Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What is the Emergent Church ?

The Emerging Church movement...or "conversation" as they like to refer to it may be closer than you think. Influences of the Emergent church seem to be popping up all over evangelicalism. It comes in many shapes and sizes. Although trying to define Emergent is like nailing jello to a wall there are several similaries amongst its leaders and pastors. Just to name a few–they embrace mystery over certainty, believe the journey is more virtuous than the destination, exalt the question higher than the answer, trade in traditional authority for community or group consenses, and question the infallible authority of scripture since it was written men who may have been influenced by the culture of their day.

Just in case you may not have heard of this movement or have heard of it but don't know much about it, THIS ARTICLE from Ingrid Schlueter, a host on the radio program Crosstalk and the founder of Slice of Laodicea, is an excellent summary of what this movement is all about.

It's important to understand what doctrinal positions the Emergent church is claiming through its leaders' teachings and the books they publish since many of the men mentioned in the article BEWARE OF FALSE TEACHERS are involved in and considered to be the intellectual leaders in the Emergent church movement.

Check in frequently on thinkerup for articles and links on these teachers and others in future articles. We will do our best to keep you well informed.


Friday, February 24, 2006


We here at Thinkerup.com will be posting ongoing articles on some of the false teachers swirling around and throughout the church today. Our desire is to make Christians aware of the dangerous teachings, erroneous doctrines and damaging theologies of these wolves in sheeps clothing.

Many Christians may not be aware of the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) deceptions within the teachings of men like:

Rob Bell
Tony Campolo
Brian McLaren
Leonard Sweet
Dan Kimball
Ken Blanchard
and others...

Our desire is to inform fellow believers of these dangers and pray that any who may be exposed to some of these pastors, authors and speakers would read the many resources we will have on this site through articles and links to other sites.

This is an on-going process and we've just begun to use this blog site as a forum for spreading much needed information regarding these falsehoods.

We will be writing articles ourselves as well as posting links to articles by others which will be able to help explain how and why these people's teachings are dangerous to the body of Christ, and to help you use good Biblical discernment.

One of our biggest concerns is how some of these teachers are influencing the youth. If you're in high school or middle school and are reading the articles and links on this site, please tell your parents about it. You need to be aware of how false teachings can so easily slip into the church. Any church that does not deliberately teach biblical doctrine and how to use good discernment is susceptible.

Read the Bible yourself. Read reliable versions (and I don't mean THE MESSAGE version). Search the scriptures daily like the Bereans did in Acts 17:11. Test everything you hear, hold on to what is good, and avoid all forms of evil (1 Thess. 5:21-22).

PRAY...pray with your parents. If they don't pray but they are saved–ask them to pray with you as a family. Ask your parents to have family Bible studies and worship. Your family is the greatest small group you can have. Ask God through the Holy Spirit to speak to you through His Word as your come before Him with clean hands and a pure heart (Psalms 24:3,4).

He WILL reveal His truth to you through His Holy Scriptures if we humble ourselves before Him and desire to pursue holiness in His sight.

-Kenny (KTO) and Keith (KCO) Oliver

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Worship Is Not Entertainment

From time to time I will be posting excerpts and quotes from A.W. Tozer, C.H. Spurgeon and other notable men in the history of the church.

It is very interesting to read some of the articles and sermons from these men in church history and see how many of the issues that they were dealing with in their lifetimes are very similar to some of the situations the church finds itself in today. These quotes from Tozer are a good example.

I hope that we will remove from our hearts every ugly thing and every unbeautiful thing and every dead thing and every unholy thing that might prevent us from worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ in the beauty of holiness.
Now I am quite sure that this kind of thing is not popular. The world does not want to hear it and the half-saved churches of the evangelical fold do not want to hear it. They want to be entertained while they are edified. Entertain me and edify me without pain.
-A.W. Tozer (“The Chief End of Man,” Sermon #9, Toronto, 1962)

The average Christian is like a kitten that has found a ball of yarn and has played with the yarn and romped until it is wrapped in a cocoon. The kitten cannot get itself out. It just lies there and whimpers. Somebody has to come unwind it. We have tried to be simple, but instead of being simple we have simplified—we have not become simple. We are sophisticated and overly complex.

We have simplified until Christianity amounts to this: God is love; Jesus died for you; believe, accept, be jolly, have fun and tell others. And away we go—that is the Christianity of our day. I would not give a plug nickel for the whole business of it. Once in a while God has a poor bleeding sheep that manages to live on that kind of thing and we wonder how.
-A.W. Tozer (Rut, Rot or Revival, p. 173)

So many churches and other religious structures are being built these days that the building industry, which once considered such things something of a dead weight, is pretty well steamed up about the whole thing and is now quite eager to have the religious trade. Church membership is growing out of all proportion to the growth of the population. Converts to one or another religion are being sought on every level of society and among all classes and age groups. We have zealous work going on among children and young people. We are using sound trucks, radio, television, streetcar cards, billboards, neon signs, messages in bottles and on balloons. We are using trained horses, trained dogs, trained canaries, ventriloquists, magicians and drama to stir up religious interest. Innumerable professional guilds, industrial clubs and businessmen’s and women’s committees have sprung up to provide spiritual fellowship for religious-minded persons engaged in the various pursuits of life. Religious songs are in the repertoire of many professional entertainers. Religion is being plugged by nightclub entertainers, prize-fighters, movie stars and by at least one incarcerated gangster who has up to this time shown no sorrow for his way of life and no evidence of repentance. Religion, if you please, is now big business.
-A.W. Tozer (The Price of Neglect, p. 83)


"...the mass of people do not lay hold on what is said but on how it is said. And if it is said smartly and privily and said forcedly that is enough for them, though it be a lie.

But if the truth be spoken, that they will not receive unless it be attended by some graces of oratory or elegance. Now the christian that has gone beyond babyhood does not care about how the man says it. It is the thing that is said that he cares about.

All he asks is 'Did he speak the truth?' ...he cares not for the trimming of the feast, nor for the exquisite workmanship of the dish. He only cares for that which is solid food for himself"

from the sermon: Search the Scriptures Jan. 17, 1858

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Is Billy Graham saying that a person can go to heaven without claiming the name of Jesus Christ as expressed in the Bible ?

You have to HEAR THIS to believe it.

As with any preacher who stands before a crowd and speaks–we may not always know what is in their heart, but we have no choice but hold them accountable for what they say, teach and preach. Especially since they may have such a strong influence on the eternal destiny of so many people.

James 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Old Cross and the New

This is an excellent commentary from A.W. Tozer. It is always good to remind ourselves just what the cross represents and to never become comfortable with trying to "pretty-up" our faith so as to make it look appealing to the world.
Click HERE to read the article.



Is there a new generational gap developing in the church?

The head pastor of the church assumed his rightful place in front of the congregation with his hymns, his coat and his tie. The older folks felt right at home. The music was just right, not too loud, not too rushed. The sermon was just right too, not too confrontative.

No sooner than five minutes after the more traditional service the pastor, like Superman in the phone booth, jumped into the back room and came out as the handsome, casually dressed super preacher who could now "relate" to the younger, cutting edge crowd (as if the Gospel needed his help).

Personally, I found this a bit... silly.

Catering to an older aged crowd according to their preferences and then to a younger aged crowd according to theirs I believe is leading some churches to a place where they will not want to be. A place where one aged member would not even be able to worship in the same room with the other aged member due to such extremely different tastes in worship style and appeal. This is fertile ground for growth of a generational gap, and even worse, a divided church.

Many older folks in a church are hesitant to say things to young people when they see them dress in an inappropriate way, pierce themselves or make sinful lifestyle choices. They don't have the relationship where it could be done without misunderstandings and argument. Usually the youth pastor must try to deal with or ignore these issues.

Another problem area is in the worship. Many young people will walk out of a church service where there was no drama, "the right kind of music" or a flamboyantly delivered story, resulting in totally missing the life changing words to some great old hymn or a Spirit driven message from the Lord.

The Bible requires interaction between the older and the younger. Consider the charge given to the older women to teach the younger women to be submissive to their husbands, to be keepers at home so that the Word of God is not maligned? When was the last time that was taught to young women by the older women? Also, Timothy, as a young pastor, was told to be an example to the older folks in word and deed. Paul instructed us to not rebuke an elderly man harshly. The younger rebuking the older? Yes, if done properly. But how can these things take place when there is very little or no interaction between the two age groups? They can't.

I have found that most young people are hungry for involvement from the older folks. They are starving for the guidance they offer. Sometimes older folks get self-centered when they don't involve themselves with the younger and the younger get misled without the same. A strong, well balanced church will and must have close interaction between the older and younger. Today's evangelical churches would benefit greatly by finding ways to cross over the gap developing under the surface. Larger churches have to work even harder at this.

Here are some small suggestions to help:
You could bring an elderly mature christian into your Sr. High Sunday School class to give their testimony. Pass a prayer request sheet to your Jr. High kids and give the list to a senior adult class and ask them to pray for the kids. Get a group of kids together and visit a convalescent home. Visit them at Christmas time and sing them some carols. There are hundreds of ways that we can bridge the generation gap. Don't let your pastor strive to do it on his own, trying to be Superman. That would be silly, to say the least.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Holy Spirit is a Mood ?

A. W. Tozer commented frequently on the condition of the church in his day. I have to wonder if he were around today what would his reaction be as he sees church after church cave-in to flirting with and trying desperatly to "dress up" for the neighbor's husband rather than her own husband–Christ. --KO
"Woe to the rebellious children," says the Lord, "who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin." --Isaiah 30:1

The continued neglect of the Holy Spirit by evangelical Christians is too evident to deny and impossible to justify....

In the Scriptures the Holy Spirit is necessary. There He works powerfully, creatively; here He is little more than a poetic yearning or at most a benign influence. There He moves in majesty, with all the attributes of the Godhead; here He is a mood, a tender feeling of good will....

The only power God recognizes in His church is the power of His Spirit whereas the only power actually recognized today by the majority of evangelicals is the power of man. God does His work by the operation of the Spirit, while Christian leaders attempt to do theirs by the power of trained and devoted intellect. Bright personality has taken the place of the divine afflatus.

-A. W. Tozer (God Tells the Man Who Cares, 108,110-111.)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Results & Relationships Trumps Truth

There is something strange going on in many churches today. Terminology and phrases have changed. Issues that were once preached with authority from our pastors have now been replaced by soft and easy soundbite pop-culture driven topics to make it more appealing to the "unchurched". It can be difficult to understand why so many things have seemed to change in our churches under the radar. This article by Paul Proctor can explain several of the primary reasons for much of what we see today in modern American churches.

A.W. Tozer on Entertainment in the Church


We don’t want God to work unless He can make a theatrical production of it. We want Him to come dressed in costumes with a beard and with a staff. We want Him to play a part according to our ideas. Some of us even demand that He provide a colorful setting and fireworks as well! (The Tozer Pulpit, Book 8, pp. 48-49)

Then there are some among us these days who have to depend upon truckloads of gadgets to get their religion going, and I am tempted to ask: What will they do when they don’t have the help of the trappings and gadgets? The truck can’t come along where they are going! (The Tozer Pulpit, Book 8, p. 50)

Entertainment Is a Symptom

This is the cause of a very serious breakdown in modern evangelicalism. The idea of cultivation and exercise, so dear to the saints of old, has now no place in our total religious picture. It is too slow, too common. We now demand glamour and fast flowing dramatic action. A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter, have our short devotions and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar.

The tragic results of this spirit are all about us: shallow loves, hollow religious philosophies, the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in religious externalities, quasi-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit. These and such as these are the symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul. (The Pursuit of God, pp. 62-63)

Pressure on Religious Leaders

Pastors and churches in our hectic times are harassed by the temptation to seek size at any cost and to secure by inflation what they cannot gain by legitimate growth. The mixed multitude cries for quantity and will not forgive a minister who insists upon solid values and permanence. Many a man of God is being subjected to cruel pressure by the ill-taught members of his flock who scorn his slow methods and demand quick results and a popular following regardless of quality. These children play in the marketplaces and cannot overlook the affront we do them by our refusal to dance when they whistle or to weep when they out of caprice pipe a sad tune. They are greedy for thrills, and since they dare no longer seek them in the theater, they demand to have them brought into the church. (The Next Chapter after the Last, p. 8)

-A.W. Tozer

More on entertainment in the church from Tozer coming soon...

The Church Should be Separate

The Church Should be Separate From The World

Phil Johnson writes: [In this sermon] Spurgeon responded to the notion - already prevalent in the mid-nineteenth century - that the way to win the world is to cater to worldly tastes. Churches were offering entertainments as a way of "reaching" the unreached. Preachers were adapting their messages in order to tone down the offense of the cross and reflect the prevailing "scholarship" of the times. Those who opposed these innovations and defended the unvarnished gospel (especially Spurgeon) were derided as harsh, unsophisticated, provincial, or brutish troublemakers. Sound familiar?
What's highly ironic here is that Spurgeon's message is still as relevant and as seasonable as the day he first said these words, but those in his era who were most keen on working hard to "be relevant" became a sad footnote in the history of the evangelical church. Few of them are remembered by name today, and not one of them is remembered primarily for any positive contribution they made to the growth of the church or the advancement of the gospel.
They were trying to get the church to adapt to modernist thought; lots of people in the church embraced this as a wonderful step forward; and modernist ideas finally left almost every major denomination in the world spiritually bankrupt before the middle of the twentieth century.
To add irony on top of irony, modernism is the very thing most Emergent types these days claim they are eager to purge from the church. They want the church to join the post-modern conversation on postmodernist grounds. While claiming to deplore modernism, they have adopted the old modernist agenda almost in toto. See how perfectly Spurgeon's plea applies to what is happening in the church today:


Wayne Raney may have been inadvertently prophetic when he penned these words to an old gospel song in the 50's: "We need a whole lot more of Jesus And A Lot Less Rock-n-Roll."

Do we need a lot less "Rock-n-Roll"? No doubt we need a whole lot more of Jesus! Don't get me wrong, I like R&R. I was raised on Larry Norman. But what is happening in our churches? Do we have too much show-time in our services and not enough of the basic, simple focus on the One whom it is all about?

Perhaps the church is entertaining too much and not teaching enough. I like what Charles Spurgeon asked; "...are we amusing goats or feeding sheep?"

I have some skeptical concerns about modern day trends in our churches. Os Guiness got me thinking about it and I can't get it off my mind. It's almost impossible to find one evangelical congregation that has not grasped the coat tails of The Purpose Drive Life, 40 Days of Purpose, Willow Creek Small Group methodology, Seeker Sensitivity, etc. Since when is God's will for individual churches "rubber-stamped" as a one size fits all methodology? C.H. Spurgeon would very likely say "never!".

I don't think it has to be so complicated. I grew up in a church that sang the old hymns, taught Biblical doctrine and theology and kept me on the right path. I mostly enjoyed Sunday night services as a youth. There was no entertainment, just straight forward Truth.

In 1 Corinthians 1:17 Paul said that Christ sent him to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none affect.
Maybe we are getting in the way with show-time. Let's point to the cross. Let's preach Christ crucified in the highways and the hedges and see what happens. Godspeed!

from KCO