What is the Emergent Church? What Do They Believe?
by Jack Wellman
What is the emergent church and why do they call it this? What danger is there in being in an emergent church? What are signs that your church is becoming an emergent church?
What Does Emergent Mean?
The definition of the word emergent might help us to understand what exactly the emergent church is. The dictionary defines emergent as: newly appearing, arising, and occurring, especially for the first time. It could be called arising unexpectedly or suddenly. Like a plant that is emerging, so also the emergent church has roots below the surface that no one sees. They have been growing for some time but most people were not aware of them. Like an emerging plant, it comes up slowly but surely. Even a tiny plant that emerges in your driveway can damage concrete and cause upheaval in the yard. So too is the risk of an emergent church in an existing one or one that springs up by itself and independently.
What is the Emergent Church?
The emergent church is a recent event that now threatens to spread into the entire world and has even been infiltrating Bible-believing churches. This movement started in the late 20th and early 21st century and its popularity is skyrocketing. The emergent church is crossing many forbidden
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theological boundaries that have previously not been breached. The emergent members desire to live their faith as a “post modern” society and at times are hard to distinguish from the pluralistic, secular (worldly) society in which it exists. Most of its members are unsatisfied with what they term “organized religion” and the “institutional” church and are trying to reinvent the church from within. The danger of this is that biblical models for church discipline, church government, the sacraments, and church offices are being ignored with the wider implications being the allowance for ongoing, unrepentant sin to exist within the Body of Christ, the church. This has serious implications because Paul and the other apostles taught that church discipline for openly sinning and unrepentant members hurts the Body of Christ and weakens the witness of the church.
The emergent church is pro-active in its desire to change and influence society. This may include using political power to bring in the “Kingdom,” create or work from a platform of social activism, and trying to overcome the public and private system that is presently held in society. The “world biblical view” in missions and presenting the gospel is to emphasize the love of God as one of the primary attributes of God. It is not quite the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel, but it often is the gospel stripped of its need for the necessity of a Savior because they frequently fail to mention sin, repentance, confession, church discipline, and fruits showing regeneration by the Holy Spirit…
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