I was asked this week to evaluate a comment made by a well known pastor. The person who asked for my opinion of the comment also asked for my opinion of the man who made the comment because he is a widely read author. As I began to study about the man and the things he believes, I found that he was part of a movement known as the Emergent Church. Now he might not claim to be a part of that movement, but the fact remains that his practices combined with his theology definitely make him a part of this movement.
You may be asking this morning what the Emergent Church movement is all about. It is a movement which has been gaining momentum for some time which states as its purpose to emerge from the traditional paradigm of church. The desire to do more than sing hymns, take an offering, listen to a sermon, and close in prayer. The Emergent Church is usually typified by the presence of a music genre known as "praise & worship". The "message" of the service can be anything from a sermon to a one act play to traditional dance performed by a troupe of young people. The idea is that through different forms of communication more people can be reached.
The real questions for this movement are these:
1. What message are you trying to reach people with? They speak of the desire to "bring souls into the kingdom." However the Bible says that the only way for souls to be saved is to put their faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ to be saved. The message of the Emergent
Church is one of works, vague ambiguous faith, and ironically, a premium placed on just being in church.
2. What are the actual beliefs espoused by your church? It is common for the Emergent Church to be a "non-denominational" church. What is a non-denominational church? Is it a church which has no denominational name or does it have more to do with the teachings and doctrine of the church? This lack of specific distinctive is rife with compromise, and false teaching.
3. When teaching cultural relativism instead of an absolute are you not teaching that there is no basis for faith? If the gospel is only relative according to the culture in which it is interpreted then it would be of none effect. Romans 3:23 says "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." These represent the Gospel. This is the message which churches should be representing. This is absolute because this relates to all men of all time. If you don't know Christ as your Lord and Saviour then you must be born again. Don't be fooled by a pop-culture phenomena which shines brightly for a time and then burns dim because it has nothing to sustain it. Put your faith in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.")