GIVING THE DEVIL HIS DUE: The Rise of the Emergent Church in America by David Allen Rivera
I still haven’t gotten over Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Paula White and others teaching that we are “little gods,” and that Jesus suffered in hell for 3 days and nights after crucifixion. But now we have a new type of church model spreading like a cancer across this country. It is referred to as the Purpose-Driven, Post-Protestant, Post-Modern, Seeker-Sensitive, Emergent or Emerging Church. They have moved away from Biblical organization toward individualism, because this liberal and progressive wing of the Church believe evangelicals and fundamentalists has failed us– and they don’t like the market-driven, paradigm-driven mega churches or designer churches that are selling Jesus as a product as Bishop T. D. Jakes has stated.
I read this many years ago: “Christianity began in Palestine as a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ, and then moved on to Greece and became a philosophy, and then moved onto Rome where it became an institution, and then to Western Europe to become a culture, and then to America where it became an enterprise.”
This movement involves all denominations of the Christian church, as well as other religions. The Emergent Church does not hold to creeds or statements of faith, and rejects the commercialism of the modern Church. They believe that the Church today focuses on doctrine and truth or absolutes, which they say doesn’t work well in reaching young people and sinners. They say you have to change to reach the 20 & 30 year olds– because the gospel has to be presented in a different way as people in a post-modern society can’t handle the truth, because they thrive on political correctness, are easily offended, and don’t want to talk about things that divide us. Emergents are concerned with fixing the social problems of the world which they think is self-destructing– and to show sensitivity toward cultural issues. They speak of reimagining the world the way they want it to be in a theology of Hope that says things are going to continue to get better.
The Emergent Church is a new generation of church which changes how Christianity is perceived. So they’ve made the Church more like a coffee shop, take great strides to be more relevant, less theological and more relational, to live less like Christ and more like the World, and to be more appealing. Within the group itself, there is a wide range of beliefs, and they only try to find common ground on key points.
To do that, they don’t beat people over the head in an effort to convert them. Their approach to evangelism concentrates on peer-to-peer dialogue, rather than dogmatic proclamation and proselytizing. They get them into the Church by minimizing doctrine and make a huge effort to entertain them. They are accepting of those who drink and smoke and live a gay life style. Their ministers come across as being more like them by candidly saying that they have the same doubts, and therefore the Emergent Church is hard to define because they will change methodologies just to reach people. Erwin McManis wrote in his book “The Barbarian Way” that Christianity must be destroyed. According to its leaders, the Bible isn’t what it used to be, they question the Trinity, don’t believe that Jesus died on the Cross for our sins, and in fact find the Cross of Christ to be offensive. They don’t believe in a literal Hell, and even deny there is a Coming Judgement. Peter Rollins says that any expression of certainty about God is an act of idolatry. They have rejected Biblical Christianity and discourage clear Scriptural teaching. They are preaching a different Gospel.
Instead, they elevate the importance of having a spiritual experience without actually repenting of sin, because spirituality trumps doctrine and theology. Because technology has turned this into a visual generation, they favor images and graphics over words, rationale over truth, and feeling over thinking.
Their goal is enlightenment and it is part of the movement known as “Spiritual Formation” which has been the platform that is introducing Contemplative Prayer into the Churches. The process of Contemplative, Centering or Breath Prayers is to repeat words and phrases to separate the mind from thought or emptying mind, which requires you to be in a meditative state, so you can have a mystical experience with God. This is actually an Eastern mystical practice to induce an altered state of consciousness. Emergent Church leaders refer to books written by Roman Catholic authors who quote early Catholics that were medieval mystics known as the Desert Fathers.
Rob Bell, a leader in the Emergent Church, said: “We're rediscovering Christianity as an Eastern religion, as a way of life.”
Jesus warned in Matthew 6:7 “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”
The root of Contemplative Prayer is actually in the occult, because New Age, which this is, is nothing more than a politically-correct form of witchcraft which has been repackaged with Christian terminology. They only use the shell of Christianity because the core of it doesn’t fit into today’s modern world– so it’s just an expression of Christianity. These are actually the same principles New Age adherents use to contact their spirit guides (or demons).
During worship, which has adopted Contemporary Christian music that increasingly takes out the name of Jesus, short songs are played over and over to encourage meditative singing.
Books like Mark Batterson’s “The Circle Maker” are actually introducing pagan rituals into the Church. Nowhere in the Bible is there anything about drawing “prayer circles.” The only people that I know who draw circles around things are witches.
The Emergent Church believes that god is in everything, that man is god and the divine is within him. We are one with the universe and all people (humanity as a whole, or all religions)– because God is in us. It’s all about what you think the right thing is, because, though there is truth, it is only what you make of it, because there no absolutes.
George Orwell’s book “1984” talked about terms being reversed: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength. President Obama said: “We must declare war on war, so the outcome will be peace upon peace.” The Emergent Church refers to sinners as “pre-Christians.”
Isaiah 5:20 says: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
These reversals have become more and more apparent. Look how Satanists adopted the upside-down crucifix and say the Lord’s prayer backwards. Abortion is no longer murder. Pain is pleasure, lust is love, sick is cool, and being gay is living an alternate lifestyle.
Do you want to see how Satan has deceived people? The sexual act was intended to be an ordained ceremony between a virgin man and a woman that consummated their relationship and married them to each other. It created a blood covenant, and subsequently became the vehicle for procreation. If you want more information on this, watch my video “Discovering Relationship.” In this act, the man inserts the symbol of covenant into the area of his wife where life will emerge. But Satan has deceived many by bringing confusion to their identity, convincing them to insert the symbol of covenant into the area of waste– another Satanic opposite. Because that is all they are to him, waste and refuse. In John 10:10 Jesus said: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
The Emergent Church is spiritually bankrupt and will leave empty souls in its wake. In 1 John 4:1 it says: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
The Emergent Church is all about moving closer to ecumenicalism and a universal church. And it’s about money. Science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard said: “If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way to do it would be start his own religion.” And that is what he did, he established Scientology.
Even though some of its leaders have questioned the divine inspiration of the Bible, and have moved from the Authority of Scripture to narratives, the Emergent Church now has their own Bible– “The Voice.” According to “USA Today”: “The name Jesus Christ doesn’t appear in “The Voice,” a new translation of the Bible. Nor do words such as angel or apostle. Instead, angel is rendered as messenger and apostle as emissary. Jesus Christ is Jesus the Anointed One or the liberating king.” Its New Testament was published by Thomas Nelson in 2008, and the entire Bible was completed in 2012. Frank Couch, the executive editor on the project, told “The Christian Post” that the purpose of “The Voice” was to make the Gospel message easier to understand for modern audiences. He further said: “The Voice has not claimed to be more accurate than any other translation, rather it is more easily understood than any other translation.” Their website says: “The Voice helps people connect with Scripture, so it can impact their lives. It’s ideal for those who are interested in spirituality, and want their spirituality to be real in their lives and relationships. The Voice helps them to encounter ‘the glory of the Lord’ and be ‘transformed by the Spirit of the Lord.’”
And how about the name of the Bible? It comes from the Greek word logos, where, as it appears in John 1:1, is generally translated as “word” and reads: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
In “The Voice,” that passage reads: “Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking. The Voice was and is God.” Couch says that translation better captures what logos means. Unfortunately for them, they got it wrong, because Jesus is the “Word.”
The creative writing team for “The Voice” includes several known leaders in the Emergent Church, including Tim Keel, Brian McLaren, Chris Seay, Leonard Sweet and Phyllis Tickle.
There is definitely something emerging…but it certainly isn’t the truth.
Ephesians 4:14 says: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”
2 Timothy 4:3-4 says: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
Galatians 1:9 says: “As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
2nd Thessalonians 2:3 says: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;”
1st Timothy 4:1 says: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;”
This trend towards a New Spirituality is nothing more than an escalated effort to align the Church with the whore of Mystery Babylon in the book of Revelation. Joel Osteen said: “A lot of churches have not moved with the times.” So, to get people into these slumping Churches, the name is changed to something cool and relevant; and its model is updated to a New Vision that asks you to adopt a new type of worship which will open you up to demonic entities masquerading as the Holy Spirit.
It’s time to choose, and to hold these churches to a higher standard…a Biblical standard. People are allowing the Emergents to create their own doctrine, write their own Scripture, and develop a brand new Theology that is deceiving hundreds of thousands of people. Jesus said: “…broad is the way that leadeth to destruction,” (Matthew 7:13) and not calling sin for what it is, is nothing more than the peddling of lies just to have a large congregation, and to sell books and DVDs. The leaders of the Emergent Church will be held accountable on Judgement Day. So, don’t be deceived, and don’t fall for their rosy message of inclusion. There’s only one way– and that is Jesus.
Here is a short list (from www.submergingchurch.com
and Emergent Church writings) of authors, speakers, ministers and personalities who identify with one or more aspects of the Emergent Church:
[A] David L. Abbott, James Rowe Adams, Dan Allender, Ray S. Anderson, Carl J. Arico, Karen Armstrong, Lauren Artress, Roberto Assagioli
[B] Liz Babbs, Jo-Ann Badley, Jay Bakker, Ash Barker, Ruth Haley Barton, Diana Butler Bass, Mark Batterson, Mary Baxter, Ivy Beckwith, Rob Bell, David Benner, John Bennison, Todd Bentley, Mike Bickle, Kurt Bjorklund, Ken Blanchard, Donald Bloesch, Kenneth Boa, Ryan Bolger, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Bono, Susan Bordenkircher, Marcus Borg, Cynthia Bourgeault, Emily Bowen, Troy Bronsink, Brother Lawrence, Walter Brueggemann, Beatrice Bruteau, John M. Buchanan, J. Budziszewski, Bob Buford, John Burke, Spencer Burke
[C] George F. Cairns, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Mindy Caliguire, Joseph Campbell, Bart Campolo, Tony Campolo, Jack Canfield, John D. Caputo, Michael Card, L. Patrick Carroll, D. A. Carson, Brad Cecil, Steve Chalke, Joseph Chalmers, Sri Chinmoy, Joan Chittister, Shane Claiborne, John Coe, William Sloane Coffin, Jim Collins, Larry Crabb, Earl Creps, Ian Cron, John Dominic Crossan, Andy Crouch, David Crowder
[D] Llia Delio, Anthony De Mello, Esther De Waal, Annie Dillard Demarest, Michael Dowd, David R Dykes, Mark Driscoll, Keith Drury, J. Scott Duvall, Katherine Marie Dyckman
[E] Gene Edwards, Tilden Edwards, Harvey Egan, James F. Engel, Bruce Epperly, Rachel Held Evans
[F] David Felten, Dave Fleming, Betty Sue Flowers, Leighton Ford, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Richard Foster, George Fox, Matthew Fox, David Frenette, Kess Frey, Kessler Frey, Howard E. Friend, Jr., Mary Margaret Funk
[G] Kenneth O. Gangel, Becky Garrison, Lloyd Geering, Eddie Gibbs, Ken Gire, Daniel Goleman, James Goll, Dom Aelred Graham, Linda Graybeal, Pete Greig, Emilie Griffin, Bede Griffiths, Jean-Nicholas Grou, Gungor
[H] Peter Traban Haas, Roger Haight, Stephen Haliczer, Thelma Hall, Mark Victor Hansen, Jerry Haselmayer, Edward Hays, David Hazard, Charles Healey, Charles Hedrick, Hildegard of Bingen, Shane Hipps, Emily Holmes, Michael Horton, Judith Hougen, Carolyn Humphreys, John D. Hunt, Hannah Hurnard, Anne Hunt, Todd Hunter, Bill Hybels
[I] S. Stephanie Iachetta, St. Ignatius Loyola, Klaus Issler
[J] Willigis Jager, Frank Jelenek, Gregory C. Jenks, Jan Johnson, William Johnston, Alan Jones, Laurie Beth Jones, Tony Jones
[K] Ken Kaisch, Tim Keel, Thomas Keating, Morton Kelsey, Keri Wyatt Kent, Sue Monk Kidd, Dan Kimball, Mike King, Robert H. King, Robert A. Kraft, Peter Kreeft, Lawrence Kushner
[L] Ernest Larkin, Anne Lamott, Matthew Lauler, William Law, Paul David Lawson, Madeleine L’Engle, Kay Lindahl
[M] Murchadh O. Madagain, Shawn Madigan, John Main, Jim Manney, Brennan Manning, James Martin, Frederica Mathewes-Green, Joseph Mattioli, Thomas Matus, Gerald May, John MacArthur, Carl McColman, Scot McKnight, Brian D. McLaren, Erwin Raphael McManus, William Meninger, Robin R. Meyers, Calvin Miller, Donald Miller, Gary Moon, Beth Moore, Brian P. Moore, Michael T. Moran, J.P. Moreland, Sally Morgenthaler, Mother Teresa, M. Robert Mulholland Jr., Linus Mundy, John David Muyskens
[N] Carrie Newcomer, Gunilla Brodde Norris, Kathleen Norris, Henri J. M. Nouwen
[O] Mark Oestreicher, John Ortberg
[P] Elaine Pagels, Doug Pagitt, Parker Palmer, Leanne Payne, Stephen J. Patterson, Richard Peace, Norman Vincent Peale, M. Basil Pennington, Howard Pepper, Mike Perschon, Eugene Peterson, Paul Pettit, John Piper, Fred Plumer, Margaret M Poloma, Jeff Procter-Murphy
[R] Susan Rakoczy, Gustave Reininger, Tricia Rhodes, Duffy Robbins, Maggie Robbins, Richard Rohr, Ronald Rolheiser, Richard Rolle, Peter Rollins, Rodney Romney, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Joyce Rupp, A.J. Russell, Thomas Ryan
[S] Will Samson, Agnes Sanford, Mark Scandrette, Pete Scazzero, Robert Schuller, Chris Seay, Samir Selmanovic, Peter Senge, William Shannon, Luci Shaw, John Shore, Marsha Sinetar, Gerald Sittser, Chuck Smith, Jr., Elizabeth Smith, James Bryan Smith, Phil Snyder, Dan Southerland, Ann Spangler, John Shelby Spong, Philip St. Romain, Andy Stanley, David Steindl-Rast, Kyle Strobel, Eugene Taylor Sutton, Leonard Sweet
[T] John Michael Talbot, Maria Tasto, Barbara Brown Taylor, David Teague, Ronald F. Thiemann, Gary Thomas, Marjorie Thompson, Tom Thresher, Susan Tiberghien, Phyllis Tickle, Sarah Toplikar, Patricia Treece, Frank X. Tuoti, Richard Twiss
[V] William Luther Vaswig, C. M. Vega, Mark Virkler, Ann Voskamp
[W] Jim Wallis, James Wakefield, Benedicta Ward, Karen Ward, Rick Warren, Robert Webber, Mark Whitten, James C. Wilhoit, Dallas Willard, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Lauren Winner, Walter Wink, Roger Wolsey, N.T. Wright
[Y] Mark Yaconelli, Mike Yaconelli, Philip Yancey, Kathryn A. Yanni, Karekin M. Yarian– Brotherhood of Saint Gregory , Lyla Yastion, Sarah Young, William Paul Young, John R. Yungblut
[Z] Frank P. Zeidler