Following the message last Sunday, I asked someone with some personal experience with an emergent church to react. Here is her reaction.
My first encounter with the emerging church took place about four years ago, during a change in the leadership at our previous church. As I struggled to define this new belief system, I came to understand that the emerging church had redefined traditional terms and combined a selective view of Scripture with a renewed interest in mystical practices and the social gospel. The Bible was now subject to modern interpretation and was portrayed as a limitation (or deterrent) to humanity’s search for God. This left the congregation in a hopeless state of confusion with a trail of spiritual casualties in its wake.
Like so many threats confronting the church, the emergent view challenges the inerrancy of the Bible, denies the essential truths of Christianity (such as the atoning work and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ) and substitutes what it believes to be a more relevant, socially acceptable and inclusive expression of religious faith.
The emergent church movement claims to believe in a deity whose character and will can be known outside of the Bible and provides the emotional allure and mystical experience that postmodern practitioners want or expect. But in reality, all the emerging church offers is a wide gate of compromise built on the same mentality that has plagued the human race throughout its history: a defiant rejection of God’s Word and a willful disregard for His sovereign grace.
After an unsuccessful effort to warn our congregation, many of us left our previous church in search of sound biblical teaching, and by the grace of God found refuge at Peninsula. The question now to be asked is, what made our previous church susceptible to compromise?
The bottom line is that biblical illiteracy led to the church’s spiritual downfall. Too many of its members simply did not know (or care about) the Word of God and became easy prey for the erroneous teachings that infiltrated and divided their church. Without Scriptural nourishment and its cautionary guidance, well-meaning churchgoers were led away to pursue an inward journey of personal experience that went far beyond the teachings of Scripture.
Our past exposure to the emergent church is a lesson in the need for vigilance and the importance of an informed congregation. It is a reminder that what unifies and sustains a church is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that accountability for its faithful preaching is the responsibility of the entire church body. That experience heightened my awareness that the age-old ploy to undermine God’s Word is all too prevalent and unceasingly on the prowl for new targets.
Last week, Pastor Jim introduced the idea of the emergent church and its assertion that the Bible is a living, breathing document. I know from personal experience that we should take stock of the dangers posed by this viewpoint and acknowledge its devastating consequences.
Praise God that He has freely given us His Word, and that it can be known and proclaimed in our church. Please watch and pray that it would always be so.