From the Lighthouse Trails Research Blog
LTRP Note: In September, it came to our attention that both secular and Christian media, in particularly Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, and Christianity Today, were publicizing a book written by Brett McCracken. According to McCracken, his book, Hipster Christianity” ”goes deep into the questions of what it means to be cool and what it means to be Christian.” But McCracken’s “hipster Christianity” is nothing more than emerging spirituality looked at through different colored sunglasses. Lighthouse Trails will be posting a number of articles and reviews on this “new” kind of Christianity in time, but we wish to issue this warning today as many may be fooled into thinking that this is a “cool” way to look at biblical Christianity. It’s not. And it has nothing to do with the way one dresses or which “cool” sunglasses or reading glasses he or she is wearing. It’s about spiritual deception, which often looks “good,” (especially to those who don’t know what God’s Word says) but in actuality is lethal.
For those wondering if McCracken, managing editor of Biola University’s magazine and regular writer for the emergent Relevant magazine, considers himself a “hipster,” the answer he gives in the introduction of his book is “yes.” He has found resonance with a lot of emerging leaders such as Shane Claiborne, whom McCracken says is ”perhaps one of the most important Christian hipsters around” (p. 99). Other contemplative/emerging advocates whom McCracken includes in his emerging, hipster “Christianity” are Mark Driscoll, Jay Baaker, Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz), Lauren Winner, and Rob Bell.
McCracken asks the question, where can you find “Christian hipsters” and answers it accurately by saying Christian colleges and Christian college towns (p. 106), now hotbeds for apostasy. Of course, he includes the contemplative promoting Biola in his list of “cool” colleges. McCracken delves into the political arena and explains how “cool” young Christians helped to bring Obama into office (pp. 158-160).
McCracken says this “hip” Christianity identifies with panentheistic New Age mystic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and says “Christian hipsters love thinking and acting Catholic…. They love the Pope, liturgy, incense, lectio divina…” (p. 98).
While popular emerging church leaders have tried to say that the emerging church is dead (see: Some Say the Emerging Church is Dead – the Truth Behind the Story) (and now hipster is better), nothing has changed. It’s the same ol’ panentheistic deception that Satan presented to Eve in the Garden when he asked her to question God and tempted her in desire to be God.
The Bible says that in the days before Christ returns, there will be great deception. The devil is running like mad, to and fro, trying to confuse, deceive, and manipulate Christians into turning away from the one and only true Gospel message. After all, if Christians preach the true Gospel, people will get saved and spend eternity with the Lord. Hipster Christianity is just the enemy’s latest effort to stop the Gospel from being proclaimed.
Don’t be fooled, Hipster Christianity isn’t “cool” at all – it is lukewarm spirituality, and from such we should steer clear of.
Now these comments from Roger Oakland of Understand the Times:
The following Christianity Todayarticle presents the facts as they are and shows the absolute absurdity that is impacting Christianity all over the world. In an effort to reach the postmodern generation with a message there is a Christ, the church that once was Bible-based has become antichrist.
What is even more absurd is the fact there are still leaders who people look up to as great Christian teachers, pastors, or evangelists, who refuse to take a stand and warn the sheep that the wolves are devouring the flock. Rather than protect the sheep they are driving them to be slaughtered. They compromise the truth of God’s word with the ”lie” and further confuse those who try to remain on board with Jesus.
The Emerging Church should change their term “Christ followers” to what is really happening. They are not following Jesus Christ. They have forsaken Jesus Christ and are following church growth gurus who are following Satan.
Christianity Today’s article “Hipster Christianity”:
Welcome to the world of hipster Christianity. The latest incarnation of a decades-long collision of “cool” and “Christianity,” hipster Christianity is in large part a rebellion against the very subculture that birthed it. It’s a rebellion against old-school evangelicalism and its fuddy-duddy legalism, apathy about the arts, and pitiful lack of concern for social justice.
They prefer to call themselves “Christ-followers” rather than “Christians.” They cringe at the thought of an altar call, and the prospect of passing out tracts gives them nightmares.
In order to remain relevant in this new landscape, many evangelical pastors and church leaders are following the lead of the hipster trendsetters, making sure their churches can check off all the important items on the hipster checklist:
- Get the church involved in social justice and creation care.
- Show clips from R-rated Coen Brothers films (e.g., No Country for Old Men, Fargo) during services.
- Sponsor church outings to microbreweries.
- Put a worship pastor onstage decked in clothes from American Apparel.
- Be okay with cussing.
- Print bulletins only on recycled cardstock.
- Use Helvetica fonts as much as possible
- Leverage technologies like Twitter.
Christian hipster. As the ’90s gave way to the 2000s, young evangelicals reared in the ostentatious Jesus subculture began to rebel. They sought a more intellectual faith, one that didn’t reject outright the culture, ideas, and art of the secular world.
They looked up to young Christian authors and pastors like Shane Claiborne, Rob Bell, and Donald Miller, read Relevant magazine, adored indie-folk musician Sufjan Stevens, and were fascinated by ancient church liturgies and prayers. They began to dress and act like secular hipsters: drinking beer, getting tattoos, riding fixed-gear bikes, and eating raw and organic foods. They took interest in a broader range of issues (the environment, HIV/AIDS, globalization) than their parents’ generation, and voted for Barack Obama.
What makes a church a “hipster church”? Does it have a one-word name that is either a Greek word or something evocative of creation? Does the pastor frequently use words like kingdom, authenticity, and justice, and drop names like N. T. Wright in sermons? Does the church advertise a gluten-free option for Communion? If the answer is yes to all of those questions, chances are that it’s a hipster church.
One thing we can fairly say of hipster Christianity is that it frequently strives for shock value. During his sermon, Driscoll-looking like a metrosexual jock in an Ed Hardy-esque tight T-shirt, cross necklace, and faux-hawk-talked about how wives should be “visually generous” with their husbands (e.g., they should keep the lights on when undressing and during sex). I never thought I’d hear a preacher talk about these things from the pulpit. And that’s exactly the point.
Hipster Christianity’s attention to shock value manifests in others ways. Some churches hold their services in bars and nightclubs-Mosaic in L.A. meets in the Mayan nightclub, and North Brooklyn Vineyard in New York meets at a place called the Trash Bar. Other churches focus more on the shock value of sermons, delving into touchy subjects such as homosexuality, child abuse, sex trafficking, HIV/AIDS, and so on, sometimes with an f-bomb or two thrown in for good measure.
Click here to continue reading the Christianity Today article.