Yesterday I interviewed Doug Pagitt on my radio program and he told us the real story regarding the birth of the Emergent Church. (You can hear that interview in its entirety by clicking here.)
During the program I hinted at the fact that in the interview Doug revealed the incorrect assumption of many in the Emergent movement and that this incorrect assumption explains why were seeing the theological distortions and the false gospel that have become the hallmark of the Emergent Church.
I want to highlight this incorrect assumption for you. Therefore, I've created a short soundbite montage that may sound a bit obnoxious because of the repetition of certain phrases in it. But, I am using repetition in this montage to really drive home and highlight the incorrect assumption that these 'innovative leaders' have been working from.
Now compare this assumption about changing the actually meaning of the gospel to make it appeal to post-modern culture to what Jesus instructed the apostles to do in Luke 24:46-48
“and [Jesus] said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:46–48)
Jesus wanted a VERY SPECIFIC message to be proclaimed to ALL NATIONS. The message itself was NOT changeable. The strategy of preaching the Gospel NEVER included altering the message to make it more appealing to different cultures in different nations. Yet from the earliest days of the Emergent Church they assumed that the actual gospel message had to be changed in order to appeal the emerging post-modern culture and THEIR expectations about what the church should be and THEIR expectations about the spirituality that the church should convey.
Yet scripture could not be clearer, the Gospel message cannot be changed or altered. The consequences of changing the gospel message is that a distorted gospel will be proclaimed in its place that is no gospel at all and that distorted gospel will ultimately eternally condemn those believing and proclaiming it.
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6–9)
Now that you know that from the beginning, the Emergent Church was working with a fatally incorrect assumption, listen to this montage that highlights the fact that the primary thing that was trully at the heart of the Emergent movement was INNOVATION, INNOVATION, INNOVATION. Yet the scriptural call for the church is FIDELITY, FIDELITY, FIDELITY to the gospel message as handed down in the scriptures.