I have already written about most of my concerns. I simply want to summarize in this final post that we as believers need to be aware of what is taking place within our churches through the emergent church movement. For myself, I am concerned that what the emergent church* is espousing is not just a simple mistake; it is not simply doctrinal differences, or a misunderstanding of words and interpretation. Is it much more than that? I have found myself wondering if what is taking place in churches across America is intentional to weaken, divide and attack. Yeah, I’m a conspiracy theorist. It is common knowledge that in order to bring about change in any venue, what is standard or the norm in people’s lives must be proven wrong or inadequate before any change can be brought forth. I’m not saying Richard Stearns intentionally seeks to divide the church. I don’t believe that. But I do believe he seeks to bring the church into a liberal political view that he believes is necessary to orchestrate work in the foreign mission field. It appears it is his belief that this work must be done through the United Nations. And I believe that is dangerous.
I also found what I believe to be error in doctrine and in his interpretation of certain Scripture. Most troubling is his interpretation of Matthew 25: 31-46. But I chose not to write about that. I chose rather to focus my concerns on the political side of his writings and what is happening in the emerging church, because politics is exactly what emergent leaders are using to bring about the change they hope to effect. There is a common mantra coming from any and all emergent leaders one may seek to study. That study will reveal a belief that:
• We need a social gospel (through liberal politics) that must spread throughout the world.
• Americans are puffed up and greedy and to blame for the world’s ills.
• The American Dream needs to be destroyed.
• We need the work of the UN through the UN Millennium Development Goals and the World Health Organization
• God is in every person and in all things.
• All faiths are of the same God and we should strive for an ecumenical belief system.
Also noticeable among emergents is a failure to speak of the need of repentance from a sinful heart. America is blamed as those who have neglected a duty for taking care of the poor of the world. Most emergent leaders fail to mention it is America that provides this aid more than any other nation.
As I said in my previous posts, Stearns chooses to quote and highlight some troubling figures. Some of whom are fellow Christians that are having a tremendous impact on today’s church. For example: Rick Warren. Why is Warren a problem for me?
Warren showed his ecumenical side at President Obama’s inauguration when he prayed these words:
“I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life—Yeshua, Esa, Jesus, Jesus—who taught us to pray…”
Esa, to those of the Islamic religion, is a “prophet” of God worshipped by Muslims and spoken of repeatedly in the Quran. The Quran teaches that though Esa was born of immaculate conception, he is believed to be human and not at all considered to be Divine.
The Bible, however, is very clear that there is no other God and “no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” - Acts 4:12. That a Christian would choose to pray in the name of a false “prophet” is deeply troubling. Yet Stearns and other emergent leaders continue to quote Warren and use him as an example in their work.
Stearns also quotes Jimmy Carter with a fact that simply isn’t true. Carter says:
“The greatest problem of our time is the growing gap between the richest and poorest people on earth.”
Oh really. And all this time I thought the greatest problem of our time might be lives lived without Jesus; wars and rumor of wars; earthquakes and other natural disasters, and of course famines; just to name a few. The poor? Heartbreaking, yes; but the gap between rich and poor the greatest problem? I don’t think so. Carter’s quote and Stearns exposition on it sounds like a socialistic agenda to me! I guess it’s time to "spread the wealth around". Only thing is, Jesus said that would never work. He said the poor will always be among us. No, I am not saying that we shouldn’t bother with the poor in that case. Of course we are to care for any and all those in need that God places in our path. Hey! I even believe that includes unborn babies who will lose their lives before they have a chance to breathe that first breath of life….oh but wait, Stearns said if I care about that I am just “trying to grab a piece of the media spotlight.” Sounds like politics to me. And woops! I promised myself I wouldn’t get sarcastic or flippant.
I have never understood why those that claim not to be political want to find fault with those that do. I believe America has been blessed by God to be the nation most able to spread His Gospel and in fact we have been the ones that have consistently done just that. But if we do not strive politically to keep those freedoms, we will not be able to continue to reach that goal. I believe God has gifted each of us for a reason. If we didn’t have the “Jerry Falwell’s” and “Pat Robertson’s” who have fought diligently to preserve our freedoms, we wouldn’t be able to have the “Billy Graham’s” that seek to only share the Gospel….and by the way, where have the “Billy Graham’s” gone?
Stearns explanation of how this hole came to be in our Gospel, is nothing more than his opinion. He takes great strides to inform us this hole is a result of the liberal concern for the poor that came into odds with the conservative “who believed the world was beyond fixing”. That’s political! But more than that, it is only his personal belief. The problem is, he presents it as fact and diligently tries to convince us that this divide is the major cause of bringing about a "partial gospel" on both sides. The truth of the matter is, the gospel Stearns presents, barely resembles the Gospel of old.
Most distressing of all; Stearns, in this book, has changed the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a gospel of people of works and action with Stearns himself being the one that has determined what believers should be doing if they are truly saved. I don’t believe I read anything like that anywhere in Scripture. In order for him to convince us and bring us into his world view, he needs to have us believe “Two thousand years ago the world was changed forever by just twelve men…it can happen again.” My reason for these posts is simply to say, I’m afraid that just isn’t so.
Ok, I’m done. Thanks for reading.
"Be it known unto you all and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.....Neither is there salvation in any other..." Acts 4: 10-12
*Throughout my posts, I have made no distinction between the "emergent church" and the "emerging church". I am referring to each term as one and the same.