Detecting Emergent Churches Eschatology Part 4
Detecting Emergent Churches Eschatology
Detecting if your church is an Emergent Church
By David Cox
This is our continuing examination of the Emergent Church movement, looking at what are the signs of the Emergent Church, so that we can detect if our church is going emergent. In this installment we look at the Emergent Church movement’s treatment of Eschatology.
What is Biblical Bible Prophecy? and What does it serve?
We cannot understand how this movement’s position on Bible prophecy is wrong if we are not clear on how Bible Prophecy is to function in God’s scheme of things (correctly that is). First of all, God has predicted, really pre-said, what will happen. Notice that God’s prophecies are not really predictions, a guess at what will happen, but are rather statements of fact of what will happen. This is because we cannot see the future, we can only guess. But is not limited to the present like us, so he sits in eternity, not limited to the past, nor the present, nor the future. Being an eternal being unlimited in any way by time, he comments on all things past and present, and his comments are from his actually being in the past and present as much as in the future.
Bible prophecy then is on a par with God’s historical statements, like Genesis 1 and 2 on how the earth and universe came into being, how man first sinned, etc. These statements by God are to enlighten us, and to teach us. The authority and power of God are emphasized when we hear these things. But if everything is “fuzzy” in the Bible, then that means that God is not accurate on anything, and this is the opposite of a powerful and authoritative God declaring things. The Emergent Church is a frontal assault on God.
When God speaks of what will happen in the future, and these things happen, this is a reinforcement of God’s power and being. His authority comes across loud and clear. But when all of this is avoided completely as being unnecessary and wrong, even dangerous, then we have a lower view of God than we should.
Another aspect of Bible prophecy is that as things stand, as when Jesus Christ left this earth, Jesus promised to return on day just the same way he was taken up in the clouds. That return of Jesus with his saints are in two parts, a returning in the air which is the rapture, and a returning completely to the Mount of Olives where he will begin the divine intervention of God on Satan’s rebellion.
This casts our present existence on earth as Christians in a certain perspective, we are laboring intensely to get the Gospel out and do the work of God before Christ returns, “when no man will work”. Once Satan takes over after the rapture, there will be 7 years of tribulation. Our present task then is set as “watching and waiting”, to labor on diligently as we can, and to have that upward look for Christ’s return.
True to form, the Emergent Church kills everything biblical that it can. They say that this is just more doctrine, and being that it is divisive and dangerous. We should follow our feelings rather than doctrinal statements in the Bible. That being said, most people are lazy, and that is what these people become. They are lazy, and don’t witness nor work. Prayer is work also. This movement has no place for Bible prophecy, and this is exactly what must take over before Satan and the antichrist come. Remember Herod, when the magi came asking about where the Christ is to be born, there was specific prophecy about the year (it was upon them) and the place and the circumstances. Herod and the leaders of the Jews were clueless because they little esteemed prophecy.
Another twist in all of this is that the Emergent Church takes the New Testament church to be Old Testament Israel, so Israel has no importance nor significance. They believe in Replacement Theology in other words. If formal prophecies don’t come to pass (Israel being restored as a nation for example), then none of Scripture is really important to these people.
They consider the prophetic events of Revelation as having already taken place, not here, but in heaven. This means that they are ushering in the kingdom of God. Again all of this is to give credence to their social programs instead of the biblical gospel. While doctrinal statements are rejected, here they come up with doctrinal statements refuting Scripture supposedly.
Kingdom God remade
One of their key elements is how their man oriented activities are bringing in the Kingdom of God. In Scripture, the King is the center of the Kingdom of God. In the Emergent Church, man is the center of the Kingdom of God. They dislike or outright oppose as untrue that Jesus will reign over a literal kingdom here on earth, and especially they refuse to accept that it still a future event. They consider the millennial an unbiblical event. It is amazing how they completely take the opposite of anything that the Bible says. While they “fuzzy up” everything in Scripture, this, they declare, is definitely not in the Bible.
There is a very strong emphasis in equating numbers of people with the rightness of those people. Instead of doctrinal purity and fervor, they turn to the large number of people as being proof of their correctness. Hyles Anderson people use this concept constantly. Because they are big, they are right and blessed. Since when does the remenant concept no longer apply to God’s people? The masses, even the believer masses in Scripture are usually wrong and in error, not right. Man made programs do not do the work of God. They oppose God’s work. When people have an incorrect motive (getting something personally, tangibly instead of working because of God’s love) then all that is done is tainted as wrong in God’s eyes. If bus ministries are the way to go, then they won’t work without give-away programs to promote them. Do they come for candy or because they love Jesus and want to obey God purely, out of a sincere motive of the heart? Just cut all that out for a year and see how much of a bus program you have afterwards.
How Prophecy should motivate us
When we truly understand God’s prophetic statements, then we are spiritually motivated to do the work of God. Here we need to clarify. God has left, and he has given us a task to do. This task is not very much social, but it is very much giving the gospel out to all peoples, and of those that are converted or born again spiritually, we are to organize them into local churches which are to propel workers to the mission field. Both local laborers are to go out where the church is located, and missionaries are prayed for, supported, and “pushed.”
We do that because Christ is going to return in judgment, and our time is short. A correct prophetical outlook will cause you to be a ceaseless worker. If Christ is not coming back, or somehow he already has returned, then this work motive is cut short and becomes dead.
Denying the Basic Concepts of Eternity
When we understand that this movement wants to deny all of the basic doctrines of Christianity, then we get where they are coming from. So some of the “givens” that God asserts in his Word are things like salvation, damnation, and the places related with these two concepts, heaven, and hell. All of this is denied by the Emergent Church. They say they believe in them, but in truth, they are trying to convince the world that these are false ideas, lies.
Detecting Emergent Churches Eschatology
Have the teachings of Open Source, Open Theism or Process Theology been embraced? (Open Theism teaches that God knows the past and lives in the present but has no idea of what the future holds. Obviously, this destroys every prophetic passage in the Bible – including the blessed hope of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.) Barger