Gen 3:14-15 – And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Unity can only come from submission of all parties to a common authority.
When we agree that scripture is the final authority for all matters of faith and practice, then we unify around the truth.
We have a responsibility to prove all things and try the spirits as seen in these verses:
Ezekiel 33:6 – But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.
1 Thess 5:21 – Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
1 John 4:1 – Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Eph 5:10-11 – proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them
Following are notes I have collected so far concerning the Emerging Church.
Sometimes known as the “Emergent” or “Emerging” church, it goes by many names and boasts being defined by a lack of definition and rules (a.k.a. CONFUSION)
Instead of a focus on belief and what they believe, they emphasize experience, mystical practices, spiritual disciplines, conversation, seeker sensitive, purpose driven, relational, hipster, and what they consider “being relevant and accessible”.
Emergents are characterized by not having a statement of faith or being nailed down to any one belief.
Emergents typically divert the “conversation” by saying they are protesting against regimentation, dress codes, formality, traditions, etc…
They also marginalize anyone critical of them as being “religious”, “legalistic”, “traditional”, or “archaic”.
However, orders of service and what music is used for worship is not the real issue.
The issue is that they introduce liberal theology, corrupt doctrine, doubting of scriptural authority, and mystical/new-age practices.
Brian McLaren, Phyllis Tickle, Marcus Borg, Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, Leonard Sweet, Bob Buford, Brennon Manning, Eugene Peterson, Donald Miller, Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Jim Willis, Tony Campolo, Richard Rhor, Andy Stanley, John Ortberg, Frank Viola, Laurie Beth Jones, Ruth Haley Barton, Shane Claiborn, Dan Kimball, Shane Hipps, Spencer Burke, Peter Rollins, Steve Chalke, Rick Warren, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Jay Bakker and many others
Since true biblical spirituality and order is done away with and labeled too “traditional”, it is replaced with ancient mystical ritualistic disciplines.
Mystical practices and disciplines are encouraged though each gathering of emergent church adherents employ a different mix of practices including: symbolic, multi-sensory worship; centering prayer; prayer beads; icons; spiritual direction; labyrinths; and lectio divina.
They usually start with seemingly innocent “prayer” disciplines such as “praying the psalms” or repeating phrases over and over (vain repetitions Matt 6:7) and slowly introduce more and more practices.
Breath Prayers – Similar to the Catholic Church, the Emergent Church encourages the use of a mystic practice referred to as contemplative prayer or breath prayers. A Breath prayer is a short phrase or sentence that is repeated throughout the day. It’s like a mantra. While the Catholic Church encourages it’s adherents to pray the rosary every day to increase their treasury of merit, the Emergent Church encourages it’s adherents to repeat breath prayers throughout the day to create an experience for the believer.
“Many Christians use “Breath Prayers” throughout their day. You choose a brief sentence, or a simple phrase that can be repeated to Jesus in one breath.” – Rick Warren
Meditation – Unlike Biblical meditation which engages the mind and chews on and digests scripture — the mystical meditation practiced by the Emergent Church is a form of transcendental meditation that is about disengaging the mind.
“Get in touch with your lungs by closing your eyes. Visualize in your mind a tennis court” 8.“Hold your Bible and breathe meditatively. The breathtaking, nay, breathgiving truth of aliveness is more than Methuselean in its span: Part of your body right now was once actually, literally part of the body of Abraham, Sarah, Noah, Esther, David, Abigail, Moses, Ruth, Matthew, Mary, Like, Martha, John, Priscilla, Paul… and Jesus. 9. Keep breathing quietly while holding your Bible. You have within you not just the powers of goodness resident in the great spiritual leaders like Moses, Jesus, Muhammed, Lao Tzu You also have within you the forces of evil and destruction.” Resident in each breath you take is the body of angels like Joan of Arc and devils like Gilles de Rais, Genghis Khan, Judas Iscariot, Herod, Hitler, Stalin and all the other destructive spirits throughout history” – Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality.
Lectio Divina – divine reading, a.k.a. spiritual formation, the silence, but is best known as contemplative prayer. This is a growing trend in evangelical churches. The prayer ritual stems from teaching associated with Catholic mystics such as Meister Eckhart, Ignatius of Loyola, St. John of the Cross, and St. Teresa of Avila. Contemplative prayer was reintroduced by Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, Henri Nouwen, William Meninger, Basil Pennington and other mystics. The aim is to achieve an altered-state-of-consciousness.
Prayer Labyrinth – used to facilitate prayer, meditation, spiritual transformation, and/or global unity. A labyrinth is a path which leads, via a circuitous route, to the center of an intricate design and back out again. A labyrinth’s route is unicursal; that is, it has only a single path. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth is designed for ease of navigation
Ignatian Examen – One of the few rules of prayer that Ignatius Loyola made for the Jesuit order was the requirement that Jesuits practice the Examen twice daily—at noon and at the end of the day. It’s a habit of self-reflection that Jesuits, and many other Christians, practice to this day.
Bono and the Emerging Church
Bono and U2 are the poster children of the Emergent Church and many think that U2 is a Christian group.
More than once I’ve heard of people who experienced and “epiphany” (in reality an initiation) during a U2 concert and saying that they consider their experience during a U2 concert as demonstrating to them what “true” worship should be.
Watch this short trailer for a documentary about Bono and what he truly believes:
If nothing else, we need to be prepared to recognize these false teachings (Matt 10:16) so that we 1) don’t get trapped in them, and 2) can help others keep from being deceived by it.
For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me. Psalm 31:3
Psalm 12:6-7 – The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
Jesus was baptised
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But
John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to
me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus
it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And
Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the
heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a
dove, and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
the Doctrine of Christ
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection;
not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith
toward God, of the doctrine
of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead,
and of eternal judgment.
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto
him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do
these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily,
verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom
of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How
can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his
mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus
answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he
cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our
fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all
baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same
spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of
that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
immersion in water (or mikveh) was a process of spiritual purification and
cleansing. Immersion was required as
part of conversion to Judaism, cleansing after being “unclean”,
cleansing of utensils, and ritual immersion by for ceremonial purifications.
“womb” from which the one being immersed emerged in a new birth
separating them from the world.
Noah passing through the flood leaving the world that then was behind. Also in the Israelites coming up out of the
land of slavery, passing through the Red Sea and leaving bondage behind. Also in the Israelites passing through the
river Jordan and entering the Promised Land.
straightway coming up out
of the water, he saw the heavens rent asunder, and the Spirit as a dove
descending upon him
and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water
‘baptizo’ means to immerse, plunge, dip, or bury in water and where we get the
Bible word ‘baptism’.
Save (or help to save) Us
baptized you in water; But he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit.
which we have done, but
according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewal
of the Holy Spirit
or regenerate us, but it instead represents
the washing and regeneration of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that washes and
it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through
the upper country came to Ephesus, and found certain disciples: and he said
unto them, Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed? And they said unto
him, Nay, we did not so much as hear whether the Holy Spirit was given. And he
said, Into what then were ye baptized? And they said, Into John’s baptism. And
Paul said, John baptized
with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should
believe on him that should come after him, that is, on Jesus. And when they
heard this, they were
baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.
– For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of
you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Matthew 28:19 – Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus
ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized
into his death? Therefore we are buried
with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead
by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the
likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting
away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward
God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
– And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: in whom also ye are circumcised with the
circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the
flesh by the circumcision of Christ: buried with him in baptism,
wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God,
who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the
uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having
forgiven you all trespasses; blotting
out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to
us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled
principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them
being made part of the Body of Christ
12:13 – For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks,
whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit.
endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye
are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they both went down into the
water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.
The authority of baptism is in Jesus Christ, so any believer can baptise in His name. It is not dependent upon a special person or priest.
Acts 8:36 – See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
Acts 22:16 – And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name.
The wages of sin is death. We are unable to satisfy payment for our sins. When Jesus died on the
cross, He, who had no sin, paid the death penalty for our sins. Through baptism
we are united with Christ in paying the death penalty for sin. We are baptized
into His death, into the death penalty for sin.
We are unable to return from
death on our own because of sin. Because
Jesus is sinless and victorious over death, we join Him in Resurrection
through uniting with Him in Resurrection.
through faith. Through the baptismal act of faith God gives us a way to act on our belief in our participation in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (an event
which occurred 2000 years ago).
leaving our old sinful, worldly ways behind and taking on the
yoke of Christ. It is about lifestyle change and dying to ourselves and doing
God’s will instead of ours. Our reason and purpose for living changes after
baptism. Afterward is a new way of life. Baptism is about faith, total commitment
of the heart, surrender, self-denial, death, resurrection, repentance, and
seeking God’s mercy through Jesus Christ and the work He completed on the cross.
death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (Rom 6:4). It is an outward sign of an inward change of heart and
our opportunity to confess our faith in Jesus before men (Matt 10:32).
sins, He rose again from the dead, and He is my Savior.
the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38; Acts 8:16; Acts
19:5; Matt 29:19; Col 2:9)