Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:1-4, ESV)

The Bottom Line At The Heart Of The Emergent Church

On the very appropriately named Grace To You CD Rom “What’s So Dangerous About the Emerging Church? Dr. John MacArthur cuts to the core of the cult of the Emergent Church:

The emerging church movement is an amorphous; sort of a loose-knit, association of churches that have decided that there is value–there is even virtue–in uncertainty about Scripture. The bottom line in the movement is: They believe that we aren’t even supposed to understand precisely what the Bible means.

And to me that’s the big issue, it is an attack on the clarity of Scripture. And they elevate themselves as if this is some noble reality; that they have finally risen to say, “We’re honest enough to say that we don’t know what the Bible means. We can’t be certain. We’re the truly spiritual ones.” It has overtones of a spiritual pride–a false kind of spiritual pride which they call humilty.

They say, “We’re too humble to say that we know what the Bible means. The bottom line, I think, in the movement is; it is the denial of the clarity of Scripture. It is a denial that we can know what the Bible really says.

And now following Christ’s Biblical injunction to “take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses’ ”, here is what three leaders within the Emergent Church have to say concerning the issue of clarity as it relates to Holy Scripture. First is one of the leading “theologians” of this new cult of liberal theology Brian McLaren from an interview published in Religion & Ethics Weekly.

McLaren is asked, “Are there truths related to the faith that we can know, that we can be certain about?” Instead of simply answering, “yes,” watch as our Guru of the Emergent gospel of Jello immediately begins to obfuscate this truth through equivocation with the words “faith and “certain”:

Well, first of all, when we talk about the word “faith” and the word “certainty,” we’ve got a whole lot of problems there. What do we mean by “certainty”? If I could substitute the word “confidence,” I’d say yes, I think there are things we can be confident about, and those are the things we have to really work with. This is one of the concerns that some people who are critical of my work have, and I understand their concern. Their concern is they feel you have a choice between certainty and a lack of confidence. Well, I think that there is a proper level of confidence.

For example, the people who are sure that white supremacy was justifiable based on the Bible–they were certain about it. I don’t think they had many second thoughts about it. The Europeans who spread around the world and stole lands from the first nations, the native peoples of Africa, North America, South America, Asia–they had no shortage of confidence. They were certain that they were allowed to go and take everybody’s lands and, I mean, the results were horrific for hundreds of years.

Dancing Through The Smoke And Mirrors

Just a quick note; this a common diversionary tactic not unlike that of a politician, but this has nothing to do with the cardinal doctrines of the historic orthodox Christian faith which we can know for certain. How unlike the Apostle Paul in the opening text above is Brian McLaren We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. McLaren continues clouding the issues:

So certainty can be dangerous. What we need is a proper confidence that’s always seeking the truth and that’s seeking to live in the way God wants us to live, but that also has the proper degree of self-critical and self-questioning passion. And that’s not a passion for being wishy-washy or, what was the word in the last election, to be a “flip-flopper.” It is a passion to say, “We might be wrong, and we are always going to stay humble enough that we’ll be willing to admit that.” I don’t see that as a lack of fidelity to the teaching of the Bible. I see that as trying to follow the teaching of the Bible. It has a lot of positive things to say about humility (emphasis mine).

As you can plainly see Guru McLaren has completely confirmed what Dr. MacArthur has said, “overtones of a spiritual pride–a false kind of spiritual pride which they call humilty.” For more on McLaren’s alleged “confidence” in the Scriptures I refer you to a five part series by Dr. MacArthur called Brian McLaren and the Clarity of Scripture reprinted on Apprising Ministries with permission. Next we have Tony Jones who recently said, “The Bible is an f***ing scary book.” The National Coordinator for Emergent Village also says:

Emergent surely has people in it who strongly believe that there is absolute truth. I’m on the record as laying out a pretty complex understanding of why I think putting the qualifier absolute in front of truth is a modernistic fallacy. Truth is not qualified by adjectives like absolute. So for me personally, talking about absolute truth is a nonsensical way to talk, and surely Christian theologians shouldn’t talk in that way. It isn’t helpful, because it doesn’t make sense. But that’s a book, not a paragraph in a magazine article. The short answer is, “No, Emergent has no statement on absolute truth, and there are people in Emergent who strongly hold to absolute truth.” But, personally, I think it’s a mistake… (Relevant Magazine, transcript on file at AM)

Yes, we know that Jones is not arguing one cannot know truth, but like McLaren he is clouding the issues here in order to also kick out the clarity of the Bible. Face it, all cults have to obscure the texts of God’s Word and to cast doubt on people’s ability to understand it so that its adherents must to turn to its leaders for the “proper” interpretation. Jones continues now casting further doubt on the issue of knowing Biblical truth with enough certainty to form a statement of faith:

I’m even more concerned that people have statements of faith. Statements of faith are about drawing boards, which means you have to load your weapons and place soldiers at those borders. You have to check people’s passports when they pass those borders. It becomes an obsession–guarding the borders. That is simply not the ministry of Jesus. It wasn’t the ministry of Paul or Peter. It started to become the ministry of the early Church, and it abated somewhat in the Middle Ages and blew back to life in the time of modernity.

For the short duration of time that I have on this planet to do my best to partner with God and build His kingdom, I don’t want to spend it guarding borders. I’d like to spend it inviting people into the kingdom. Statements of faith don’t do they. They’re a modernistic endeavor that I’m not the least bit interested in.

It Is Absolutely True That One Can’t Know For Certain

What a hypocrite. Jones is telling us that truth isn’t clear enough in the Bible for us to be certain of cardinal Christian doctrines and yet he is certain from reading it that he can dogmatically state what wasn’t the ministry of Jesus, Paul and Peter. Here Jones shows himself unwilling to believe the God-breathed texts of Holy Scripture but then because it suits his Emergent smokescreen he is willing to take as entirely factual Church history and the philosophical speculations of mortal man. Tony Jones would do well to heed these words:

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8, NASB)

And finally, here’s Emergent Church Pastor Dan Kimball from his post My Doctrinal Statement Can Beat Up Your Doctrinal Statement at his Vintage Faith blog:

When I speak at conferences (that are non-denominational) I quite often ask “who here believes women should be pastors and elders?” and about half raise their hands–then ask the same question reversed and the other half raise their hands. I then say “one of you is wrong” but we each love Jesus and is this an issue we should be fighting about or looking one one (sic) or the other as a “liberal” or a “Conservative”? Even those categories (sic) almost seem meaningless anymore. (Online source)

Can you recognize the obfuscation and clouding of the issues again in order to imply that the Bible isn’t clear enough on this issue so why argue about it? Kimball’s very good at this tactic and quite quiet in his arrogance while helping to obscure cardinal doctrines of the historic orthodox Christian Church because “we each love Jesus.” Ok Dan, here’s what Jesus said:

“If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching. These words you hear are not My Own; they belong to the Father Who sent Me.” (John 14:23-24)

We’re not going to wrestle with the serpent here, for more on this particular issue the interested reader is referred to Thoughts On Women Pastors, but in 1 Timothy 2:12 the Lord says, “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.” Now the looking for loopholes Emergents (anyone remember W.C. Fields?) will focus you on the b part of the verse. However, it is quite clear from the context of the verses which follow that God the Holy Spirit–Who is the Spirit of Jesus and the Spirit of Truth–argues this is all a part of our Creator’s intent for His creations.

While it might not be politically correct, and it certainly won’t make one popular in our feminized and increasingly effeminate $evangelicalism$, the American Christian Church is now reaping an awful harvest for not loving Jesus enough to obey Him in this most critical area. A case in point is Kimball’s continued whining below:

But, I go on certain web sites and blogs when “doctrine” is discussed (which it should be) and there are such mean, mean Christians who seem so bitter and angry and slam other Christians about issues and some doctrines that we just don’t know for sure about. We can say we think we know for sure, but we just don’t.

This is further confirmation of what Dr. MacArthur has said, and yet again the hypocrisy is revealed because while on one hand Kimball humbly tells us that we can say “we think we know for sure,” but he is absolutely certain that “we just don’t.” Well, I turn right around and say that based on my opening text Kimball may think he knows for certain that we can’t “know for sure” but I say we that we certainly can. Now where do we go Dan? Men and women, this is the same argument that I would use with a skeptic who adhered to relativism.

I can’t help but wonder where would the Church be today if Martin Luther had this non-committal stance about the Bible. There would have been no Reformation and these spiritual cowards wouldn’t have a Bible to not be certain about. Who would have been willing to sacrifice their very lives for: My mind is held captive to what I might possibly know about Scripture. Sola Philosophia?! No, the time has come for the Rip Van Winkles in the American Christian Church to see this Emergent rebellion against the Bible for exactly what it is: “I don’t want anyone to tell me what to believe!” And sadly for them, this includes even God Himself.

Because just like know-it-all spiritual fourteen-year-olds, when confronted with the crystalline clarity of the Bible–the inerrant and infallible Word of the one true and living God–they pout and stomp their feet and whine: “Well, I don’t want to be one of those Christians (bond-slaves) anyway; I’m a ‘Christ-follower’ and we serve Jesus our own way.”

However, you must remember…

The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.
(Proverbs 12:15)