“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” Jude 1:3-4
It has crept and slithered through America since the early 1900s infecting countless victims. Its goals are compromise, ambiguity, tolerance, globalism, and in some cases, universalism. Its path is destruction and its foundation is sinking sand.
The emerging church is a movement of the late 20th and early 21st century that crosses a number of theological boundaries. Followers, participants, and those who identify can be described as evangelical, post-evangelical, liberal or post-liberal, reformed, neo-charismatic, and post-charismatic. I refer to it as the Cult of Liberalism.
They seek to live their faith in what they believe to be a “Postmodern” society. It is an untraditional network of individual believers and churches that prefer to be understood as a “conversation” or a friendship rather than an organization. What those involved mostly agree on is their disdain for fundamental Christianity and disillusionment with the organized, traditional, and institutional church.
The emergent church favors the use of simple story and narrative in preaching style. Adherents often place a high value on good works or social activism and action. The hallmark of the emergent church is the liberal, new age aspect including the practice of contemplative monastic meditation and prayers. While some do emphasize eternal salvation, many in the emerging church emphasize the here and now (taking care of the earth, etc.) and reject the inerrancy of Scripture.
Regarding doctrine, these folks reject systematic Christian theology, the integrity of Scripture, and gospel exclusivity. They don’t believe Christianity is the one true religion and many (but not all) in the emergent church promote homosexuality. Many 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.
At an emergent church workshop in San Diego about ten years ago, former national coordinator of the Emergent Village, Tony Jones stated:
“This is about our belief that theology changes. The message of the gospel changes. It’s not just the method that changes.”
What? I submit to you that Jesus never changed his message to fit the times! Books, sermons and articles have been and will be written about the emergent church, and I’ve come to realize that too many believers are at times uninterested, uninformed, or just plain apathetic about the Bible and understanding the times we live in.
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” 1 Timothy 4:1
“Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:30
The following liberal “evangelical” leaders are best-selling authors in Christian stores, speakers at entertaining music festivals, popular on the political Christian Left, and well-known leaders in religious circles. They have invaded the true body of Christ. Please understand the goal in this lengthy expose is to provide various quotes directly from those considered part of the emergent church, not to explain or refute each one in detail…[Break] …
Read more, including quotes from Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Doug Pagitt, Shane Claiborne, and others, including how we got here.
Charles Spurgeon once said,
“Discernment is not a matter of knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is the difference between right and almost right.”
How did we get to the point where many of these progressive, emergent ideas and teachings have blended in with truth and sound doctrine? How have they slithered their way into modern Christianity? The answer goes back to the book of Genesis and the original sin of Adam and Eve. Remember how the serpent deceived Eve by questioning God? (“Did God really say…”) He then encouraged them to disobey God as he declared, “You will not surely die…” (Genesis 3:1-4)
All it takes is a seed of doubt and invitation to sin. Many progressive leaders and deceivers question absolute truth and promote ambiguity and confusion. No wonder these men are so popular – they’re going with the flow of pop culture.
False teachers have been around since the early church days. The major issue with the emergent church is that it rejects the authority of the word of God. These teachings were not accepted by evangelical Christians overnight. We can trace the rapid advancement of the emergent church to the late 80’s and 90’s, when people began talking about how to modernize and re-create church to be more attractive to the unchurched.
Heck, Robert Schueller actually went door to door in the 1970s in California asking people what they wanted in a church – and he then set out to give it to them. How is that biblical? Who decided it is better to attract the world by giving them what they want instead of what they need – salvation and sanctification resulting from repentance of sin and growth as a disciple of Jesus!
But going back to the hippy flower-power days of the 1960’s, the new fad was all about peace, love, free sex, and rebelling against authority. Absolute truth and Biblical standards were questioned and labeled as too rigid, leading some to moral relativism. Moral Relativism is an ethical judgment. It is the claim that no ethical system is better than another, and rests on the belief that morals and values are subjective.
Some churches responded to the 60’s rebellion by trying to convert as many as possible and accepted them as they were. ‘Come as you are’ was the new slogan. Jesus does meet people right where they are, but there’s an important distinction: He loves people too much to leave them that way, and unlike the emergent church, His message never changes!
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
Christians need to know the dangers and the extent of the emergent church movement and their radical teachings. We need to promote awareness starting with the truth. We need to dig deeper in to the Word of God than ever before and know it so well that if we hear a counterfeit message, we’ll recognize it immediately! We need to talk to our pastors and Christian friends. Liberalism, humanism, and secularism are growing cancers in both church and culture so let’s not ignore the causes.
Let’s get out of our comfort zones and take a stand for Christ. The spiritual battle rages all around us and the enemy is on our doorstep. Satan has been at work at a church near you spreading his deceptions. The good news is that we are on to his schemes. Mature believers know that the emergent church teachings are contrary to the gospel of Christ…