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Why we’re not emergent

I recently read the book by that title authored by Kevin Deyoung, who is a pastor, and Ted Kluck, who is a journalist.

The two different styles of writing provide an interesting insight into what the emergent church is all about. As stated on the cover, the book “gives both a theological and an on-the-street perspective that helps you examine the emerging church for yourself.”

It is pointed out that the thinking which prevails among many in this movement includes an entirely new attitude about preaching:

“Preaching has always played a central role, if not the central role, in Christian worship…Much of the emergent disdain for preaching is really an uneasiness about authority and control. Discussion, yes. Dialogue, yes. Group discernment, yes. Heralding? Proclamation? Not on this side of modernism. But is it really modernism we are rejecting or something weightier? The decline in preaching goes hand in hand with a lost confidence in the importance of truth claims. Preaching presupposes there is a message that must be proclaimed and believed. The very act of verbal proclamation by one man to God’s people assumes that there is a word from God that can be ascertained, understood, and meaningfully communicated. This is what is being objected to in preaching, not simply the specter of modernism.”

In a day of rapidly shifting attitudes and opinions we need to remember that it was the Lord Himself Who authorized preaching and designed to use it to save those who believe.We learn more about the departures from biblical truth from a paragraph quoting several of the emergent church writers:

“…many leaders in the emergent church are undermining other crucial aspects of biblical soteriology. For example, Chalke flatly rejects original sin, claiming ‘Jesus believed in original goodness.’ Similarly, Tomlinson finds total depravity ‘biblically questionable, extreme, and profoundly unhelpful.’ Instead of being dead in our sins and trespasses we ‘can choose how to actualize ourselves to become more fully human by making choices about our relationships to each other and God’…’So the atonement did not accomplish anything on our behalf. God’s attitude toward us didn’t change. Jesus simply enacted and represented the forgiveness that was already in the heart of God.’”

This work provides helpful information regarding the departure of the emergent church from biblical truth, while also helping us to see what attracts people to these churches. It is a well-written, well-thought-out critique of the emergent church movement.