No Surprises Here From the Emergents

There is a terrific way to seek to destroy Biblical Christianity: forget about trying to attack it from without – a much better strategy is to ravage it from within. And that has happened plenty over the past two thousand years. There have been all sorts of heresies and apostate leaders doing their best to bring the whole thing down.

Theological liberalism has been a clear case of this kind of white-anting of the church for quite some time. When it is carried out in the name of a cool, hip and groovy ‘new way of doing Christianity,’ then we really see the results. I refer of course to the emergent church movement which has been doing a great job of destroying from within the faith once delivered for all the saints.

Whether it is a Rob Bell or a Brian McLaren or a Steve Chalke or a Spencer Burke, they relish being new and progressive and trendy – all of which means they just disdain orthodox Christianity, and are happy to chuck out all sorts of basic Biblical beliefs.

They have been jettisoning one major doctrine after another, whether the atonement, or the infallibility of Scripture, or the doctrine of hell. And just as night follows day, when they abandon key Christian teachings, they also then abandon key Christian behaviours.

So the next thing you know they have fully hopped on board all the latest trendy secular bandwagons, chief of which being homosexuality. Capitulate on basic Bible doctrines, and soon enough you then capitulate on basic Christian practices.

Yet another clear case in point of all this is English emergent church leader, Steve Chalke, who is involved in a new controversy. But it is not surprising in the least, since we know that the rot had already set in years ago. Back in 2004 in his book, The Lost Message of Jesus, he very strongly condemned the penal, substitutionary understanding of the atonement, regarding it as “cosmic child abuse”.

So what do we now find the emergent leader telling us? Why, there is nothing wrong with homosexuality of course. One news item speaks in terms of shock and surprise, but it does not surprise me in the least. Here is how one report puts it:

“When one of the most prominent evangelical Christian leaders steps out in support of same-sex relationships, heads naturally turn. This is exactly what has unfolded in the United Kingdom after Steve Chalke, the senior minister at Oasis Church who is widely regarded as one of the region’s key faith leaders, came out in support of homosexuality. He announced his change-of-heart — one that is sending shock-waves throughout the international evangelical community — in the most recent issue of Christianity magazine.

“In his startling proclamation, Chalke admitted being nervous about how the news will be received. He noted that some will accuse him of drifting away from the Christian scriptures, while others will claim he’s no longer an evangelical. However, he noted that his ideological transition comes after ‘prayerful reflection’.”

So how does he deal with the clear biblical stance on homosexuality? Oh that one is easy: “When we refuse to make room for gay people to live in loving, stable relationships, we consign them to lives of loneliness, secrecy and fear.  … Christianity is not about a book, but about a person who is the word of God made flesh.” Yep, we have heard it all before. It is time to ‘move beyond’ the Bible and focus on ‘relationships’.

The Word of God is not all that important to the emergents, and we cannot even know whether it is true anyway. So let’s just concentrate on getting along, being really inclusive and tolerant, and accepting everyone just as they are. Let’s forget about all this ‘sin’ nonsense and let’s just focus on being really nice and accepting of everyone and everything.

So Chalke, like so many other theological revisionists who no longer embrace the Bible, have simply made things up as they go along. After all, if the Word of God is not authoritative and conclusive on important moral issues, then we just wing it.

Indeed, his justifications are so incredibly lame, that I wonder how anyone can take the guy seriously. Consider this lulu: “Here is my question: shouldn’t we take the same principle that we readily apply to the role of women, slavery, and numerous other issues, and apply it to our understanding of permanent, faithful, homosexual relationships? Wouldn’t it be inconsistent not to?”

Um no, Steve, not at all. These guys use the same old tired objections. They will tie this argument into the Galatians 3:28 passage: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”.

But as I explain in my book Strained Relations, this argument will get us nowhere:

William Webb has written an entire volume on the issue of slaves, women and homosexuals. He carefully demonstrates how biblical texts concerning the first two groups “move in a less restrictive or freeing direction relative to their original culture. . . . On the other hand, homosexual texts move in a conservative or restrictive direction relative to the original culture.”

As to the Galatians passage, an examination of it shows that it “has nothing to do with the breaking down of social stigma concerning homosexuals, on either an exegetical level or in terms of extrapolated implications for subsequent generations.”

Indeed, Webb says that modern additions to Paul’s threefold list would include such things as: “In Christ there is neither:
-rich nor poor
-blue collar nor white collar
-black nor white
-baby boomer nor generation Xer
-single nor married.”

But if we followed the thinking of the theological revisionists and add “neither gay nor straight” to Paul’s original list, then we would also have to extend our list today this way: “In Christ there is neither:
-erotic lover of animals nor erotic lover of humans
-adulterer nor faithfully married
-sexually active single nor waiting virgin
-incestuous person nor nonincestuous person.”

Indeed, half of my book deals with all this errant theological revisionism, so no need to repeat myself here any further. Suffice it to say that Chalke is just the latest in a long line of emergent leaders who have completely rejected the Bible and what it has to say about human sexuality, and has instead embraced the values of the surrounding secular culture.

Fortunately not everyone has bought his revisionism. Steve Clifford, the head of the Evangelical Alliance in the UK, said this: “While I understand and respect Steve’s pastoral motivations, I believe the conclusions he has come to on same-sex relationships are wrong. Generations of Christians have faced the challenge of making the gospel relevant within their cultural settings. The danger we all face, and I fear Steve has succumbed to, is that we produce ‘a god’ in our own likeness or in the likeness of the culture in which we find ourselves.”

Yes quite right. But again, none of this should surprise any biblical Christian in the least. We have seen the emergents over the last few decades as they engage in their demolition job of orthodox biblical teachings. That they should now be attacking with the same vehemence basic Christian practice is just to be expected.

As Mark Driscoll said back in 2006, “The emergent church is the latest version of liberalism. The only difference is that the old liberalism accommodated modernity and the new liberalism accommodates postmodernity.” Exactly right. And we are seeing the bitter fruit of this played out everywhere amongst their ranks.

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9 Replies to “No Surprises Here From the Emergents”

  1. When “freedom” has allegedly “evolved” to include freedom to to love oneself above and before God, it has degenerated into the thrall of idolatry – a slavery to fallen human passions – falsely cloaked in the garb of a totally feigned “love”. The cries of “self-empowerment” only serve to distract our society from the awful truth of its fatal addiction to Eros and Aphrodite.

    John Wigg

  2. It’s what C S Lewis called chronological snobbery – Christians for the past 2000 years knew nothing, but we are enlightened and know so much better. St Boniface in Germany back in the 700’s thundered about homosexual clergy – then as now it’s a sign of pagan attitudes.

    Nina Blondel

  3. What a tragedy. Does anyone read their bibles anymore? 🙁

    Jenna Priest

  4. Yep. That’s how the Uniting Church see themselves – very progressive – they progress in front of God. Very forward thinking – their thoughts are higher than God’s.

    Eddie Sim

  5. So if what Eddie has said is true, which i think it is, then it could be traced back to pride?
    Daniel Kempton

  6. Maybe many people don`t understand what the “Free” in truly set free, really means.
    My own church is on one of these “Emergent church of the latest version of liberalism” spirals. Problem is they are very clever, intelligent, good and loving, but they still don`t get it. The Atonement is their latest target, but I tell you what, they put a clever case forward to those who don`t know their Bible.
    Johannes Archer

  7. I think the Bible is best to speak about these apostates to whom the fires of hell await…..

    2Ti 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
    2Ti 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
    2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    The blokes clearly not born again…..

    1Jn 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
    1Jn 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
    1Jn 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
    1Jn 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

    You dont and cannot have proper Godly relationship without following the scriptures so the bloke should be done falsely representing himself as a Christian….

    2Pe 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
    2Pe 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
    2Pe 2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

    If you say your a Christian and yet dont follow the Word then guys like me are going to follow the Word and ensure that we fight until the very end for truth that your an apostate that has lost their salvation and is a false teacher which is now taking orders from the devil….

    Jud 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
    Jud 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Jud 1:5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
    Jud 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
    Jud 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

    As for the Uniting Church of Australia denomination they aren’t Christian. When a denomination leaves off a primary fundamental belief such as basic ‘morality’ they have shown the lampstand had been removed some time back and that they are nothing but a false religion which affectionately names the false god they have created as jesus….another jesus….another gospel and another spirit.

    But there are many other denominations and independent groups and churches yet to follow…we shall see a lot more of this coming as many are rotten to the core right now and left off following the Bible a long time ago….

    Dorian Ballard

  8. 100% agree with Dorian. It would be fantastic if these leaders just took off their “Christian” masks and would just honestly reveal who they really are and who they really serve. Unfortunately though, these guys seem to take pleasure in doing their utmost to lead as many to hell as they can with their doctrines of devils all the while pretending that they are doing unto God’s glory.
    Mario Del Giudice

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