Emerging church movement
The emerging church movement or Emergent Church began in the late 20th century by Christians who were dissatisfied with the mainstream doctrinal teaching and practices of the larger denominations of Christianity, who see themselves as the true church "emerging" from within denominational forms of Christianity. About 1999-2000, a number of young leaders, most of them evangelical, came together to discuss their struggles, issues, questions, challenges, and discoveries – many of them relating to a shift from modern colonial faith to a postmodern and postcolonial faith. Followers tend to see themselves as people who are disillusioned with organized and institutional approaches to faith. The motivation and causes of this movement are thus similar to the original motivations and causes of pietistic movements and churches having their own roots in the 16th century. The emerging church movement emphasizes the primary spiritual value of relationships, experience, dialogue, feelings, and conversations, which are to be equated with the reliable inspiration of Scripture, while certitude, authority, and historical doctrine are to be avoided as divisive and spiritually harmful. There is no Sunday School.
The emerging church movement claims to be a Conversation instead of a Church. All seekers and believers alike are invited to participate in the unifying, relaxed and informal setting of "the conversation", instead of worshiping in a structured institutional church which emphasizes doctrinal and dogmatic truths. In place of educationally structured Sunday School classes, they sit in large rooms for the purpose of small group gatherings for "enlightening conversations", often lit by candlelight, with the smell of incense and the ringing of bells, surrounded by statues and icons.
The Bible itself is variously interpreted according to its perceived relevance or lack of relevance for each individual reader, who is encouraged to express his or her feelings about its value without fear of censure. The leaders of the movement emphasize that no one actually knows with certainty what the Bible really means, and that no one can legitimately claim to interpret its doctrines with dogmatically infallible certitude. They dismiss as doctrinally unreliable all claims of Apostolic succession, and every historically documented evidence that the Bible has been accurately preserved without any error.
Leaders of the movement claim to be implementing the Vatican call for authentic ecumenism by promoting the unity of a common spirituality. Catholic apologists dispute this claim, citing the Emerging Church Movement's deliberately heretical distortions of the Vatican II Document Unitatis Redintegratio (UR).
However, against Catholic apologists' firm disclaimers and citing of abundant doctrinal and documentary evidence to the contrary, many conservative Christian groups and denominations maintain, either erroneously or falsely, that the movement is in fact a deliberate and coordinated Catholic plot specifically designed to convert Christians to Catholicism.
The emerging church movement with its doctrinal indifferentism and its forms of Small Group conversation is viewed with alarm by many conservatives as a radical falling away from historical Christianity through exalting personal subjectivism by combining distortions of devotional Roman Catholicism, Orthodox mysticism and Protestant pietism with expressions of "feel-good" New Age teachings about the Cosmic Christ of liberal Christianity in place of the real historical Jesus Who is the true cosmic Christ of St. Paul.
Observers are uncertain if the emergent church movement is a passing phenomenon. If it becomes established it may become a sect of Christianity.
- Emerging Church (theopedia.com)
- The Emerging Church Explained (cbn.com)
- Postmodernism and the Emerging Church movement (apologeticsindex.org) index of multiple articles describing, critiquing, and faulting the emerging church movement
- Who are some of the leaders in the Emerging Church movement? by Matt Slick (carm.org)
- "The Emerging Church Movement - Part One: The Methods Used by One of its Primary Leaders", by Richard Bennett (biblebelievers.com)
- The Emerging Church, by K. B. Napier (christiandoctrine.com)
- The Emergent Church Runs Away from the Bible!, by Don Boys, PhD. (cstnews.com)
- What's So Dangerous About the Emerging Church? (gty.org) proud of uncertainty about the Bible
- Emergent Church Spreading Spiritual Cancer, by Marsha West (forgottenword.org)
- "The Dangers of the Cosmic Christ: A Review of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ by Matthew Fox", by Bob DeWaay. a conservative Christian review of the influential 1988 seminal heretical text by Matthew Fox
- Is Ecumenism A Heresy?, by Fr. Brian Harrison, O.S., emeritus professor of theology of the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, and at the time of writing was based at the Oblates of Wisdom Study Center in St. Louis, Missouri (catholic.com)
—exposing four ecumenical errors embodied in the "emerging church movement", deliberate heretical distortions of the Vatican II Document Unitatis Redintegratio (UR).
- Catholics Join Emerging Church Conversation (christianpost.com) Progressive Catholics, post-liberal mainline and progressive Evangelicals are mainly associated with the Emerging Church movement
- The Berean Call. Is the Emerging Church Just Catholicism? (thebereancall.org) radio program interview transcript—explicitly anti-Catholic
- Summer 2011: The Emergent Church and Spiritual Formation, by Hal Meyer (amazingdiscoveries.org) the charge that the Emergent Church doctrine and practice comes directly from the Society of Jesus (Jesuits)—explicitly anti-Catholic
- Grace Communion International: Disciplemaking Ministry: Prayerful Dependence, Jeb Egbert (gci.org) teaching adolescents authentic Christian prayer and Christian discipleship.
- Christian Prayer, Meditation and Contemplation, Robert A. Jonas (emptybell.org) authentic Christian prayer traditions.
- The Danger of Centering Prayer, Rev. John D. Dreher (catholicculture.org) the technique of centering prayer is neither Christian nor prayer—the deception and dangers can be grave.
- The Emergent Mystique. Is it the wave of the future or a passing fancy? Andy Crouch/ November 1, 2004 (christianitytoday.com)