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"Emerging" churches or "dangerous" theology?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by HeDied4U, Aug 22, 2003.

  1. HeDied4U

    HeDied4U Active Member
    Site Supporter

    May 6, 2001
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    I would like to post an article I received as part of a Christian "news" service I subscribe to, and then get your thoughts on it. I'll post mine at the bottom of this post.


    'Emerging Churches' Sprout in Seattle

    The Northwest is widely known for its low church attendance, but Seattle
    is the home of a growing number of worship centers - which are being
    started and attracting people in their 20s and 30s who say neither
    traditional nor contemporary churches speak to them. According to "The
    Seattle Times," ministers of the new types of congregations call
    themselves "emerging churches," dedicated to finding alternative ways of
    presenting the message of Christ - ways that they say are more in line
    with current culture. "I genuinely believe that God is raising up a new
    generation of 20- and 30-year-olds that are reinventing and bringing
    renewal to the church," said Tom Sine, of Mustard Seed Associates, which
    tries to come up with creative ways churches can respond to a changing
    culture. "It's a breath of fresh air for the church." Such churches
    include Seattle Urban Foursquare, which meets in a pizza parlor; Emmaus
    Road, which has doubled in membership every 18 months since forming six
    years ago; Grace Church Seattle, which attracts about 230 people to its
    weekly services; Quest, which recently opened a 4,500-square-foot
    coffeehouse/community center; and the Mars Hill Church, which moved
    earlier this year to a 40,000-square-foot warehouse. "They value
    experiential, intuitive experiences of God. They meet anywhere - from
    churches to members' houses to restaurants and cafes," reported the


    While the idea sounds good "on paper," one thing really stuck out, and threw up a huge yellow flag, at least in my eyes...

    If I didn't know better, that sounds a lot like how some (and I want to empathize the word some) charismatics get their theology, through the "experience" rather than the Word of God? Is this another bad trend we're seeing the beginning of? Comments? Concerns?

    God Bless!!!

    Adam [​IMG]
  2. Monergist

    Monergist New Member

    Jan 14, 2002
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    Adam, I would say that its another bad trend that we're starting to see the fruits of. The seeker sensitive movement is going to lead us into more absurdity. Don't be surprised to hear of a church which operates like a multiplex cinema--affording you the oppportunity to worship with those of other faiths and to pick which god to worship.
  3. blackbird

    blackbird Administrator

    Feb 21, 2002
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    Adam! It don't figure, does it??

    I've got 20's & 30's couples at my church--and if they don't like the "Red Hot" word of God---they can go find "Binky the Clown!" at one of the alternate church's springing up even here in Mississippi---a 30 minute drive in any direction will give you more "experiences" than you can shake a stick at!!

    Your Southern Baptist preaching buddy,
    Brother David
  4. Molly

    Molly New Member

    Jul 15, 2000
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    I agree with the others here,Adam...When pragmatic ways are allowed in the church(what seems to work),then anything is allowed if it *works*...churches are getting farther from God's Word and closer to a man made establishment based on the ways of man. The downgrade continues on.....

    Good post!
  5. showard93

    showard93 New Member

    Jun 14, 2003
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    I say stay with the old time way. I mean God doesn't change and I think alot of these new ways are just not what God would want. I heard a preacher say just recently about all these churches that grow great big numbers and they have to have more than 1 service om Sunday morning and only 1 for Sunday night and Wednesday night. He said that wal-mart is filled with people but the diamonds are in the Jewelery store and there aren't many people there.

    Please know that I am not saying there is anything wrong with church growth as long as there are not a bunch of gimmicks getting the people in.
  6. Taufgesinnter

    Taufgesinnter New Member

    Jul 27, 2003
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    Does that mean you are opposed to modern, worldly, unheard-of-before innovations like the church meeting in a specific, designated building all the time instead of members' homes, using musical instruments to accompany the singing, or sitting in pews during the service? None of these things were known or practiced among the early church.

    How about singing hymns in a quick-tempo, worldly style as used in pop culture--such as lyrics set to tavern drinking songs, like "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"--or "Amazing Grace"? After ancient times, hymn-singing by the congregation wasn't widely practiced (after all, that's what the choir is for), and modern Protestants (except Lutherans) didn't adopt congregational hymn-singing until the First Great Awakening in the 1700s. Even churches that did have congregational singing, if they were conservative, refused this worldly innovation, insisting that only psalms from the Bible should be sung in worship to God, nothing man-made.

    What about the altar call, invitation, walking the aisle...tent revivals, camp meeting revivals, the anxious seat, the amen corner, all of which were first popularized by the Second Great Awakening in the 1800s, and had not existed in those forms either prior to that or to the First Great Awakening the century before?

    It's not Bible, it's just culture, folks! Luther, Whitefield, the Wesleys, Watts, Crosby, all just used the popular musical styles of their times, accompanied then by the most popular or convenient musical instruments used at the time--this new pop-style music attracted seekers. The preaching styles of Whitefield and Finney were different from the usual monotoned, undramatic style of their times, and without all the fancy oratorical flourishes usually present at a dry reading of a literary-quality, crafted sermon. They preached in a style that sounded like everyday speech, but with dramatic pauses and cadence, and with occasional shouting, and broad gestures...and their innovative preaching styles attracted seekers. Finney in particular was attacked for his "new measures," which included the altar call and letting women speak in public. The new measures facilitated bringing seekers into the church. Many parents came to Christ as a result of the influence of their children on them after they'd attended Sunday school--the original Sunday School Society was founded 1785 to educate poor children. With the development of public schools, it was possible for Sunday schools to go from giving education in basic literacy to dedication solely to religious instruction. But obviously, even as late as the First Great Awakening, Sunday schools never existed, and were quite a new and startling thing when they finally were, and remained controversial among some denominations for more than a century.

    Some folks think that sitting on 16th-century-style seating listening to a 17th-century translation in a building constructed in 18th-century style and singing 19th-century songs accompanied by a 15th-century musical instrument must be God's way of doing things. They don't think about how things were done in church for the previous 15, 16, 17, 18, or 19 centuries, and how new each of these things had been when introduced, and how controversial and resisted by conservatives; they also fail to see, having been raised in a particular and small subculture, how the 21st-century people around them could have the least bit of problem doing things their way.

    Pre-modern churches adapted to the ways that worked for their times. The modern church adapted to the ways that worked for its time, in a world influenced by Enlightenment rationalism. Today's post-modern church has to adapt to the ways that work in our time. It's all just cultural stuff that every good missionary does automatically. In American culture, we're not the indigenous peoples targeted for evangelism whose culture must be taken into account and whose ways must be learned for effective missionary work: the seekers are.

    Tauf, historian

    P.S. Don't forget, seeker-sensitive or seeker-friendly doesn't mean seeker-driven. And by this post I am not endorsing any particular theology or practices undertaken by the Seattle-area churches on which this thread was initially focused.
  7. gb93433

    gb93433 Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Jun 26, 2003
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    I can remember as a child living in pacific nothwest thinking that the area is spiritually dead. I am glad to see it come alive.

    My brother in law and sister and all of their childrrn and spouses have come to Christ just within the last four years. A church was started in their area. The pastor is a zealous man who is actively reaching people. The church is exploding with nukmerical and spiritual growth. They have planted about six churches in towns in the surriunding area. From what I hear my relatives say whoa ttend that church tels me they are in fire for Jesus. One of them was a ploce officer and told me he was reprimanded for not giving so many tickets since becoming a Christian. He gives them the gospel. He told me could have lost his job but he didn't care. How's that for commitment. He is now retired and is taking an active role in leading others. It is a witnessing church. The minute you walk in you know it is a diferent place. People are growing and are serious about their walk with God.

    The website is www.ctkonline.com
  8. David Mark

    David Mark New Member

    Jul 11, 2003
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    IMHO, assembling together with unity is critical. A 5,000-member church is no better than a 2-member church and vice versa. ;)

    It is my experience that Sunday is not the only day that people work by faith, crave fellowship, or try to keep his commandments. ;)

    It is my observation (experience) that a large Christian group can be just as selfish, sinful, useless and disobedient as a tiny Christian group or even as selfish, sinful, useless and disobedient as any Christian individual. Just merely meeting together isn’t enough.

    I think it's about what is on our minds, what comes out of our mouths and what we do as a group that is important. To me, it’s the same when we are not gathered together or striving to be a good example at work or whatever we do when we are by ourselves.

    I perceive that every thing that we are commanded to do can be done in many different types of places. A coffee shop, private home and even in a Wal-Mart for that matter. ;)

    Any place where there is enough water, a person could be baptized. If there is food (supper), Jesus’ broken body and shed blood could be remembered. Where there is a poor person, money can be given. Where prayer is needed, mouths can be opened. Where there is a lack of wisdom, men can ask God for it. Where there is a sick person, others can pray for him or her. Where there is a lost person, they can “hear” the gospel from someone who can give an account of what and why they believe.

    I agree with the Apostle that it is important to assemble together, and many folks don't have places to assemble with other "like minded" people of the faith. I’ll meet with a Christian anywhere and at anytime and I will have The Church, The commandments, the Lord’s broken body and shed blood and many other things like this on my mind.

    As a Baptist, I am no better than anyone else. It is my understanding that there is only one that is good and that is God himself.

  9. Ben W

    Ben W Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Sep 16, 2002
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    It is interesting that the home church network is one of the fastest growing movements with in the church. Its interesting because that is how the church began in the first place.
  10. All about Grace

    All about Grace New Member

    Feb 11, 2002
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    I am familiar with most of these churches, and they are doing effective ministry in innovative ways. Thank God He is raising up some effective churches in what was previously a very pagan culture (and still is to some extent).
  11. Lorelei

    Lorelei <img src ="http://www.amacominc.com/~lorelei/mgsm.

    May 25, 2001
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    I do understand and agree with the point this statement intended to make, but I do think there is a difference in this than in what was presented in the article.

    I believe there is a huge difference in finding "alternative ways of meeting" rather than "alternative ways of presenting the message of Christ."

    I don't care where I sit, what kind of music I sing (meaning I care about message, not style), nor I do I care if an "invitation" is given or not. What I do care about is this one thing.

    Do I hear the unalduterated Word of God preached and taught?

    Finding ways to make people comfortable while hearing the Word of God is fine with me. Finding ways of making the word of God more appealing is not. God promised that His Word would never come back void. If we think we can change it, spice it up and make it more appealing we are sadly mistaken. Who are we to try and improve on God's Work?

  12. Johnv

    Johnv New Member

    Oct 24, 2001
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    I disagree. Finding a need and filling it is the job of every church. It was true in the first century church, and it's true now.

    It seems Jesus' biggest crowds were usually involved with food events, like meals or feasts. So for a congregation to meet during meals sounds perfectly biblical. Whether it's loaves, fishes, wine, or Starbucks, we humans may disapprove, but Jesus wouldn't.