The Emerging Church
Relevant topics: The Purpose-Driven Church
Definition: (Encyclopedia): "a label that has been used to refer to a particular subset of Christians who are rethinking Christianity against the backdrop of Postmodernism.... Emerging Church groups have typically contained some or all of the following elements:
Highly creative approaches to worship and spiritual reflection. This can involve everything from the use of contemporary music and films through to liturgy or other more ancient customs. ...
A flexible approach to theology whereby individual differences in belief and morality are accepted within reason.
A more holistic approach to the role of the church in society. This can mean anything from greater emphasis on fellowship in the structure of the group to a higher degree of emphasis on social action, community building or Christian outreach.
A desire to reanalyse the Bible against the context into which it was written...." Psalm 119:11
Peter Drucker: "Every few hundred years in Western history there occurs a sharp transformation.... Within a few short decades, society rearranges itself -- it's worldview; its basic values: its social and political structures; its arts; its key institutions. Fifty years later, there is a new world. And the people born then cannot even imagine the world in which their grandparents lived.... We are currently living through just such a transformation. It is creating the post-capitalist society.... " The Post Capitalist Society, 1993; page 1.
The Demise of Mainline Religious Denominations in America (The Wages of Unfaithfulness): "It is easy enough to understand how our government would instantly adopt any form of deception that might aid their lying and scheming. But, when the cornerstone denominations of the Christian faith in America embraced political correctness, its hellish properties became apparent....
"America used to be a 'God-fearing' nation filled with people who KNEW they relied upon the kindness and the grace of an omnipotent God to guide them through any troubles they/we as individuals, and as a nation, faced. That is no longer the case. ....The bitter truth is, in my opinion, the church has turned its collective back on the One it purportedly serves and now it serves, instead, its own interests, its own politics, its own politically correct philosophy of what God OUGHT to be, and, in so doing, they have created God in their own image. And what a pitiful god they have created!"
"There was a time when the church not only set the standards for American society.... They spoke with the authority of the scriptures. When the mainline denominations turned their backs on the scriptures they began losing their authority…"See Who defines the Kingdom of God?
Corrupting the Church. Emergence Christianity "Explosion!': "...a whole new emerging generation is rising up to take the microphones.... Bill and Brenda Johnson are the Senior Pastors of Bethel Church in Redding, California. Bethel Church is firmly aligned with the Word-Faith movement and identifies with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), or the Third Wave Movement with its 'prophets,' 'apostles,' and alleged manifestations.... [Bill Johnson's] theology has amounted to what some call a 'de facto denial of the deity of Christ.'
"...there are growing concerns about Lou Giglio, who is going very public this month with his high profile benediction at Obama’s inauguration ceremony. [Giglio withdrew -- see the next link below]." SeeTodd Bentley and "The Beautiful Side of Evil
Obama Inauguration. The Giglio imbroglio: "Barack Obama and those organizing his upcoming inauguration have effectively declared historic, biblical Christianity to be out of bounds.... In a statement released to the White House and the Presidential Inaugural Committee, Giglio said that he withdrew because of the furor that emerged Wednesday after a liberal watchdog group revealed that almost 20 years ago he had preached a sermon in which he had stated that homosexuality is a sin and that the 'only way out of a homosexual lifestyle … is through the healing power of Jesus.'...
"In other words, a Christian pastor has been effectively disinvited from delivering an inaugural prayer because he believes and teaches Christian truth....A fair-minded reading of that statement indicates that Pastor Giglio has strategically avoided any confrontation with the issue of homosexuality for at least 15 years. The issue 'has not been in the range of my priorities,' he said."See Obama's Shifting Faith and Loyalties
Today's Synthetic Gospel: "George Whitefield said: 'The Christian world is in a deep sleep; nothing but a loud shout can awaken them out of it!” We are preaching a man-centered gospel that denies a Holy God. The gospel begins with God and ends with God: if we miss this, we miss the gospel.
"We are living in a age of synthetic gospel preaching, hence the Church has little power in modern day evangelism attempts. Satan has been successfully employing men in preaching a dethroned Christ and a powerless Gospel."
Church groups: Keep 'Father,' 'Son' in Bible: "Biblical Missiology said the Turkish organization of Christians was not the first to object to the translations. The Bengali church has taken a large stance against the Islamized translations and the 'Insider Movement that Islamizes the church,' the organization reported.
"Malaysian Christians has also made a statement opposing the new changes. 'As a church in a Muslim majority country, we are concerned that there are currently movements to remove all reference to God as ‘Father’ and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ as ‘Son of God’ on the translation of the Holy Scripture to the local language."
Conference to nurture 'new kind of Christianity': "The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is among sponsors of a four-day meeting next May to discuss ways to train up children and youth in a 'new kind of Christianity.' ...a New Kind of Christianity conference will bring leaders, ministers, volunteers, parents and students together for dialogue about the spiritual formation of children and youth in the 'emergent' or 'missional' church. Nationally known presenters include progressive evangelical social activists like Brian McLaren, Tony Campolo and Jim Wallis [spiritual adviser to Obama]....
"McLaren, author of books including A New Kind of Christianity, said....'We are going into a revolution in the way we do church and the way we understand and practice Christian faith....Program personalities include Jeremiah Wright..." See Who defines the Kingdom of God?
Altar to an Unknown Love: Rob Bell, C.S. Lewis, and the Legacy of the Art and Thought of Man: "Beasley concurs with the criticism heaped on Rob Bell and his heretical book Love Wins. But he is justly confused as to why others, particularly C.S. Lewis who taught essentially many of Bell’s errors, receives accolades from the critics of Bell. This is a valid point. Lewis, who never claimed to be an evangelical (pp. 11-12), is quoted and followed by evangelicals almost without question. For example, Beasley points out that John Piper builds upon Lewis for his concept of hedonistic Christianity and Timothy Keller draws much of his apologetics from Lewis as well (see my review of Keller’s Reason for God)." See How mysticism & heresy are changing the Church
Sounding the Trumpet in the Midst of Apostasy: "The Enemy is in the Camp! ...we have watched with a mixture of surprise and sadness how an apostate church has materialized before our eyes. Here at Lighthouse Trails, we have endeavored to blow the trumpet over the years, sounding the call to repentance and to a return to the sound doctrine of the Bible. But many have become annoyed with the repeated blasts of the trumpet. All we can say to this is that the time is short, and we remember the words of Jesus when he said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). See Deceived by a counterfeit "Jesus" - The twisted "truths" of The Shack
Persecuted Christian? Don't expect these pastors to speak up: "About half of all the pastors in America's churches today do not want to tell their congregations that there are forces in the world that persecute Christians for their beliefs, because it's a 'downer'. ...In the nationwide poll of more than 800 Christians, 74 percent of America's churchgoers want to hear about the persecuted church. But the same survey said only 48 percent of the pastors want to discuss the issue." See The Second Great Evangelical Meltdown
WHOSE Global Kingdom Come? "Two complementary movements within the church are preparing God’s people for deception at an unprecedented scale: today’s neglect of Biblical truth as an authoritative standard and the seductive call to global spirituality in a new millennium of peace and unity. Both are shaping a chingdom that promises security and unity for all — except those who resist." See Conforming the Church to the New World Order
The Netherlands: A Laboratory for Christianity’s Destruction: "...some church leaders in the Netherlands want to transform their small nation into a laboratory for rethinking Christianity — 'experimenting with radical new ways of understanding the faith.'...Pastor Hendrikse doesn’t believe in life after death.... 'God is not a being at all,' he says, but just an experience....In fact, he published a book in recent years entitled, Believing in a Non-Existent God.
"...the church has embraced a straightforward form of atheism within its own ranks — and among its own ministers....The Dutch ministers featured in this report dismiss the doctrines of biblical Christianity as... 'rigid things you can’t touch any more.' Like the liberal theologians of the last two centuries, they insist that the 'real meaning' of Christianity can survive, even if its central truth claims are denied. One layperson cited in the report celebrated the liberation of Christianity from truth claims, allowing her to recreate the faith 'to my own way of thinking, my own way of doing.” It's happening in America, too. See A Twist of Faith, Chapter 5
NEW Evangelicalism: The New World Order: "The rise and development of the Emerging (Emergent) Church Movement became both a significant collaborator and delivery system for the major paradigm shift that has affected and infiltrated the mindset of many evangelical pastors. The shift includes the new evangelical notion that the church must become postmodern in order to reach secular America. The shift includes a definitive move away from belief in absolute truth.”
We Have Seen All This Before: Rob Bell and the (Re-)Emergence of Liberal Theology: "...they have accused evangelical Christianity, variously, as being excessively concerned with doctrine, culturally tone-deaf, overly propositional, unnecessarily offensive, aesthetically malnourished, and basically uncool....From the very beginning of the movement, many of the emerging church’s leaders called for a major transformation in evangelical theology....Influenced by postmodern narrative theories, most within the movement lean into story rather than formal argument....
"Protestant Liberalism emerged in the 19th century as influential theologians argued for a doctrinal revolution. Their challenge to the church was simple and straightforward: The intellectual challenges of the modern age made belief in traditional Christian doctrines impossible. Friedrich Schleiermaher wrote his impassioned speeches to the “cultured despisers” of religion, arguing that something of spiritual value remained in Christianity even when its doctrines were no longer credible. Church historians such as Adolf von Harnack argued that a kernel of spiritual truth and power remained even when the shell of Christianity’s doctrinal claims was removed. In the United States preachers such as Harry Emerson Fosdick preached that Christianity must come to terms with the modern age and surrender its supernatural claims." See The Second Great Evangelical Meltdown
Your marital status is not relevant to us now, Church tells clergy: "The Church of England has infuriated traditionalists by dropping the requirement for clergy to disclose their marital status when they apply for new posts. Church officials say the changes have been introduced to mirror new secular employment and equality laws aimed at eliminating discrimination. But traditionalists say they further undermine the Christian view of marriage by hindering parishes from finding out whether candidates for jobs are divorced or in a gay ‘marriage’." See Depravity
Obama's 'Christian Nation': "Back in June of 2006, Obama said, 'Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation - at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.'...
"Obama believes America is a nation of citizens curiously bound by ideals and a set of values, having no extrinsic anchor and objective source. ....we can create a modern international community that is respectful, that is secure, that is prosperous; that there are not tensions, inevitable tensions, between cultures, which I think is extraordinarily important. [April 12, 2009] ...
"Today the 'great melting pot' means that traditionalists get thrown into the boiling kettle of liberal diversity.... Obama, throughout the economic catastrophe, as he calls it, has not led the country in a single prayer to God, asking for His kind assistance." See Ignoring God and His GuidelinesVideo: Already Gone: "...we are losing our kids in elementary, middle school, and high school rather than college, and the 'Sunday school syndrome' is contributing to the epidemic, rather than helping alleviate it. This is an alarming wake-up call for the church, showing how our programs and our approaches to Christian education are failing...and our children are paying the price." See Biblical versus Cultural Christianity
Today's Christianity' - Nothing more than feelings, Part 1 : "...if you do a search of the less contemporary translations of scripture, the word 'feelings' is virtually nonexistent. Where it does appear, it is cited as more of a superficial, even negative attribute than a positive; and yet, as we watch and listen to many from today’s churches, be they leaders or laymen, not only do we see a clear fixation on feelings, both physical and emotional, we notice that those feelings have by and large become a replacement for faith.
"In fact, if you substitute the word 'feelings' wherever you see the word 'faith' in those older Bible versions, it will become clear to you what motivates and guides the average 'Christian' today....
"You see, 'passion' is a buzzword that is commonly used among contemporary Christians to give assorted 'ministries,' however abstract and bizarre, a perceived legitimacy. If a Christian is 'passionate' about something, it is automatically assumed and accepted by the brethren to be God-ordained, in spite of what the Bible teaches." See Biblical versus Cultural Christianity
Christianity Today 's Anti-Christianity: "The founder, Billy Graham, stated that he wanted to 'plant the evangelical flag in the middle-of-the-road, taking the conservative theological position but a definite liberal approach to social problems.'...It seems that no voice that advances apostasy has been omitted from CT's list of contributing editors or writers: Ron Sider, President Obama's leftist theologian... Eugene Peterson (who wrote his own bible called The Message)...former executive editor Terry Muck (who writes of his love for the Buddha); Leith Anderson (who promotes the experiential over the propositional, i.e., that emergent experience trumps doctrine....
"Christianity Today's senior managing editor, Mark Galli [wrote an article titled "Divine Drama Queen," which is his characterization of the God of the Bible....What Galli has written is CT's latest installment of corrupting the faith, generated from decades of undermining the Word of God and distorting the God of the Bible...
[Galli wrote] "I like a tranquil, even-keeled, self-controlled God. A God who doesn't fly off the handle at the least provocation.... When I read my Bible, though, I keep running into a different God, and I'm not pleased. This God says he 'hates' sin. Well, he usually yells it. Read the prophets. It's just one harangue after another..."
The Church in America: Adopting the Religion of Green/Environmental Activism/Social Justice: "Even if the reader does not attend a Christian church, he might at least think that such a place would generally embrace the Bible and Jesus Christ as its main source for instruction, guidance, and hope for the salvation of man. One would not expect an evangelical house of worship to go to the world at large for its agenda....
"While looking over the Urbana 2009 website, I came across the seminars that it offered. The following seminar is a typical representation of many that were provided. (Note that there is no mention of Jesus Christ in these descriptions.)...Under 'Jesus and Justice Seminars': "Uniting Faith and Justice - Taking Action in Your Community: Come hear the story of how two sister grassroots movements came to be and what they are doing to organize faith communities for environmental justice...'
"'Under 'Environmental Stewardship Seminars'....'Join us as we discuss two approaches for organizing faith communities for environmental justice. ...we hope to disciple leaders...."See Trading Truth for a "Social Gospel"
Links to earlier articles on the Emerging Church: 2004-2007 and 2008--2009
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