* The following statements are not necessarily the beliefs of the International House of Prayer but are based on my own opinions… the opinions of Brooke Turner.
I am not a heresy hunter therefore I want to first affirm some of the sincere qualities of the emergent church. I have been a participant in the Emergent Church movement in recent years and some of those involved in this movement are people that are very much beloved by me. This is not intended to bring hurt or cause disunity in the church, however, I felt the need to share my heart about this matter because it is an area of great concern to me.
The emergent movement began initially to address the great decrease in church attendance among young adults. It was clear that traditional church culture was not drawing the lost to Jesus. And so in observation of this dilemma, a web of ideas began to circulate among many young leaders. The underlying theme seemed to be: “how do we get the world to like us more so that in return, they will start coming to our churches/home groups etc?”
I believe that many “emergents” have a sincere burden for the lost. Many of them are characterized by great compassion for the poor and the marginalized. They have a desire to break out of the traditional Christian culture mode and relate to the lost in a new and fresh way. This is admirable considering the great majority of the church seems to feel more comfortable hiding behind the four walls of the church than venturing out into the world to love and serve the lost.
However, I have many concerns about the direction the emergent church has gone in recent years. The primary reason I have these concerns is because I believe that we are at the end of the age. Unlike a large percentage of the church, I believe that instead of being “sucked up” to heaven during the tribulation… we will actually be living here on earth. The tribulation will be used to purify the Bride of Christ and make them ready for His return to earth (2 Peter 3:14, Revelation 19:7-8). If you can find a verse supporting a pre-tribulation rapture, I would love to find out where it is because I haven’t seen one and personally… I would love to stay up there in heaven while hell breaks out down here on earth… but it ain’t gonna happen that way, folks.
The emergent movement has challenged the explicit truth of the Bible that we are to live Holy and blameless lives (Ephesians 1:3-5). Instead of using intimacy with Jesus and the powerful gifts of the Holy Spirit living inside of us to draw unbelievers to the truth, they have instead utilized compromise as a bridge to the lost. This may sound harsh but I myself have experienced this. In fact I was one of the promoters of this style of evangelism: “let’s hang out in bars, drink what we want and that way the lost will feel more comfortable around us.” Did it lead anyone to Jesus? I don’t remember one person coming to Jesus through this method and even if there was such a person, they sure weren’t being fed the truth of the gospel.
Why are we so concerned if the world likes us? We are actually suppose to expect that the world HATES us. 1 John 3:13 says, “do not be surprised brothers, if the world hates you.” In Jesus’ conversation with His father before his death on the cross he prays for us, His followers, “I have given them Your Word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.” John 3:19 says “this is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds are evil.” Yes. It is uncomfortable to be around people who hate us because we love Jesus. We are commanded to love them anyway but we are not given permission to join them in their sin. It pains me to think that we are using a false message of grace to exploit the work done on the cross. Grace is not a reason Jesus gave us to sin. Grace was given to us to empower us to keep from sinning. Sinning just because we can is a mockery of what Jesus has done on the cross.
So how do we reach the lost then? I have a few ideas 1. PRAY. Pray for the lost to know Jesus. Pray for specific people. Pray for their hearts to be open to the gospel. Pray for encounters with Jesus and dreams in the night. GOD is a real, active, and personal God and He is always moving. He wants evangelism to be a partnership with Him… not just some idea that we come up with on our own. 2. Prophesy. Yes. That’s what I said. 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 says that “if an unbeliever or someone does not understand comes in while everyone is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming ‘God is really among you!’. 3. Serving the lost. Feed them, clothe them, but don’t feed and clothe them without introducing them to Jesus. Without Jesus, humanitarian efforts are pointless. We are simply making their lives more comfortable as the drift away to hell.
A message of holiness, intimacy and purity for God CAN work in a young adult movement. Just look at my community, IHOP. The International House of Prayer is comprised mostly of young adults. Imagine that. Around a thousand or more young adults, pursuing Jesus as their ONE desire, and striving to live a life before God that is blameless. It can happen. Young adults are looking for something bigger than they are. In the words of Misty Edwards “there’s something bigger going on… something bigger than ME.”
In light of the times that we are in… and trust me… we are very very close to the tribulation… I want to introduce a few other dangers with the emergent church.
Because Jesus return is so imminent, the Sprit of the Anti-Christ is increasing rapidly. The Apostle John refers to this in 1 John 1:2-3. It is a spirit that deceives unbelievers into trusting in the false doctrine that Jesus is indeed NOT fully God and fully man. This spirit will be prevalent even in the body of Christ and well… it actually is already very prevalent. The emergent church has been characterized by a pervading deception that questions, ever so subtley, the deity of Jesus our Lord. This will start out in a seemingly subtle way and then increase in deception over time. A few years ago, I was able to hear a very popular emergent speaker. I will not share his name because it is not my desire that anyone should be ‘singled out’, but some of the things this man referred to have disturbed me for some years now. He made a statement similar to: “the book of Genesis is outdated and archaic” and then began to subtley share his unbelief in what he seemed to believe wasn’t inerrant, God-breathed scripture on how the earth was formed and created by an uncreated Being. 2 Timothy 4:2-4 says this, “3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” People who are uncomfortable with the truth of God’s inerrant Word will find someone to preach to them what they desire to hear. This is dangerous, why? 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 explains about the Spirit of the Anti-Christ or the Spirit of Lawlessness as it is otherwise called: “the coming of the lawless one will be in accordance to the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perished because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” There will be many in the church, who once called themselves Christians, who will fall away from Jesus because of offense.
In essence… we don’t have time to mess around. This spirit is in the world RIGHT NOW. We cannot allow any form of deception from the enemy. We cannot allow ourselves to sit in compromise. If our consciences are bothering us at all, we must turn away from that sin. Paul said that he “strives to keep his conscience clear before both God and man.” In humility and without religious pride, we must lay hold of the prize that is set before us… JESUS! We must live lives holy and blameless before Jesus and before the World. This includes loving each other. This includes serving each other but it also includes fleeing from immorality, darkness, dangerous theology, and drunkenness.
Posted by standonthewall in Bible Study, Biblical love, Communing with the Holy Spirit, End Times, Eternity, Evangelism, Grace, Humanism, Intercession, Intimacy with God, Justice, Leadership, Martyrdom, Maturity, Prayer, Prophecy, Social Activism, Spirit of the Age, The Church, Wisdom