With the emerging church becoming a major influence in Western thought and the idea of what a Christian is, there is much to discuss in order to see the impact of the emerging church and how to respond to the developments in theology it brings. The other thing to be clear regarding is the difference between emerging and emergent. Although the two are very similar, emerging church is a very general grouping of churches that “is in the process – devolping in its belief system, in its relationship to the culture, and in its ministry focus” (Enns 2008, 689). However, in regards to emergent churches, they have “more radical conclusions in its belief system.” (Enns 2008, 689)
Ultimately, the nature of the emerging church can be boiled down to the idea of relativism. Enns talks about the church as saying it is a product of postmodernism. Here the key ends up becoming that there is no absolute truth. The leaders (and members) tend to describe how they see things as in color rather than in black and white, not even wanting to discuss the existence of a heaven or hell. This same philosophy can be seen when a person says anything to the nature of ‘just because its right for you doesn’t mean its right for me.’ While this may be true in personal likes and dislikes such as ice cream flavors, it does not work when dealing with matters of absolute truth. Absolute truth is the focal point that the emerging theologians tend to miss.
Absolute truth is central tenant of life in general. Without absolute truth, one would not be able to even know if a light bulb is on or off. The more important aspects of absolute truth though are the aspects that deal with eternity. Is there a God or is there not a God? If so, what is that God like? These questions are important to know, and since the Bible claims to be true, the theologians discount the book they supposedly believe in. The most common verse in reference to this is John 14:6 where Jesus states that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” but also, Paul reminds the saints in Ephesus they “were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.”
Although there are many things I would disagree with Paul Enns on, the state of the emerging church is one where I would generally agree with him. His overall conclusion can be stated as “emerging church leaders has attempted to engage the culture, but it appears that the culture has overwhelmed the emerging church, both in methodology and in the emerging church’s move into relativism, refusing to acknowledge propositional truth in foundational, biblical doctrines” (Enns 2008, 697). Ultimately, the emerging church needs to be called out for what it is, and that is simply a false religion as it refuses to defend long held doctrinal beliefs which are essential to the Christian faith.