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The Emerging Church

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We will see in this article that the 'Emerging Church', 'New Calvinism', and the other new church bodies are nothing but shams. They are linked in a satanic spirit if not in doctrines (remember: the plural, 'doctrines', is used in scripture to refer to teachings of devils) and are signs of growing apostasy, as prophesied for the last times.

It will get much worse, and, I can assure you, those who remain faithful will be made outcasts and 'blasphemers'. Once again, as with the Toronto Blessing, those who stand against it will be dubbed godless.

The Wikipedia Definition

We will begin with a popularised definition; most definitions of movements on the site are given by those who are in them, so it should be accurate.

"The emerging church (claims to be)... a Christian movement of the late 20th and early 21st century that crosses a number of theological boundaries: participants can be described as Protestant, post-Protestant, Catholic, evangelical, post-evangelical, liberal, post-liberal, conservative, and post-conservative, anabaptist, Adventist, reformed, charismatic, neocharismatic, and post-charismatic."

As if that is not enough to warn us: "Proponents, however, believe the movement transcends such 'modernist' labels of 'conservative' and 'liberal', calling the movement a 'conversation' to emphasize its developing and decentralized nature, its vast range of standpoints, and its commitment to dialogue."

"Participants seek to live their faith in what they believe to be a 'postmodern' society. What those involved in the conversation mostly agree on is their disillusionment with the organized and institutional church and their support for the deconstruction of modern Christian worship, modern evangelism, and the nature of modern Christian community."

Well, that is the very broad definition. It leaves one breathless when reading it all at once! It begs the question – why use any label at all? Why not just be followers of Christ; Christians? Whenever a movement arises and starts to change meanings of words, be very cautious. Charismatics do this continuously, as do all other cults.

What we see in this definition is that the 'emerging church' is just another cult, accepting of everyone, rejecting older names for heretics, and so on. This, and similar 'churches' that have come about since the Toronto Blessing, are the natural progression of all pseudo-Christian movements; they all devolve into a mess of sin.

Beliefs

How many times have I heard the plea, to 'return to simple Christianity'? Too many times! What people mean by this is they are tired of searching truth and studying what scripture says. They just want to say they are 'Christian' without any of the commitment... unless the commitment is to modernist garbage.

Those in the Emerging Church (EC) want "simple story and narrative". They emphasise good works, social activism, and 'missional living' – living like a missionary. Thus, everyone in the EC think they are missionaries and approach everything from that angle. Which is, of course, an act of works without truth.

They think it is part of the 'Great Commission' given to the Church by Jesus. But, when people do things because it is expected of them and not because God has called them, it is always false and is always works.

EC adherents prefer 'here and now' to any notion of eternal salvation. Thus, they are existential in philosophy. (Webber, Robert, John Burke, Dan Kimball, Doug Pagitt, Karen M. Ward, and Mark Driscoll. Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches: Five Perspectives. [Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2007] p. 102. ISBN 978-0-310-27135-2). See my philosophy article on existentialism.

The EC loves to discuss 'reform' (though, as we see in the 'New Calvinist' churches, this 'reform' is not what you would expect. They also love 'praxis' lifestyles. These are lives based on action and reflection, i.e. living in a community, which they think is the earthly representation of the kingdom of God. In Greek, praxis is an activity undertaken by free men.

Alongside this, they revel in being 'post-evangelical'. In my own ministry my work is to better explain what scripture says to churches that have imbibed tradition more than genuine theology and Bible teaching. But, EC people have other reasons for changing things – political, cultural, as well as theological. In undertaking these changes, they dramatically move away from genuine Christian beliefs, and tend to be involved in political movements and causes... an easy mistake to make.

The EC bases much on post-modernism, which is philosophical rather than biblical. Sadly, they see little difference between, say, Augustine of Hippo (see philosophy article) and Thomas Aquinas (see my book on Aquinas), and so eagerly read and take on their philosophies. As I have said elsewhere, theology is merely biblical philosophy... but it is dangerous when it is rooted in humanistic philosophy (e.g. the work of Aquinas). As would be expected of a useless organisation, the Evangelical Alliance accepts the EC as 'Christian' (just as it accepted the Toronto Blessing).

The EC, because of its secular philosophical desires, is also liberal, and prefers the 'here and now' as taught by Soren Kierkegaard (whose work is taught in Bible colleges – I took a unit myself). Christian existentialists (re EC) concentrate on the 'undecidability of faith', personal passion and the subjectivity of knowledge. Can you see the inherent dangers in this, and why it is moving in the mud of unbelief?

The EC uses language recognised by academics as 'literary theory', 'social network theory' and 'narrative theology'. Literary theory analyses literature from an humanistic standpoint. It is part of the end-19th century heretical academic work of Higher Critical analysts that so devastated the churches.

Like literary theory, social network theory is a social studies activity. It looks not at, say, beliefs, but how beliefs affect interactions of people who hold them. 'Narrative theology' is also known as the 'Yale School'. (Placher, William C. [April 7, 1999]. "Being Postliberal: A Response to James Gustafson". Christian Century 116 [11]: 390–392. ISSN 0009-5281).

We can see the worth of this last set of beliefs, when we see whose ideas it is based on – Karl Barth, Thomas Aquinas, and Ludwig Wittgenstein (see my article on the two latter in the philosophy series). Sociologist Peter Berger is also featured – he is also revered in art college circles, because of his book 'Ways of Seeing' (I have part-commented on this in an article, A/440).

It seems some differentiate 'emerging' and 'emergent', the latter being associated with Brian McLaren and his 'Emergent stream', or 'Emergent Village'. (McKnight, S. [February 2007]. "Five Streams of the Emerging Church." Christianity Today. 51[2]. Retrieved on 2009-07-11). McLaren is a major figure in the EC, and was said to be one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America in 2005. ("Brian McLaren - Paradigm Shifter". Time Magazine. 2005-02-07).

Objective=truth

McLaren is controversial, saying his thinking is closer to a Jewish perspective, and does not want to be hampered by objective theological truth. He has challenged the idea of individual salvation, the end-times, and states there is an antithesis between personal trust in God and belief in what God says! For example: "I believe people are saved not by objective truth, but by Jesus. Their faith isn't in their knowledge, but in God." ("Response to email question at official website". 2004-09).

Now that might sound right. But, it is not. The fact of salvation is far more than that – we are saved in eternity; we are saved in our time on earth; we live out our salvation on earth; we are finally saved in Heaven. How else are we saved on this earth if not by objective truth?

We do not just suddenly say "Hey, I'm saved by Jesus"! We must hear or read the Gospel before we can be saved – and that knowledge is objective. It may be responded to subjectively, but the knowledge itself is objective. And knowledge of God is part of the reason we have faith. So, they are not unconnected, but vitally interwoven.

It is this kind of twisted thinking that leads to him saying:

"I don't believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish contexts ... rather than resolving the paradox via pronouncements on the eternal destiny of people more convinced by or loyal to other religions than ours, we simply move on ... To help Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, and everyone else experience life to the full in the way of Jesus (while learning it better myself), I would gladly become one of them (whoever they are), to whatever degree I can, to embrace them, to join them, to enter into their world without judgment but with saving love as mine has been entered by the Lord." (A Generous Orthodoxy, 260, 262, 264).

In this you can see the satanic fact of ecumenism/cultism gone mad. McLaren is a leading EC figure, and therefore his ideas infect all the EC. He readily confuses all religions with Christ, and so is a 'bad pastor' and heretical teacher.

Emerging Muddle

I have no doubt whatever that the Emerging Church is just another satanic deception. It is significant that the term 'emerging church' was coined by Catholic theologian, Johann Baptist Metz... but he used it in a different context. (Johannes Baptist Metz, 'The Emergent Church', New York, NY: Crossroad, 1981). However, the key statements in his work coincide with the key beliefs of the EC.

Yet, no EC local church is the same! Each has more or less of the core beliefs and actions. It is, literally, an emerging mess. To me, the EC looks like a melting pot that unbelievers willingly jump into. They were not real believers in the first place, and want to shed the clothing of genuine Christianity which they have previously dressed in. Really, they may as well become Hindus, or Catholics, or witches!

Amusingly, Mark Driscoll (and others) of the New Calvinism movement now distance themselves from the emergent. It is amusing because he and the others who are critical of the EC have themselves initiated their own form of heresy!

Five Streams

The EC apparently has five streams.

(http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/february/11.35.html):

"It is said that emerging Christians confess their faith like mainliners—meaning they say things publicly they don't really believe. They drink like Southern Baptists—meaning, to adapt some words from Mark Twain, they are teetotalers when it is judicious. They talk like Catholics—meaning they cuss and use naughty words. They evangelize and theologize like the Reformed—meaning they rarely evangelize, yet theologize all the time. They worship like charismatics—meaning with their whole bodies, some parts tattooed. They vote like Episcopalians—meaning they eat, drink, and sleep on their left side. And, they deny the truth—meaning they've got a latte-soaked copy of Derrida in their smoke- and beer-stained backpacks."

Before you shake your head, this opening paragraph is said to be a stereotype! The writer of the article* says he has mingled with the EC for years. This does not necessarily mean he can speak with authority, only that he has shared the same errors. (*Scot McKnight, Professor of Religious Studies, North Park Seminary).

"Emerging churches are communities that practice the way of Jesus within postmodern cultures. This definition encompasses nine practices. Emerging churches (1) identify with the life of Jesus, (2) transform the secular realm, and (3) live highly communal lives. Because of these three activities, they (4) welcome the stranger, (5) serve with generosity, (6) participate as producers, (7) create as created beings, (8) lead as a body, and (9) take part in spiritual activities."
(Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger, in their book, Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures [Baker Academic], 2005).

The writer argues that a book by D A Carson "suffers from an overly narrow focus – on Brian McLaren and postmodern epistemology". I can only say that what little I know of McLaren is sufficient to show us his heresy. If he is said to be one of the most important leaders, then we have every right to concentrate on his work and teaching.

McKnight says "While Emergent is the intellectual and philosophical network of the emerging movement, it is a mistake to narrow all of emerging to the Emergent Village". Eh? What semantic rubbish! If they are connected they are connected! (In the UK the 'Emerging' leader is Andrew Jones – odd how so many heretic leaders are named 'Jones'!).

The article gives us five characteristics of the Emerging Church: Prophetic; Post-Modern; Praxis-Orientated; Post-Evangelical. In scripture, the Apostles simply preached. Jesus simply preached. No labels and no denominational differences. While the EC claims not to like labels, they use an awful lot of them!

Prophetic

The rest of this title in the Christianity Today article is in brackets... (or at least provocative)! If it is genuinely prophetic, then that is what it is... it cannot be 'at least provocative' as an alternative to prophetic. Anyway...

"One of the streams flowing into the emerging lake is prophetic rhetoric. The emerging movement is consciously and deliberately provocative. Emerging Christians believe the church needs to change, and they are beginning to live as if that change had already occurred. Since I swim in the emerging lake, I can self-critically admit that we sometimes exaggerate."

McKnight, remember, is a friend of the Emerging Church. He does it no favours by admitting to exaggeration! Or, in biblical language – lying. Nor does he do it a favour by referring to it as 'prophetic rhetoric'.

These are two very odd statements to make when trying to show how genuine a movement is. Note, too, that the EC is "consciously and deliberately provocative". This is an aspect of marketing, not of prophecy. True prophecy says what it has to say... it cannot exaggerate or use rhetoric just to gain publicity or credibility.

Hosea said in 6:6, "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings"*. The author calls this "deliberate overstatement, for God never forbids Temple worship". Apart from his use of the present tense instead of the past "Temple worship", he has got it wrong...and I am not surprised given his EC leanings.

God has said elsewhere that He wants people's heart worship and not just sacrifices. This is what God means – there is nothing in Hosea to contradict this. But, that is what cults do best; they twist scripture. (*The text is not from the AV, which reads "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." Notice first the past tense, and 'knowledge of God', rather than 'an acknowledgment of God'. Also note the text shows preference for knowledge, and does not call for a ban on sacrifices. His text is taken from the corrupt NIV).

McLaren says of Jesus that He would not "be caught dead as a Christian, were he physically here today." This is an unfortunate phrase! Jesus would not be a Christian at all, for He is the fount of Christian belief and faith, not a follower! Thus, the phrase is not relevant. McLaren admits that his words are 'deliberate overstatement'.

For a preacher and pastor to say this is to bring discredit upon himself. As a pastor and teacher it is my life work to teach accurately from scripture and not to overstate or exaggerate. And in written teaching I always try to be clear and not to provoke... any provocation must arise from the scriptural context itself.

The title is 'Prophecy'. Can you notice anything about the topic in these paragraphs?

Post-Modern

Okay, now let us look at another 'stream' or title. This is where it gets a bit too philosophical (in the secular sense). The author says that "postmodernity cannot be reduced to the denial of truth". Unfortunately, this is exactly what it tends to be in the churches. As if to explain what he means McKnight adds "Instead, it is the collapse of inherited metanarratives (overarching explanations of life) like those of science or Marxism." There! That has explained everything, eh?

No, not really. Let me try to describe what he means... I think... post-modernity complains that the claims of modernity to give all the answers by science, reason, technology, etc., have failed (http://westcoastwitness.com/tag/metanarratives/). (It seems the author got his statement from this source). Thus, these beliefs, inherited from scientists and so on, have 'collapsed', because they simply do not work. So, post-moderns do not want to be like those who are in churches today.

To call this 'post-modernism' is rather lavish; it is making the water muddier, not clearer. But, the writer seems to enjoy this. Otherwise, why say it? Why not just say that Christians must believe scripture and not unbiblical theories? And why keep adding silly statements such as "While there are good as well as naughty consequences of opting for a postmodern stance (and not all in the emerging movement are as careful as they should be), evangelical Christians can rightfully embrace certain elements of postmodernity." My question is, "Why?"

If they are not being careful and some of what they believe is 'naughty'... it should not be a part of life anyway! The Christian, especially if he is a pastor or teacher, MUST get it right. Getting something wrong because of an unseen problem is something different; so long as he repents and puts it right, it is okay. But, to start out making errors and being 'naughty' is not scriptural, nor acceptable.

Rather than say we should embrace some elements of postmodernism, it would be more scriptural to say we must always state scripture and cast aside whatever is wrong or inaccurate. So, postmodernism should not be an issue, or even mentioned. It is my view that to make this a principle of a church, is without meaning, because it applies sociology to scripture, instead of allowing scripture to give us its precepts as they are written.

Perhaps this is why one theologian says that postmoderns are "trapped in moral relativism and epistemological bankruptcy out of which they must be rescued." They should not be trapped in the first place. They are only trapped because they are meddling with scripture, trying to mould it into a worldly philosophical package.

Apparently, these postmoderns do not deny Christ is truth, or Bible as truth. But, "they embrace the idea that we cannot know absolute truth, or, at least, that we cannot know truth absolutely. They speak of the end of metanarratives and the importance of social location in shaping one's view of truth. They frequently express nervousness about propositional truth."

They express nervousness about propositional truth? Well, I express nervousness over their reasons for being nervous, which I see as based on unbelief! Propositional truth is a fact of biblical preaching and teaching; it is a basis for scholarly research into scriptural precepts. Frankly, this 'nervousness' looks too much like liberal Quakerism to make me sit easy.

LeRon Shults, a former professor of theology, said "The truly infinite God of Christian faith is beyond all our linguistic grasping, as all the great theologians from Irenaeus to Calvin have insisted, and so the struggle to capture God in our finite propositional structures is nothing short of linguistic idolatry." It is true that we cannot linguistically adequately describe God... but it is God Who gave us scripture from which to work, and on which to base our beliefs! To simply throw it aside is presumptuous and foolish, inviting cultism into the heart and churches. Again, his statement is too close to Liberal Quakerism for comfort.

Praxis-Orientated

Put simply, the EC loves to be communal and for all its members to be 'missional' – living like missionaries. Why does this remind me of so many other cultic behaviours... Mormonism, Children of God, Hari Krishna, and other communities, some of whom pretend to mimic the early churches?

The early churches did not live in communes but held everything communally, so that no-one went without food, etc. The modern version is rather 'twee' and cannot last. If all Christians held everything in common, there would be no need to start using 'in' words like praxis! It does not mean going around giving away your money; it means to look out for those in need and helping them – not with a few pence, but with whatever will remove their need.

Many emerging churches are 'messing about' with newness. They use incense, bells, candles, and offer "funky worship" (which is no worship at all). McKnight calls this "creative, experiential, and sensory". Sorry, but I call it 'messing about'!

When we left the system of traditional churches, we had had enough of the fakery and false fellowship, the wrong teaching and bad doctrinal beliefs. We left with no real idea of what to do about it, so we literally began to examine every teaching we had been given, starting with the major tenets of our faith.

We also needed to meet together and began to think of places to meet, and finally settled on meeting in our homes. This has since reduced to my own home, because it is more practical. We did it because we did not know what to do! But, these folks are trying their hardest to be different, which is not the same.

Trying to be different is like tying a jumper around your neck as a fashion statement! It is self-conscious and rather silly. We tried to get back to what we ought to be, finding what is scriptural; whereas the EC is trying too hard to be novel and going outside of what is necessary, if not into a Catholic-style existence.

The novelty overtakes the reality. They might sit in circles to produce a particular feeling of praxis, but this is no better than a therapy group treating psychological ailments! They try burning incense to see if it makes prayers different... again, novelty rather than resting in the Spirit; and using corporate prayers when scripture does not, except in extreme and rare circumstances. Or, put the preacher on the same level as the congregation to make everyone think as a priesthood of believers... I tried this over forty years ago, but all that happened is some folks could not hear me, and they could not see me! If it takes this to make people know they are priests together, then what they have is false or superficial.

Orthopraxy (right living) is another twee* activity in the EC. It is twee because it is forced or copied rather than an outward expression of what is within each believer. "The contention is that how a person lives is more important than what he or she believes." Oh dear! This is a typically charismatic/ecumenical idea, and it is wrong. It is not "more important", but should be how we show our salvation and beliefs in practice. To lower this to a title or category is to make it mechanical, not true faith. However, it is good to make sure we live out what we say we believe. Both should be true and both should coincide. (*defined as 'sweet but sickening; affectation')

"Rhetorical exaggerations aside, I know of no one in the emerging movement who believes that one's relationship with God is established by how one lives. Nor do I know anyone who thinks that it doesn't matter what one believes about Jesus Christ. But the focus is shifted. Gibbs and Bolger define emerging churches as those who practice 'the way of Jesus' in the postmodern era." (Christianity Today).

Yes, but the point is that whilst they try to get back to what they ought to be, they are making themselves cultic by imposing their own categories and titles on what scripture says is normal. My own ministry is about teaching others to live as scripture tells us – but if it ever started a movement I would stop. And I always direct people back to scripture. This is the antidote to error.

Then there is the 'missional' aspect of the EC. Adherents want to participate with God in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. They want to join with others in the community, using the Gospel as its base. This is like those 'community churches' where they hold church services but also join with groups of interested renters of rooms, such as mother's group, and so on. The problem is this is not what a local church is. It is a gathering of believers, not a mixture of believers and unsaved.

We may indeed help others in the general community, but this is done through the Spirit prompting individuals to act. It is not a command of the Spirit to be a part of the local community in all its faded and sinful glory. But, the EC folks want to help everyone, regardless of who they are, if they are 'marginalised', etc. From this comes a desire to change all of society by good works and to accept sin.

This is dangerously close to being a 'social gospel' and not truth. It causes many to spend long hours helping those who do not want it, or who take it if it gives them something for nothing. It is not what Christians are called to do, except as individuals as a personal calling. But, the EC is almost making it a condition of one's salvation and membership.

What we are seeing is a subtle sleight-of-hand, a rebranding of what should be normal Christian living. And that is dangerous, because it is by slight changes that truth is blurred and cults arise. This does not seem to bother McKnight, who seems to just shrug it off, with a kind of "give them a break" attitude. That is just how the Toronto Blessing managed to obliterate many churches!

Post-Evangelical

We should all cast aside 'evangelicalism' and just evangelise (that is, men called by God to do so). But, the EC movement makes it a doctrinal statement, as a protest. One interesting sentence used by the author is: "This stream flows from the conviction that the church must always be reforming itself". It is interesting because it is what I have said myself. But, do they mean it in the same way? I do not think so. What I mean by it, is that the Reformers went only so far, given the hatred of the established Catholic church at that time, and today's 'reformed' Christians tend to be stuck in a rut, not bothering to continue what those brave martyrs started. That is what I mean by it – we must continue the work of the Reformers. But, as with most cults, the EC wants to go beyond that and renew everything, in an effort to be different, rather than to alter attitudes so that we are more Christlike.

The EC is suspicious of systematic theology, because there are so many theologies, and they 'all' oppose the "storied narrative" given by God in scripture. They say that no language can capture the Absolute Truth "who alone is God". Thus, there is no statement of faith in the EC. "We believe the Great Tradition offers various ways for telling the truth about God's redemption in Christ, but we don't believe any one theology gets it absolutely right." Not all theology is wrong!

What this means is that any proposal is given air time, and each is equated to the truth. It is true that many theologies are heretical, and many others are just off-the-mark. But, this is no reason to disregard genuine systematic theology. As I have said many times, scripture has only ONE meaning and this one meaning should be shared by all believers. The way it is put can vary, but the various statements should all support each other.

By refusing systematic study of God's word, the EC accepts all and any theology, but only as a passing 'conversation' and not as a fixed doctrinal statement. The EC thus calls itself 'radically reformed'. I call it naïve and foolish.

As should always be the case, we must accept what is true and scriptural in any Christian theology, but not the rest. What is true is not a fleeting and non-authoritative 'conversation', but is actual truth. I do not accept the idea of "This is what I believe, but I could be wrong. What do you think?" Christ and Paul did not do that. Nor did any of the Apostles! Such a statement is evidence of false teaching, not of being given an office by the Holy Spirit, Who will lead the man into all truth.

The EC, because of its variableness, also does not like any talk that separates saved from unsaved. For them, the line is blurred. They say it does not matter which 'religion' one belongs to, "so long as one loves God and one's neighbour". And many accept the idea that everyone is born 'in' salvation, but 'opt out' by choice! (Very RC!). 'Religion' is what we do because we believe. Denominations are wrong.

But, to say all religions are okay if the person loves God and loves his neighbour is plain folly. This means that any devout Muslim is okay, alongside all others who have a 'religion' rather than true faith. Thus, the EC does not evangelise. To be fair, McKnight warns the EC about this... although he appears to be Arminian in concept.

Political

It seems that the EC movement allies itself with socialism, and this in itself is a big warning. No Christian can honestly be socialist. In rock-bottom terms we should only vote for those who either do not harm us, or who do not make a profession of hating God. Yet, the author of the article says he votes Democrat because he believes in social justice, etc. etc. The fact that the Democrats are the most destructive of western socialist parties does not seem to bother him.

I suggested earlier that the EC is declaring a social gospel. The author confirms this:

"Sometimes, however, when I look at emerging politics, I see Walter Rauschenbusch, the architect of the social gospel. Without trying to deny the spiritual gospel, he led his followers into the social gospel. The results were devastating for mainline Christianity's ability to summon sinners to personal conversion. The results were also devastating for evangelical Christianity, which has itself struggled to maintain a proper balance."

And

"I see the emerging movement much like the Jesus and charismatic movements of the 1960s, which undoubtedly have found a place in the quilt called evangelicalism."

The last quote should be enough to send any genuine Christian running for the exit! There is no sound thing in charismaticism, and the EC is just another movement without true substance. It is using labels and new theories to confuse what being a Christian is. There is no need to have all these 'streams' – just live righteously and everything else starts to make sense. But, we must first know what 'righteous' is, and this requires sound doctrine, objective truth, propositional theology.

Not Alone

I am not alone in my serious doubts about the EC movement. Charles Colson said:

"(a) theologian—we'll call him Jim—argued that emerging church leaders are trying to translate the gospel for a postmodern generation. That's a commendable goal, I agreed. Though in their effort to reach postmoderns—who question the existence and knowability of truth—I expressed fear that they are coming dangerously close to teaching that objective truth does not exist."
(http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/june/17.72.html)

This is exactly how charismatics got away with their evil Toronto Blessing movement (which is still troubling the churches after over 15 years). They told followers that we are now ex-biblical and more experiential. Once you cross the line like that, you WILL head towards, and embrace, heresy and worse. And this is what charismatics have done progressively for all that time. I expect the EC to do the same.

"A lengthy e-mail exchange with Jim followed. In defense of emerging church leaders, he insisted that truth is paradoxical, simultaneously personal and propositional. It is objectively true that Jesus Christ is Lord no matter what anyone thinks, Jim wrote. But, he added, "Propositional truth is not the highest truth. Indeed, the highest truth is personal."

Colson agrees with me – that many statements that lead us into error have the ring of truth about them. This is how they can dupe so many genuine believers for a while. As he and I say, Jesus is truth whether or not we believe in Him, accept Him, or even think of Him. 'Personal' truth cannot hide that fact. Nor does it trump objective, God-given scripture, which is actual truth. "Scripture is never less than revealed propositional truth". Frankly, I see little overall difference between the EC movement and charismaticism. It also smells of New Age, liberal Quakerism, and Catholicism.

Rick Warren

Rick Warren, one of the biggest names in deviant 'Christianity', supports the EC. This, too, should tell us a great deal about the movement; it is like sin being supported by Satan... and not too far from the truth, either.

"We live at a period in church history that is characterized by enthusiasm for methods and means that facilitate church growth. Large churches are commonly equated with successful pastors and successful church growth methods. Whatever it takes to reach that objective, is acceptable, we are told. Church growth has become the measuring stick for successful Christianity."
(http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c29.shtml)

Rick Warren said this, in a Foreword to an EC writer's book:

"This book is a wonderful, detailed example of what a purpose-driven church can look like in a postmodern world. My friend Dan Kimball writes passionately, with a deep desire to reach the emerging generation and culture. While my book The Purpose-Driven Church explained what the church is called to do, Dan's book explains how to do it with the cultural creatives who think and feel in postmodern terms. You need to pay attention to him because times are changing."
(Dan Kimball, The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for the New Generation, Zondervan, 2003, page 7).

He is also supportive of falsity:

"Rick Warren is not only supportive of the "emerging church," he believes that it is exactly what is required at this time. He believes this is what "the purpose-driven" church that he founded will become in the "postmodern world." He notes:

In the past twenty years, spiritual seekers have changed a lot. In the first place, there are a whole lot more of them. There are seekers everywhere. I've never seen more people so hungry to discover and develop the spiritual dimension of their lives. That is why there is such a big interest in Eastern thought, New Age practices, mysticism and the transcendent."
(Dan Kimball, page 6).

This is the very core of false religion – seeking but not finding, searching what is wrong for what is right. The aim is to find a 'god' who reflects your own feelings and desires. Not a God Who condemns and punishes, and Who tells us categorically that there is only one way to be saved. In his book, Kimball says this about what Emerging churches should look like:

"Services designed to be user-friendly and contemporary must change to services that are designed to be experiential and spiritual-mystical.

Stained-glass that was taken out of churches and replaced with video screens should now be brought back into the church on video screens.

Lit up and cheery sanctuaries need to be darkened because darkness is valued and displays a sense of spirituality.

The focal point of the service that was the sermon must be changed so that the focal point of the service is a holistic experience.

Use of modern technology that was used to communicate with a contemporary flare must change so that church attendees can experience the ancient and mystical (and use technology to do so)."

This is not the true Church of Jesus Christ, but an humanistic sham. As Richard Bennett says,

"The basic conviction behind the movement is that Christianity needs to be reinvented to become relevant to our postmodern generation. The group desires to make Christianity more appropriate for our time, such as regarding the environment. The Emerging Church leaders hold that the Bible and reason do not hold the answers to life's questions. Experience, they insist, must become the key factor to encounter spiritual reality. Consequently, there are many experiential attractions promoted by the Emerging Church leaders that, in fact, are traditional Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox practices. Such things are icons, statues, prayer stations, candles, incense, and sacramental rituals. Such are the beginnings of the hazards that are upheld."
(http://www.bereanbeacon.org/emergentchurch/The_Hazards_unfolded_by_Emerging_Church_leaders.pdf)

Bennett recognises this to be so, because he was once a Roman Catholic priest. At the start of this paper I warned that the EC combines all strands of supposed 'Christianity', including Roman Catholic. The emphasis on 'contemplation' is also indicative of Romanism and New Calvinism, etc. One of the leaders of the EC is also a Council Member of the Evangelical Alliance. Readers from 15 years ago will remember the arguments I had with the EA over its compromise with the Toronto Blessing and the support it gave to it. Now it is friendly with the EC! But, the EA is an organisation that rubs shoulders with heretics, so I put little value on its statements.

Summary

Charismatics, afraid that their movement was losing momentum, invented the Toronto Blessing. This movement has since changed names and leaders like dirty washing, and it has crippled many Christians and local churches.

The Emerging Church movement is a similar fraud, for it is trying to 'spruce up' what the true Church is. Not by insisting on genuine righteousness and proper exegesis of scripture, but by imposing a weird 'post-modern' idea onto it. Instead of reading God's word and simply working it out in life, the EC has redefined titles and meanings to suit its 'twee' image. The aim is to 'reinvent' what the Church is.

As part of its reinvention, it is relying mainly on experience and community living, and on ideas that owe little to real theology. This is dangerous and foolish, for scripture already gives us the truth. But, leaders love to have the pre-eminence, so they re-invent everything to follow their own theories. In so doing they are combining many heretics and fake scriptural teachings. Therefore, the movement is not of God.

 

© January 2012

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Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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