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What exactly is the Emergent Church Movement?

By Nathan Jones
Evangelist & Web Minister
, Lamb & Lion Ministries

Dr. Reagan and I, on our ministry's television show Christ in Prophecy, had the pleasure of asking this question of Christian apologist Eric Barger of Take a Stand! Ministries. He joined us to talk about the greatest threat to the Church today — apostasy, particularly from the Emergent Church Movement.



Truth is Relative

Eric Barger: The Emergent Church Movement has only been around about 15 years, yet there are millions of people who have fallen into it, and many don't even know it.

I want to caution people, don't be hung up on the term "Emergent" or "Emerging Church." We need to know what we believe and why we believe it first, but we also need to be aware that there are a lot of things being called Christian or being called acceptable inside Christianity around us.

The Emergent Church Movement is really based on the idea that we need to present the Gospel in a different way, or present Christianity in a different way to the world because we live in a post-modern society that can't accept what truth is. We also wouldn't want to talk too much about things that divide us. We just want to have an expression of Christianity that feels good to us.

When I say Post-Modernism, it's the idea that truth is kind of a moving target. In the Emergent Church Movement, it's all about Relativism. You make up your own rules as you go along.

As I've examined the Emergent Church leaders, the single thing that I have seen over and over is that they use Christian terms that we can relate to, just like many of the cults do, but they have attached radically different meanings to traditional Christian terms.

Feelings are Authoritative

Dr. Reagan: It seems to me what we are really talking about here is the fact that society went through a period of time when people thought that the answer to all of man's problems was science. Science was going to solve everything. Well, science didn't. In fact, science has made it worse with atomic bombs and so forth. And so, we are in a sort of rebellion where people are claiming, "You know, science really isn't it. We've got to move to a more mystical way of thinking that's non-scientific and based on feelings."

Eric Barger: The Emergent Church and Post-Modernism move hand in hand because the Emergent Church is supposedly a response to Post-Modernism. The people who first came up with these new church concepts, I believe they were genuinely concerned about so many of the 20-something and 30-something people leaving the Church and not coming back. They were trying to figure out how they could draw them back into the churches.

But, quickly the discussions started turning to the idea that maybe we don't need to hold all the doctrines of the Church. Maybe some of those doctrines such as the doctrine of the Trinity or the doctrine of the Deity of Christ or certainly the doctrine of Hell can be done away with. Removing uncomfortable doctrines will draw those people back, they thought. So, it's not just about a new way to present the Gospel, rather it's about a complete change of what people think the Gospel is.

Experience Filters Reality

Dr. Reagan: Nathan, almost on a daily basis you are confronting Post-Moderns out there. Give us a feel for what a Post-Modern mentality is?

Nathan Jones: It is experiential in that truth is what you experience. You filter reality on how you yourself see things. So, if the Bible says that Jesus is the Son of God, well I didn't experience Him in my life like that, so He must be an angel or something else entirely. That is how they come up with their truth. The Bible isn't the absolute standard that is used in the Post-Modern generation.

Dr. Reagan: So, it is really a rejection of the concept of absolute truth. It's more feelings. Your truth is your truth, and my truth is my truth. Actually applied, if you are going to discuss something like homosexuality you wouldn't go to the Bible and ask, "What does God say about it?" You would instead ask, "What do you feel about it?"

Nathan Jones: Yes, it is the ultimate ego trip because you have become God. It is you who decide what is right and what is wrong. You can also live in a reality that totally conflicts with how the world works, and that's fine with you. Everyone is just supposed to get along and tolerate each other's ego trips.

Eric Barger: What you are saying right there also defines the New Age Movement. If you're a New Ager, it's all about you making up your own rules about what you think is right.

The real problem with the Emergent Church Movement is there's a general lack of respect for the authority of the Bible. That's the key problem. The Emergent Church would not be an issue if the Church was willing to have its Bible open and test everything that comes along, including what we say against the Word of God, to see if it matches up.

Want to identify if your church is becoming Emergent? - Watch on "Christ In Prophecy"


 

WITG SM To understand more about The Emerging Church movement see our DVD:  

WIDE IS THE GATE:The Emerging New Christianity

VOLUME 1ORDER DVD /more info

 

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