By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
Recently, I read a Facebook post by a southern California pastor that the “emerging church” was no longer a problem for him or his church. He stated that the emerging church was just another passing fad that had come and then disappeared never to be heard of again. His church was going to focus on what was positive and insinuated that “hyper-discernment ministries” were scaring his sheep into believing they were living in the last days and that apostasy was rampant.
The comments by this pastor are not uncommon. In fact, fewer and fewer shepherds today are warning the sheep in their flocks of the dangers lurking not only outside the fold but also within the fold. A good shepherd must keep watch over his flock as many wolves are lurking around seeking whom they may devour. Ignoring these dangers does not make the problems go away. Sheep can easily be misled by false unbiblical teachings that are like a grain of arsenic in a milk shake. The milk shake may look and taste good but the grain of arsenic will be enough to kill someone.
When a pastor makes the claim that the emerging church is a thing of the past, this shows he is either uninformed or he is willingly ignorant. Sad to say, it can be both, and he may not even know it. The emerging church has many stealth methods to find its way under the radar. Satan is a master deceiver and knows what he is doing. In the early stages of the emergent church takeover, the methods may have been somewhat more obvious, at least to those with God-given discernment.
Now that the clear majority of churches have been inoculated with the poison, it appears that the majority of sheep have fallen victim to the poison and have fallen asleep. Discernment is diminishing. Worse yet, the shepherds (i.e., pastors and teachers), who are supposed to protect the sheep, have fallen asleep. They are still looking for ways to replace the older generation who “smelled a rat” and left. Now these pastors are looking for ways to fill the pews with novel ideas that appeal to the “carnal mind” (Romans 8:7).
There is one area that will illustrate that the emerging church is still alive and active in many churches, ministries, Christian colleges, and seminaries. One of the most effective ways for contemplative mysticism, along with other eastern mystical beliefs, to creep in is through recommended books for the women of the church in the “Ladies Ministry.” Millions of Christian women are reading books like Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and books by Beth Moore are read and studied more than the Bible.
In fact, in many churches, these books replace the Bible altogether. Rather than teach verse-by-verse through a book of the Bible, the leader of the women’s study teaches page-by-page through a book that is very appealing to the flesh and provides additional revelation to the Bible. When a discerning woman in the study goes to the pastor and expresses her concerns, she is often chided for being divisive, or her concerns are totally overlooked.
One of the problems is this: often the pastor’s wife is the leader of the women’s study. He may or may not recognize that his own wife is off track. Whatever the case, recognizing the danger of what is going on and taking action is not in his portfolio—he doesn’t want to rock the boat. Soon the women have their husbands reading the books they are reading, and they too become inoculated with unbiblical ideas. Before long, the church that was once right on, is right off.
Emergent apostasy is spreading like wildfire around the world. The only way to slow this delusion down is to shine the light of God’s Word on Satan’s plan. However, therein lies the problem. Human pride will never be corrected by the truth unless leaders will humble themselves. Unfortunately, most who have chosen the path they are on have no intention to change. Even when they are chided with love, they hurl back nasty names rather than repent.
(Roger Oakland is the author of Faith Undone and The Good Shepherd Calls, both which address the emergent church.)