By Brannon S. Howse
Whatever is right for you is right for you.
Although many Americans don’t know the name Søren Kierkegaard, they know all too well his essential philosophy of life. In the mid-1800s Kierkegaard, who claimed to be a Christian, denied any consistent morality. Known as existentialism, his ideas suddenly gained steam in America a hundred years later. The central tenet of existentialism is that there is no absolute truth. “Christians” practicing existentialism introduced what is called neo-orthodoxy. The American version of this movement grew popular in the 1960s and virtually took over in the 70s and 80s.
Again, David Breese sees how it happened:
"A careful neglect of Calvary, the blood of Christ, divine forgiveness, original sin, and other great Christian themes. Salvation becomes experience-oriented, theology becomes contextual, and ultimate truth becomes contradictory. They announce that Jesus Christ came into the world to bring economic liberation to the oppressed masses of the earth."
There is really nothing new under the sun, and I contend that this neo-orthodoxy laid the foundation for what we now call the Emergent Church. It consists of post-modern radicals who could be characterized just as Dr. Breese explained neo-orthodoxy.
Worldview Weekend speaker and columnist Jason Carlson was once part of the small group that founded the Emergent Church, but he recognized their drift to heresy and got out. Today, Jason writes and speaks with conviction against the worldview of the Emergent Church. He outlines the tenets of Emergent Church this way:
[quote] A highly ambiguous handling of truth.
A desire to be so inclusive and tolerant that there is virtually no sense of Biblical discernment in terms of recognizing and labeling false beliefs, practices, or lifestyles.
A quasi-universalistic view of salvation.
A lack of a proper appreciation for Biblical authority over and against personal experience or revelation.
Openness to pagan religious practices like Hindu yoga and incorporating them into the Christian life and Christian worship.
Openly questioning the relevance of key historical Biblical doctrines such as the Trinity.
An uncritically open embrace of the Catholic and Orthodox churches.
An unbridled cynicism towards conservative evangelicalism and fundamentalism.
A reading of Scripture that is heavily prejudiced towards a social gospel understanding.
Little or no talk of evangelism or saving lost souls.
A salvation by osmosis mentality, where if you hangout with us long enough you’re in. [end quote]
I’ve known several Christian leaders to argue that the Emergent Church movement is simply a fad that will fade away. But that is like saying Secular Humanism, the New Age Movement, postmodernism, Gnosticism, pagan spirituality, or existentialism is a fad. While it’s true the term Emergent Church may go away, the philosophies, theologies, values, and ideas that make up the movement are not new and will not go away until Christ judges the world and sets up His Kingdom that will endure forever. As Isaiah 40:8 declares, “The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of our God shall stand forever.”
EC pastors sell millions of books and DVDs, and leaders have convinced millions of youth that all roads lead to God, that the social gospel is our highest calling, socialism is the economic philosophy that Jesus Christ embraced, homosexuality is the new civil rights, abortion is a matter of choice, pagan spirituality and Christianity are compatible, and proclaiming absolute truth is intolerant. Emergents believe the problem with Christianity in America today is narrow-minded evangelicals who oppose their emerging worldview because of our commitment to the divinely inspired Word of God—which the Emergents say is a man-made product.
Copyright 2009 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative.