The emerging, or emergent, church movement
takes its name from the idea that as culture changes, a new
church should emerge in response. In this case, it is a response
by various church leaders to the current era of post-modernism.
Although post-modernism began in the 1950s, the church didn't
really seek to conform to its tenets until the 1990s.
Post-modernism can be thought of as a dissolution of "cold, hard
fact" in favor of "warm, fuzzy subjectivity." The emerging /
emergent church movement can be thought of the same way.
The emerging / emergent church movement falls into line with
basic post-modernist thinking. It is about experience over
reason, subjectivity over objectivity, spirituality over
religion, images over words, outward over inward, feelings over
truth. These are reactions to modernism and are thought to be
necessary in order to actively engage contemporary culture. This
movement is still fairly new, though, so there is not yet a
standard method of "doing" church amongst the groups choosing to
take a post-modern mindset. In fact, the emerging church rejects
any standard methodology for doing anything. Therefore, there is
a huge range of how far groups take a post-modernist approach to
Christianity. Some groups go only a little way in order to
impact their community for Christ, and remain biblically sound.
Most groups, however, embrace post-modernist thinking, which
eventually leads to a very liberal, loose translation of the
Bible. This, in turn, lends to liberal doctrine and theology.
For example, because experience is valued more highly than
reason, truth becomes relative. Relativism opens up all kinds of
problems, as it destroys the standard that the Bible contains
absolute truth, negating the belief that biblical truth can be
absolute. If the Bible is not our source for absolute truth, and
personal experience is allowed to define and interpret what
truth actually is, a saving faith in Jesus Christ is rendered
Another area where the emerging / emergent church movement has
become anti-biblical is its focus on ecumenism. Unity among
people coming from different religious and ethnic backgrounds
and diversity in the expression of corporate worship are a
strong focus of the emergent church movement. Being ecumenical
means that compromise is taking place, and this results in a
watering down of Scripture in favor of not offending an
apostate. This is in direct opposition to passages such as
Revelation 2:14-17, Jesus' letter to
the church of Pergamum, in which the Church is warned against
tolerating those who teach false doctrine.
False doctrine seems to abound within the emerging / emergent
church movement, though, as stated previously, not within every
group espousing emerging / emergent church beliefs. Because of
this, care must be taken when deciding whether or not to become
involved with an emergent church group. We all need to take heed
Matthew 7:15-20, "Watch out for false
prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly
they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize
them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from
thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad
tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a
bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear
good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their
fruit you will recognize them."
While seeking new ways to witness to a changing culture is
admirable, utilizing ways which compromise the Truth of the
Gospel in any way is nothing more than promoting false doctrine
and leading others away from Christ instead of to Him.
The bottom line is true when encountering this teaching as well
as others. If anything they teach is not in line with the clear
teachings of the Bible, those teaching should be rejected and
the teachings of the Bible followed.
Much of this article is from the website
Got Questions. Other related articles can be found on that