The Latest Postmodern Trend: The Emerging Church -- By: Ron J. Bigalke Jr.
JODT 10:31 (Dec 2006) p. 19
The Latest Postmodern Trend:
The Emerging Church
Author; Director of Eternal Ministries, Inc.;
Associate Pastor of Discipleship, Grace Community Church;
Associate Professor of Bible & Theology, Tyndale Theological Seminary
Using the illustration of circulating blood, A. W. Tozer described a healthy soul. He said, “The red corpuscles are like faith—they carry the life giving oxygen to every part of the body. The white cells are like discernment—they pounce upon dead and toxic matter and carry it out to the drain. In the healthy heart there must be provision for keeping dead and poisonous matter out of the life stream.”1
Tozer’s illustration stresses three points: 1) dead or dying churches no longer have the ability to discern the spirit of truth from the spirit of error; 2) dead and poisonous matter cannot be removed from the church if it cannot be detected; and 3) failure to use discernment or remove dead and toxic matter will allow the poisonous matter to continue circulating, which will result in confusion among believers and false hope to the unbeliever.2 The vitality of the church depends upon its members and leaders exercising discernment to “contend earnestly for the faith.” How can one defend and preach the Gospel without discerning what is the biblical Gospel? Again, Tozer wrote,
Among the gifts of the Spirit, scarcely is one of greater practical usefulness than the gift of discernment. This gift should be highly valued and frankly sought as being almost indispensable in these critical times. This gift will enable us to distinguish the chaff from the wheat and to divide the manifestations of the flesh from the operations of the Spirit.3
Christian fads and trends will appear and disappear. It is mentally overwhelming to remember the recent crazes of one’s own lifetime. It seems that, in their search to be relevant and to be obedient to the Great Commission, many pastors and church leaders are always seeking new methods to grow the church. The contemporary church is inundated with those seeking new methods and means of church growth. Whatever pragmatic approaches allow one to accomplish church growth, it is accepted. However, time and again in the Bible, it is primarily the preaching of the Word, the enunciation of words, that God
JODT 10:31 (Dec 2006) p. 20
uses to draw the lost to Himself, in addition to creating and sustaining His church.
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