We have found that AIM has characteristics of the New Apostolic Reformation Movement and also the Emergent Church, neither of which are Biblical. As a reminder, it is the subtly of the error that the Enemy is so crafty at. There is some truth written on Seth’s blogs, but the error found there is an attack on the Lord Jesus, His Church, and His Word. Therefore we must be discerning. Seth tends to contradict himself often.
Ephesians 4:14 “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
“The Emergent Church movement is a progressive Christian movement that attempts to elevate experience and feelings on a par with Christian doctrine. Many do not believe man can know absolute truth, and believe God must be experienced outside of traditional biblical doctrines. Emergent church leaders usually adopt the principles of social justice, liberation theology, and collective salvation. Some leaders also incorporate elements of Universalism, the Seeker-Friendly Movement, and even New Age Spirituality.”
“Regarding doctrine, these folks generally reject systematic Christian theology, the integrity of Scripture, and gospel exclusivity. They don’t believe Christianity is the one true religion and many associated with the emergent church promote homosexuality. Some deny the deity of Jesus Christ; they call for diversity, “unity,” and camaraderie among all religions, and they modify and expand their teachings. It is quite clearly and simply a war against the Truth… What those involved mostly agree on is their disdain for fundamental Christianity and disillusionment with the organized, traditional, and institutional church.”source
This site, provides a few characteristics to use in comparing AIM to this movement. They are frightening in their similarity to Adventures in Missions and Seth Barnes. While AIM may not agree with every characteristic, they are similar to enough to warrant concern.
1) Does not like to spend money on church buildings. Prefer meeting as “house churches
Seth–“The institution of the church is just like every other institution – it is slow to respond to the realities of a world that is racing by it…The original disciples resisted structure, only giving in to a division of labor with deacons doing some work after a lot of time had passed. The Bible does not tell us much about how to structure ourselves..Unity and love cannot be organized; they happen as a function of covenantal relationships..”…(Comments section) “And in my personal life, I’m passionately committed to regular worship with a home church“
Seth has spoken negatively about the church in many blog posts. While there is much to lament about the compromising church today, Christ did in fact set up a structure, the disciples did not resist it. They taught, as instruments of the Holy Spirit, exactly how Christ wants His church structured. They ensured the teaching of sound doctrine and refutation of error. See Acts, Timothy, Titus, etc, . Predictably, false teachers want to minimize the church that has the responsibility to refute their error. We have not seen Seth show any desire to be taught sound doctrine, instead there seems to be only a desire for unity and love (though believers can only have genuine unity if it is centered around TRUTH). Neither have we seen him lament that the lack of strong exegetical teaching in the church today.
“…put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you…He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Titus 1:5, 9
2) A reading list that “consists primarily of (and leaders to follow) …(to name a few)
Henri Nouwen, Dallas Willard, Brennan Manning, Frederick Buechner , Donald Miller, Richard Rohr– Seth references these men often, a search of his blog will reveal more references than these, see also our previous posts.
3) Support women in all levels of ministry including women pastors.
Seth–“when it came time for our team to do spiritual warfare, it was the women who were best equipped to do it” Seth–“God is calling out a whole generation of radicals, but it’s the women are responding first and most boldly.” Seth–“Women the world over are better servant leaders than many men”…and he also sees no problem with women today being labeled apostles.
4) Following Jesus is living the right way, not believing in the right things
Seth-“He (Jesus) often seems to be more concerned with our healing than he is with our theology.” Seth–“Following him is hard enough without requiring disciples to study theology.” and ironicly he also says contradicting himself, “At AIM, we have a high view of Scripture”.
5) Eschatology: Building the kingdom of God on earth.
The Awakening–“It all started with a dream. A dream that a generation would stand up and walk like Jesus walked. Healing the sick, raising the dead, and bringing the Kingdom to the darkest places on earth…expect Kingdom come.”
6) Familiar words-story, mosaic, matrix
Seth–“Jesus clued us in to life behind the matrix.” Seth–“To climb out of the Matrix, they need to walk in brokenness for a while. And then they need to walk in freedom” Seth–“How will they ever get out of the Matrix-like life they’re living?” Seth–“To live the life God designed us for, we need to live better stories and we need to relearn the art of telling them.”Seth–“God loves stories…Storytelling connects in the spirit like laughter or tears or smells. It connects viscerally so that the story stays lodged in our spirit and may even change us. God infuses stories with the kind of deep magic that Tolkien and Lewis understood.” WHAT??
7) Practice– Lectio divina a.k.a. spiritual formation…the silence…centering, breath…but is best known as contemplative (listening) prayer. –
“A practice of Catholic monks and gnostics, gaining acceptance as an integral part of the Emerging Church…The dangers inherent in this kind of practice, and its astonishing similarity to transcendental meditation and other dangerous rituals, should be carefully considered. It has the potential to become a pursuit of mystical experience where the goal is to free the mind and empower oneself. The Christian should use the Scriptures to pursue the knowledge of God, wisdom, and holiness through the objective meaning of the text with the aim of transforming the mind according to truth. God said His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6), not for lack of mystical, personal encounters with Him…Finally, the attack on the sufficiency of Scripture is a clear distinctive of lectio divina.”