MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2008
by Jan Markell
I was recently contacted to do a radio interview by Elwood McQuaid of Friends of Israel. I have had Elwood on my radio program several times on issues related to Israel. I assumed he, also, wanted to talk about Israel. Wrong. He was troubled about the massive inroads of what is known as the Emergent Church and how little Christians know about it.
So, if the Emergent Church is about to submerge your church, you might not even know it!
I am borrowing some thoughts from my good friend Roger Oakland who I consider an authority on this topic.
Here are some warning signs. There still may be time to stop your church from "submerging" to "Emerging" but only if you act decisively and in union with others in your church who feel the same. A delegation of one or two will never impress church leadership who already think this "new way of doing church" is better than warmed bagels and who have swallowed the Emergent deception. And make no mistake, it is deception.
- Scripture is no longer the ultimate authority as the basis for the Christian faith.
- The centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ is being replaced by humanistic methods promoting church growth and a social gospel.
- More and more emphasis is being placed on building the kingdom of God now and less and less on the warnings of Scripture about the imminent return of Jesus Christ and a coming judgment in the future.
- The teaching that Jesus Christ will rule and reign in a literal millennial period is considered unbiblical and heretical.
- The teaching that the church has taken the place of Israel and Israel has no prophetic significance is often embraced.
- The teaching that the book of Revelation does not refer to the future, but instead has been already fulfilled in the past or is allegorical.
- An experiential mystical form of Christianity begins to be promoted as a method to reach the postmodern generation.
- Ideas are promoted teaching that Christianity needs to be reinvented in order to provide meaning for this generation.
- The pastor may implement an idea called "ancient-future" or "vintage Christianity" claiming that in order to take the church forward, we need to go back in church history and find out what experiences were effective to get people to embrace Christianity.
- While the authority of the Word of God is undermined, images and sensual experiences are promoted as the key to experiencing and knowing God.
- These experiences include icons, candles, incense, liturgy, labyrinths, prayer stations, contemplative prayer, experiencing the sacraments (for Protestants), particularly the sacrament of the Eucharist.
- There seems to be a strong emphasis on ecumenism indicating that a bridge is being established that leads in the direction of unity with the Roman Catholic Church. This will ultimately lead to the one world religion of Revelation.
- Some "evangelical" Protestant leaders are saying that the Reformation went too far. They are reexamining the claims of the "church fathers" saying that communion is more than a symbol and that Jesus actually becomes present in the wafer at communion.
- Some suggest there are many ways to God.
- Members of churches who question or resist the new changes that the pastor is implementing are reprimanded and usually asked to leave. If you are over age 50, your opinion will not even matter.
When some of the following are lauded from the pulpit or Sunday School class, get very nervous: Rob Bell, Doug Pagitt, Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Dallas Willard, Erwin McManus, and many others too numerous to name. You may think it harmless to have a pastor just give a quote from one of these men, but when you understand that they represent the above bullet-points, it should be a huge red flag.
It is imperative you understand this movement and do what you can to not let "Emerging" submerge your church; however, if and when you see it is hopeless to turn the tide, move on to safer ground!