Most of the research we have found on the Emergent movement has been centered on traditional conservative Christians concentrating on exposing the behaviors of Emergers:
- wealth distribution through social justice
- their mysticism teachings
- their soft stance on sin such as homosexuality
- their movement toward interfaith dialogue and respect of all religions
Rather than concentrate on their behaviors, I think it is crucial we look at their VALUES FIRST. When we understand their values–their core principles–we can better understand their wrongful teachings and their behaviors.
In other words, like any good magician, they have succeeded in getting us to focus on their left hand, while the right hand is where the real deception is going on.
WHEN WE ARGUE BEHAVIORS LIKE HELPING THE POOR, ACCEPTANCE OF HOMOSEXUAL BEHAVIORS, JUDGING THE RELIGIONS OF OTHERS OR INTERFAITH COOPERATION MOVEMENTS, AT BEST WE EARN A DRAW IN THIS BATTLE.
- Some will view us as judgmental and run into the camp of the Emergers.
- Those already in their camp will have their perceptions confirmed–”SEE, I TOLD YOU THEY WERE NARROW MINDED AND JUDGMENTAL!”
- And Christians who do not have the stomach or courage for battle simply go into a shell, just wishing we could all get along.
To lead people to the absolute truth of God, we must fight this battle strategically and thoughtfully.
By attacking their behaviors, we care playing right into the hands of the false teachers in the Emergent
SO, LET’S EXPLORE THE CORE PRINCIPLES WHERE EMERGERS SEEM TO DIFFER ON SCRIPTURE. ONCE WE ESTABLISH THAT, SEVERAL THINGS HAPPEN:
FIRST, we better understand why they believe what they do.
SECOND, we are then able to see the patterns of their deception and expose them.
THIRD, we are then able to easily debunk their teachings and win over those in the middle.
We may never convince those sold out for the Emergent movement that they are mislead, but we can convince people on the fence about this issue that they are being deceived and lead astray.
IDENTIFY THE CORE PRINCIPLES OF THE EMERGENT MOVEMENT THAT CONTRAST CONSERVATIVE, FUNDAMENTAL CHRISTIAN TEACHINGS.
- DENIAL OF SUBSTITUTIONARY PUNISHMENT FOR SIN
- DENIAL OF FUTURISTIC BIBLICAL PROPHECY
- DENIES ABSOLUTE DOCTRINE OF THE BIBLE
- BELIEVES ALL ARE SAVED, THAT THE LOVE OF GOD PRECLUDES HIM CONDEMNING ANYONE.
- If you deny this fact, despite scripture clearly teaching it as fact, this completely skews how you view the nature of God.
- You deny that God is a God who demands justice.
- You minimize how God views sin. It becomes something God is willing to tolerate, when scripture clearly says God abhors sin.
DENIAL OF FUTURISTIC BIBLICAL PROPHESY
If you deny the fact that biblical prophecy deals with future events, your view on many things changes.
FIRST, it gives you the illusion that man can control his own destiny.
SECOND, it naturally leads one into a humanistic view. We have the power to accomplish whatever we really desire if we just unite together. This is simply a modern day Tower of Babel.
THIRD, nothing can be truly trusted because God is not truly all knowing or all powerful. Therefore we must rely on ourselves to forge our own future.
DENIAL OF ABSOLUTE DOCTRINE OF THE BIBLE
- By denying absolute doctrine, you create an environment for moral relativism to flourish and become acceptable.
- Emergers defense of this tactic is tied in with their beliefs as “RED LETTER CHRISTIANS”. They argue that since Jesus is the central figure in the bible as the savior that all scripture must be viewed through the lens of what Jesus said and taught.
BELIEF IN UNIVERSAL SALVATION
- This teaching of course is contradicted throughout scripture and by Jesus himself.
- If universal salvation was GOD’S plan all along, why go through giving man the law and then sending Jesus once man fell?
- Emergers just cannot imagine that a loving God would punish anyone. But who defines what love is–man or God? Who are we to question what God deems as love? This is utter hubris.
- Emergers have their talking points well scripted and thought out:
FIRST, they emphasize the love side of God’s nature, ignoring the judgment nature of God. This is very appealing to the human mind and heart.
SECOND, they are adept at utilizing select scripture to make conservative Christians seem like Pharisees. And because we are fighting on their terms, they are winning the battle in the minds and hearts of people who are lazy scripturally. They have painted us to look like heartless, bigoted Christians who “DON’T UNDERSTAND THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW”.
THIS IS THE EXACT TACTIC THAT PROGRESSIVES HAVE USED TO EXPAND THE SCOPE OF WELFARE AND UNENDING GOVERNMENT SPENDING UNDER THE GUISE OF “HELPING THE POOR”.
- If you oppose acceptance and compassion you are a heartless person and a bigot.
- The pressure to be person of acceptance is immense, because after all “Jesus accepts us as we are”.
- And of course, the ultimate twist of scripture–WHO ARE WE TO JUDGE?
IT IS CRUCIAL THAT WE UNDERSTAND THE PRINCIPLES AND TACTICS OF THE EMERGENT MOVEMENT.
If we attack the behaviors we lose.
If we expose their core principles and how they directly conflict with the truth and nature of God in His Word, we effectively disarm them.
- PERFECT LOVE CANNOT EXIST WITHOUT PERFECT JUDGMENT AND JUSTICE
- EMERGERS ARE CARVING GOD IN TWO, PROMOTING ONLY THE LOVE HALF OF GOD–IGNORING HIS PERFECT JUDGMENT. THIS BRINGS GOD DOWN TO A HUMAN LEVEL–AN IMPERFECT BEING, UNQUALIFIED TO BE JUDGE.
VERY IMPORTANT POINT:
- Emergers see a different ending to the story of the bible: they believe when Jesus returns it will be to reign over a world where man has established a place of peace and harmony
Fundamental Christians believe the world will continue to deteriorate and Jesus will return to conquer evil and establish His kingdom with a new heaven and earth.
This is crucial to understand so we know how to combat their agenda and false teachings:
FIRST, their beliefs contradict biblical prophesy. McLaren and others refute this by claiming biblical prophesy in Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelations were only meant for the age in which they were written.
SECOND, when you understand their wrong view on how the story ends, you better understand why they believe and teach what they do. Their perceived ending naturally calls for a type of humanism where man can actually usher in Jesus’ return by cleansing the earth of evil.
To effectively refute and expose Emergent theology as unbiblical, it is crucial we understand how we fight the battle. Emergers attack our behaviors as Christians–and let’s be honest–they have legitimate complaints.
If we fight them on their grounds, we face an uphill battle.
However, when we can show how their beliefs and teachings try to change the nature and character of God, we have the upper hand.