The Emerging Church – Part 3

(June 2006 – Volume 12, Issue 6)  How those professing to be believers understand the message of the gospel will determine how they view their mission in this life. Since the emergent church sees the gospel not merely as the redemption of lost souls but also as the restoration of the planet and salvation from man’s inhumanity to man, they comprehend their task as Christians differently from that of most evangelicals. They call it “missional”. Emergent Mission: Missional Missional is a term that seems to be drawn from the writings of missiologist Lesslie Newbigin who pops up all over emergent literature. It is difficult to pin down a good definition of missional, but it seems to mean that as Christians we exist to serve. We serve by loving and living in such a way that we bless those around us. But more than that, we are to be engaged in...

The Emerging Church – Part 2

(May 2006 – Volume 12, Issue 5)  Our worldview will determine how we process information and in turn what we believe. In theory, at least, Christians should possess a biblical worldview shaped by the study of Scripture. In actuality, too often our philosophy of living (worldview) is formed by other forces around us including our culture. This is an accusation often cast at the evangelical church by the emerging church leaders. They say that evangelicalism has been shaped by modernity – that what we believe is not drawn so much from Scripture as it is from the Enlightenment. This indictment should not be cast aside too quickly; there is some truth to it. We must ever be careful that we trace our beliefs to Scripture and not take detours constructed by men. But having read the specific allegations coming from the emerging camp, I find that most do not hold...

The Emerging Church – Part 1

(April 2006 – Volume 12, Issue 4)  The emergent church is a rather slippery name for a rather slippery movement. By slippery, I mean that the movement is so new (originated in the late 1990s), so fragmented, so varied, that nailing it down is like nailing the proverbial Jell-O to the wall. There are no official leaders or headquarters; some have said that there are thousands of expressions yet only a few churches have sold out to the concept; and even those claiming the name can’t agree on what is going on. Brian McLaren, the closest thing to a spokesperson for the movement so far states: Right now Emergent is a conversation, not a movement. We don’t have a program. We don’t have a model. I think we must begin as a conversation, then grow as a friendship, and see if a movement comes of it. Having said this, there...

Revival

(January 2001 – Volume 7, Issue 1)  Revival is hot right now. If you read any Christian literature, especially magazines, listen to Christian radio or watch Christian TV, you know this is a subject that is on the front burner of evangelicalism. In doing research on this topic I turned to the web site of Christian Book Distributors to run down a couple of books on the subject that I had been wanting to purchase. I was a bit surprised to discover that CBD listed 156 books on revival. These are books that are currently in print, and are being sold by this one outlet. This does not include many books that they do not carry nor the many hundreds that are out of print. Revival is hot and it is easy. Who could say a word against fit? It is like putting down motherhood. Go into any Christian circle...

Promise Keepers (an update) – Part 7

(September 1997 – Volume 3, Issue 7) Promise Keepers is one of those organizations that many people seem to believe is above scrutiny. It seems so good, so well intended, so above criticism, that many become angry if one challenges it — even with an open Bible. Therefore, one must expect criticism when examining the movement with any level of discernment, and this is as it should be. Exhortations in sound doctrine and refutations of those who contradict (Titus 1:9) are just as open to biblical critique as Promise Keepers. The issue is this: When our thoughts are examined do we have a solid biblical base on which to take a stand? If we do not, we must repent of our positions, realign them in light of Scripture and teach truth. With these thoughts in mind we need to deal with some of the common criticisms we have faced, and...

Promise Keepers (an update) – Part 6

(August 1997 – Volume 3, Issue 6) Even though its goals are commendable and its efforts to create godly men are herculean, it would appear that many others, besides ourselves, are uncomfortable with Promise Keepers. We are concerned because of the methods used, the ecumenical nature, the Charismatic influence, the constant psychobabble and Promise Keepers’ legalistic nature. These are grave and important issues that cannot and must not be easily dismissed, either by Promise Keepers or by individual believers. We must ever strive to follow the example of the noble Bereans (Acts 17:11). Within this paper on the men’s movement known as Promise Keepers, we desire to discuss some final (if somewhat less important) concerns: The Promise Keepers Small Group System One of the primary ways that Promise Keepers hopes to reinforce their views and to develop godly men is through the use of small group “Bible” studies, known as...

Promise Keepers (an update) – Part 5

(June/July 1997 – Volume 3, Issue 5) The Teachings of Psychobabble Promise Keepers appears to have two primary goals: 1. To develop godly men — “Promise Keepers is a Christ-centered ministry dedicated to uniting men through vital relationships to become godly men who influence their world” (Men of Action, Fall 1993, p4). 2. To unify Christians and churches — “We believe that we have a God-given mission to unite men who are separated by race, geography, culture, denomination and economics” (Ibid). In an earlier study (Promise Keepers an update, Part II) we examined in detail the ecumenical nature of Promise Keepers and found its stance in this area to be unbiblical. It is the subject of developing godly men that we wish to address at this time. We applaud Promise Keepers’ stated desire in this area and we do not wish to question their motives. Our concern is with the...

Promise Keepers (an update) – Part 4

(April 1997 – Volume 3, Issue 4)  Charismatic Underpinnings What does an organization, such as Promise Keepers, who has a primary goal of breaking down the walls of denominationalism teach? So far in our studies it would appear that they teach: 1) A core of five or six basic doctrines. While Promise Keepers may adhere to the following doctrines, how much time is really devoted to instruction concerning the inspiration of Scripture, the deity of Christ, the Virgin Birth, the substitutionary atonement or the bodily resurrection of Christ? Since Promise Keepers is not primarily an evangelistic organization, even the doctrine of salvation by faith is probably seldom mentioned. 2) General encouragement toward the keeping of the Seven Promises. If “controversial” doctrines must be avoided and if the core beliefs are seldom taught, what do the Promise Keepers do at their rallies, Wake Up Calls and small group Bible studies? They...

Promise Keepers (an update) – Part 3

(April 1997 – Volume 3, Issue 3)  Progressive Sanctification In our first paper on the Promise Keepers’ movement, we examined the areas in which we believe that Promise Keepers are doing a good job.Then, in our last paper, we began to point out some areas of concern, the first of which is Promise Keepers’ ecumenical nature. The leaders of Promise Keepers either do not understand, or have purposely chosen to ignore the biblical doctrine of separation.As we have seen, the Scriptures clearly teach that the child of God is to note those who teach error, refute them, reject them, remove them, and stay away from them — depending on the circumstances. We are not to cozy up to false teachers, yet Promise Keepers has chosen to disobey this crystalline teaching of the Word of God and invite those who believe in rank heresy to join them. There would be no...

Promise Keepers (an update) – Part 2

(January 1995 – Volume 1, Issue 3)  Within our last paper we pinpointed several areas in which we find agreement with the Promise Keepers’ movement. In our remaining studies on Promise Keepers we will examine our areas of concern. Author Thomas Hardy said that he had a friend who could go into any beautiful meadow and immediately find a manure pile (The Master’s Plan for the Church, p22). We do not want to be like Hardy’s friend. It is not our desire to nit pick, nor do we want to ignore something of great value while concentrating on the few problem areas. We want others to be fair and gracious with us, so we, in turn, strive to do the same — understanding full well that even the best of ministries are imperfect. Having said all of this, we nevertheless, have deep concerns about Promise Keepers. We are not searching...