PART III. Emergent Influence in the British Church
THE MAIN PART OF THIS SECTION has been omitted in the 2016 edit.
Many organisations, individuals and churches who endorsed liberal emergent theology or speaker in 2009 may not do so today. In that respect most of this section from our original paper is irelevant and for that eason it is omitted.
How should we respond? Apathy or action? Rob Bell believes that this is a moment in history which the emergents must seize; they are to redefine and reshape of the church for the future:
These first Christians passed on the faith to the next generation who passed it on to the next generation who passed it on to the next generation until it got to us. Here. Today. Those who follow Jesus and belong to his church. And now it is our turn. It is our turn to step up and take responsibility for who the church is going to be for a new generation. It is our turn to redefine and reshape and dream it all up again
To which some might say, ‘Not on my watch’.
Sam Storm’s warning has already been mentioned but is worth repeating after this overview of Brian McLaren’s and the ECM’s influence in the British church:
My fear is that some, perhaps many, who are enamoured with the Emergent conversation simply haven’t wrestled with the far-reaching implications of (McLaren’s) theological convictions. Biblical inerrancy, substitutionary atonement, the existence of a personal devil, and the reality of eternal conscious punishment all come under criticism (if not outright denial) in his published works. He appears to embrace an evolutionary framework to account for the natural order, declines to identify homosexuality as sin or non-Christian religions as idolatry, and speaks approvingly of an inclusivist view on whether or not one must consciously believe in Jesus Christ in order to be saved.
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
While I do not deny our call to live a lifestyle of radical compassion for the poor and oppressed and to take a stand for justice, I do not accept that this should be done in the context of the teaching and church practice proposed by the Emerging Church movement. There are other more admirable models: Bethel School of Ministry have kitchens set up to feed the needy of their city and they sent their own team to Haiti in Jan 2010; Heidi and Rolland Baker’s ministry in Mozambique has planted thousands of churches, raised many dead, and daily feeds thousands of orphans. In both cases they not only practically minister to the poorest people on earth but pray for (and see) divine miracles. All would be appalled by the liberalism of the Emerging Church movement.
On that subject, nothing in any of the emergent books I have read makes any reference to the miraculous healing of the sick or deliverance of the demonised and yet this is one of the most exciting areas of ministry breakthrough currently taking place in the worldwide church. I personally doubt that the churches run by liberal emergent leaders are seeing significant numbers of healings or deliverance, if any. Given that many do not believe in the existence of demons, that is perhaps not surprising. But this raises serious questions about their claim to be God’s new authentic model of church for the 21st Century. Is the God of their emerging new age one who does not heal?
At the risk of being repetitive, it is perhaps worth concluding with the following suggestions about the Emerging Church, which are made in the light of the information contained in this paper:
- The liberal majority of the Emerging Church movement is pursuing a theology that is unscriptural and denies the central tenets of orthodox evangelical Christianity
- It has penetrated numerous parts of the body of Christ especially in Britain and represents a serious threat to the church now and in the next decade
- It presents a false gospel that denies the central tenets of evangelical Christianity, including eternal judgment of the unrepentant through separation from God in hell, the inerrancy of scripture, and penal substitutionary atonement. It portrays Christian conversion as joining a movement of good works, not as being born again from above by the Holy Spirit, and either will not speak out against, or approves of homosexual practice, even among confessing Christians.
- That its errors are far more serious than those which give rise to denominational differences. They contradict the gospel and are counter-Christian, rather than a variation of it
- It has been unwittingly endorsed by many church leaders and accepted widely within their congregations as and expression of radical, authentic Christianity
- Presents a significant threat to the spiritual integrity of many churches, to the spiritual wellbeing their members, and the impact of those churches’ wider ministry to millions of people around the world
- Unopposed, this teaching will lure people away from embracing an authentic Christian faith and leave them convinced that they are born again believers, though they may not be
As a counterfeit Christianity, it should be identified as such and a strategy has to be adopted to prevent the future infiltration of liberal emergent teaching in our own churches, one which will include training church members on how to discern cults and false teaching
 D.A. Carson, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005) p.186-187
 except one or two who enthusiastically endorse Rob Bell alone. E.g. Greg Boyd
 E.g. Paul Roberts, Dean of Non Residential Training at St Michael’s College, Llandaff, and Jonny Baker at CMS (see next two pages for more on them)
 Velvet Elvis, p. 164
 Heidi Baker, sermon at Bethel Church, Redding Ca., Jan 3rd 2010.