The Christ in Prophecy Journal

Matrisciana on the Emergent Church: Warning Signs

Caryl Matrisciana


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.

Red Flags

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.

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ABOUT AUTHOR View all posts Author Website

Dr. Nathan E. Jones

As the Internet Evangelist at Lamb & Lion Ministries, Nathan reaches out to the over 4.5 billion people accessible over the Internet with the Good News of Jesus Christ. He also co-hosts the ministry's television program Christ in Prophecy and podcast The Truth Will Set You Free.

9 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Harry Potter again???!!!

    I'd like to see some actual evidence of Harry Potter books or movies creating a bunch of indoctrinated little witches out there. With millions of kids being exposed to Harry Potter wouldn't it be easy to show some examples?

    Enough of Harry Potter already! (btw I have seen some of the movies but have not read any of the books)

    I have a friend with 5 kids (most grown now) who read all the Harry Potter books. None of them are witches. They were raised in a Christian home. The were exposed to some bad religion (a liberal Lutheran church) and good (Bible based Shepherd of the Hills in Porter Ranch, CA). What had really done these kids harm over the years is their parents divorce and beiing raised in a liberal Democrat environment and a liberal California school environment.

    There are a lot worse things for children than Harry Potter.

  • Excellent!
    Very well said, thank you for sharing. These are great warning signs. Jesus and His Gospel needs to be our focus. If this isn't the center of the teaching at church then it is a good idea not to go to that church.



  • Nathan,

    Thank you for the article link. I suppose in my mind when I think of Harry Potter, Bewitched, etc., I think of bullexcrement Hollywood entertainment but not necessarily not what the article focused on which I would see as a serious danger – actual witchcraft and wicca "religions". Maybe they are one and the same? Maybe I need to open my eyes? Could be.

    There was one thing there that caught my attetion more than the article. That was YOUR comment at the end stating "Excellent article, Robin! It's truly sad to walk through any bookstore's Youth section – it's all the occult."

    That's shocked me. That to me is very powerful evidence demonstrating what is the "in" thing for kids. The occult being the focus of a bookstore's youth section?!

    So I repeat…Maybe they are one and the same? Maybe I need to open my eyes? Could be? No. It is. The danger IS there.

    I stand corrected.

  • Nathan and Billy

    Sad to say that the UK bookshops are exactly the same. Walking through 'Smiths'this week which is a nation-wide 'Newsagents', I noted a book on 'spells' for young teenagers. It was blatant, I didn't have to search for it.

    Gloucester Cathedral is a 'pull' for Pottermania as the Cathedral's ancient cloisters are part of 'Hogwarts' in the film! Anything 'dark' is acceptable; mention anything about Jesus and His Word the Bible and you are deemed odd and 'over-th-top'.
    Where's that Scripture about calling evil good and good evil. VERY Postmodern! 🙁


  • It's not just Harry Potter that's doing damage. Look at the Christian section of most US book stores and you'll see New Age versions of Jesus there via Chopra and Yogananda. You'll also sometimes find the Kooorrrrrrran, as Obie likes to pronounce it. And you often find pro-atheist literature in the same place.


  • All one has to do is spend 5 minutes on Google searching for the Wiccan organizations in the UK and their statements about how Harry Potter has resulted in an explosion of inquiries and visits to their web site. Anyone who has not heard of this as it was all over the news needs to get out more.

  • Hello Dr Williams

    Coming from the UK I can, unfortunately, confirm your observation. Certainly the Emerging Harlot church welcomes Wiccans and all things pagan into her ecumenical gatherings.

    But it troubles me why you are happy to display your 'virgo' astological sign on your profile? This is the 'camels nose' into the occult as much as Harry Potter is!


  • While thematic teaching may be a tool for the Emerging Church, this does not invalidate it as an effective means of teaching. It is very important for believers to have an overview of scripture and to understand the panoramic view of important topics found in it. It's just that this should never be the exclusive approach. Thematic teaching and expository teaching should be alternated.


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