All of this begs the question: "How much can you change the church and still have it be part of the Christianity that began with the Apostles?" The early church saw the Gnostics and Mystics within their ranks and were willing to oppose them. We see their descendants in our ranks today…what will we do? Do we beckon the church to return to the old paths and restore New Testament Christianity, or, will we melt into the quagmire of this movement? Time will tell!
1 Corinthians 1:18 says, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." Ask the average Christian today if they believe this with all their heart and, at least from a practical standpoint, they may not! Trusting in Christ and His Word alone as sufficient for all things having to do with Faith and practice is rare and on the endangered list.
Robert Schuller, in his book entitled "Self-Esteem: The New Reformation," writes, "Classical theology has erred in its insistence that theology be 'God-centered', not 'man-centered' (page 64). The cross sanctifies the ego trip. For the Cross protected our Lord's perfect self- esteem from turning into sinful pride (page 75). And what is hell? . . . A person is in hell when he has lost his self-esteem"(pages 14,15). This view is shared by emergents and is helping to create a whole new culture of church-goers bent on personal gratification. Whatever happened to "taking up one's cross to follow Jesus"? Whatever happened to "losing oneself to find oneself"? Whatever happened to Jude's admonition that "we now have the faith once and for all delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3)? The Greek word "harax"(once and for all) denotes that we now have the faith in its final, complete, and perfect form. This means that we now have God's revelation for mankind in its final, complete, and perfect form without addendum!
What we are facing today in the Emergent Church Movement is nothing more and nothing less than the oldest lie ever told . . . "HAS GOD REALLY SAID?..." Satan's first temptation and his favorite temptation is to cast doubt on God's Word, His authority, and His all-sufficiency. He did it with Eve and Adam and he continues to do it with the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve today! Instead of allowing the "rightly divided word of truth" speak to them in current culture, many are opting to seek meaning from experiences, melding religions, religious practices, mysticism, and even the occult! We need to beware of those who teach or even endorse such fallacies! Contemporary names such as Rick Warren, Erwin McManus, Robert Schuller, Bill Hybels, Leonard Sweet, C. Peter Wagner, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, John Ortberg, and others, either teach or endorse the Emergent Church Movement.
Much of the New Testament was written to combat divergent teachings such as Gnosticism. 1 John was written with Gnosticism in mind, for example. John writes to confirm Biblical, apostolic truth and to re- veal the fallacies of Gnosticism. The Apostle Paul, in most of his writings, confronts false teaching and false teachers without apology. Again, because of the ongoing conditioning toward Postmodernism, it is becoming harder and harder for most Christians to identify false teaching and false teachers. Because they have been conditioned to avoid controversy or discernment, the path of least resistance has led many to embrace untruth! This simply should not be. We are encouraged in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to test everything. Test what? Test doctrine! We are living in a very gullible age that is leading many down a pathway to spiritual destruction!
What is the answer to all of this? PREACH THE WORD! As Paul told a young preacher Timothy, "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction" (2 Timothy 4:2). Now, why would Paul tell Timothy so emphatically to preach the objective Word of Truth? Paul knew something was coming! He says in the very next verse, "For 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. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths" (2 Timothy 4:3,4). Sounds "emergent" doesn't it?The dumbing-down of doctrine has led to a great void, waiting to be filled. Sound doctrine is not a driving desire for the average Christian today. Filling the void with mystical experiences (myths) is now the order of the day!