A Sure Foundation - the Truth or the Emerging Church?

If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? – Psalm 11:3
When the Son of Man comes, shall He find (the) faith on the earth? – Luke 18:8

The prophet and psalmist David asked this question – “If the foundations be removed, what can the righteous do?” Jesus also asked this – “When the Son of Man comes (at the second coming) will He find (the) faith on the earth?”
     The Scriptures testify of a last day's apostasy, a falling away from the faith, a time when the foundations of Christianity would be eroded by an assortment of false prophets, teachers and deceivers.

But evil men and impostors shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived – II Timothy 3:13.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceives you – Matthew 24:4.
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many – Matthew 24:11.

     We are seeing much of what is proclaimed in these Scriptures coming to pass within elements of the current “Emerging Church Movement.” This movement has been categorized by some into three basic camps: the Relevants, the Reconstructionists and Revisionists.

    The Relevents retain the Gospel and desire to make it relevant to our current culture. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as sound doctrine is maintained. The principle of what the apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 9:20-22, is that he would become all things to all men in order to win them to Jesus. In his ministry in Acts 17:22,23, he actually used an example from their pagan culture to get their attention so he could create some common ground he could build upon in order to share the Gospel with them.

     The Reconstructionists also retain the Biblical Gospel, but seek to reconstruct the current form of the church. I would have to agree with this approach to some degree. The early church had a less formal structure. We see in I Corinthians 14:26, that “Every one of you has a psalm, has a doctrine, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.” In other words, there was room for people to contribute and interact with one another. Iron sharpens Iron (Proverbs 27:17). We grow when we can share each other’s experiences with the Lord. In today’s church there is not much room for this interaction, and everything tends to revolve around the sermon. Also in the first century church, the leadership was plural and the burden of leadership was shared. The goal was that the people were to be discipled so they could become teachers themselves (Hebrews 5:12). One young pastor I met in New York told me, “Every pastor should be teaching himself out of a job.” He’s right. I met another pastor in New Mexico who knew this truth from God’s word and had raised up teachers within his congregation. He let them minister on Sunday mornings. He told me he only preached about once a month. He was operating as a true pastor and recognized that his job was to oversee his congregation and guide them into a spiritual maturity that enables them to also become able ministers of God’s word.

     This brings us to the third category of this movement, the Revisionists. Unlike the first two camps that share some good things and are retaining the Gospel, the Revisionists, seem to share a common delight in chiseling away at the foundations of the faith which were established by the Messiah Jesus and His apostles; the same faith that was foretold by a multitude of Old Testament prophecies. Unfortunately, these foundation chiselers are viewed by some as evangelicals, even though they attack almost every basic doctrine the Scriptures declare as our foundation. Many of these “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15) are so blatant in their heresies they are not even bothering to button their wooly suits by unabashedly refuting the atonement, the death of Jesus for the remission of sins.
    One of these apostates ignorantly describes Jesus’ atonement, which is His prophesied death for our sins, as “a form of cosmic child abuse.” Another has actually taught that Jesus’ death should be interpreted through feminism and Marxism.

     The prophet Isaiah declared that the Messiah was “wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53: 5) but according to much emerging church theology, the prophets, Jesus and the apostles are misinterpreted and the Bible is not the final word of God. The false prophets of the emerging church claim to be promoting Jesus, but without the atonement they are as the apostle Paul said, “preaching another Jesus – another Gospel” (II Corinthians 11:4).

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we (the apostles) have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preaches any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. – Galatians 1:8.

     “Accursed” is pretty strong language, but Paul had no sympathy for those who spread the cancer of false doctrine within the Lord’s church.
     Sound doctrine is essential to the spiritual health of the believer. In Paul’s letters to Timothy he uses the word doctrine ten times. The early church viewed correct doctrine as vital and fought heresies at every turn. In the emerging church's vocabulary the word heresy does not exist, even though its proponents are dancing with its corpse.

     The word “organic” has been applied to the church in recent days in an attempt to steer people into a purer faith. “Organic” should mean a return to the pure simplicity of the word of God and a renewed reverence for apostolic authority. “Organic” should mean a doctrine without harmful man-inspired additives. Unfortunately, the current crop of theological chefs that are invading our churches are bringing with them their own ungodly variety of satanic ingredients. Consuming the food these false teachers serve will eventually lead to spiritual death.
     Without the atonement we have nothing, no relationship with God, no salvation, which means we cannot enter God’s presence when we die. The plan for the redemption of mankind was instigated in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New. It is a miraculous plan and pattern totally engineered and masterminded by the God who designed the universe, who loves you and desires intimate fellowship with you. He has ordained from the beginning of time what is necessary for our salvation and the diet He provides for us through the pages of His word is the only menu that will bring health and safety to the human soul.
     When Jesus had amassed a large following He said to them, “Eat My flesh and drink My blood.” –

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. – John 6:53, 54.

     Jesus was speaking of the atonement, the broken bread of His flesh and the wine of His blood that was to be poured out for us on Calvary. Without faith in the atonement we cannot have a genuine relationship with Jesus for He said - He that eats my flesh, and drinks My blood, dwells in Me, and I in him. – John 6:56.
     The mention of this created a massive exodus from His presence - (John 6:66). The only ones who remained were His disciples. Jesus did not attempt to chase after those who had chosen apostasy - because He knew they were not His in the first place.
     Again at the last supper, He took the bread and asked His disciples to eat this representative of His torn flesh and gave them the opportunity to share the cup of His atoning blood. This presentation of the atonement weeded out yet another apostate as Judas fled the table. It is the atonement that draws or repels, that sifts and retains the treasured jewels of God’s kingdom; those who are the called, chosen and faithful.

     The emerging church wants to "be" the church, meaning to be a living organism influencing the world for the kingdom of God. This is wonderful. This is what the Lord has called His church to do from the beginning. He never intended His people to stagnate within the four walls of a church building. Fighting injustice, caring for the poor and being good stewards of the wonderful planet He created are all things that we should be doing. These things are also wonderful platforms through which we can share the Gospel message of God’s love for us through the sacrifice of His Son.
     There is also absolutely nothing wrong for a church to embrace creativity to convey the Gospel. Arts ministries are valuable. Storytelling for example, was one means that Jesus used to reach the people. One of the churches I know of, sends teams out into the streets to do spontaneous dramatized conversations with each other about the Lord. The people can overhear and some stop to listen. This is a brilliant idea that can be used in almost any public area. The Gospel can be preached this way legally, because you can't be arrested for having a private conversation about the Lord, - at least not yet.

     In answer to David’s question – if the foundations are destroyed what will the righteous do? – the righteous will fight to proclaim the truth in love, so our Lord Jesus will find a believing, faithful remnant waiting for Him when He returns.
     Will you be one of them?

Copyright 2011 by H.D. Shively

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