Bible Question:

My church is heading down the so-called “emergent” path, but I hear a lot of criticism about the post-modern/emergent church from more traditional churches & from people who have been in the my denomination for a long time. (My church has traditionally been a very conservative church.) This criticism seems to come mostly from the “old guard,” people in their 60's on up, who don't like the new music styles, etc. (I personally am in my 30's) I don't really know much about the post-modern/emergent movement. Can you tell me what its about and what the criticisms against it are about? Can you compare/contrast it with the more traditional church? Also, what is your opinion of books like “Blue Like Jazz” (supposedly an emergent church book), and preachers like Rob Bell and his Nooma series? (Also another supposedly emergent preacher). If you don't want to list a public opinion of Blue Like Jazz and Rob Bell, I'd appreciate it if you would e-mail me privately with your personal opinion.

Bible Answer:

Yes, some of the “old guard” do not like the modern music whether it occurs in an “old style,” seeker-sensitive, post-modern, or emergent worship service. However, there are some who do not like change. The foundational issue with the emerging church is not the music or any other issue, but whether one can know truth. Emergers are seeking a new paradigm for religion because the “old religion” is spiritually hollow, empty or almost lifeless. Many churches are devoted to maintaining a “social club” and have missed the fact that God seeks a relation with us. There is more to the Christian life than going through a routine and doing the same old stuff. Some emergers have observed that the “old guard” appeared to know the Word of Truth but were cold as ice cubes. Unfortunately, the issue is not their knowledge of the Bible but their lack of knowledge about the Bible and the true God. He said that He is God and there is no other (Isa. 43:10, 12; Isa. 44:6; Isa. 45:14, 20-22). Jesus is not a way, but the only way (Acts 4:12). It is amazing how a little Bible knowledge can lead one to think that he or she knows everything in the Bible and that there is nothing more to discover about God. As a result, one is missing a vital and deepening relationship with God Himself. The issue is not knowledge, but a lack of the truth about God Himself.

Consequently, it is not surprising that the emergent or emerging church advocates do not believe that one can know truth with any confidence since their paradigm of truth appears to be stale, lifeless, and unfortunately wrong. Therefore, they are in search of truth from any and every possible source. Their search is shallow and superficial. In their view the Bible is not the source of all spiritual truth because the old paradigm failed. Consequently, they seek truth from other religions, philosophies, science, and experiences.

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. (NASB) 1 Cor. 1:21

The wisdom of the world says that truth is found outside of the Bible, in experience, and in other philosophies. But Jesus told us that He is the Truth, and the Bible calls itself the Word of Truth.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (NASB) John 14:6

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (NASB) 2 Tim. 2:15

Spiritual truth can only be found in the Bible. It is the Truth.

Conclusion:

Those who have a historical perspective can see the trend of what is occurring. The emerging church movement is moving away from the scriptures as the sole source of truth and guide to spirituality. I would encourage you to read the article, “What Are You Seeking?“, It speaks to the issue of the Emerging Church movement. I would also recommend that you read The Truth War by John MacArthur.[1] I have not read Blue Like Jazz, so unfortunately, I cannot comment on the book. I have taken some time to read several reviews of the book and my general impression of the book from the reviews is that the man was in search for a relationship with God. That is what most of us are seeking. Have you read the article, “God’s Great Passion“? If not, I would encourage to read it. It may surprise you.

References:

1. John MacArthur. The Truth War. Thomas Nelson Publishers. 2007.”

Reference Links:

Peace With God
God's Great Passion