As globalism is gaining popularity with the world’s superpowers to bring together economic and political aspirations, so too is a movement underway which will bring together diverse religions. Just as globalism compromises nationalism, so the ‘emerging church’ will compromise basic Biblical doctrines.
There are those who believe that inasmuch as we are in the postmodern cultural times the church must change to keep pace with the changing culture. Subscribers to the ‘emerging church’ movement are concerned that the present church is not capable of attracting or communicating with those in the postmodern cultural era. One predominant writer on the subject states, “Christian leaders must therefore adapt to this emerging church. Those who fail to do so are blind to the cultural accretions that hide the gospel behind forms of thought and modes of expression that no longer communicate with the new generation.”
Let’s summarize some of the thinking of the ‘emerging church’ in practical terminology.
• Major Biblical doctrines are compromised and/or minimized in favor of appealing to more popular cultural and social issues.
• The emphasis is on the here and now and the movement will appeal to secularism resulting in the alignment with liberal ideology.
• The emerging church’s major focus is on social and progressive issues, i.e., how can we make the world a better place, now.
• The emerging church is also concerned with ecological issues. The focus is not on the redemption of mankind, but rather the restoration of the earth.
• The emergent church’s leaders do not give credence to the doctrine of ‘original sin’ and redemption from it. Instead the focus is on curing social ills so that the whole world can live in peace and harmony.
• Proponents also reject substitutionary atonement. They deny the existence of Hell as well as scriptural inerrancy. They instead espouse universalism which welcomes all religions that strive for peace and the betterment of man and the planet.
As would be expected the movement is gathering wide appeal because it
offers a better quality of life to all without addressing the sin question. The ‘emerging church’ also moves religion and politics towards a one world, i.e. global system.
There is little question that people can be drawn into a movement that promotes the betterment of social conditions, restores the earth, welcomes a wide variety of philosophies, and doesn’t make a big issue of man’s basic depravity called sin. However, if the Bible is the reference guide there is much said therein to refute the major tenets of the ‘emerging church.’
Ironically the major dilemma in the Bible is the sin problem which must be addressed before any other issue has any significance. And the sin issue can only be solved by way of substitutionary atonement. Jesus Himself said the true church was founded on the fact that He was God in the flesh and His blood was shed for the payment of sin. Therefore, according to the Bible, a movement cannot be called a ‘church’ if it does not have as its foundation the fact that Christ addressed and solved the sin problem by His vicarious death. Any other teaching is termed antichrist and subscribing to such heresy spells doom. The Bible states that those that subscribe to such teaching are not part of the one true church.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” I John 4:1-3
“For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”
II John 7
The great teacher and Apostle Paul also stressed the keystone doctrine of substitutionary atonement.
“…but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness…” I Corinthians 1:23
“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” I Corinthians 2:2
The Bible also foretold that such movements appealing to the masses with diluted Biblical doctrines would be prevalent in the latter days.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables.” II Timothy 4:3-4
The Bible also clearly states that in the latter days the ‘church’ that denies the sin problem and its sole solution through Christ will align its vain philosophies with the ten nation political establishment that will subsequently destroy that false ‘church.’
“Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication…The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet…having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations…” Revelation 17:1-4
“Then he said to me, ‘The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire…For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind…until the words of God are fulfilled.’” Revelation 17:15-17
Perhaps the ‘new and improved’ church should re-evaluate their message and mission.