The Emergent Church

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 10, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The Emergent Church is a movement within Christian groups seeking to bring Christianity back into a popular spotlight. The leaders of this movement have some very legitimate complaints about how the American churches have behaved, and they suggest there is a better way to do things. It is a great idea in principal, however the solution proposed is another lie from the pit of hell.

Like with the Prosperity Gospel, I do not question the sincerity of the preachers of these teachings. They really do mean well, but even the best laid intentions can lead straight to death. Some of the complaints they have made against the church are real. One described how in one church service, a pastor gave a quick alter call and asked for a show of hands of those who wanted to receive Christ. Everyone was to have their heads bowed and eyes closed, and he described several people who wanted to receive Christ. This one preacher, sitting in the congregation, looked around and not one person raised a hand. The pastor of this service was lying and putting on a show. It hurt this preacher. There have been many in this movement who have shared similar stories.

Christianity has been without any real power in much of Western society for a while. There are still pockets and many individuals who walk with the real power of the Holy Spirit, but across society Christianity is mostly dead. The US and Europe as a whole have little to no respect for it. The Emergent Church has recognized this and wants to see Christianity restored to respect, however their solution is to take away anything that gives Christianity its sting, to redefine what Christianity is supposed to be like, and have everyone get along in one big Kum-Bah-Yah.

The Emergent Church has little to no respect for many of the doctrines of Christianity, particularly those which draw the line between the real and the fake, the clean and the unclean. One preacher describes the doctrines which make a clear distinction between fact and fiction as bricks on a wall that keeps people out. The term he uses is “Brickianity.” Another preacher describes the Christian denominations as shadows of the real image, however instead of tracing the images back to the real, he takes the pieces of the images he likes and combines them together.

I have seen two of the Emergent teachers (and there may be others) who claim to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, but then they proceed to make arguments that it really is not important. They ask if believing in the virgin birth is necessary to be a Christian. Isaiah makes it absolutely clear that the virgin birth is a sign so that you know he is the Christ. If Jesus was not born of a virgin, he is not the Messiah. If you do not believe in the virgin birth, which Messiah are you actually following?

The great danger of this movement is that it puts man, his intellect, and his culture above the Bible, and looks down upon it as though it needs our help. Numerous leaders of this group consider the Bible “confusing” and “more of a question book than an answer book,” but then they present this idea that we have come far enough that we not only get to interpret the Bible in accordance to our current culture, but we get to have authority over it by saying what God really meant instead of submitting to what he actually says.

The real tricky part of this is their apparent humble approach. The entire time they are questioning the integrity of Scripture, they are very quick to say something like, “I’m just trying to present an idea here for discussion. Just be open minded to other ideas.” Except all these “other ideas” are completely contradictory to what the Bible actually says. They have no Biblical humility, but just an appearance of it. Biblical humility says, “God, you are right and I am not.” It is a proclamation of godliness, but denies the power of it.

One thing you will never be able to pin an Emergent Church leader on is what they actually believe. Their books are full of questions but none of their answers have any clarity. They want everyone to get alone in one big happy circle and be unified, but unified over what? It’s not Christ, because Christ draws a line and says, “Pick a side.” What is the Emergent Church’s idea of Christianity? No one has any idea because it is a free for all. There’s nothing concrete to describe it, no definitions of “this is what we believe and why.” They will typically have a standard “statement of faith” that matches most other churches, but rarely will actually follow said statement.

Paul said he would become all things to all men. Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael, C.T. Studd, Bruce Olson, and other missionaries took up the dress of China, India, Africa, and the Motilones, but they did not become Buddhist, Hindi, or whatever tribal religion of the jungles. They did forsake their European/American ways, but they did not succumb to the cultures they were reaching. David Wilkerson did not have a join a gang to reach the gangs of New York City, but he did have to have some clashes with the police and the judicial system, while doing nothing wrong himself, to reach them. Yet, the Emergent Church leaders paint a picture where you can embrace religious practices of the pagan. Their thinking shows that God will take them just as they are, but they leave out the sanctification part. God will take us as we are, but he will not leave us as we are. The Emergent Church wants nothing to do with talking about sin or repentance. And I am not joking nor exaggerating when they say it is more important to save turtles in a swamp than it is to speak about sin and hell and getting your life in order with God.

There is much more to say about this, but I do not want this to be a mere rant. I want to expose these teachings for what they are and provide a true solution. In the books I have read and the whole reasoning for this movement, I can not only address the problems they want to address but also provide the solution with four quick verses: Romans 3:1-4. Had these church leaders spent more time in their Bible and seeking the Lord, rather than finding a solution that does not offend the sinful flesh and is politically correct, they would see that those legitimate issues in the church were not representative of God. We are to let God be the truth and every man a liar. Where any person fails to accurately represent Jesus, don’t let that failure dictate what you think about God. The Emergent Church has, and a big part of it is that they see Christianity as just another religion and God as one of the many ideas of a deity out there. They do not recognize God for who he actually is and they worship of a god of their own choosing (again, that is not my assessment, but something the founder of this movement actually says).

As with last week’s post, upon request I can give specific quotes and references to the teachings I have presented as well as solid resources on those who have raised up the same concerns I have. The Emergent Church movement no longer goes by that name and are now under the moniker “Progressive Christianity.” I expect that may change before long too. These teachings have held massive sway over the Christian community, particularly the seminaries. And these teachings have well infiltrated many of the conservative Christian circles in part or in full. We must be watchful of what is out there.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.