Question:

I was researching a little bit today on the "emerging church movement." I have been reading a lot of their stuff, and finding out it doesn't seem like they are even Christian. Some of them at times claim they don't believe God inspired the Word, or as one of them said "paraphrasing" God word is inspired, but not the way we think. He created cultures and families and communities and God wrote the Bible that way but with bias and opinions and not exactly inspired word for word. I seen videos of preachers. whom I disagree with a lot, giving their called theology which is way off a lot of the time. One is known as the cussing pastor.

I was wondering your thoughts on the emerging church. They try to say stained glass windows, making the sign of the cross, or saying "Jesus" 101 times in the morning will help make them closer to God. As I read quotes by them and read a few books by them, I find I disagreed with a lot of what they say and wonder if a Christian was writing the books. Popular books by them is "Blue like Jazz," "Velvet Elvis," "Sex God," and "Generous Orthodoxy." One of my pastors recommended this last one. There may be 20 Scriptures used in a 297 page book. Instead the author uses psychology and uses different words that mean the same thing, and what-if scenarios and random stories to prove point, but hardly any Scripture. The books says we all should be tolerant of everyone. I haven't been bothered by such a view in a long time, but these guys, if they hadn't said they were Christian, Ii would guess they were something else.


Answer:

The fact that there are false teachers is something the Bible discusses at length. Let's just take your "cussing pastor" as an example. It is very clear in the Bible that vulgar language is morally wrong. (See "Careful What You Say" for the passages.) But here we have a religious leader who doesn't attempt to control his tongue (violating James 3). This should remind us of what Jesus said, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. A good tree can't produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn't grow good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:15-20). The man's fruit (impure language) is bad, therefore it indicates the type of person he is and is a reflection of the movement he leads.

I read through a Wikipedia article on the emerging church movement since I have had no direct contacts with any of its members. Foremost I noted that the movement rejects the idea that the Scriptures are the absolute authority for doctrine and practice. They believe that doctrines upheld should be modified to meet current cultural practices. Thus, society becomes the ultimate moral guide instead of God.

This leads to a rejection of reading the Bible as a means of establishing right or wrong. Instead the Bible is read as a story (narrative) and it is the feelings produced in the individual by the story that becomes important in their mind. One of their leaders is quoted as saying, "We must stop looking for some objective Truth that is available when we delve into the text of the Bible." This is why you found more man-made philosophy in their books than Scripture.

With such a bases, we could expect "anything goes" in this church, and that is what you find. "Emergents tend to see any exhortation to moral conduct other than social causes to be 'legalistic.'" Legalism, an approach that there is an absolute right or wrong is bad in this group's view. In fact about the only thing this church condemns is people who take a narrow approach to the teachings of God. They are proud of their broad acceptance of all people (all but the religious fundamentalists, that is). Of which Jesus said, "for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it" (Matthew 7:13).

The goal of these people is to be popular in the culture. Something the apostles warned us against. "But false prophets also arose among the people, as false teachers will also be among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master who bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction. Many will follow their immoral ways, and as a result, the way of the truth will be maligned. In covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words: whose sentence now from of old doesn't linger, and their destruction will not slumber. ... but chiefly those who walk after the flesh in the lust of defilement, and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries; ... But these, as unreasoning creatures, born natural animals to be taken and destroyed, speaking evil in matters about which they are ignorant, will in their destroying surely be destroyed, receiving the wages of unrighteousness; people who count it pleasure to revel in the daytime, spots and blemishes, reveling in their deceit while they feast with you; having eyes full of adultery, and who can't cease from sin; enticing unsettled souls; having a heart trained in greed; children of cursing; forsaking the right way, they went astray, having followed the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of wrong-doing; ... For, uttering great swelling words of emptiness, they entice in the lusts of the flesh, by licentiousness, those who are indeed escaping from those who live in error; promising them liberty, while they themselves are bondservants of corruption; for a man is brought into bondage by whoever overcomes him" (II Peter 2:1-3, 10, 12-15, 18-19).

What I find far more disturbing is that one of your own leaders actually recommended some of this trash.