“The Emerging Church!” Perhaps the term is meaningless to you. If this is the case, it won’t be for long. Bible-believing Christians are facing an onslaught of ideas and experiences redefining the meaning of Christianity in this post-modern world. The Word of God is under attack. Biblical truths are being replaced by the word of Christian leaders who are claiming the time has come “to do whatever it takes to establish the Kingdom of God here on earth”.
This new wave that is sweeping the world is powerful. While other waves have come and gone, the present emerging church wave is a tsunami that has the potential of reshaping the very foundation of the Christian faith – the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Consider the following list of changes presently underway in the name of Christ and becoming increasingly more popular on a worldwide scale. No denomination or church affiliation is immune to the changes. The emerging church movement is gaining momentum.
- Scripture is no longer the ultimate authority as the basis for the Christian faith.
- The centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ is being replaced by humanistic methods that promote church growth and a social gospel.
- More and more emphasis is being placed on “how can I be more successful in the ‘here and now’”, and less and less on the warnings of Scripture about the imminent return of Jesus Christ and a coming judgment in the future.
- More and more Christian leaders are looking for a kingdom of God to be established here on earth by human effort and deny that Jesus Christ will rule and reign in a literal millennial period that is to come.
- There is a growing trend towards replacement theology – the church takes the place of Israel and Israel has no prophetic significance. Proponents say the Book of Revelation does not refer to the future, but instead has been already fulfilled in the past.
- An experiential mystical form of Christianity is being promoted to reach the postmodern generation called the “Emerging Church”.
- The church is being told that Christianity needs to be re-invented in order to provide meaning for this generation.
- Leaders of the Emerging Church say that in order to take the church forward, Christian leaders need to look backward in church history and find out what experiences were effective to get people in the door, then reintroduce these experiences into the present.
- While the authority of the Word of God is being undermined, images and sensual experiences are being promoted as the key to experiencing and knowing God.
- These experiences include icons, candles, incense, liturgy, contemplative prayer, experiencing the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of the Eucharist.
- Many bridges are being established that lead in the direction of unity with the Roman Catholic Church. While the Roman Catholic Church has an agenda called the “new evangelization” program to win the world to the Roman Catholic Eucharistic Jesus, many evangelicals are unaware or don’t care.
- Some evangelical Protestant leaders are saying that the Reformation went too far. They are reexamining the claims of the “church fathers” saying that communion is more than a symbol and that Jesus actually becomes present in the wafer at communion.
- There is a growing trend towards an ecumenical unity for the cause of world peace that claims there are many ways to God.
While the term “Emerging Church” may be new, the ideas being promoted by the Emerging Church can be understood by the warnings we find in the Bible regarding an End Times counterfeit bride that will prepare the way for a counterfeit Christ. Those who take the Bible seriously are not surprised. The following is a list of trends we can expect to see in the future based upon the warnings we find in the Scriptures:
- Apostasy (falling away from the faith) will become worse and worse. Many who once held to “the faith” based on God’s Word, will embrace “a faith” that contradicts God’s Word. This deception will become stronger and stronger as God allows a “strong delusion” to overcome those who refuse to accept God’s Word as the truth (2 Thessalonians 2: 3-11).
- Christianity will be “re-invented” as Christians fall away from the faith and embrace an alternative faith that is inspired by “doctrines of demons” who have a plan to prepare the counterfeit bride for the counterfeit Christ (1Timothy 4:1).
- The biblical teachings on sin will be replaced by psychological self-help and self-empowerment programs promoting loving oneself rather than loving God (2 Timothy 3: 1-5).
- Sincere Bible-believing Christians seduced by doctrines of demons will lose discernment and embrace ideas in the name of Christianity that are antichristian (2 Timothy 2: 23-26).
- The road to Rome and a one world religion will become more and more apparent to those who study Bible prophecy. Rome's plan to unite the religions of the world for the cause of peace will promote a false security (1 Thessalonians 5: 1-5).
- Further, P.E.A.C.E. plans being promoted by purpose driven Christians have the potential of causing believers to depart from the simple gospel for a social gospel. While this social gospel promises answers to the world’s problems, there are concerns. The Roman Catholic peace plan and the purpose driven P.E.A.C.E plan both plan to establish the Kingdom of God here on earth by human effort.
- Deceivers will become more and more effective and many will be deceived. Fewer and fewer Christian leaders will teach the Word and warn about the imminent return of Jesus (2 Timothy 3: 13).
- Faith in God’s Word and a belief in the simple gospel will become a rare commodity (Luke 18: 8).
- Serious Bible-believing Christians will begin meeting in homes and having private Bible studies. Bible-believing Christians who stand on the truth and warn others about the dangers of man-made plans that contradict God’s plan will be viewed as crackpots and dangerous heretics (2 Timothy 3-12).
- Christian Babylonianism will become more and more popular as Satan’s plans to deceive the world in the name of Jesus Christ continues to unfold (Matthew 24: 3-4).
- This counterfeit gospel can be understood in light of Paul’s warning to the church at Corinth. “Another spirit” will lead the masses towards “another Christ” as “another gospel” sweeps the world (2 Corinthians 11: 3-4).
- False appearances of the Roman Catholic Eucharistic Jesus will become more and more evident. People of all faiths will eventually be attracted to these so called “Eucharistic Miracles”, being attracted to signs and wonders that include healings and the casting out of demons (Matthew 7: 21-23).
- Apparitions of a woman claiming to be the mother of Jesus, also called the “Queen of Heaven” will continue to play an important role in setting up the Eucharistic Reign of Jesus. This apparitional woman will claim to share a role in redemption of mankind and can be understood in light of the Bible as demonic in nature (Isaiah 47: 10).
- However this “Mary” factor will be very instrumental in bringing about unity with Roman Catholics and Muslims and other religions for the cause of peace. Eventually all religions will unify for the cause of peace, seduced by Marian apparitions and false appearance of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist (Matthew 24: 23-26).
- More and more we will hear about the Catholic view of the Eucharistic Reign of Jesus (the Second Coming) as these appearances of the Eucharistic Jesus manifest through the practice of Eucharistic adoration.
There is much more that could be said regarding the biblical scenario of how the Emerging Church will unfold in light of Bible prophecy. One thing is certain. It will not be popular to warn people what the Bible foretells. We can expect that the trend to unify at any cost will continue. Those who refuse to bow their knee to the coming one-world religion for the cause of peace will be singled out as trouble makers.
Finally, I am going to conclude this commentary with a challenge to all serious Bible believers. The only way to understand what is happening and to know what lies ahead is to know what God has said. Many are saying they are no longer able to find a church in their area that teaches the Bible and where the pastor is warning the flock about what lies ahead.
John in his vision provided the solution to this dilemma. He wrote:
And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues