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New Monasticism is Really Really Bad

Written by Casey Ochs : January 30, 2008

It is imperative that we Bible believing Christians remain ever vigilant to protect ourselves from the noxious whiff of sulfur arising from the cauldron of impure doctrine, seductive teachings and Romish error. The latest billowing smoke to come up from the furnace is called “New Monasticism” and originates from the so-called “Emergent Church” and its basement-dwelling cousin, the “Submergent Church.” Its adherents may call it “New Monasticism,” but whatever the name, it is nothing more than a pig in a silk dress. It’s the Dark Ages dressed in a hoodie, an attempt to modernize the brutish, ancient, works-based “Christianity” of our European, Middle Eastern and North African ancestors. Yes, the “New Monasticism” uses words like “discipleship,” “community,” “simplicity” and “hospitality,” but in reality these words are Trojan Horses, deceptions used to entice itching ears away from sound doctrine.

“Discipleship”

We know that when the New Monastics use the term “discipleship” they don’t mean it the way we do. When they talk about discipleship they will use phrases like “following in the way of Jesus” and “living out the Sermon on the Mount.” Don’t be fooled by their tricky terminology! While advocating that we try to live out the impossible teachings of Jesus, they ignore the true fundamentals of discipleship, like the altar call, memorizing the sinner’s prayer and abstinence from all alcohol. True discipleship incorporates these essential elements and many, many more requirements, written and unwritten.

“Community”

The New Monastics’ emphasis on community is also misleading. Sure the Church in the book of Acts lived in proximity and shared resources, but that lifestyle was for the early Church only. No realistic Christian could advocate such a lifestyle today. Once the Bible came together as a complete book, community living and the exercise of Spiritual gifts ceased to be necessary. Today’s Christians are called to be independent, self-sustaining, and focused on improving themselves. This emphasis on communal living and sharing could easily lead to social gospelism, New Ageism and other disorders. Moreover, people living together, or in close proximity, pose clear health risks to each other and the general population.

“Hospitality”

Nothing could be more dangerous than inviting the unsaved and unclean into your home or church. “Touch not the unclean thing.” To protect ourselves and our children from the taint of sin we recommend complete separation from those who have not been purged of their unrighteous nature.

“Simplicity”

Clearly God wants us to have the best stuff and lots of it, as a witness to the unsaved. God always rewards his favorites with wealth and material possessions. That’s how we know who is in right standing with God. To advocate a simple lifestyle is a rejection of God’s way of showing who His favorites are. Besides, our American way of life depends on consumption. If simplicity of lifestyle were practiced by all Christians our standard of living would decline to the levels of France and other failed states. In addition, tax revenues used to support the government’s various activities around the world would dry up.

New Monasticism is bad, really bad. It is a danger to the American way of life and to the established Church. Don’t be taken in by these young, radical emergent types (and their sub-mergent cousins) advocating simplicity, community, discipleship and hospitality. These elements form a heady brew of doctrinal error and Utopian fantasy. They are dangerous ideas, ideas that could bring us into a new Dark Age or worse.

Author Bio:: Casey Ochs is a husband and father. He is a member of Missio Dei (which is, incidentally, part of the new monasticism).




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Comments

Viewing 17 Comments

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    is this a joke??
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    Indeed. It is a work of satire.
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    Perhaps the best satire of the year (all 3 or 4 of them so far)
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    Yes, an excelent satire. It's so excelent that it seems to be serious.
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    It is funny that this article came out at roughly the same time as the new LA Times Article about New Monasticism. Stephanie Simon was in conversation with Missio Dei for a few months about doing the article with us, but our reluctance caused her to move on.

    The article is drawing mostly positive info from the blogosphere, but is getting some mixed and negative press too.

    I think we are about to see the mainstreaming of some of these ideas. I'm excited. But I'm also a bit nervous about the future of these sorts of radical Christian movements.
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    I'm glad somebody has a sense of humor. Good pic too.
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    if [when, rather] the movement becomes mainstreamed will it lose some of it's saltiness? does anyone have any predictions about this? i am on the fence with this, myself. i'm torn between the spreading of this good news and the posibillity that these ideas will become trite cultural icons of a sort. Earlier on the adherents of this movement were exploring it in the most thoughtful and theologically driven maner, but i've already noticed a contingency running headlong into it flipantly, almost thoughtlessly. It's the difference between following a movement because it has radically challenged our ways of being as followers of christ, and following it because it is the cool/hip thing to do. It should never be "cool" to follow Jesus, but istead it should scare the pants off of us.

    don't get me wrong though, it probably sounds like i'm way more skeptical than i actually am. At least lots of people are taking radical steps toward Christ. peace
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    Josh,

    I share some of the same concerns. I don't want it to lose "saltiness", but at the same time I long to see more and more self-professed followers of Jesus come to see more deeply the radical nature of the Gospel.
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    Casey,
    i forgot to say nice article ;)
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    "If simplicity of lifestyle were practiced by all Christians our standard of living would decline to the levels of France and other failed states"

    I like it! Great article.
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    maggi sale Glasgow Scotland 7 months ago
    I have just fallen off my chair laughing!
    I was getting so worked up as I read the article on "New Monasticism" and didn't see the irony even as I read the reference to the 'failed state of France'. It was not until I read that Casey Ochs is a member of Missio Dei that the penny dropped!
    It must be the aging process at play on my part! But my eternally young heart rejoices that such energy, humour and spiritual insight is alive and kicking in a country that I normally associate with blinkered arrogance. Well done!
    I am sure that you have heard of the work of the 'Iona Community' in Scotland. If not, do explore as I am sure that you will find much support and confirmation for your work and chosen expression of Christ's essential and universal message.
    As a grandmother of 9, I have a vested interest in the future and know that it will only be possible and sustainable if more of us lived, especially in the rich West, according to your 'Manifesto'. I work as a Social Worker with inner-city deprivation but never cease to be amazed and humbled by the miracles that I witness on a daily basis in the lives of those who live according to........
    ....................... "Live Simply, that Others May simply Live".
    My sense of Celtic Hospitality is sacred to me as the 'stranger' will remain a stranger until s/he sits at my table. Please extend this welcome to anyone who is visiting Glasgow for the purpose of exploring what it means to be truly 'human'.
    My door is ever open; my beds are soft and warm; my soup is forever bubbling and my kettle perpetually sings!
    With a grin that is still splitting my face, I wish you Love and Godspeed
    Maggi Sale
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    Sister Maggi, thanks so much for your kind words and invitation. My wife and I have a pipe-dream of visiting Ireland and Scotland one day, in which case, God willing, we'd love to join you for tea. In the meantime, The peace of Jesus to you and your family.
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    Yeah I had a little heart attack at first too - LOL! Loved this piece. I attended (years ago) a bible college which actually made fun of this in skits, portrayed EXACTLY as you have here but without a drop of satire! I think we have much to learn from those who practice a monastic lifestyle.
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    Dear Casey, please take me at my word and feel welcome to make my home your base WHEN you both visit Scotland/Ireland. I spent 10 years teaching in Africa and learned the true meaning of hospitality in the poorest of homes where I met the richest of people. It has been my life's mission ever since to pass on that gift and witness the miracles that flow from opening my door to Life.
    I have two young men arriving from Syria next month as part of the VSO project and they will stay with me for three months living and working in Glasgow with disadvantaged groups. Last year a young, very devout Moslem from Mumbai returned from his 3 month stay in 2006 and accompanied me on a Pilgrimage to Iona. I am delighted to see that he still indentifies himself on his Blog with the picture of him sitting under one of the ancient Crosses outside Iona Abbey!
    I take all of my young visitors down to my village home where they connect with ordinary people and family members round the table and at the kitchen sink. We share food, music and common humanity ....and thus sew the seeds of future Peace and deeper understanding.
    I live and work in Glasgow during the week and go to my village home at weekends.......when I have any energy left! I have been trying to retire from inner-city Social Work now for several years but I will probably die in harness! And what better way to go!
    My darling daughter Gwen always used to say "better to die living, than live dying.." And so she did! She fiddled her way across America with "Lord of the Dance" and sadly met her 'Anum Cara' on a Chicago Boulevard a few weeks before her due return to Scotland. A bit of me still feels she is 'over there' somewhere and certainly, I still feel her energy and exuberance flowing through me every time I attempt to give in to old age!
    So please, please Casey know that you will be 'giving' more than you will be
    'taking' by allowing me to return the hospitality that was extended to Gwen for the three years that she lived and played amongst you. I think you can still 'Google' her Image (Gwen Sale) and see her fiddling on stage. I never did see her perform and the only moving images I have of her was when she hosted a Burn's Supper in Martyrs Bar in Chicago a few weeks before her death. I treasure it dearly!
    Anyway, that's life! She left two young sons whom I seldom see since their father's re-marriage .....which perhaps gives a clue to why I play host to the world's youth! Ironically, both her boys were playing in a Highland Pipe Band last year in Damascus! So you never know. This may just lead to some sort of reconciliation now that they are old enough to make some decisions for themselves.
    I really don't know why I am rattling on so much, considering that I have never met you Casey! I suppose all things 'American' trigger thoughts of my wee lassie. She married Dennis Cahill, the guitarist, and put her own stamp of Celtic Hospitality while she lived in Chicago. They are still making soup and bread ...and Haggis...to Gwen's recipes to this day!
    Please feel free to get in touch directly at mesale@msn.com or give me a call on 01414276258. .....and thanks for letting me blether!
    Love and Peace in Christ....Maggi.
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    My apologies! I get this in a reader and the category does not come through. Interesting piece!
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    Great article!! Just today driving to a meeting of our weekly bible stories group in Spanish (we call it Cafe Latino) I was talking with my wife about what means to be a super power: she said "after three year living in the US, I know very well, is to have enough power to kill everybody", and she added "I believed that the idea was to have a better quality of life".
    We plan to develope a hispanic community that we call Comunidad Mosaico (Mosaic), because small little pieces together can make visible the image of God. Just a little piece conected with others can make a wonderful change!
    God is our peace.

    Jose Luis
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    thank you for this satire. it is wonderful. kind of brings into light what hides in the shade, though, of common evangelical churches across america. by satire, you say obviously what churches are saying subversively, or sub-consciously. by subversive I mean what they are saying with their actions. the fight is in loving all people, the rich and the poor, i have found in my satirical and cynical search over the past ten years. the poor need us to be identified with them, or, to be like them, or, to be them. the rich need the freedom that simplicity can bring.

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