In recent years evangelical/biblical Christianity has had to confront what has come to be known collectively as ‘The Emerging Church’. This is not some structured organisation espousing a ‘common creed’ but rather refers to an assorted group, made up of individual ‘pastors’, itinerant ‘evangelists’ and iconic ‘commentators’. The one common thread that they seem to share is their desire to undo the way evangelical/biblical Christianity has been proclaimed over the past 2000 years and instead they prefer to embark upon a path of ‘dialogue’ and ‘global conversation’ that does not expect ever to arrive at any given statement of ‘absolute truth’. They believe that for anyone to claim to have possession of ‘absolute truth’ in spiritual matters is a mark of sheer arrogance and for them an admission of not knowing anything spiritual absolutely is a mark of true humility and piety.
To achieve their goal of dismantling evangelical/biblical Christianity they must of course deconstruct and in some cases totally redefine and reject the clear doctrines that God, in His inspired Word, the bible, and through His incarnate Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, has revealed to humanity. ‘The Emerging Church’ in reality is just the latest manifestation of fallen sinful humanity’s rebellious expression that the ‘author’ of rebellion first posited to humanity, as we read in Genesis 3:1 “Yea, hath God said?” In his book ‘The Truth War’ [p 24] Pastor John MacArthur succinctly stated ‘Postmodernism is simply the latest expression of worldly unbelief… It is proud rebellion against divine revelation’. Earlier Pastor MacArthur wrote [p 15] ‘postmodernism’s fundamental starting point is its contempt for all truth claims’.
Back in June 2007 I posted an article to our web site that highlighted a local Northern Ireland expression of ‘The Emerging Church’ – this group is known as IKON and was led by Peter Rollins. The article can be accessed on
Since then Peter Rollins has developed strong connections with emergent church’ figures in America such as Rob Bell, who ‘pastors’ a ‘church’ in Michigan and Brian McLaren, who would fall into the ‘itinerant evangelist’ category.
On Sunday morning, 11th October 2009 Peter Rollins was interviewed on the local BBC Radio Ulster programme, Sunday Sequence, about his upcoming [Friday 16th October] move to live in America [close to New York].
In this article I want to firstly let you hear that interview and would ask you to note in particular how Peter Rollins emphasises the supposed ‘complexity’ and ‘ambiguity’ that should be ‘celebrated’ in his subverted form of emerging Christianity. This atmosphere of ‘grey doubt’ that he so cherishes mirrors what Pastor MacArthur wrote [pp 11-12] in ‘The Truth War’ – ‘postmodernism’s one goal and singular activity is the systematic deconstruction of every other truth claim. The chief tools being employed… the denial of every dogma, the dissection and annihilation of every clear definition, the relentless questioning of every axiom [self-evident truth], the undue exaltation of mystery and paradox, the deliberate exaggeration of every ambiguity and above all the cultivation of uncertainty about everything’.
PETER ROLLINS INTERVIEW [Real Audio] Not Available
Secondly, by way of response and information I want now to link you to the audio of a [PowerPoint] talk that I gave in Belfast back in January 2008 on the subject of ‘The Emerging Church’. In advance I would like to make 3 points –
In my talk, the book from my library that I showed first onscreen was Systematic Theology’ by Louis Berkhof.
In my talk, having quoted how Steve Chalke described ‘Penal Substitution’ as ‘cosmic child abuse’ I then quote John MacArthur’s statement to the effect that anyone saying such a thing is not a Christian. I then say that ‘I would find it hard to AGREE with Dr MacArthur’ – I meant of course to say that ‘I would find it hard to DISAGREE with Dr MacArthur’ and that will be very clear from my ensuing comments.
In my talk I was ‘smitten’ with the necessity on a number of occasions to clear my throat and I do sincerely apologise for the occasional noisy interruption that this gave rise to.
Thirdly, I want to point out that Peter Rollins and others like him who want to ‘reform’ Christianity, they pay a small measure of lip-service to Christ and the Bible, but they never actually ‘take on board’ or ‘take to heart’ what Christ and the scriptures say about ‘truth’. So, in conclusion I want now to link you to a sermon preached in June 2006 by Dr Ivan McKay that sets out very clearly the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ on the subject of the scriptures and ‘truth’. I have deliberately included Dr McKay’s opening prayer for, as you will hear, it really also is a sermon in itself. The scriptures read before the sermon were from 2nd Timothy 1:1-7 and 3:10 – 4:5
Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – 12th October 2009