Emergent Church leaders ask the same question Satan asked in the Garden, “Hath God said?” They have no confidence in the Word so they have no compass, chart, or anchor. In my opinion, they are not even on the Boat!
An EC follower will say to another, “I really think that this is true; however, I could be wrong. It might be something very different. What do you think?” They have such “enlightening” conversations as they sit in large rooms, often by candlelight and the smell of incense, hear ringing of bells (Smells and Bells Theology?) surrounded by statues and icons. No one seems to care what the Bible says. It is not what the Bible says that matters to them but how one reacts to what it says. How do you “feel” about what the Bible says? There are “new ways of believing” and “new interpretations” of Scripture and we are to “move beyond religion—particularly Christianity.”
The Bible is not considered an accurate, absolute, authoritative, or authoritarian source but a book to be experienced and one experience can be as valid as any other can. Experience, dialogue, feelings, and conversations are equated with Scripture while certitude, authority, and doctrine are to be eschewed! No doctrines are to be absolute and truth or doctrine must be considered only with personal experiences, traditions, historical perspectives, etc. The Bible is not an answer book. (Brian, McLaren, A New Kind of Christianity, p. 52.)
The movement is known for its conversation, candles, coffee, and couches not for biblical convictions!
The movement is known for its conversation, candles, coffee, and couches not for biblical convictions!
To EC devotees, living as Christ lived (emphasis on the poor, helpless, innocent) is very important but truth is not. Living like Jesus means to help the poor, fair treatment to all, humility of life, honesty, etc.; however EC leaders can’t comprehend that trying (and succeeding) to emulate Christ will not save anyone! Only believing the Gospel will produce a Christian, but to EC people salvation is a life-long process. To them, every generation must look at doctrine anew and it is to be perceived as flexible, malleable, and rather inconsequential.
EC followers do not talk about orthodoxy but much about orthopraxy, that is, right living. As Christianity Today reported, “The contention is that how a person lives is more important than what he or she believes.” (Scot McKnight, Christianity Today, 1-19-07.) Don’t we all agree that “right” living is important? However, who determines what is “right”? How about the Scripture? What we believe determines how we live. Our practices are based upon our precepts and our precepts are founded upon our principles, and our principles must come from the infallible Word of God! Since young followers in Emergent Churches have no confidence in the authority of the Bible, that may be the reason they are very loose in their talk, dress, daily living, etc., yet they think they are living “right”!
Dr. D. A. Carson, Professor at Trinity Evangelical Theological Seminary and author of Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church,” says Christianity teaches truth. “If you start losing that, you really step outside what Christianity is. The gospel is something to be taught and believed. It is not something simply to be experienced.” (video on YouTube.) Bingo! The EC has stepped outside Christianity as these pages clearly demonstrate.
Dr. Carson is correct. True believers must demand that EC leaders take the Scripture and show us where the early church sat around listening to bells, smelling incense, lighting candles, chanting, repeating the same word, emptying their minds, walking labyrinths (from Greek mythology), etc. Surely if yoga, contemplative prayer, etc., are legitimate to bring us closer to God, then God would have instructed us about that in the Bible. He did not, and those who have no confidence in the Bible want to go beyond the Bible to fill the void in their souls. They want to go where God did not intend men to go.
EC leader Tony Jones, youth speaker and National Coordinator of Emergent Village, declared, “I am quite convinced that the Bible is a subversive text, that it constantly undermines our assumptions, transgresses our boundaries, and subverts our comforts. This may sound like academic mumbo-jumbo, but I really mean it. I think the Bible is a f***ing scary book (pardon my French, but that’s the only way I know how to convey how strongly I feel about this.)” (Tony Jones, “Why is the Emerging Church drawn to deconstructive theology?, The church and postmodern culture: Conversation website, 3-26-2007.)
Tony wrote vulgarity, not French, in showing his disdain, distaste, and denigration of the Bible! But then, EC people like to show that they are not bound by legalistic constraints. There are no boundaries, no guidelines, no parameters, and no limits. Tony defended profanity at Wheaton College in 2006 during a question and answer session. He was asked about the tendency of EC people to be use profanity and an absence in personal holiness. Tony replied, “People in the Bible swear. And we need to re-think the cultural context of swearing.” Of course, they also committed murder, adultery, incest, thievery, etc. so do we “re-think” those sins along with swearing?
It was incredibly irresponsible for a Christian leader to defend swearing to anyone especially college students! Maybe Tony doesn’t know what Matt. 12:34 reveals “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Job 27:4 reminds us, “My lips shall not speak wickedness.” We are promised that our soul will be kept from trouble if we are careful with our mouth and tongue.
According to Brian McLaren, his buddy Tony Campolo has a dirty mind and mouth (my characterization, not his) as Brian admitted in his foreword to A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity. Brian quotes Tony as saying to “prim and proper Christian leaders” (as if there is something wrong with being such!): “Millions of children are dying in poverty, and you don’t give a #$@%!” As faces blanched, he would add wryly, “and to prove my point, you’re more upset that I said #$@% than you are that millions of children are dying in poverty.” Brian had no criticism in fact, he used Soren Kierkegaard’s “A**-kicking” comment as proof that such talk was acceptable. Most Christians believe that it is never right for laymen or preachers to use filthy speech. Their mothers obviously never washed out their mouths with soap for dirty talk! (Do mothers still do that? Maybe they should!)
Some EC leaders are a hindrance, not a help, to parents who are trying to rear godly children in a cesspool world. Just as we don’t eat mashed potatoes with our fingers or scratch ourselves in public, there are millions of homes where vile speech is not permitted, either because of being Christians or as a matter of civility and culture.
I should think that when they spend so much time in contemplative prayer, silence, examining their own belly button, etc., they might understand that when one gets close to God, he sees his own wicked heart and cries with Isaiah, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” However, I am convinced few of the EC leaders have come close to getting close to a holy God, although they do have unclean lips! According to Psalms 35:28, “my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.” But then that is “only” the Word of the Living God!
Rob Bell is a leader in the Emergent Church in America. In Bell’s Velvet Elvis, he tells us that the Bible is a “human product… rather than the product of divine fiat.” (Quoted in Christianity Today, November, 2004, p. 38.)
Bell believes in the Virgin Birth but does not believe that such belief is necessary to know Christ in forgiveness of sins. Moreover, since Christ died for all mankind, everyone is covered and only needs to live out the life. That is the Dallas Willard, Billy Graham, Robert Schuller universalism. On page 46 of Bell’s book, he affirms that the Bible is an open-ended book. Obviously, that Bell doesn’t ring clearly orthodox.
Brannon Howse received an email from Ryan Dobson, son of Dr. James Dobson in February of 2007 wherein Dobson stated, “I am a HUGE fan of Rob Bell. I think you really should look into his ministry before bashing him too. He is an exemplary man of God.” Is Ryan a shallow lightweight, confused, a gushing fan, or a totally uninformed Christian? It seems when error is pointed out, it always qualifies as “bashing”—unless the object of the bashing is a Fundamentalist!
Dr. Dobson has not dealt with the EC on any of his programs; however, his wife appeared on Robert Schuller’s television show and thanked him for the “good work” he is doing! Robert Schuller, in addition to being a phony, is a universalist! Surely, Dr. Dobson does not believe Schuller is doing “good work.” I contacted Dr. Dobson and received an email from his representative who said that Dr. Dobson has not taken a stand on the EC because it “has yet to be clearly defined.” He is wrong as these pages document.
Alan Jones, an Episcopal priest, wrote, “Christianity as a set of beliefs doesn’t work for me….I light candles and ask for the prayers of the saints…. These disciplines … do not require me to believe literally in angels and the Virgin Birth.” (Alan Jones, Reimagining Christianity p. 31.) He added on page 175, “For my part, I won’t allow those who insist on a literal interpretations [sic] of these myths and doctrines to deprive me of my devotion to her [Mary]. Was she literally a virgin? I don’t know…But much of the emphasis on virginity arose from a negative and destructive view of sexuality. So I doubt very much whether Mary was literally a virgin.” The Emergent Church is classic paganism so of course, they run away from the Bible!
It is obvious that the EC is extremely dangerous to the health of a church or individual Christian and is further proof that if you are not taught biblical precepts you will fall for baseless propaganda. The EC is the poster child for the fact that if you are not taught Something, you will believe anything.
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I talked to an associate pastor of a large Spirit-filled church. He and his wife are friends of mine. He said that the senior pastor no longer preaches the Gospel but is now a motivational speaker. My friend said no one is being convicted of sin or being saved. The church is busy doing alot of things for God but their hearts are far from God. As Isaiah 66 warns, “You have chosen your own way and their soul delights in their abominations, so I will choose their delusions”. My friend still preaches the good old Gospel but his preaching is not popular. He and his wife are grieving for the church in these last days.