I am sure that most of you by now have heard or read about the so called Emergent Church. I really didn't want to write about this subject, but my heart is grieved whenever false doctrine is taught in the body of Christ. The hardest part of dealing with this particular movement is that it has reached churches in various degrees and forms. There are some who seem to represent the movement, but many who don't want to acknowledge that what they are teaching is "emergent doctrine." It may be hard to pin down exactly what this movement stands for.
It is not my purpose here to write a treatise on this subject. There are many places where you can go to get more detailed information about it. But I do have some thoughts concerning their views. The basic tenet for existence of this movement is the belief that the church must change in order to be relevant to the modern age and culture and thus we must have a "new way" of looking at Christianity.
Hmm, seems to me that a man named Joseph Smith had a similar view. The church had been wrong for centuries, but he would straighten it out. I am always a little suspicious of "new ways" that man comes up with.
Their leaders try to convince us that because our pre-conceived theology, we have not been asking the difficult questions that arise about sin and salvation and especially about how a loving God could send anyone to hell.
Really, you mean because we believe what Jesus said about sin, salvation and hell, we haven't really thought about it much? I am sure that Martin Luther, Francis Schaeffer and Billy Graham would beg to differ.
They say that they don't challenge the authority of scripture but they are not sure about its inerrancy.
If I thought the Bible was full of errors, I think I might have a problem with its authority. How about you?
Some have espoused universalism, which basically says that all are saved by the atoning work of Jesus on the cross, regardless of whether or not they have surrendered their life to Him
I have a question. What then did Jesus mean when he said to those who had even done miracles in His name, "depart from me, you workers of lawlessness (Mt 7:23). Also in the parable of Matt 25:41, He says to depart you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Sounds to me like maybe not everyone is going to live in eternity with Christ.
One of the most recognizable statements you will hear is that Christianity is a "conversation." This is to keep anyone from being dogmatic about any theological construct. They say we cannot truly understand the Bible
I wonder, who is this conversation between? Man and man? So if we converse enough with each other about God, we will be able to come to the knowledge of the truth? I think that I would rather study the book that claims to be inspired by God and has the convincing proof of fulfilled prophecy to see if there is some absolute truth I can depend upon. If I thought that the Bible could not be understood, why would I bother reading it at all? Why would it have any relevance in my life?
As far as man's wisdom is concerned, let's see what the Bible says.
1 Cor 1:22-25
22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
1 Cor 1:27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; NIV
Personally, if I were going to church to hear man's opinions instead God's word, I would go play golf instead!
As I said before, I really am not anxious to berate anyone but this movement is extremely dangerous. Some of these churches have grown in large numbers and its leaders tout that as evidence that their message is resonating with the postmodern culture. That is true, it is and that is the scary part. Look what Paul has to say about this in 2 Tim 4:3-4:
3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. NIV
This is a warning to all of us. My biggest heartache is over the many people who have never been taught the true gospel because they are in a church that looks good on the outside. The church may be involved in many in good works. It will appear wonderfully tolerant and politically
correct. After all, if God does not punish anyone for sin and no one goes to Hell, then there is no offense to anyone. Go ahead and live your life any way you choose because there are no eternal consequences
Now I am sure that someone will think this an oversimplification of this issue and it may be. I said at the beginning that it was not going to be a treatise. But, my purpose here is to make my readers aware of the danger in any teaching that does not give the highest view of the Bible as the inerrant, inspired Word of God. When you pick and choose which parts of the Bible you will believe and which ones you won't, you put yourself in the place of designing a god of your own choosing. You will end up making God in your image, instead of the other way around.
The most damaging effect of this whole movement is that it says your questions about sin, salvation and eternal life cannot be answered adequately, so let's just keep an open mind about it all. That premise is not true. The Bible speaks very clearly about these subjects. Leaving questions unanswered leads to the doubt of God's word. Remember Satan's words to Eve in the garden? "Has God really said?" What follows is the rejection of His word, "Surely you will not die."
It does take some time and study to find out what God does say about these subjects, but the answers are there. Historical Christianity has been able to agree on these basic tenets for centuries. Instead of looking for "new" ways of looking at Christianity, I suggest we look back to the faith of the first century believers, who were willing to go to their death for Christ. They were certain that the debt for their sin had been paid in full at the cross and that they would be with the Lord Jesus Christ for eternity!
Let me close with the words of Paul in Gal 1:8-9 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (ESV) This is a serious warning to all who claim to be teachers of the gospel of Christ. I pray for any that have fallen into this category, that they will repent and turn back to the true gospel of Christ and Him Crucified.
PS: if you would like more detailed information on this subject, there are many good websites to go to. Here are a couple