Tag Archives: Tony Jones
“Tower, this is Emergent Airlines flight A29 from Seattle to Grand Rapids and it appears the airport is upside down. Please rotate immediately…”
When you’re Emergent, if you don’t like what you see, you can redefine it!
Imagine going to the bank and finding that it has taken on the Monty Pythonesque Emerging Church view of reality…
You: I would like to know my account balance, please.
Banker: Sure, I would love to have a conversation with you.
You: My balance?
Banker: I’m sure your intention is to have a substantial balance. How do you feel about your balance?
You: Could you PLEASE tell me my balance?
Banker: Balances are so black & white. They limit us and deter our growth. Who can possibly say exactly what your balance is?
You: Is there someone here who can tell me my balance?
Banker: We have found that simply having a conversation about your balance is sufficient for most people. Our survey data says that some people may not return to our bank if we talk in absolute terms.
You: Please close my account.
Banker: We’ve found that walking in the mist of the serenity of having an account can bring joy and peace to most people without ever crossing the fundamentalist line of talking about facts and figures. Who can say what a balance really means, anyway?
You: I’m outa here!
Someone needs to ask this question so I suppose the Truthinator will be the one who does. Are adherents to the Emergent Church concept actually Christian? Hold the phone, Emergents, because I know you guys are ready to pounce with the oh so predictable, “Don’t judge lest ye be judged” gem.
Here is why I ask this question. The hallmark of the Emergent situation is people do not like, appreciate, or connect to traditional Christianity. These people want hip music, stylistic interpretation rather than expository preaching, calming monologues in a performance vein rather than pulpit-pounding, erudite ego stroking rather than the conviction that comes from learning what the word of God says and etc.
Don’t deny it because you know it is true. Where is the proof? Look in the mirror. Ask yourself if this is true. You know that it is. Read the books and blogs from the Emergent gurus. Emergents want a more user friendly and inclusive community gathering instead of fellowship in Christ’s suffering.
The reason I ask whether Emergents are really Christian is that most if not all of the driving force factors that build the Emergent movement are contrary to what the Bible says that God is and what He demands. Keep reading.
Here are just a few but enough to cause serious consideration of my thesis. 1) Jesus – Sometimes he is heralded by Emergents but never as the Christ of the Bible. He is “JC”, “Rad Dude Jesus”, “Breakdancing Jesus”, or several others of a variety of fictitious manifestations. Even the Emergents who actually talk Jesus give Him attributes He doesn’t actually maintain and take away unpalatable ones (in their eyes) that are true.
2) All inclusiveness – Everyone goes to Heaven regardless of what they believe or there is not even a Heaven at all and everyone dies and are gone from existence. Both of these ideas are common in Emergent “thinking” but neither are true because neither are found in the Bible.
3) This is the final point I will mention here but there are others. The Bible is not believed by ANY of the Emergents (do some research and you will find drift or even exodus from core Bible truth). Emergents replace, twist, spin, delete, and insert Bible teachings. All of which are prohibited by the Bible. I am not talking about disagreeing on gray areas such as exactly when the rapture of the Church will occur. I am speaking of items such as atonement, Christology, Soteriology, creation, Heaven, Hell, the reality of God, and so forth.
When people do not believe such foundational truths, they cannot be classified as belonging to that group who do believe. This is very simple. Let me give a quick example then I am out of here. Let’s say my neighbor claims to be an avid tennis player. I see him dressed in tennis clothes and carrying a racquet many times per week. Once at the courts, however, he doesn’t play tennis but plays cards with friends instead. Looking the part does not define the person.
The Bible defines several things about those who are called of God into eternal salvation. A few of these include falling upon Jesus as their only hope, changing to become new creatures (over time) in their inner beliefs and outward behavior, and producing lifestyle outcomes that resemble what the Bible teaches about the character and nature of God Himself.
Are Emergents actually Christian? Some may be but I am doubtful that many if any true Christians could stay in an environment that does not believe God’s word or truly worship Him. While it is above everyone’s paygrade to determine the validity of a person’s claim of belonging, the Bible is very clear that not all who make this claim actually belong. I encourage you to read up on what the Emergents believe. It will take some time but this is of vital importance. This movement is sweeping the country and many Emergents are influencing our young people daily. Counter error with truth; it is the only way.
Notice in verse 19 how believers had scattered to far away places as a result of the persecution that arose concerning Stephen’s ministry. Notice particularly that despite Stephen being killed by the Jewish religious leaders, the spreading of the good news of Jesus continued and increased! The scattering of some resulted in the Gospel being taught in new and different places. The work of God had not been halted, it had increased!
Notice also in verse 20 how it was the Lord Jesus that was being preached to the locals. It was not felt-needs, pop psychology, how to improve your sex life, prosperity now, or any other such madness. They were preaching the Lord Jesus. The result was that the hand of the Lord was with them and a great number believed and turned to the Lord (verse 21).
This is not the first time we have seen this formula (if we can call it that). The disciples of Jesus took His message to people and the Lord’s hand blessed this activity resulting in many believing and being saved. Wow, so simple yet so profound…why is this so hard to understand? Why do so many today put on entertainment extravaganzas each week to entertain men producing little if any lasting changes in their lives and call it ministry?
The book of Acts makes it amazingly simple and easy to understand. Faithful men preach the Lord Jesus to unbelievers. God blesses this activity. Many believe and are changed. Any questions?
Bible Study Acts Salvation Doctrine Acts Bible Bible Bible Acts Acts ActsActs Acts
The Bible study text is from Acts 8:1-25. This is the third section dealing with this passage of scripture. We left off last time talking about a ‘conversion’ that was false. Simon the sorcerer wanted to get the goods but not the Savior. He wanted to increase his money-making skills and saw a chance to increase his personal following by manipulating God.
We know from scripture that Simon was renowned in his town. We know from historical writings that he was a Gnostic shaman. We also know from the way Peter treated him that Simon was not a true convert. Notice Peter did not rebuke him saying,”You are a Christian now, you should behave as someone who is redeemed by the blood of Christ.” Peter instead told him to repent of his wickedness and pray that God would forgive him. Peter also told Simon he was engulfed in bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity. These are hardly descriptors of someone who is redeemed but off the track.
The point is this. God is not mocked, fooled, or manipulated. As a matter of fact, it is God who saves by His divine will. God sovereignly chooses and refuses. I use the Old and New Testaments as my source for this information. God sovereignly chose some while rejecting others. Can I explain this to you fully? No, and neither can anyone else. God alone knows the depths of Himself.
We do know what the Bible teaches however. Do a search in your concordance for ‘election’, ‘selection’, ‘predetermination’, ‘called’, and ‘chosen’. You will find a world of information from scripture showing God’s sovereignty.
Peter had great insight from God. He walked with the Lord and was given responsibility for fathering the first Christian people group (Church). We do not have such insight but we study God’s word. Jesus talked much about fruit and fit. If a tree does not produce fruit or the right type of fruit (fit), something is wrong. What is the right type of fruit? Consistency more than inconsistency with the law of God and the life of Christ. Being conformed to the image of Christ is a sure sign of a transformed life.
What should we learn from the example of Simon? Christ transforms lives. We do not seek Christ, He seeks us. He saves us by His grace through faith. The preaching of God’s word produces conviction and repentence in the lives of those who are saved. It is not a money-making sceme to get involved in.
Simon, much like the rich young ruler, did not want the real deal or the total package. It seems as though they preferred a man-designed system that could be manipulated and used for gain. Christ represents the end of self and enslavement to Christ. The way of Christ is narrow and only one gate (Jesus) leads to the way. This is the exclusive way to Heaven.