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August 25, 2008

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  • Emerging Church?


Emerging Church?

READER QUESTION:
I am looking for clarification. I started a thread in [a] forum the other day about the term we hear these days referring to "The Emerging Church" (also known as the emergent church movement), and I expected it to be quickly determined that it is "a bad thing", and that does seem to be the prevailing opinion of the established denominations. However, since I am very anti-establishment when it comes to my faith, I am beginning to think that they may not "all" be "bad". We are told "to come out from among them" and I have been non-denominational for many years because I have yet to find a denominational church whose doctrine I agree with completely. In most of the established denominations it is not permitted even to question their doctrinal interpretations.

I read from Bible every single day and have daily fellowship and discussion with friends in person as well as many online where we primarily discuss the Sacred Scriptures. In reality, we are "the Church". While I generally donít like labels, I have for some time identified myself as "a Biblical Christian" in order to make that distinction -since to simply say one is a Christian doesnít seem to have much clarity anymore. I donít agree with any church or group of people who discard the Sacred Scriptures. But I am not sure all of "the emergent church movement" does that. Or do they?

Of course "the establishment" of churchdom, decries anything that does not submit to itís top down hierarchal authority. "If you choose not to fellowship Ďwith usí you are just lost!" Anyone who prefers to fellowship outside of itís domination is either labeled as "New Age" or "the Emerging Church - "that bad thing". I agree that many of our new "purpose driven" churches seem to be throwing sound doctrine away in favor of human reasoning and no question that is indeed a bad thing. But it seems to me that the emerging churches are so diverse, there is no clear definition that fits all of them.

With Al Goreís gift of the Internet [vw: not to mention: Nobel Laureate! Credit where credit is 'due'!!] there are now a multitude of online ministries, churches, forums, blogs as well as an exponential increase in home churches and home bible study groups. I believe the majority of these, like yourself (and myself), are simply trying to teach and share the "rightly divided" word of God. Isnít that "a good thing"? Isnít that the true church? Or is that not even considered to be "a church" at all by the establishment?

    [vw: no, it's not...by the establishment. Remember the mailings a few months ago? [link] and [link] It's not enough for a group of Believers to decide to meet in somebody's home and call it "church". The leaders must be "appointed" by..??? 'Them', the ones making condemnation, and self-presumed rightful 'successors' since the time of the original "baptists", the apostles.]
I guess it somewhat depends on "whose" finger is doing the pointing. All of us who have, "come out from among them" are the body of Christ, but are we now considered by the establishment to be a part of "the emergent church movement? And is it only the old guard church establishment who considers all of us to be included in that movement? OR, does the term "emerging church" only apply to those who have abandoned biblical doctrine. Is it Ďa givení that "the emergent church movement" is a bad thing? Or does it depend on "where we fit"- within - the emerging Church? Or am I getting concerned over a term that does not even apply to me?

VW ANSWER:
Your closing sentence is likely the correct one, where you, yourself, are concerned. The term hopefully does not apply to you.

Yes, I tend to also distinguish myself to people as a "Biblical Christian", for the same reasons you gave, especially when talking to others who think themselves to be christians, or non-claimers who have a 'bit' of knowledge of these things. And the hearer typically -does- take notice.

Go to google and click the wikipedia link that comes up when you search on "emerging church". Once you get past all the flowery words at the top, check out the lower sections:

Postmodern worldview
Postmodern hermaneutics
Generous orthodoxy
etc, etc.

A few key quotes here from those sections:

    Quote: As a result, the emerging church believes it is necessary to deconstruct modern Christian dogma [vw: tear doctrine apart] and avoid the use of jargon, called Christianese, that has become increasingly irrelevant to the prevailing culture. The emerging church accomplishes this by engaging in two-way conversations, or dialogues, rather than proclaim a predigested message and in this way leads people to Jesus through the Holy Spirit [on their own terms.] [vw: brackets added for 'alert' value. "their own terms", not God's?]
[vw: "Cultural sensitivity" was the excuse given by the music director from Multnomah Bible College as to why they had hula dancing, and get-down-dirty lasciviousness in their overall choir dance jiving. [link] The "jargon" (Word) of God is "irrelevant"? The Bible is "predigested"?]
    Quote: The emerging church movement contains a [great diversity in beliefs] and practices, although some have adopted a preoccupation with sacred rituals, good works, and [political and social activism].

    Quote: Some leaders in the movement publicly welcome open discussion with [other religions] regarding the [-definition- of Christian faith]. Others in the movement label the practice differently, calling the interfaith dialog a means to share their narratives [as they learn from the narratives of others].

[vw: versus...
    "take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them... and that you DO NOT INQUIRE AFTER THEIR GODS, saying, HOW DID THESE NATIONS SERVE THEIR GODS? I ALSO WILL DO LIKEWISE. YOU SHALL NOT DO SO UNTO JEHOVAH YOUR GOD; for everything that is an abomination to Jehovah which He has hated, they have done unto their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire unto their gods. Whatever I am commanding you, take heed to do it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it." (De12:30-32)]

WE COULD DELVE into this topic deeply, and ferret out every nook and cranny of their "depths of satan" (Rev2:24); including how their "spirituality" is based out of many traditions, from Catholic to Celtic mysticism; or how, by their own admission, they have a loose sense of morality codes, etc; but that is not necessary. There are others engaged in "discernment" who have done so. I've read some of those writings. But I don't believe that digging deeper, than we are going to do here, would give us any more foundational warning than is needed. And where is that 'line' that would be crossed into the De12:30 injunction if we dug too deeply? What has been quoted (above) gives us all we 'need' at the foundational level.

If one stopped with their top paragraphs by which they open their treatise (at wikipedia), it would seem like the sort of thing you were describing... and 'desiring'. (The deception part... because they know that's as far as many people will read) And indeed, as you would desire it, it would certainly seem like a wonderful thing, to have many different people coming together to partake of God's Word (if only that was what they were doing!). (Just like the Pope's 1995 declaration "Ut Unum Sint" - That They May be One: after much flowery talk at the top about "love" and "unity", after everybody has been put to sleep by 'how wonderful' it all sounds, and perhaps some stop reading, because it goes on-and-on-and-on, the-same-the-same-the-same; then at the bottom the -truth- is given: that "unity" will have been achieved once all religions have returned "home" to "mother church". That's "Rome". And also the benefits of "persecution". Apparently, as they did in the past, they are planning more for the future...unless that's what Islam was created for...? The 'sun' to deceive, and 'crescent moon' to persecute?)

All the 'different' people are not coming to partake of God's Word, but to share their divergent beliefs, and then to mix it all up together, and come up with something totally different than the Scriptures. They do -NOT- "love the Lord [their] God". (De6:5) If they did, they would not behave so hatefully toward's God's Word, giving it derogatory labels like "irrelevant" and "predigested". If this is how they feel, why do they even bother -pretending-?? Did somebody hogtie and drag them, kicking and screaming, to "christianity"?

The fact that they castigate Heavenly talk as "christianeze", which they wish to stay away from, indicates that they are not "citizens" of Heaven. (Php3:20) A person's nationality can usually be discerned by hearing them speak; often, even, to the 'regions' of their nation and that locale's unique dialect. The French provide an example of how nationalities are -proud- of their language, and will often display militance against those who don't respect their national tongue. But the "emergers" despise Christian talk, the 'language' of the Bible, the Word of God. They are not -true- [C]hristians. Their tongue gives them away. (Mt12:34, Lk6:45)

Also a sidenote, since you mentioned it: Not all little groups who meet in homes are Biblical! Beware of this! Back when the organized churches were still preaching the Gospel, the little home groups was how the rebels pursued their own apostate path. They didn't need a "pastor" telling them "what to do". They didn't need the Bible. They would meet "just to praise the Lord" and babble in tongues, and all sorts of feel-good things. Back then there wasn't so much a 'need' for True Believers to meet in homes, because organizations STILL EXISTED that preached the Word. There still were Godly pastors. And as such, the pastoral denunciations of the home meetings (as they predominated in that day) were justified. But today the landscape has totally changed. Certainly there still are the home groups that babble in tongues, like they did in the 70s. But today there is a 'need' for Believing Biblical home groups, because for the most part, the organizations are now all defunct. But just because some are meeting in homes, does not guarantee that they are followers of Jesus Christ! If you visit such a group, be every bit as cautious and careful, as when you darken the door of the building with the sign out front, where people lead from a platform.

So...

at its core, from their own words proclaimed openly, not hidden at all, it is the -SAME- old "unity in diversity" thing we've been warning about for years. Everybody of all faiths get together, dialogue, learn -from- EACH OTHER (not the Bible), 'what does this mean to you?', and schmush it all together, and Voila! Like this week-end's "Peter" study on "twisting" the Scriptures. [link]

If we believe that the Bible is the Foundation and Basis for Faith (2Tim3:16-17), then all the other belief 'systems' cannot also be correct. Different 'faiths', proclaiming sometimes opposite points-of-view, cannot all be right. So, if there are all these divergent views, what becomes the final conclusion to get everybody together? Man deciding for himself? For the "emergent church"... yes.

But if we believe God's Word, the answer is....No. We do not decide for ourselves. When God gave the Law through Moses, He punctuated most everything with "I am Jehovah"

    Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: I am Jehovah your God.

    You shall do My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am Jehovah your God.

    You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am Jehovah." (Li18:2,4,5) etc.etc.etc.

    You shall have no other gods before Me... for I, Jehovah your God, am a jealous Mighty God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me," (Ex20:3,5)


IT WOULD SEEM TO ME THAT the expression "Emerging Church" is just a new name for the decades-old apostasy and rebellion. Tear down the walls... of doctrine. Let's agree to disagree...agreeably. Agree on the essentials, and lay the nonessentials aside. They used to say they engaged in "dialogue". Now they have "conversation". Different words to describe the very same thing that's been going on for the past how-many (?) decades.

So....NO....it's -not- a "good thing"!

A term such as "emerge" suggests, by its nature, something "NEW". A flower 'emerges' from the bud. A butterfly from the chrysalis. A bird 'emerges' from the egg. A newborn emerges from the womb. But that, too, is the deception. The only -emerging- that is happening is that, what used to be more 'hidden', under wraps, and operating in subterfuge (and excuses when confronted by Truth), has now finally "emerged" to become the dominant entity, received by all. More along the concept of the villain in hiding, the police call out, "Come out with your hands up!", and so the -EVIL- person -EMERGES- from the darkness of his hiding place. Only... instead of being arrested, he is praised and given the place of prominence, as everybody follows with cheers.

Back when I was in college in the early 70s, many churches were still preaching the gospel, sang hymns, and had some measure of standards of holiness and reverence for the Most High. It was the various college "ministries" that engaged in Bible studies of the dialectic. It was the Jesus People movement that incorporated TM and Yoga into christianity and hippy-ized christianity, and some also lived in so-called "christian communes" where they shared all. They had the doctrines and philosophies like what you read in that Wikipedia file. Nothing in that file is "new" at all, but what it hasn't been around since at least the 60s & 70s. But back then, the movement was still in its infancy and the minority. But today, that movement, just like communism, has infiltrated what used to be the Church... and what used to be in the minority, is now the main enchilada. It has fully "emerged" from its more obscure beginnings, to where it is today... having fully TAKEN OVER what used to be the Church of Jesus Christ. The take-over has been so complete that a person is hard-pressed to even find an organized congregation that is faithful to God's Word. They no longer feel the need to "make excuses" to the -establishment- for what they are, because they have fully "emerged" and become -established-. They, now, -are- the new "establishment".

Thus, as Jesus said,

    "Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" (Lk18:8) And also: "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord Jehovah, that I will send a famine into the land, not a famine for bread, nor a thirst for water, but rather a famine for hearing the Words of Jehovah." (Am8:11)
We are -in- those days... TODAY! NOW!

Their "emergence" is not the same as your "coming out from among them" to "be separate". They are "emerging" into -view- to 'display' who they have actually been for many decades. You are "coming out" in order to be "separate" (holy). Not the same thing.

Thus, we who stick to God's Word, are -NOT- of the "emerging church". We have been around since Peter preached on Pentecost. We might be 'small' here and there; we might be 'alone' here and there. But if we are sticking to God's Word, the Scriptures, that very 'sticking' is diametrically opposite of the "emergence". They do NOT stick to the Bible. We do. That is the difference. And they label us as "judgmental" for doing so. (Well, back in the 70s it was "judgmental". I guess today, in keeping with the prevailing global communism that underpins most everything societally, it is "hate speech".)

But Salvation comes "through the Word of God" (Rom10:17), the "Gospel of Christ" (Rom1:16), that they derogatorily call "predigested". So, if they have thus rejected the Word as "irrelevant", then by the (negative) "confession" (Rom10:10) of their mouths, rooted in the "abundance" of their "evil" hearts (Mt12:34)...

THEY HAVE also REJECTED SALVATION..!!

By definition....

End of story!

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