Monday, July 12, 2010

SMOKE SIGNAL - Emergent Authors & Their Errors

The following SMOKE SIGNAL in this posting FROM the MIND of FIRE is a concise, accurate and well written article by Diana King, a Sister in the LORD who produced it for the sake of Church Book Store employees that worked under her management.
Having read it, I asked if I could reproduce it here for my blog, and she was quite willing for me to do so.
And so, without further ado, here it is!
John Eldredge (pictured left)and Rick Warren (right) Emergent Authors and Errors Within the Movement:

~ By Diana King

These two authors have a huge following but have ties to emergent church teaching. If you’re not familiar with the term, “emergent church”, I am including a definition for it.
Here are just a few errors in the emergent church movement (in bold print are statements made by ECM leaders in regular type are answers):

The world is radically changing and the church must radically change with it.
Emergents believe postmodernity represents a dramatic break with the past and that only an extreme transformation in the church can keep the church relevant and effective in this environment. What is needed, they say, is not just a change in methodology; we need a new kind of Christian.

Since the Church has been a culture bound for so long we must reexamine and question every belief and practice in the Church, finding new ways to define and express these.
Visiting Emergent blogs, one will find that absolutely any doctrine or moral standard can be questioned. It seems at times that Emergents are engaging in a complete reinvention of Christianity accompanied by a radical redefinition of Christian terms.

We have no foundation for any beliefs, therefore we cannot know absolute truth.
Critics of the Emergent Church movement insist that Emergents misrepresent epistemological foundationalism (the belief that we do possess some knowledge that serves as a basis for further knowledge) as requiring “bombproof certainty”, something contemporary foundationalists insist that the do not hold to. What contemporary foundationalists do believe is that we can possess real knowledge that is so certain it requires extraordinary evidence to refute it.

D.A. Carson points out that emergent post-foundationalism is based upon yet another of their false antitheses, saying “In effect the antithesis demands that we be God, with all of God’s omniscience, or else forever be condemned to knowing nothing objective for sure.”

Additionally, emergents fail to consider the scriptural teaching of faith as something God-given which does possess supernaturally certain knowledge (MATT 21:21; EPH 2:8; HEB 11:1). Emergents do not seem to realize that critiquing secular foundationalism is not the same as critiquing Evangelical foundationalism.

In A New Kind of Christian, Brian McLaren’s fictional altar ego, Neo, says even Scripture is neither authoritative (in a ‘modern’ sense) nor a foundation for faith.

Since we cannot know absolute truth, we can only experience what is “true” for our communities.

Postmodern philosophers and theologians insist that truth is only known and validated within communities (“There are no ‘Meta-narratives’ [narratives, or ideas or concepts that reach beyond local applications; thus in a sense, truths that are universal and, or absolute] only local narratives”). While this implies that truth is culturally relative and that true cross-cultural communications is impossible (those outside a community must first join a community before they can understand the community’s ideas), postmodern authors communicate to people of various communities simultaneously, apparently expecting them to all equally understand the intent.

Since we cannot know absolute truth we cannot be dogmatic about doctrine.
Emergents see orthodoxy as “generous”, that is, inclusive of many beliefs that Christians have historically thought to be aberrant or heretical. Many leading emergents echo McLaren’s refusal to assert Christianity’s superiority to other world religions.

Since we cannot know absolute truth we cannot be dogmatic about moral standards.
Absolute stands on issues such as homosexuality are viewed as obsolete. Activities such as drinking, clubbing, watching sexually explicit movies and using profanities are seen by some emergents as opportunities to show those who are not part of the Christian community that postmodern Christians do not think they are better than them through any sense of moral superiority.

Since we cannot know absolute truth, dogmatic preaching must give way to a dialogue between people of all beliefs.
Emergent Christians do not posture themselves before the world as though they were the light and the world were in darkness. Instead of “preaching” to the “lost” they join in “conversation” with people of various beliefs. Conservative Evangelicals seem not to be truly welcome to contribute their distinctive content to this conversation since they represent the old, rotting corpse of “modernism”.

Since propositional truth is uncertain, spiritual feeling and social action make up the only reliable substance of Christianity.
Emergents consider propositional truth a “modern” (and thus outmoded) fascination. Postmoderns think and communicate in narratives. Since the pursuit of truth is portrayed as a never ending journey with no solid starting point, they consider the only legitimate measuring rods of Christianity to be experience and good works. Without a solid footing in revealed truth, however, emergents have no firm foundation for knowing which experiences are valid and which works are good (something they don’t seem to notice).

To capture a sacred feeling we should reconnect with ancient worship forms.
Trappings such as burning candles and events such as silent retreats are popular in the movement. Embracing these premodern forms further breaks their connection with “modern” Christianity.

Since sublime feeling is experienced through outward forms, we should utilize art forms in our worship.
Many participants in the movement see appreciating art for art’s sake as a spiritual experience.
Through conversation with them, “outsiders” will become part of our community, and then be able to understand and believe what we teach.

The postmodern approach is not to try to persuade people to believe, it is to try to befriend people into joining. This is commonly expressed as Robert Webber does when he says, “People in a postmodern world are not persuaded to faith by reason as much as they are moved by faith by participation in God’s earthly community.” There is a false antithesis in such statements however. We do not have to choose between a purely cerebral attempt to talk others into believing correctly on the one hand and offering an open, unqualified invitation to our group on the other. The Bible teaches us to proclaim the gospel message with reliance upon the Holy Spirit to empower, illuminate and convict (1 COR 2:10-16; 1 THESS 1:9. When such proclamation is absent, as it is in the Emerging Church movement, there is no prophetic voice coming from the church calling sinners to repent and believe the Gospel (ACTS 2:38; 16:30-32).

All are welcome to join the “conversation” as long as they behave in a kind and open minded manner.
Emerging believers reject any posture which hints at exclusivism. Dogmatic Evangelicals, however, are not treated as kindly in the conversation as others are (something that many emergents admit).

The ultimate goal is to make the world a better place.
The Emerging Church movement envisions a utopia in which the oppressed of the world are free, the poor are no longer impoverished and the environment is clean. This paradise is achieved through social activism. Many emergent leaders think it is selfish folly to love for the return of Christ Jesus.

The accomplishing of all the above is seen by those in the movement as evidence that the Church is emerging to reach the culture, adapting to it. Critics of the movement see these things as signs that the Church is submerging into the culture, being absorbed by it.

From SOUTHERN VIEW CHAPEL - Learing Truth, Living Truth, we have the following:

Links on John Eldredge and his books – Wild at Heart and Captivating



Rick Warren and his book – The Purpose Driven Life.

THINK ON THESE THINGS Articles: The Purpose Driven Life - An Evaluation: Pt 1

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