Galatians 5:9, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
You can’t really maintain a good discussion or “conversation” with many emergents, if you are someone who believes in the infallibility and trustworthiness of all of God’s word, and that it is the sole authority for our faith and practice. Emergents reject that belief, and the most intolerant ones will more than likely vilify you for claiming this. The true emergent rejoices in “doubt”, and “mystery”, and takes pride in the idea that we can’t truly ever understand the Bible; and so their conclusion is: let us be compassionate, understanding, and be open to anyone who has any kind of idea about the scriptures. Now that idea on the face of it, is not a problem for them; it only becomes a problem when they find out that you refuse to budge on a particular doctrine. That’s when their true colors show, because these people are blinded to their own intolerance and cry about how they are being persecuted. Yet if you disagree with them, they have no problems calling and threatening other pastors and leaders with the sole purpose of running them over with their own church bus, which of course has love in big letters printed on the side.
Over at NazNet, which also welcomes non-Nazarenes into their discussions, that is how many of them (not all) operate. In the past, I have called NazNet “a breeding ground for emergent heresy.” Frankly, it should be an embarrassment to the Church of the Nazarene, at least much of it. Not all who are members of NazNet are emergent, as I am a member myself, and there are others who do battle with them on a regular basis. But if you read some of their writings and opinions and you are not an emergent, chances are you would agree with my description, at least in the things many of them espouse.
Here’s what one pastor recently said, in a discussion that mentioned Christian universities and what their role should be. This was also in the context of several of these emergents ripping apart a Nazarene elder for daring to criticize some things going on in our universities.
“That’s just what a good educational system does, equips their students to be able to think and operate for themselves in the real world and lets them fully own their decisions, not bend them to a certain view.
A second pastor followed with this:
“Yes there is a vast difference between education and indoctrination. It seems as if there is a growing segment of our church that simply would rather our students not be educated but rather indoctrinated. “
Translation: let’s expose our students to just about everything and anything, without any biblical guidance whatsoever. Let’s bring in false teachers like Brian McLaren and Jay McDaniel, allow them to expose (indoctrinate?) our students to false ideas, and then let them walk away unchallenged by anyone. They seem to be okay with that scenario.
Ponder hearing something like: “Hey, I’m really proud of my student. He fully owns his own decisions. Yes, I know he doubts that Adam and Eve were real, or he strongly believes that we should bring worldly practices into the church to make the gospel more relevant and hip. And yes, he even believes that his Hindu friend will probably go to heaven without ever coming to repentance and faith in Christ. But so what? He arrived at that conclusion on his own- so who am I to correct him?”
Yes, believe me, that is their mindset. Many of them are pastors, the shepherds of their flock. They don’t really believe that a Christian university should try too hard to keep their students down the narrow path that Jesus wants us to go down. They don’t think it matters that Christian universities expose their students to a variety of heretical speakers. Oh no, they might say, let’s not shut them off from the world and isolate them. Let’s let them hear what crazy things Brian McLaren teaches, and I’m sure they won’t fall for his heretical ideology.
Truly, they seem to take pride in this sort of “hands off” mentality, and would rather take the chance and let the student decide to go down the wide path of destruction, as long as they made that decision themselves. So much for the uncompromising, godly training they received at home from their parents. Well, too bad, this is their chance now to grow up and make adult decisions. So what if it’s a fatal one, spiritually speaking.
The pastor continued:
“This has certainly always been the case in the church, but what concerns me uniquely about the internet age is the rapidity with which information is spread and the way in which blogs, facebook, and other mediums draw in large numbers of lay people that would otherwise be unaware, and who do not fully understand the issues involved. As such the whole issue becomes an intensely emotional one in which the fears of the masses are whipped up to serve the agenda of a smallish group of people who would like to take the church in a fundamentalist direction.”
This pastor says “other wise be unaware” and “who do not fully understand the issues involved.” In other words, “we emergents understand the issues fully, but no one else does.” They are the enlightened ones. They are like the Gnostics of old. They have a special, hidden knowledge- so would the rest of us please, just shut up and listen! And this comes from people whose philosophy tells us that we can’t really understand the Bible, that it’s a mystery, that there are many ways to read it. (Perhaps even John 3:16 is not what it seems!) Yet, when they get confronted, whether its by me, or by a highly educated theologian or pastor who happens to disagree with them, they lump us all in the same categories: ignorant, intolerant, hateful, lacking true insight, and uneducated. Oh, and apparently if they have an inking that you may be a fundamentalist, that’s evil also.
So that was not just one emergent pastor’s opinion, friends. This is a reflection of most of them. I know these people. I know how they think. After almost two years of research into the emergent movement, and then banging heads with them on their blogs, I know them well.
Their primary tactic is to demonize any and all opposition, because they cannot defend their positions biblically. And I mean demonize anyone. They have already dismissed me as someone who lacks the theological training and advanced degrees. Yet, when someone with theological training and advanced degrees confronts their false teaching, what do they do? They treat him just like me. In other words, they are hypocrites, they don’t care what your background is. They will shred you to pieces if they feel threatened in any way. Picture a wounded animal caught in the corner of the room with nowhere to go, and that’s how an emergent looks like when he is confronted with biblical truth.
My tactic is this: to present the facts of their belief system, and pray that people will decide for themselves- on the sole basis of “does this comport with biblical doctrine?” There should be no other measuring stick we ought to use. None whatsoever. But they don’t believe that, so there is no starting point of agreement. Since they cannot confess that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant word of God, there is really no point in going forward with long discussions with them. It would be a waste of time, because they are entrenched in the “religion of man.” In other words, they are post-modern. They are the intellectual elite. They are full of pride, these people, and will continue in their elitist, intimidating, and sometimes threatening ways unless they repent.
And so to you Christian parents who may be sending your children to “Christian” colleges, watch out. These same, misguided emergents on Naznet and other emergent liberal blogs, who speak of tolerance out of one side of their mouth, and then hurl vicious attacks on Bible believing Christians and even respected elders in the church, are invading your schools. They have infiltrated our Christian universities, and future misguided emergents are being taught in our seminaries now, preparing for the next wave of Bible-doubting pastors in your town. A friend of mine recently told me of the difficulty of finding a good teacher for a private Christian school, who has not drunk the coolaide of emergent heresy. These are clearly dangerous times, and you can’t even trust anymore some of the most trusted evangelicals from the past, because even some of them have turned towards the mystical, “let’s experience God” fad.
Rest assured, these emergents will continue on, exposing themselves everyday. They are living double lives, venting amongst themselves and showing their rage at Bible believers on their blogs, and then saying just the right words in the pulpit on Sunday mornings to fool the congregation. You sure won’t hear them preaching about the “almost” perfect word of God on Sunday. They won’t dare elaborate on their corrupted theologies. Instead, as I have mentioned before, their modus operandi is by stealth. Mix in a little leaven ever so slowly. And sadly, some people don’t worry about a small bit of poison.
After all, what’s the harm in that, right?