, with a view to establishing the meaning and validity of critical judgments concerning works of art, and the principles underlying or justifying such judgments. ... the study of the mind and emotions in relation to the sense of beauty. " Source:

Wow; if there was an example of replacing the power of the Holy Spirit, that is one.  McManus also goes on to saying that there is an importance in the aesthetics of the shape and design of a building or room in which we gather.  Again we see the influence of the extra biblical thinkers and the thought that a church must follow the pattern of nature and that there is a power in this.

McManus states that "Ethos" is created and shaped by aesthetics.  "Ethos" is the characteristic and distinguishing attitudes, habits, and beliefs of an individual or group.  It was originally a Greek word used to describe the power of music and other arts to influence emotions, behaviors and morals.  It was a belief of Aristotle.   Is it aesthetics that shape the ethos of a Christian or Christians?  Not according to what we have seen in 2 Timothy 3:13-17, Romans 12:2, John 17:14, 16

Drawing Upon Ancient Religious Metaphors and Symbols

In explaining his view of what he considers environments of spiritual health, McManus borrows symbols used by various other religions as symbolic of their beliefs. These are: Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, and Wood. In the first edition of "An Unstoppable Force" he has symbols depicting these elements in his book and on his website at that time. I am not going into the explanation he gives for each symbol. It is just the fact that again he draws from material he obtained from other sources.

However, one of the interesting things I saw is contained in McManus’ symbol for water. It is the same symbol of the Yin and Yang, a Chinese symbol associated with Tai Chi. It symbolizes opposites combining in creating harmony and "oneness". [See attached photos for comparison]. McManus’ says of his water symbol;

"The second element is captured in the imagery of water. The apostolic ethos is fueled by intimacy. Jesus prayed that we would be one, even as he and the Father are one.... Water is a great metaphor for community."18

This is a prime example of the incorporating eastern mysticism into the church.  There a many other different symbols we see every day that have as a purpose to communicate this ideal.  There will be another article on this subject.


What I see in Mosaic, is the real problem that confronts the Church today.  That problem is the combining of God’s plan with those ways outside his word; those things from other religions. While Erwin McManus writes that to not go forward is to disobey God, it is the interjection of those things of the world into the building of God’s church that disobeys God.

The other problem with this interjection of aspects of the world is that he introduces his own people to the doctrines of these other ideals and opens the possibility of persons accepting them as valid and incorporating the aspect of other religions into their thinking; not even knowing it.

While reading McManus’ material it is easy to say "yes" on many points. And this is one of the ways that make these exceptionally blatant falsehoods from the East acceptable.  But it is this means by which he wants to get to the "making disciples for Christ" that he can end up making disciples of these Eastern philosophies which are becoming a part of accepting the anti-Christ.

These are the disturbing trends I spoke of at the beginning of the article; which are even less covert deception in the doctrines that are being brought into the church, and the readiness to accept that which is so blatantly false.

One sad thing is that CGM leader Rick Warren's books, "The Purpose Driven Church", and the "Purpose Driven Life", are sought out by many.  And the fact that he endorsed Erwin McManus' book shows he also would agree with this incorporation of these things that oppose the truth of God.  But as noted before, the things in "An Unstoppable Force" have been part of the CGM since it started years ago in a rather subtle fashion.  They are not subtle any more.

In Isaiah 2:5-6 quoted at the beginning of this article, God is calling on Israel to walk in the light of the Lord.  However they also brought in things from the outside which resulted in God turning away from them.

Jesus of his disciples,
"And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not voice of strangers." John 10:5

We still have not learned the lessons from Biblical history and are following that path which God warned not to follow.  Instead of fleeing from these outside influences, the voices of those who are not from God, many run to them.  Why does this happen? It takes knowing the voice of the true shepherd to be able to know when the voice of a stranger is speaking.

Two problems that allow these falsehoods to come into the church are that many do not read the word in order to learn the voice of Christ, and those who are new have not had the chance to hear it long enough to see that they are being deceived.

A third problem is pastors who are beguiled by the CGM for some reason forget they are to preach the word, not the world.  They do not realize the danger of going outside of the Bible for teaching.  What are they going to receive in doing this?  The doctrines of demonic sources such as The Great White Brotherhood.

John warns,
"They are from the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them." 1 John 4:5

And this is where the CGM gets there material and what they speak.  The question is; who does John say listens to those who speak of the things of the world?  Those of the world.  This is a disturbing thing that so many listen to them.


1 Erwin McManus, "An Unstoppable Force", pg 16
2 Ibid, Forward
3 Ibid, pgs 215, 216, 220
4 Excerpt from Mosaic newsletter on line.
5 Erwin McManus, "An Unstoppable Force", pg 14
6 Ibid, pg 15
7 Ibid, pg 16
8 Ibid, pg 17
9 Ibid, pg 60
10 Ibid, pg 67
11 Ibid, pg 79
12 Joseph Campbell, "The Inner Reaches of Outer Space", pg 122
13 Erwin McManus, "An Unstoppable Force, pg 118
14 Ibid
15 Ibid
16 Ibid
17 Ibid
18 Ibid

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