The late economist Peter Drucker said a few years ago: “Every few hundred years in Western history there occurs a sharp transformation. … Fifty years later, there is a new world. And the people born then cannot even imagine the world in which their grandparents lived.”
I believe we are witnessing a modern effort to transform the church into an institution that experiences broad cultural acceptance. This effort, known as the Emerging Church, is a much-talked about movement that has brought new challenges into the Church of Jesus Christ.
The so-called Emerging Church movement was formed out of frustration with dead and irrelevant evangelicalism. The problem is that it has decided to modernize and re-create the church so as not to offend sinners. This renders virtually meaningless the life-changing message of the Gospel.
John 8:32 tells us: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” This is not truth that can be modified to fit cultural whims; it is as relevant today as it was when John was inspired by God to write those words around A.D. 70.
However, the website of The Leadership Network, the headquarters of the Emerging (or sometimes Emergent) Church movement, states that their outlook on “truth” offers a “flexible approach to theology whereby individual differences in belief and morality are accepted within reason.”
The site further states that members wish to “reanalyze the Bible against the context into which it was written.”
This is very dangerous territory.
Such a view opens perilous avenues that enable suggestions that Jesus is not the Christ, that the Bible is not inspired by God Himself and that there are ways to heaven other than through Jesus. Such notions counter the very fabric of the Gospel.
In this era of diversity and political correctness, we can ill afford to weaken the very foundations of the Gospel.
But the Emerging Church has determined that core doctrine and theology are sometimes roadblocks to converting the lost.
This is the epitome of contradiction.
Further, Emerging Church groups have decided that profanity and vulgar talk from the pulpit and elsewhere is acceptable because it is relevant to the culture. Such teachings counter the biblical teachings that Christians are “new creatures in Christ.”
Another problem of the Emerging Church is that its leaders, who no doubt started out with good intentions, have very little theological training. Their emphasis has been on appearances. Many of its leaders have been to “conferences” that tell them how to do things, but they don’t know why they are doing them. Thus, they have a little bit of knowledge, but no wisdom.
Dr. James McDonald spoke my feelings when he said: “I resonate deeply with much of the criticism flowing from the Emerging Church against current Western Christianity, but I am deeply grieved to see the emergent remedies accepted so uncritically by those who feel gratified by the accuracy of their critiques.”
While I have no problem with the church adapting to the culture, we must ensure that we remain painstakingly true to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that we remain obedient servants to His truths.
As Jesus stated: “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me …” (John 14:21).