You are probably wondering why I told you this story; well I want you to see how easy it is to find yourself in a situation in where the “Emergent” way of thinking can trump the believers mind and interpretation of the Scripture. Well, to make a long story short, that was the beginning of my experience within the church. I wont go into more detail about how the pastor would play Semisonic- “Closing Time” before church, or how he referenced certain movies as sermon illustrations, or how I never needed to bring my Bible cause he never used it -- but my eyes were opened. I was in this church for almost four years before I realized what had happened. I then noticed they were endorsing authors and pastors such as Brian Mclaren, Rob Bell, Joel Osteen, and Rick Warren. The church was more concerned with questioning everything; they did not have time for Scripture. Let’s look at Brian Mclaren: he is a Christian pastor within the Emergent movement. He is a post-modernist (truth cannot be known), and endorses progressive Christianity. He was recognized by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential Evangelicals in 2005! He sounds like a guy who is doing great things in the name of the Lord, right? Mclaren wrote a book called “A New Kind of Christianity.” In this book, he pokes fun at evangelicals and calls to question EVERYTHING they believe. An excerpt from his book says this about what he thinks of the Bible: ”The Bible is a portable library of poems, prophecies, histories, fables, parables, letters, sagely sayings, quarrels, and so on.”
So if the Bible is a library of poems, prophecies, and fables, what does he base his life off of? What is his source of truth? Romans 14:22-23 sums it up “…whatever is not of faith is sin.” Where is his faith? Think about this statement and what it means. If he does not believe the Bible is from God, written by man through being filled by the Holy Spirit, then you must question your very existence! What then do you have to base your knowledge of right and wrong? What is your source of truth? It cannot be us, we are born into sin (Eph 2:1-3, Psalm 51:5, Romans 3:10-12, Romans 5:19, Romans 3:10-12.) I could share reference after reference where he Bible states we are born into sin, and unless we have a Savior there is no redemption. If you doubt the Bible, then by default you doubt the very basis and core of your belief. And if you don’t believe the Bible is perfect, then you must also doubt the very existence of God! This is a very dangerous path, and where it leads is to destruction. Matthew 7:13 says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”
Here’s some advice I would like to give you. This is a test for you to ask yourself the next time you are at church. (However, I’m sure many of you may go to a great Bible-believing/preaching church and you may not need to ask these questions but it’s always good to re-evaluate from time to time.)
1. Do I use my Bible? Is the message based upon Scripture or is the message based upon a story or experience. Are there multiple supporting verses from Scripture or is there only a single verse used with lots of quotes and stories supporting it? Do you spend a majority of your time in the Bible during your church service or do you spend the majority of your church service listening to stories?
2. Am I hearing a lot of words like: conversation, post-modern, mystery, truth is relative? Is the pastor’s message leading you back to the cross or is his message leaving you further questioning the Bible in the name of “awe” and “wonder”?
3. What authors, or other pastors does my church endorse or support? Do the author’s agree with the church’s doctrinal statement? Do these supported authors or preachers support Biblical truth?
I know this post was on the long side; however, there are so many people being pulled into the experiential based faith. It is also tough for me to try and sum up the Emergent church in a small blog post. It has been said, trying to describe the Emergent church is like nailing jello to wall. I will be posting more about the Emergent movement, and things to look out for, but hopefully this gets your gears spinning about what to look for. I leave you with a verse from 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Resources and further reading:
Further reading on Brian Mclaren, and a review of the book by Scot Mcknight from Christianity Today.' A New Kind of Christianity' review <---Click Link
This is a great message from Bobby Conway on the Emergent Church, Brian Mclaren,Rob Bell, and many other Emergent leaders.