Many of the readers of our monthly newsletter and listeners to our radio broadcasts have asked us questions about what is called â€œThe Emerging Churchâ€ movement. Our primary focus is the Nation of Israel and Godâ€™s prophetic plans as taught in the Bible, Godâ€™s infallible, inerrant, and inspired Word.
In reading various articles and books on the subject one can become increasingly confused as to what is meant by the term â€œemerging church.â€ This is only one personâ€™s brief analysis and certainly does not do justice to all that is being said these days.
1. It is definitely A DESIRE TO BE CONTEMPORARY!
There is a need in every generation, of course, to communicate effectively. In and of itself, the desire to be contemporary is not an evil motive. But, it certainly can be. Sometimes what is meant by being “contemporary” is the involvement of believers in worldly standards and practices that do not honor God or worship Him. The unbelieving world should not dictate to believers what we should do. I Corinthians 10:31 states that we should do all to the glory of God! In some of the literature, we got the distinct impression that we should adopt the world’s opinions about communication. It seemed to us that the principle of I Corinthians 9:19-22 was being “stretched” a bit!
2. It continues to ATTACK THE CHURCHES OF TODAY!
This matter is of great concern to us. Of course, there are many things going on in todayâ€™s churches that are no longer effective in reaching people with the true gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There are also many attempts by these churches to reach the people of todayâ€™s culture. But, this point is different (in our opinion) from what was said above in point one. Underlining most of the arguments of this movement is a continual attack upon the churches that are more traditional and more sermon-centered. The singing of hymns from the past, the use of piano or organ, the necessity of a pastor giving a sermon that teaches through the books of the Bible as they were written, etc. â€“ these are criticized continually. But, the fact is, that thousands of believers all over the world are being edified and encouraged by strong Bible teaching and music that glorifies God and is not interested in being contemporary for contemporaryâ€™s sake!
3. It fails to deal with FALSE TEACHING, APOSTASY, and ECUMENICALISM!
There is a concerted effort to avoid what Paul told the elders of the church in Ephesus to do (Acts 20). There is serious compromise in this movement and a belief that we should tolerate and even accept other forms of â€œreaching Godâ€ besides the one we have always chosen to believe. This movement believes that different belief systems within the Christian churches of todayâ€™s culture need to come together. But, without Biblical understanding and integrity, it leads to compromise and it strips the gospel of its central and required message.
Words like â€œprotestâ€ and â€œdiscontentâ€ and â€œboredomâ€ appear often in the literature of those talking about the â€œemerging church.â€ But, for mature believers whose walk with the Lord is precious, strong, and fruitful â€“ none of these words describe them. In every church there are differences of opinion about non-Biblical practices; the mature believer knows what is most important in our relationship with the Lord Himself â€“ the Word of God, prayer, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and a commitment to reach lost men and women with the truth of the Bibleâ€™s message.
We have not said enough to deal with all of the ramifications of what is being said in this current trend, but we are concerned about the above and trust that it will be helpful to our readers. The complaints that are discussed among writers of this movement center in the failure of the churches in our day to be contemporary and to reach the culture that now exists. There is a great deal of truth in what is being said. There is also a giant mistake! The Bible is always what is needed, and it speaks to every generation. Styles of worship and communication can change, but the Word of God does NOT change.
4. It is a serious DEPARTURE FROM BIBLICAL EXEGESIS!
While none of the communicators of this new movement would say so, it is clear from their writings and articles that they desire a new method of interpreting the Scriptures. We are committed to a historical/grammatical interpretation of the Bible. Exegesis lets the Bible speak for itself in its historical context. Human opinion often is more â€œeisegesis (reading into the text)â€ than it is exegesis (reading out of the text). The leaders of this movement speak of moving from â€œabsolutesâ€ to â€œauthenticity.â€ That is philosophical nonsense. God is the only One Who can tell us what is right and wrong â€“ NOT the culture.
Another disturbing trend is the “inclusive” nature of what is being described as the “emerging church.” There are no specific Biblical guidelines and a desire to avoid offending any person is definitely emphasized in the writings of leaders in this movement. Some writers seem very sincere and committed to what they are saying. In reading the material we kept wondering where all this is leading! Movements come and go, but the Word of God stands!
Thanks for listening – hope this helps some.