By Nathan Jones
What are the basic doctrines of the Emergent Church Movement?
Dr. Reagan and I on our ministry's television show Christ in Prophecy had the pleasure of asking this question of Eric Barger of Take a Stand! Ministries. Eric is an authority on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n' roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become one of today's greatest defenders of Christianity in America. He joined us to talk about the greatest threat to the Church today — apostasy, particularly from the Emergent Church Movement.
Emergent Church Doctrines, Or Lack Thereof
Eric Barger: The problem is that the Emergent Church Movement really doesn't have doctrinal standards. They have changed the doctrines of the faith.
I sat in an Emergent Church conference where one of the key speakers who would be considered the godfather of the Emergent Movement redefined different terms in the Bible. Brian McLaren said the term "the world" in John 3:16 is really about us saving the earth. He could read John 3:16 as meaning, "God so loved the world that He sent the Emergent Church to save the planet." These folks are very much into Dominionism and Kingdom Now which hold to the idea that they have all the answers and we are going to be one happy religious family here on the earth.
The Emergent Church has a doctrinal problem. In fact, they believe in the disillusionment of what they would call "cold hard facts," which we would call doctrine. The word doctrine has become a dirty word in a lot of their circles. They have decided to preach the plans of men instead of the plans of God laid out in the Bible. Staggeringly, that is what so many pastors have jumped on board and done. I encourage pastors that they need to come back and preach the Scriptures. Preaching the Word is what their people need. That is what we all need. But, they want thy disillusionment of "cold hard facts" in favor of a more warm and fuzzy subjectivity.
The Emergent Church also believes that evangelicalism and fundamentalism have failed us and that those ideas should just go away. They've really adopted a more mystical idea that is more closely aligned with the New Age Movement. They believe there is much more than just the Scripture.
Yet, they still call themselves Christians and Evangelicals, which has caused these labels to cease having any meaning. The Emergent Church Movement leaders should just be honest and come out of the closet and tell people that what they believe in is not Christian since they are advocating many things that the Scriptures speak clearly against. It's a redo really of what happened 150 years ago with the re-emergence of the old liberal Social Gospel, though today it can grow much quicker because of the advent of our modern technology and communications.
Dr. Reagan: The primary Emergent belief seems concerned with saving the earth. They have no concept of Jesus coming back anytime soon. In fact, Bible prophecy is a laugh to them. They believe we are going to go out and save and conquer the world and that one day we will give the Kingdom over to Jesus.
Eric Barger: That's right, they believe we are going to facilitate Jesus' return. You will also find the environmental movement really steaming under the surface of the Emergent Church Movement.
They have as well a disillusionment of Christian doctrine and really don't want to hang onto it. They believe that the doctrines of the faith are really immaterial and this is why they've join hands with Ecumenical Movement and with all kinds of other religions. In truth, they really have become their own cult. I've been saying openly that they really should just admit they are not Christians. What they are doing is not biblical, not Christian.
Of course, they don't want to talk about doctrine. Anytime you mention doctrine to them in any kind of a debate whether it is online or through emails or in person, they run for cover.
Dr. Reagan: I understand a lot of these Emergent churches take the approach to preaching by getting up and saying to their congregations, "Okay, we are going to talk this week about the Virgin Birth. So, what do you feel about it?" They actually ask people in the audience to get up and make comments on the Bible based on their feelings. Whose to say then who actually is right and who is wrong?
Eric Barger: In liberalized circles or Emergent circles, if you ask them all to discuss the Virgin Birth they will conclude that Jesus was not born of a virgin. If Jesus wasn't born of a virgin then we are still all lost, and so I would question why in the world would we want to be in church Sunday mornings if Jesus wasn't the Messiah.
In the next part of this series on the Emergent Church, Eric will explain who Jesus is to them.