What are some of the red flags people should watch out for that might indicate their Church is suddenly moving in the direction of the Emergent Church Movement?
Dr. Reagan and I on our ministry’s television show Christ in Prophecy had the pleasure of asking this question of our special guest Caryl Matrisciana. Caryl is a best selling author and filmmaker and is a recognized expert on Eastern religions, contemporary cults, paganism and the occult. She has been involved in the production of more than 60 documentaries over the past 30 years. Her biographical testimony Out of India explains how she grew up under Hinduism in India and lived it in England and the U.S. as a New Ager before accepted Christ as Savior. She joined us to warn us about the Eastern religious influences inherent in the Emergent Church.
Caryl Matrisciana: I would say a major indicator is the way that the Church teaches the Word of God. There are two different types of teaching: there’s the thematic way of teaching which starts with an idea and searches for verses that support that idea, and then there’s the verse-by-verse way of teaching which allows the Bible to set and define the topic.
The thematic way is based on teaching by topic and is how the Emergent Churches teach. They pull verses out of context to support their topic, usually with only one or two Bible verses. They also pull from non-biblical writings such as Gandhi’s writings, Williams Shakespeare’s writing, and Churchill’s writings to support their view.
They also rely on multiple Bible versions, for example Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life has taken fifteen different Bible versions, and not all of those are even translations. These Emergent teachers will fish around until they find one that says what they want it to say, or half a verse that says what they want it to say. So, I think great danger lies in thematic teaching.
The other type of teaching is based on expository teaching, going line-by-line and verse-by-verse, and is actually based on what God says about topics rather than man. God’s opinion found in the Word of God in the full council of God. You will find that a lot of churches if they are not teaching the Word of God in the fullness of its context I am sorry to say will be open to bringing in liberal authors, non-biblical books, foreign ideas such as Eastern Mystical ideas, and in changing the meanings of the words in the verses so that their congregation can go from meditation to contemplation, or from Yoga to “Christian” Yoga and other kinds of false teachings.
Dr. Reagan: The sad fact of the matter is that the Church has ignored the Word for so long, for years now, that the average Christian going to Church faithfully every Sunday knows very little of the Word. You cannot guard yourself against deception if you do not know the Word.
I remember the impact of that book The Shack, which is about as unchristian as it could be in what it’s teaching, and yet people thought that it was wonderful. Preachers were advocating people to go out and read it.
Caryl Matrisciana: Look at Harry Potter. When I made my documentary on Harry Potter I had more Christians come to me saying, “What are you doing with our hero?” Well, Harry isn’t a hero; he’s a witch! He is a 13 year old witch. The author of Harry Potter said it would take seven years to make a wizard, and Harry is 11 in book one, 12 in the next, 13, etcetera. Seven years later the perfect wizard is made. To think of the hundreds and thousands of children reading those books who are then indoctrinated with another non-Christian worldview.
Finding the Right Church
Dr. Reagan: Caryl, do you have anything you would like to say to someone out there who is struggling right now find a solid, Bible believing church?
Caryl Matrisciana: I get so many letters from people saying that their church is going Emergent. Well, don’t be discouraged, because we are told in the Bible that in the last days this fall into apostasy is going to happen. There is going to be a falling away from truth. It’s great that you have discerned the truth. The Holy Spirit has helped you recognize the false teachers and the false prophets who are coming to mislead the Church. That’s really good that you can recognizing them.
I would suggest starting up your own group of believers led by a teacher who teaches line-by-line, verse-by-verse right out of the Bible. Get back to the Word of God alone.
Dr. Reagan: Lamb & Lion Ministries is a non-denominational ministry, so I go to all kinds of churches. One of the things I found out early on is you can never judge a church by the signboard outside. I have been to Methodist churches that were on fire for God, and I have been to Methodist churches that were as dead as a doornail. The same is true of Baptist churches and whatever other denomination.
The key is ask if your preacher up at the pulpit is preaching from the Word of God. Is he lifting up Jesus as the only hope for the world? If that is not happening and he’s up there teaching pop psychology or whatever, get out of there. Look for somebody who is preaching the Word and focusing on Jesus Christ.
Caryl Matrisciana: And, look for a preacher who is encouraging you to be strong in the Word so that you can go out and share the Good News of Jesus Christ yourself and make disciples of all nations.