Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Emergent Church - by Dr, Andy Woods

On Sunday, November 22, 2009, Dr. Andy Woods returned to Bayside Community Church with another fascinating lesson on false teachers and apostasy. This time, he specifically addressed the latest apostate theology that is creeping into our churches unchecked -- namely, The Emergent Church.
Dr. Paul Benware (Moody, Radio School of the Bible, Philadelphia Bible College) spoke of this movement in one of his recent visits, so I appreciated Andy's thoroughly researched confirmation of Dr. Benware's teaching.
One of the Biblical references Andy cited for this lesson is Acts 20:29 - I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock... Point: Apostasy is eternal.
The Emergent Church brings in something new to replace the old. They teach a belief system "in process," claiming that no one has arrived at orthodoxy. The E.C. leaders target the youth, the most vulnerable sheep, stating that Christianity will die unless it changes to reach the postmodern generation. The younger generation (can I really be old enough to use that term?) has made a paradigm shift. They now say, "Tell me what I want to hear, or shut up."

In my opinion, that attitude comes from a lack of parental attention and low standards set by those in authority over children during their formative years.

This movement begins within church youth groups. (I know of one church that hired a pro-abortion man to be their youth director.) Their theology sounds evangelical, being close enough to the truth to seduce the "seeker" or immature Christian, but is in fact false.
The Emergent Church wants to redefine missions, knowledge, Scriptures, church, Christ, and prophecy.
Let's take a look at what they want to do in the mission field:
In the Emergent Church, one must elevate experience over learning the truth about Jesus. Fluidity of Arts and a sense of mystery replace the clear Gospel. Shared experiences a/o encounters are more important than telling the world about Christ. But the Bible teaches that every generation needs a clear proclamation of the Gospel. Romans 1:16-17 states: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "But the righteous man shall live by faith." (Ref. Habakkuk 2:4) And 2 Timothy 3:15 tells us that the younger generation, yes even the postmodernist, can understand. ...And that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
According to the Emergent Church leaders, sincerity in alternative religion means they can go to heaven. What does the Bible say about that? Jesus Himself claims: I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. - John 14:6. And Paul assures us in 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. So, one may be sincere in their false religion, but tragically, they are still sincerely wrong.
They promote non-confrontational evangelism, using Jesus' meeting with the Samaritan woman. What they fail to mention is that Jesus did show her that the Samaritans were wrong. He used patience, but still moved her to the truth of the Gospel.
Social gospel emphasizes fixing the world problems. Don't save people out of the world; make their experience better. We know that the world will remain in Satan's grasp until the second advent of Christ. Although it is incumbent upon us to be good stewards to the planet, and compassionate to others in their need, we will never relieve the sufferings of this world.
Their doctrine of knowledge - epistemology (How do we acquire truth?) claims we bring our own bias into Bible interpretation when we read the Bible. Dialogue breaks our bias and truth rests in common ground. (Can they teach this with a straight face?) They promote endless dialogue to attain Middle Ground Mania, which brings with it uncertainty. Truth, to them, is in the middle, so the emergent, unfinished Christian will keep seeking. Unbelief masquerades as uncertainty.
The Holy Scriptures must be demoted because they contradict what the Emergent believes. This is why they try to elevate reason a/o dialogue above the Bible. They don't realize that Jesus IS the Word. Reason and experience can go astray, hence the admonition in Proverbs 3:5, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. And Proverbs 14:12, There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Satan counterfeits. The lawless one will give experience to whoever wants it. When experience departs from Scripture, we must depart from experience. Ditto for thoughts and traditions.
The Emergent Church worship service is multi-sensory, liturgical, and contemplative. Art preaches, Scripture preaches, music preaches, and even silence preaches. The sanctuary is darkened to give an air of mysticism. Their prayers are visual, recitation, and meditative breathing; combining Yoga, Buddhism, and other pagan practices. The Bible tells us to go back to the beginning. In the apostolic teaching in Matthew 6:7, Jesus condemned mixing pagan worship with Christianity.
Preaching in this new congregation consists of group facilitators telling stories or engaging in conversations. Sermons aren't lessons to precisely define belief. They tell stories to welcome our hopes and elevate experience over truth. Without the truth, who is their Jesus? Don't give me creed, give me Jesus.
Ecumenism is The Urge To Merge. They desire to combine differing doctrines, finding common ground. Credolism's purpose is to cure worldly woes. Water down the gospel for the sake of unity. Unity is okay if it's built on the Christian foundation.
Doctrine of Christ: Atonement to Emergent Church teaching is tantamount to cosmic child abuse (Chalke & Mann). A vengeful father punishes his son for sins he didn't commit. Penal substitution is explained in Hebrews 9:22 - And according to the Law one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. And Christ's substitution is made clear in Isaiah 53:5 - But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. The Son is the sin-bearer. He absorbed the wrath of God in my place. Remember the Blood on the doorpost in Exodus 12? A lamb had to be slain to cover the doorpost so the angel of death would pass over God's people.
Prophecy: Revelation is a powerful book about the kingdom of God. But Emergent Church leaders claim the kingdom of God is here and now, available to all. How can we have the kingdom without the King? Twenty-seven percent of the Scripture was prophetic at its writing. The analogy of dark to light in 2 Peter 1:19 gives us hope for the future. So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.
In Nehemiah 8, Ezra read the Law of God to the people and a revival happened. Awakening/revival are only possible with the Bible. Are we entering a new dark age? Bible-teaching churches are uncommon now. Satan so cleverly disguises his lies, that even the elect will be deceived. In my humble opinion, the only way to avoid being used by him is to be faithful to the light He gave us and be alert to these false teachings. Be like the Bereans, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. - Acts 17:10

Monday, November 16, 2009

Review: Lonestar Secrets by Colleen Coble - Thomas Nelson Publishers

"No more secrets," Jack said to Shannon. But secrets are all she has. Colleen Coble relates this touching, yet suspenseful, account of a couple who must learn to love each other for the sake of their children. Set in the plains of West Texas, this story brought back childhood memories of sandstorms, cowboy hats, and ugly multi-legged critters indigenous to that area. I once lived in Brownfield (southwest of Lubbock). One "aha" moment for me was when Jack learned the truth about love from a former racehorse. How perfect is that? (ClipArt by Millermark Creations) This author has a unique gift of creating an array of subplots, which she gathers together in one neat package in the end. She also offers riveting discussion questions for book clubs. I loved the book in spite of the fact that Colleen Coble used the name of my protagonist in my novel, "Obedient Heart." No worries. Since mine isn't published yet, my Jack McGowan will have a name change. That's the beauty of fiction! :-}
"Lonestar Secrets" - Buy it today!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Latest Book to Review For Thomas Nelson

This is the latest book I'm reviewing for Thomas Nelson Publishers. Of all the books I've reviewed for them so far, this is my favorite. Set in my home state of Texas, the story captured my interest in the opening sentence. And how surprised was I to learn that the author, Colleen Coble, is from Indian and NOT from Texas! Her descriptions of the plains of West Texas are so accurate--from sandstorms to the creepy multi-legged creatures (and I'm not referring to majestic horses) that I believed her to be a fellow Texan. I'm almost finished with this book. Wish I wasn't taking so long. It's a hard book to put down, but distractions have come in droves lately. When I'm ready to post my review on B&N and my blog (so I can choose my next book from Thomas Nelson), I'll give you more details about this unusual story of an unusual woman caught in an unusual marriage.

I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Heavenly Humor

I've posted my good news on Facebook, FWA Christian Writers network, and sent e-mails. How is it that I forget to post good news on my blog? It's a condition of age or hair color. Sometimes I claim both.

Last week, I submitted two stories to Heavenly Humor for the Cat Lover's Soul. The title of the first one is The Great Escape. It details a very recent adventure of my two indoor kitties, Pixie and Feathers, as they escaped during the night, or early morning hours, through a hole in the floor of my husband's renovation project. I was certain that one would be selected since it flowed so easily for me.

The second submission, Silhouette on the Shade, is about my first cat Sammy. I always refer to him as "my first love." He was a sweet black and white male cat who stole my heart when I was eighteen years old. My best friend, Mary Ellen Couette, gave him to me as a graduation gift. The story relates Sammy's signal to me when he was ready to come in for the night. I struggled with this story, due to the many years that have passed since the event. But with the help of my editor, Kat Hechenback, all the words and ideas fell into place.

I received an e-mail from Barbour Publishing the next day, requesting to include "Silhouette on the Shade" in the book that will be released in March 2010.

Thank you, Kat!!

With the sale of Romeow and Juliecat to Chicken Soup for the Soul What I Learned from the Cat (now available at Amazon - but, sadly, not on shelves at Barnes & Nobles), I am now considered a free-lance writer. Buddy Chastain, author of The Game (a good mystery/thriller set in Atlanta, GA), told me when you get your first dollar for writing, you are considered an author.

As I continue submitting stories to anthologies or magazines, my confidence is building enough to submit my novel, Obedient Heart, once again to agents and/or publishers. Tyndale House said it's a good story (happy dance!), but my hook wasn't strong enough (sad shuffle). God gave me the story to write, and it will be His time.