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FALSE TEACHING - EMERGENT CHURCH

THE COUNTERFEIT CHRISTIANITY of the EMERGENT CHURCH

One of my obligations as your pastor is to teach truth in many areas so we can fulfill the Great Commission and our church Mission Statement. Today’s message is not about foreign policy, it's not about economics, and it's not about domestic politics. It IS an explanation of how the New World Order of Satan is developing, including the apostate one-world church, and beginning with “the Emergent Church.”

Jesus describes Satan in John 8:44. The rising of the Emergent Church is Satan’s shrewdest strategy for getting his way in the world. The Devil is not fighting religion. He is too smart for that. He is producing a counterfeit Christianity, a look-alike, but not the real thing.

You won’t find church signs or bulletins saying, “Welcome to our Emergent Church.” The Emergent Church is a 21st century Protestant Christian movement that targets the unchurched and those who have left churches. A CBS News feature called it “a powerful new movement and the fastest-growing one in Christianity.”
•    This movement or philosophy began in the 1970s with the writings on spiritual discipline of Richard Foster and Dallas Willard.
•    Theologian Brian McLaren, Pastor Rob Bell, Pastor Jim Wallis, and Doug Pagitt are current spokesmen/leaders.
•    Tony Campolo and Rick Warren are active participants.
You may have heard some of these names as they appear in both Christian and secular media.

This is the process:
•    Leaders de-construct, or take apart, Christian beliefs, standards, and methods.
•    Then they re-construct, or put them together in a form that “looks like” it is Christian, a counterfeit.
•    They reject absolutes, proclaiming that the Bible is not the absolute, inerrant, divinely inspired Word of God.
•    They ignore the historical founding of Christian creeds, confessions, and statements of faith.
•    Many leaders are young, and they prefer narrative presentations from their own experiences and Biblical narratives, but not presentations of Biblical truths (exposition).
•    The practice is a “conversation” to emphasize its developing nature and that it is an interfaith dialogue rather than verbal evangelism.
•    Their methods include use of any new technology, especially multimedia and the Internet.
•    They also write books and articles, and conduct seminars.

The mindset behind the Emergent Church is “Postmodernism.”
•    This just means “extremely modern” or “cutting edge.”
Postmodernism is related to another frequently-used term, “Progressivism.”
•    Progressives advocate change, improvement, or reform instead of maintaining things as they are.
•    Progressivism is the philosophy used to deconstruct (take apart) western society by denying absolute truth about reading and writing, the founding of our nation, and traditional morality and values.
•    Progressivism undermines a Biblical worldview in law, family, science, education, economics, history, and social issues and replaces it with "social justice," a masking for Socialism, Communism, and Marxism.

Predictions say that the "new world order" would come about through the educational establishment and the apostate church. Clearly, both institutions promote the same humanistic, postmodern worldview.
•    Children in some public schools have been taught for years that there are no absolutes such as truth and lies, right and wrong. They are told, “What is true for you may not be true for me.”
•    Now some liberal seminaries have adopted these same standards. The professor asks students to evaluate Scripture, "What does that mean to you?” So, rather than seeking the singular meaning of the Biblical author, the group shares various feelings about how they respond to the text. The authority of Scripture becomes a meaningless notion because the Bible no longer binds anyone to one valid meaning.
The Emergent Church is gaining ground in spreading this false church.

God gives us warnings about false teachings (2 Peter 2:1-3). How will this false church be blended into the coming one-world religion? The answer is simple. With its rejection of Biblical authority, the false church is left with only one option: pagan spirituality.
•    Human reasoning has left an entire generation groping in the dark.
•    Spiritualism promises enlightenment, a revelation of hidden knowledge.
•    Emphasis is on “extrasensory images, sounds, smells, silence, darkness, icons, statues, rosary beads for Protestants, Yoga, contemplative prayer--all for a FULL SENSORY IMMERSION in the divine,” whatever their divine means.

Why are these even necessary when “old time religion" did well preaching a solid gospel with no bells and whistles? Why do we have to encounter God with our "senses?” He lives within us. He is a prayer away, hardly dependent on candles, incense, and icons. A church is not an entertainment  center.

Many within the Emergent Church are “mystic Christians,” practicing aspects of pagan spirituality from oriental religions. This trend began in the 1960s by a group of German theologians who created "a theology of hope." Their “hope” is based on the idea that God could not possibly allow the world to end in judgment. Instead, they believe that
•    The world is headed toward paradise and progressively leaving evil behind.
•    The kingdom of God will be heaven on earth, a communist utopia.
•    Because the Emergent Church rejects the idea of the return of Jesus Christ and His judgment of the world, their responsibility is to build the kingdom through redistribution of wealth, the social gospel, disarmament, and a world community committed to social justice, offering “universal participation in the kingdom of God.” These beliefs are based largely on the philosophy of Friedrich Hegel. What makes understanding this so critical is that Hegel had a huge influence on the German people, which helped lay the foundation for Adolf Hitler.

In Colorado in the 1970s, a monk revived the ancient ritual of “resting in God” as an alternative to transcendental meditation. Participants choose a sacred word to help them clear their mind of other thoughts. Other names for this practice are “contemplative prayer” and “centering prayer,” all drawn from the Hindu religion. Yoga, transcendental meditation, and walking the occult maze of a labyrinth are becoming increasingly popular practices in the Emergent Church and in some mainline denominations. In 1898, a theologian warned: “Do not forget that the fundamental contrast has always been and always will be to the end the battle between Christianity and paganism.

One prominent emergent leader is Pastor Jim Wallis, a committed neo-Marxist who founded and runs an organization called Sojourners. Their mission is “to inspire hope and build a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world” to fit their mold. They envision a future “in which
•    Christians put their faith into action in the passionate pursuit of social justice, peace, and environmental stewardship,
•    working in partnership with people of other perspectives,
•    building alliances for effective advocacy
•    for the common good of communities, families and individuals.”

Recently published was the statement that “The most notable of our President’s spiritual advisors today is his friend of many years, Rev. Jim Wallis. Rev. Wallis admits that he and Obama have ‘been talking faith and politics for a long time.’”
Some (negative) accomplishments of the President’s advisor Jim Wallis are:
•    He has had relationships with the Communist Committee in Solidarity of El Salvador.
•    His "Witness for Peace" was an attempt to defend the Nicaraguan Sandinistas.
•    With the Rev. Jeremiah Wright (Obama's former pastor of 20 years) he rallied support for the communist Nicaraguan regime and protested actions by the United States that supported the anti-communist Contra rebels.
•    Wallis and his Sojourners believe that Fidel Castro's Cuba, Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, Daniel Ortega's Nicaragua, and other revolutionary forces "restructuring socialist societies" are Communist paradises the United States needs to emulate to establish "social justice.”
•    The ugly truth is that Wallis wishes to see the destruction of the United States as a nation and replaced by "a radical nonconformist commune” patterned after the progressive, socialist commune he established in Washington, D.C., in 1971.
•    For years, Wallis has been in the forefront of the evangelical left and has spoken at many evangelical colleges and seminaries that obviously don’t know of his radical background.
And remember, Jim Wallis is “The most notable of our President’s spiritual advisors.”

Another name in the Emergent Church movement is Pastor Rob Bell. An interview describes Bell's own journey:
            “The Bells started questioning assumptions about the Bible itself, ‘discovering the Bible as a human product,’ as Rob puts it, rather the product of divine inspiration.”
In one of his sermons posted on the Internet, Bell insists that
            “In Yoga, it's not how flexible you are, it's not whether you can do the poses, it's not how much you can bend yourself. It's can you keep your breath through whatever you are doing. And the Yoga Masters say this is how it is when you follow Jesus and surrender to God. If it's your breath being consistent, it's your connection with God despite the pose you find yourself in.”
The truth is that each pose in yoga is based on oriental religious beliefs. It is not Christian in any way.

How does Rob Bell define salvation? Bell derides the "score card" approach to sin. Rather, he maintains that once you're converted you're loved, accepted, you're forgiven, you're in. But to Rob Bell, "in" means understanding poverty as the Savior did.

Silly me—I guess I took the Bible literally when Jesus said being saved requires faith and repentance.

Bell proposes some ideas on living life the way God intended. He suggests what it might look like to bring Heaven to Earth, that Heaven is a “now” thing, not a “Sunday” thing. He suggests that maybe this whole thing is not just about us believing in God but about God believing in us, which definitely is heresy.

Southern Baptist Convention pastor Rick Warren is an advocate and practitioner of the heretical contemplative spirituality. During his 35 years as pastor of Saddleback Church, the congregation has been on the forefront of ministry innovations, many centering on Warren’s long-standing belief that the local church should be the vehicle for personal and community transformation. Warren and his staff create and develop ministries that become models for other churches worldwide.
•    His book, The Purpose Driven Church, became a guideline for church growth. Warren proposed that this movement is “a New Reformation, the greatest shift in church government and message since Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg church on October 31, 1517.” Conservatives are  concerned over the divisive nature of the teachings, with examples of congregations that have split over the growth strategies.

        Without a doubt, the Purpose Driven Church has become a tremendous force in the world, but another aspect is exposed in this book, The Dark Side of the Purpose Driven Church. Warren stated publically in 2005 that “the document called The Five Fundamentals of the Faith developed in the 1920s was a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity.” These are the five fundamentals.
        1) The inerrancy and full authority of the Bible.
        2) The virgin birth and full deity of Jesus Christ.
        3) Christ’s atoning, vicarious death on the cross for the sins of the world.
        4) The bodily resurrection from the dead by Jesus Christ.
        5) The literal Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
And these are too narrow? The religion of the Purpose Driven Church is both a distortion of the Gospel and a movement to unite all religions to produce a  one-world church.

•    The stated intention of Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. Plan is to involve every Christian and every church in every nation in the task of serving people who have the greatest global needs, “Ordinary people empowered by God making a difference together wherever they are.” Its name is the acronym for the method”: Promote reconciliation. Equip servant leaders. Assist the poor. Care for the sick. Educate the next generation."

What happened to spreading the Gospel, the main work of the Church, as commanded by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20? The combination of Warren's tone on political issues and his concern for social issues has resulted in the characterization of him as one of a "new breed of evangelical leaders," which could be either a positive or negative statement.

Emergence theory incorporates ancient and recent arguments for non-Biblical Intelligent Design instead of divine Creation, Oriental religious practices, and Evolution. According to Brian McLaren, most anyone can follow Jesus including Buddhists and Hindus. His most troubling statement is that we need to "emulate Roman Catholicism and become more mystical in our reverence of God." This is not a revival but a return to darkness. It cannot be countered until Christians become informed about it–which is why I’m sharing this message with you.

These Emergent leaders are not "brave new voices." Jesus spoke about them in Matthew 7:15. They are deceptive wolves devouring naive, usually young "sheeple," leading the Gen X-ers and Gen Y-ers down a path to further darkness. What will these youth "emerge" into? Just confused, questioning young people with no solid grounding, believing in nothing and thus falling for everything.

Emergent philosophy is more concerned with life here rather than eternal life. Erosion of the truth always begins with the subtle wandering off the path of essentials of the faith. It results in liberal socialism by making planetary concerns primary concerns. Redemption is not saving souls but is saving the environment. Everything from the fictitious Global Warming, to abortion, gay rights, war, stem cell research, euthanasia, etc., trump the eternal concerns of the gospel. The Emergent Church has become committed to a social gospel, which is actually nothing more than Socialism.

The Social Gospel was an American philosophy in early 20th century. It  misinterpreted the social teachings of Jesus and applied them to social justice issues such as economic inequality, poverty, alcoholism, crime, racial tensions, slums, unclean environment, child labor, inadequate labor unions, poor schools, and the danger of war. They believed the Second Coming could not happen until humankind rids itself of social evils by human effort. Theologically, their key verse was Matthew 6:10.

Leaders in the Social Gospel movement were predominantly in the liberal wing of the Progressive Movement, and most were theologically liberal. Many ideas from the Social Gospel reappeared in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Social Gospel elements can also be found in many service and relief agencies associated with Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church.

We continue to believe that Christianity is built on a solid foundation as the Bible teaches.
1) God cannot err. Hebrews 6:18 says
            It is impossible for God to lie.
2) The Bible is the Word of God as stated in 2 Timothy 3:16.
            All scripture is given by inspiration of God. (KJV)
            All Scripture is God-breathed. (NIV)
3) Therefore, the Bible cannot err. Jesus declared in John 17:17
            Your Word is truth.

The Emergent movement denies this truth. To put it to poetry:
        The Emergent Church is built on sand and will not stand.
        Christ's Church is built on Stone, and it cannot be overthrown.

In an interview, Emergent leader Doug Pagitt dodged every question, making sure the Emergent Church would NOT be defined. My conclusion: It draws on many religions but is leading to the participation in the one world religion. Emergent Churches come from a diversity of Christian traditions and theologies, which is the primary reason behind their disinterest in producing statements of faith. These are viewed as “constricting and limiting to ongoing dialogue and theological imagination based on human reasoning.”
•    Socially and politically, the Emergent Church leans toward liberal interests and causes.
•    Emergent churches tend to be predominantly white in urban settings.
•    They place a high value on social activism and concern for the urban poor which makes them feel good.
•    Some churches resemble coffee houses or nightclubs, and others will take the opposite approach, favoring a more contemplative or liturgical feel in their worship gatherings.
•    And some will blend both.

I could take you to churches that used to look and believe just like Broadway Baptist that became part of the movement without knowing it. Bible-believing Christians must wake up to the false teachings of this movement and realize what it can do to their kids and grandkids before it becomes too late. A church cannot become an Emergent Church if solid, Bible-believing Christians preach truth and stand on the Word of God. However, in today's world of apostasy, the stakes are higher and so are the casualties. The Emergent Church is not new, but it hid in the shadows until recently and now is emerging to promote a one-world church and a new social order.

Listen to the prophetic words of Jesus in Matthew 24:3-11.

THE INVITATION
★    You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).
★    To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).
★    You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:
         Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed.
      Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.
      I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.
      Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.
                     In Your name I pray, Amen.

    Dr. Nicholas J. Gray, Pastor   Broadway Baptist Church   Sedalia, Missouri   August 23, 2015