The church will never make up the ground it has lost to consumerism by keeping its distance from consumerism (pg. 66 emergingchurch.intro by Michael Moynagh)
In other words, that author is saying that the church is being left behind by the secular world. Our response to this sentiment is ‘let the secular world leave the church behind. The secular world is headed for destruction and hell if it doesn’t change its ways so why would the emerging church encourage believers to adopt secular ways and attitudes?’
The church’s mission is not to follow the dark sinful world to destruction but be a light to it showing the unbeliever the correct path to follow. If the secular world laughs off the message from the church then the believer stands there waving good-bye with sadness in their hearts.
The believer does not have the feeling that they are being deprived or left out of something good but stands with sorrow as their loved ones, their friends and strangers, those Christ came to save disappear into the sunset holding on to the tails of evil thinking they are smarter than those in the church.
God gave clear instructions about what life we are to live and that life does not include sin or the pursuit of sin. Paul tells us:
2Ti 1:8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,
2Ti 1:9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life
The world may be light years ahead of in their possessions, their entertainment, their income but that doesn’t matter, God has called us to a different life, one that is pleasing to him and saves us from hell. It is not shameful to be left behind by the secular world.
On that page there are some other ideas we need to discuss as well because the words of that author display an unrealistic attitude held by him and other members of the emerging church movement.
#1. For most people church is on a different page. It doesn’t intrude on their lives. When crisis strike they turn to friends, doctors or counsellors but never dream of church. (Ibid)
This is not a bad thing and while that author doesn’t realize it but many people turn to the church for help in times of crises, he also does not understand the purpose of the church. Yes the church needs to be there when people are in need, but the church in the times of crises usually is the individual member.
Let’s expand on that. If the person needs medical attention, the church is not a hospital. It may have doctors as members and they can be called in to help but usually a person rushes off to the hospital to receive medical aid. Failing to go to the church is not wrong in this situation. Then while faith healing can be an option, as we discussed in our faith healing issue, it may not necessarily be the option God wants a believer to take.
There are a couple of reasons for this, first, there are unbelieving doctors and nurses who need to see God at work firsthand to know that God exists and cares. Second, one does not forgo medical care to demonstrate their faith. Faith is demonstrated by relying on God for one’s healing even if they go to the hospital.
The church can help in medical issues by teaching their members the correct way to have faith and how to pray to God for guidance to the right hospital or doctor. Trusting God to guide you is faith in action.
The church teaches its people the correct way to act and not demand a monopoly on their time or get the member to use incorrect faith.
The same goes for friends, counsellers and even lawyers. The church should be instructing its members how to respond in times of crises in other people’s lives thus the church is responding because it members know how to act in a given emergency. Prayer and asking God for help is not ignored but done correctly by those individuals who have friends in need.
#2. In a society that prizes choice, the church will be isolated if it treats everyone the same. A local church offering one-size fits all will deny choice to those who don’t fit, and be ignored.(Ibid)
That author forgets that God has already invoked choice when he said choose you whom you will serve and you cannot serve both God and mammon. The choice of the world is aptly described by Peter when he wrote:
1Pe 4:3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.
1Pe 4:4 They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.
The world’s choice is not for anything good and wonderful or of God thus the church cannot entertain the idea of focusing on choice for individuals for when they switch to one’s person choice , a person ‘who does not fit’ then they are making new people who ‘do not fit’ and if the church keeps switching to please people it will soon implode and be destroyed.
The church follows God’s way when it operates and if people do not fit then they need to make sure that their ideas are of God. If they are not then they are the ones who need to change not the church. If the person who does not fit is pursuing false doctrine then the church does not alter its doctrine to meet the sinful needs of those who do not fit with the truth.
Choice does not mean we give up the truth but is a decision to go with the truth or false teaching. We have to choose what we want and the church is already on the leading edge of choice as it has to tell people to choose between God and his ways or evil and its desires.
#3. When people think ‘it’s up to you’, the church won’t get away with being dogmatic and hierarchal, it needs to be more like a partner, working with individuals as they explore belief for themselves. (Ibid)
This is where we see the true colors of the emerging church. They do not want true doctrine nor do they want to be under the leadership of others, they want their own ways and methods not God’s.
There is nothing in the Bible teaching the church to be a partner and there is no teaching in the Bible for the church to get read of the truth or hierarchal leadership. The Bible teaches that we are to go for the truth, tell the truth and lead people to the truth. The leadership is in place because God ordained that form of leadership, and we explored this issue in our Women and the Church issue.
Humans do not have the authority to alter the way God instituted leadership and who occupies those positions. Hierarchal leadership is of God not man and we need to leave that alone if we want a true church that meets the needs of the people by leading them to the truth.
Exploration of belief is moot if no one is leading those doing the investigation to the truth or even presents the truth to them and lets the inquirer make their own choices. if there is no truth, then exploration is worthless and meaningless. The people are merely choosing between different false teachings.
#4. The challenge is urgent. In some areas of deprivation the church is almost extinct. (Ibid)
Yes there is a problem in the church today but that problem is not because people are not creative in their worship ordo not use modern forms of expression for their faith. The problem lies with people choosing not to follow God and his instructions. or if they go out in the name of God they alter the message in order to seem more appealing to those who are lost.
If we look at what Jesus and the disciples did in their outreach, you will see that they did not alter their worship to be more creative. They did not look for a variety of ways to express their faith but taught the truth, healed the sick, fed the poor and cast out demons.
If God’s people does not do this today then there will be problems in the church and people will miss out because of it. We do not alter the message to get people in the pews, we do what God wants and what has been demonstrated for us by both Jesus and his disciples.
This is just a brief look at some of the unrealistic ideas permeating the emerging church movement. They attack the wrong things and demand that sin and following the secular world be a part of God’s church’s holy life and divine mission.
To right any wrongs, we need revival IN THE CHURCH first and God’s people need to get in line with God and what he wants his people to do. WE DO NOT use revival as an evangelistic tool to save souls. The souls will be saved when the church stops doing what the emerging church does—follow the secular world and their own subjective ideas—and starts doing what God says to do.
We do not change church because some people who claim to be Christian do not like the way things are done or if the church is not ‘modern’ enough. The modern secular world is headed for hell and the church should be grateful that it is leaving us behind. The secular world has nothing to offer anyone but destruction and hell.
The church follows God and following God means turning away from the secular world and casting Jesus’ light onto their sins, showing that the secular world is wrong not the church or Christ. We have the truth and the right way to live, let the secular world laugh and mock at our methods and forms, we win in the end.