A Look at the Emerging Church
Dr. Jobe Martin
Biblical Discipleship Ministries
There is a way which seemeth right
unto a man, but the end thereof are
the ways of death.
But I fear, lest by any means, as the
serpent beguiled Eve through his
subtilty, so your minds should be
corrupted from the simplicity that is
in Christ.
Now the serpent was more subtil than
any beast of the field which the LORD
God had made. And he said unto the
woman, Yea, hath God said,…?
(As I see it.)
(With some notable exceptions)
1. Christian Orthodoxy
2. Pentacostal Movement
3. Charismatic Movement
4. Fellowship Church Movement
5. Seeker-Friendly Movement
6. Emerging Church Movement
• “Emerging is the wider, informal, global, ecclesial
(church centered) focus of the movement, while
Emergent is an official organization in the U.S. and
the U.K. Emergent Village, the organization, is
directed by Tony Jones, a Ph.D. student at Princeton
Theological Seminary…. Other names connected
with Emergent Village include Doug Pagitt, Chris
Seay, Tim Keel, Karen Ward, Ivy Beckwith, Brian
McLaren, and Mark Oestreicher. Emergent U.K. is
directed by Jason Clark.”
Scott McKnight
“Emerging catches into one term the global reshaping
of how to “do church” in postmodern culture. It has
no central offices, and it is as varied as
evangelicalism itself. If I were to point to one
centrist expression of the emerging movement in
the U.S., it would be Dan Kimball’s Vintage Church
in Santa Cruz, CA. His U.K. counterpart is Andrew
Scot McKnight, Five Streams of the Emerging Church:
Key elements of the most controversial and
misunderstood movement in the church today.
(Posted 1/19/2007 see blog:
“Frankly, the emerging movement loves ideas and
theology. It just doesn’t have an airtight system or
statement of faith. We believe the Great Tradition
offers various ways of telling the truth about God’s
redemption in Christ, but we don’t believe any one
theology gets it absolutely right.”
Scot McKnight, Five Streams of the Emerging Church
Scot McKnight continues:
• “Hence, a trademark feature of the emerging
movement is that we believe all theology will
remain a conversation about the Truth who is God
in Christ through the Spirit, and about God’s story
of redemption at work in the church. No systematic
theology can be final. In this sense, the emerging
movement is radically Reformed. It turns its
chastened epistemology against itself, saying, “This
is what I believe, but I could be wrong. What do you
think? Let’s talk.” (see blog: Jesus
• Brian McClaren, a pastor and a leader in the
Emerging Church movement, was asked his
position on homosexuality.
• McClaren responded that a five year
conversation would be required and if there
was no consensus, another five years of dialog
would be necessary.
• Genesis 13:13, Homosexuality is sin and
• Genesis 18:20, Homosexuality is grievous sin!
• Genesis 19:7, Homosexuality is wicked!
• Leviticus 18:22, Homosexuality is an
• Deuteronomy 23:17-18, Homosexuality is an
abomination to the Lord of Hosts.
• 1 Kings 14:24, Homosexuality(sodomy) is an
• Romans 1:24, Homosexuality dishonors your
own body.
• Romans1:26, Lesbianism is a “vile affection.
• Lesbianism “ against nature.”
• Romans 1:27, Homosexuality is unseemly
• Romans 1:28, Homosexuality is the fruit of a
“reprobate mind.”
• 1 Cor. 6:9, Effeminate (“male prostitutes”
NIV) and abusers of themselves with
mankind (homosexuals NAS) “shall not
inherit the kingdom of God”
• Do not be taken captive by the erroneous
ideas of unbiblical worldviews!!!
Col. 2:8
• We must identify the enemy….and the enemy
is always attractively disguised!!!!
• “For such are false apostles, deceitful
workers, transforming themselves into the
apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan
himself is transformed into an
angel of light.” (II Cor. 11:13,14)
The world runs on ideas, and these ideas
have godly or ungodly consequences.
“In the end, the sword is always
conquered by the mind.”
Napolean Bonaparte
• Acts 17 to 1636 read Faith and Freedom by
Ben Hart and Understanding the Times, by
Dr. David Noebel
• 1636: John Harvard and Thomas Sheppherd
founded Harvard University as an Evangelical
Christian College
• 1691: John Locke, Essay on Human
Understanding (Root of French Revolution)
• 1805: Harvard goes Unitarian (Jesus is not
God = denial of the Trinity)
• 1839: Horace Mann (a Unitarian) establishes
government-sponsored education (Public
Education) in Mass.
• 1848: Karl Marx publishes the Political
Economy. Main idea is Socialism and Private
Property is Evil.
• 1859: Charles Darwin, Origin of Species by
Means of Natural Selection or the
Preservation of Favored Races
• in the Struggle for Life = (EVOLUTION =
• 1859: Marx and Engels, Das Capitol =
(Socialism and abolition of private property)
• 1859: Richard Wagner, Tristan and Isolde =
(Immorality and Materialism)
• 1860-1900: Nietzche, (God is Dead, Nihilism:
no meaning to life)
•1929: First Humanist Church of N. Y. City
Established by Charles Francis Potter
• 1930: John Dewey = Atheist, Humanist, Pres.
of The League for Industrial Demo., Public
Education = Secular Humanism
• 1933: Humanist Manifesto I
• 1934: A Common Faith, John Dewey, Pub. by
Yale U. Press = Humanism
is a
THE 1960’S
• Mad Magazine and Johnny Carson: There is
nothing sacred!!!!
• Frank Sinatra: “I did it my way.”
• Debbie Boone: “How can it be wrong when it
feels so right?”
• Invictus: “I am the master of my fate, I am the
captain of my soul.”
1961: (Torcaso vs Watkins) Humanism a religion
protected by 1st amendment (501c 3)
• 1962: (Engel vs Vitale) Prayer banned
• 1963: (Abington vs Schempp) Bible reading
forbidden in schools.
• 1968: (Epperson vs Arkansas) Laws against
teaching Evolution now unconstitutional
• 1973: Humanist Manifesto 2 +Roe v Wade
• 1980: (Stone vs Graham) 10 commandments out
of schools
1982: (McLean vs Arkansas) Law mandating
creation and evolution banned
1987: (Aguillard vs Edwards)
God is out of USA!
2003:TX law against sodomy overturned
Homosexuality is in!!
2005:Euthanasia is in (Florida-Terri Schiavo).
• Postmodernism is a worldview.
• Postmodernists believe that truth is created by the
life story of the individual.
• A Postmodernist might say, “I have my truth and
you have your truth.”
• In other words in a certain sense you create your
own reality. No absolute Truth, just conversations
about percieved truth.
• Quite similar to New Age in this respect.
• Humanists, Marxists, etc., say: “God is dead,” or
“Man is God.”
• Postmodernists agree with Humanists and Marxists
that God is “dead,” but go one step farther and say
of any piece of literature, art or music “The author
is dead!”
• If the author is a product of his/her time, culture,
language, etc., and he/she is dead—then it is
impossible for the reader of their text to get into
their head and understand their intentions.
• There is then no authoritative interpretation of
any text. The meaning is determined by the reader
of the text! The Bible is what it means to you.
Bill Honsberger, says:
“What then replaces the author’s intent,
unknowable to us all? Well what is left is
different versions of what is called “reader”
response theory. What this means is that the
reader of the text brings to the text their
community’s values, language games,
experiences, ethical concerns or lack
thereof…. [This is beginning to sound like the
Emerging Church.]
Bill Honsberger, says:
• The question then for example is not “What was the
Apostle Paul trying to say when he speaks about
propitiation in Romans 3?”, but rather “What do
I/we think Paul was saying based on our
community’s values and concerns. So one might
answer (and they have) that as a lesbian, feminist
community our understanding of the Bible is based
on our values and understanding and we say that
Paul is a homophobic, sexist, patriarchal evil white
man, who was seeking power over us with his
claims to ‘truth’.”
Bill Honsberger, says:
• I think there is a direct connection between
Nietzsche’s death of God and the Pomo writers
death of the author. In both cases there is a denial
of any authority (no truth giver) which or who sits
above that of the autonomous human (the singular
man in Existentialism and the community of
humans in PostModern circles) and therefore all we
are left with is the much tamer opinion or
perspective. This is easily dismissed since all have
perspectives and no perspective is any closer to an
alleged “truth” than any other.
• Postmodernists claim that there is no
objective, certain, clear, authoritative truth.
• Notice that they must use words that are
clearly understood and objective and
authoritative to make their claim.
• Postmodernists disconnect from reality.
• The ultimate end of postmodern thought is
that the Bible has no meaning of its own.
• The “Emerging Church” movement claims to be
exiting “Modernism.”
• Modernism is seen as a synonym for the
Enlightenment thought of 17th -19th century Europe.
• Enlightenment, now called “Modernism” has been
an “obstacle to church growth,” so says the
“evangelists” of the Emerging church
• The Emerging Church claims that Modernism
(European Enlightenment Thought) was concerned
– Truth
– Certainty
– Individualism
– Colonialism
– Objectivity
– Ethical absolutes
– And a host of other “evils.”
Postmodernism rejects all of the above!
• The cure for the problems in The Church (of
historical Christianity), according to prominent
“Emerging Church” writers, is to adapt to and
accept the worldview and values of the
predominant postmodern culture.
• In other words, to minister to the postmodern
culture we Christians must, to a great extent,
live out the postmodern value system
ourselves. We must become “…all things to all
1 Corinthians 9:22
“To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain
the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I
might by all means save some.”
Is the Apostle Paul saying in this verse that he
would live out the Postmodern lifestyle to win
postmodernists to the Gospel?
“I am made all things to all men,”
• Is Paul saying, “I will become an alcoholic to
minister to alcoholics?”
• “I will become a drug addict to minister to drug
• “I will become a fornicator to minister to
• “I will become a heretic to minister to heretics.”
• “I will deny the absolute Truth of the Bible to
minister to Postmodernists.”
It is unfortunate that the phrase “all things to all men”
(1 Cor. 9:22) has been used and abused by the
world and made to mean what Paul did not intend
for it to mean. Paul was not a chameleon who
changed his message and methods with each new
situation. Nor was Paul a compromiser who
adjusted his message to please his audience. He
was an ambassador, not a politician! Wiersbe, W. W.
1996, c1989. The Bible Exposition Commentary. "An
exposition of the New Testament comprising the
entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.
1 Corinthians 8:8-13
But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat,
are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours
become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. 10 For if
any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the
idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak
be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to
idols; 11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak
brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when ye sin
so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience,
ye sin against Christ. 13 Wherefore, if meat make my
brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world
standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
The primary purpose of Paul’s not taking full
advantage of his Christian liberty was that [he]
might win the more. He deeply believed that “he
who is wise wins souls” (Prov. 11:30) and was
willing to do anything and to sacrifice anything to
win people to Jesus Christ. As far as his rights were
concerned he was free from all men, but because
of his love for all men he would gladly limit those
rights for their sakes. He had, figuratively, become a
slave to all. He would modify his habits, his
preferences, his entire life–style if any of those
things caused someone to stumble, to be offended,
or to be hindered from faith in the Lord. MacArthur, J.
1996, c1984. 1 Corinthians. Includes indexes. Moody Press: Chicago
“I am made all things to all men,”
• What Paul means by this statement is that he will
voluntarily restrain himself from certain freedoms
he has in Christ so as to not offend a weaker
• He is not saying that he would become a
Postmodernist in order to witness to a
• Paul would not support the Emerging Church.
• There are no “truths” which apply to all of us.
• There are no absolute moral standards.
• There are no absolute ethical concerns.
• There is no God.
• There are personal opinions.
• There are personal perspectives.
• See the writings of Nietzsche, Derrida, Lyotard,
Ricouer, Foucault, Rorty, Baudrillard, etc.
• Most Postmodernist thinkers are/were disillusioned
• Disillusioned Marxists became PostModernists and
now gain strength through Multiculturalism and its
stepchild, Political Correctness, which is rightly
labeled, “Cultural Marxism”.
• Marx and Lenin taught that, given the chance,
European workers would overthrow capitalist
governments and replace them with communism.
• But after the Russian revolution of 1917 the
Western European workers did not support the
Communist revolution or ideas.
• Why not?
• Christianity and its moral and ethical absolutes was
the roadblock to the expansion of Marxism.
• This roadblock was noticed by two Marxist theorists
in 1919: Italian, Antonio Gramsci and Hungarian,
Georg Lukacs.
• These two men decided that the spread of
Communism could only be accomplished if Western
Christian culture was destroyed.
• So Lukacs introduced sex education into the public
schools of Hungary,1919, believing that if children
knew more about sex their lust for it would
overpower their Christian morals!
• So Gramsci and Lukacs laid the groundwork to
change communism from economic terms
(ownership of private property is evil) into cultural
terms. (tolerance, sex ed, individual freedom, etc.)
• Then in 1923 at Frankfurt University in Germany the
Institute for Social Research was established=The
Frankfurt School.
• The Frankfurt School moved to New York City in
1933 when Hitler came to power.
• Theorists like Wilhelm Reich, Eric Fromm, Max
Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, etc.
• The Frankfurt School invented “Critical Theory”
which had the goal of demonizing all traditional
institutions such as family, fatherhood, patriotism,
Bible-believing churches, etc.
• The Frankfurt School published “Studies in
Prejudice” which taught that anyone who believes
in traditional Western Christian culture is
prejudiced, a “racist” or “sexist” or “fascist” or is
mentally unstable.
• Mixing Freud with Marx, they perfected the
technique of psychological conditioning—thus, for
example, TV shows fornication, etc. as normal.
• TV shows Christians as crazy, intolerant, bigoted,
hypocritical fools.
For example see: The Humanist magazine, Nov/Dec
• Featured cover article: “Christianity and Mental
Health: A Psychotherapist looks at how Christianity
may harm mental health,” by Dr. Wendell Watters.
• The picture on the cover is of a church with a
person (minister?) on the psychiatrist’s couch and
an all-wise-looking psychiatrist doing the
• If you are a Christian you must be insane!
• Herbert Marcuse, working with Hollywood friends,
became a leading “evangelist” of Cultural Marxism
(Political Correctness) especially on the university
campuses of USA.
• “In his book Eros and Civilization, he argued that by
freeing sex from any restraints, we could elevate the
pleasure principle over the reality principle and
create a society with no work, only play (Marcuse
coined the phrase, “Make love, not war”). Marcuse
also argued for what he called “liberating
tolerance,” which he defined as tolerance for all
ideas coming from the Left and intolerance for any
ideas coming from the
• right. In the late 1960’s Marcuse became the chief
“guru” of the New Left, and he injected the cultural
Marxism of the Frankfurt School into the baby
boom generation, to the point where it is now
America’s state ideology.
• The next conservatism should unmask Multiculturalism and Political Correctness and tell the
American people what they really are: cultural
Marxism. Its goal remains that Lukacs and Gramsci
set in 1919: destroying Western culture and the
Christian religion. [see: Wm. Lind, “Cultural
Marxism” The Schwarz Report, vol. 46, No. 4, p 4.]
PSALM 19:7-9
• The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the
soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making
wise the simple.
• The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the
heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure
enlightening the eyes.
• The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
the judgments of the Lord are true and
righteous altogether.
Christianity Today, November 13, 2006
“A Guide to the Christian Practice of
• “The bright evangelical mind, always so active
and in pursuit, must leap great hurdles of
spiritual and intellectual activity to shut itself
down and be still. Theologian Martin Laird
offers a roadmap to this practice of silence
and God-awareness with warmth and reason.
• Like many trained in Christian contemplative practice,
Laird is a Roman Catholic of the order of Saint
Augustine, those charged by Pope John Paul II, to be
teachers of the interior life. Laird, an associate
professor in theology and religious studies at Villanova
University obeys the charge with grace and clear
instruction. In his compact primer he charts the path
leading to silent surrender and watchfulness before
God. As such, the book’s great contribution might be its
reminder that in our noisy, chaotic thinking world, God
is not somebody we need to flag down or acquire. God
is the ground of our being. Laird’s book defines how to
sink back into God’s ground physically with breathing,
mentally with prayer words, and spiritually with interior
Christianity Today
• Through anecdote, Scripture and classic
wisdom, Laird illuminates a Christian path into
the silent land. An able guide, he makes the
trip more than worth the journey.
• Christianity Today reviews Martin Laird’s book:
Into the Silent Land.
Christianity Today is Pro-Catholic.
• The Emerging Church is rapidly moving toward
the “Mother Catholic Church.”
• Communion is now called the Eucharist.
• Incense is burned to enhance worship.
• Stained glass is projected for mood.
• Lights are dimmed.
• Candles are lit.
• The Bible is de-emphasized.
• Techniques of Pagan mysticism are promoted.
• A friend of ours was associate pastor at a large
Baptist church.
• This friend taught a weekly Bible study, but
was asked by the senior pastor to cancel the
Bible study— “Bible study is confusing and
upsetting to people.”
• Our friend resigned his position.
• The Emerging Church ideas had penetrated!
HEBREWS 13:8-9
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day,
and for ever. 9 Be not carried about with divers
and strange doctrines.
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for
whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also
reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of
the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth
to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life
ACTS 4:12
Speaking of the Lord Jesus, the Bible says: 12
Neither is there salvation in any other: for
there is none other name under heaven given
among men, whereby we must be saved.
JOHN 14:6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth,
and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me.
• “But God commendeth His
love toward us, in that while
we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us.”
• “That if thou shalt confess
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
and shalt believe in thine heart
that God hath raised Him from
the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
“From bondage, comes spiritual faith.
From spiritual faith, comes courage.
From courage, comes liberty.
From liberty, comes abundance.
From abundance, comes complacency.
From complacency, comes apathy.
From apathy, comes dependency.
From dependency, comes bondage.”
• A worldview is the sum total of the ideas
(assumptions) which function as its base.
• The ideas (assumptions) which make up a
worldview reach into every area of life:
Theology, Philosophy, Ethics, Science,
Psychology, Sociology, Law, Politics,
Economics, History, Art and Music.
• Your worldview is your system of beliefs.
• Your worldview (beliefs) establishes your
• Your values determine your behavior.
• “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
Proverbs 23:7a KJV
• “Moral Relativism” is the idea of the
Humanists that there are NO ABSOLUTES
• If a professor teaches that there are no
absolutes, a pertinent question is: “Are you
sure there are no absolutes, Prof.?”
• Prof.: “Yes, there is no such thing as an
Student: “Are you absolutely sure, Prof.?”
• Prof.: “Well aren’t you a clever student! I will
admit that there is one absolute and that is
that there are no absolutes.”
• Student: “Could there be two absolutes?”
• Prof.: “NO!” Student: “Are you sure?”
• Prof.: “Yes, of this I am sure!”
• Student: “Are you absolutely sure?”
• “Is it a moral absolute that it is wrong for a
student to murder their professor?”
• “Is it a moral absolute that the mass killings
of Hitler were wrong?” [911]
• “Is it a moral absolute that we should not
torture babies for fun?”
• “Is it a moral absolute that the murder of
young at T. Sq., in China was wrong?”