The Emergent Church has gained significant momentum over the past few decades, and it’s likely you haven’t noticed either. The Emergent Church isn’t some denomination you can pinpoint historically, nor is it confined to a religious establishment. Its a movement that has found its roots within the American culture of subjective truth.
There are some who say the Emergent Church is no longer a threat to biblical Christianity, but I beg to differ. I believe the movement has penetrated all denominations, including the non-denominational church. For this reason, the Emergent Church is worth discussing.
The Emergent Church is like a box of chocolates… you’ll never know what theology you’re gonna get
Just like a box of chocolates you’ll never bite into the same filling twice. Emergent Church pastors tend to promote views inconsistent with each other concerning scripture. How? Through language deconstruction.
They use a deliberate process to deconstruct the Bible’s original languages and conjure up their own interpretations. No matter that they disagree. Emergent church philosophy advocates that all scripture is subject to the current cultural context. The problem with this is that you eventually run into the problem of questioning divine authority.
In reality, these pastors are textual skeptics. Though they will not admit the Bible to be untrustworthy, they confess it to be fallible and resort to extra-biblical resources to define key terms. This can rob the author’s original intent for the passage, though.
Following is a statement made by Emergent Pastor, Rob Bell:
“One of the leaders was sharing her journey in trying to understand what the Bible teaches about the issue at hand and said something like this: “I’ve spent a great deal of time recently studying this issue. I’ve read what the people on the one side of the issue say, and I’ve read what the people on the other side say. I’ve read the scholars and the theologians and all sorts of others on the subject. But then in the end, I decided to get back to the Bible and just take it for what it really says.” What was she really saying? Now please understand that this way of thinking is prevalent in a lot of Christian churches, so I don’t mean in any way to single her out. But this view of the Bible is warped and toxic.” Rob Bell – Founder of Mars Hill Church
You can see by Rob Bell’s statement that one cannot simply understand what the text is saying by reading it. It must be deconstructed.
However, the idea that one could read God’s word and be manipulated or mislead by its narrative is quite unsettling. Why trust any facet of it at all if that were possible? Yet, church leaders like Rob Bell will promote this view in order to cater to the views of our post-modern generation.
Unfortunately, by for-fronting today’s culture and liberal agenda, Bell opens the door for doubt in the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith. This post-modern philosophy of subjective truths eventually transcends the exclusive salvation that proclaimed in Christianity.
An Emergent Church pastoral-ship will unashamedly welcome the practicing Hindu to worship the God of the Bible as well, despite the Bible’s teaching that the Christian God is a jealous God. How can this be so when one is either dedicated to the philosophy of Hinduism or wholly devoted to Jesus Christ?
Still, the Emergent Church says it’s possible for contradictory systems of belief to coexist in the mind. Universalism is openly preached.
Spencer Burke, an emergent church advocate claims his views of bringing all religions together is, in fact, heretical. However, he does not believe he is doing something wrong. Rather, he promotes his view good and progressive. His reasoning is that if Jesus was a heretic to the Jews and if Martin Luther was a heretic to the Catholics, he, too, could be one for modern Christianity.
I, personally, don’t believe Burke to be a pivotal figure of God’s providential church on Earth like Luther or Christ. Since he does claim there are more ways to the God the Bible than Christ, I’d say his interpretation of scripture is completely wrong. Christ said:
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” -John 14:6
What is True?
Though the Emergent church claims to inquisitively seek truth, they do so while accepting more than one. This logically impossible and self-defeating if you ask me. Sure, language deconstruction can be beneficial in some aspects, but it should never compromise or contradict God’s overall narrative.
Everything revolves around Jesus. And until we have discovered this for ourselves, you’ll be listening to whoever is behind the pulpit with a Bible in their hand.