This post is…by far…the most difficult I have ever written. By publishing it I know that I will receive much flack…quite a few flaming emails…and lose some dear friends…including some within my own congregation. However, I learned a long time ago that:
- Silence is support.
- If you don’t stand for something…you’ll fall for anything.
- There are hills in which to die on.
Before I begin, please know that this piece has taken almost six weeks to write. Before that I spent many months in prayer…and God’s Word trying to discern things. I also have been blessed by receiving counsel from Godly pastors, missiologists and theologians from around the United States. They know who they are…and I thank them for taking my calls and responding to my emails.
For the last several years the church I pastor (Compass Point) and I have been mistakenly lumped in with the Emergent movement. It may be because Compass Point puts so much emphasis in missional, servant outreach…or it could be because I’m an occasional contributor to Next Wave. I have never been comfortable with us having the Emergent tag, though I did little to discourage it. I had always maintained a “live and let live” mentality when it came to my concerns about Emergent’s theological stance. I can no longer do that.
Recently two fairly emerging church plants have ceased functioning in an official capacity. These were made up of mostly young to mid 20-somethings that had theological leanings toward a more liberal and Emergent doctrine. As a result of these two communities of faith dissolving, some of the participants began coming to Compass Point. With them came a universalistic doctrine that they attempted to convey in every situation that was presented to them. For the first time the leaders of Compass Point and I had to deal directly with the illness that is the doctrinal beliefs of those that align with the Emergent movement.
I’m all for a healthy theological debate…however I will not even begin to entertain a discussion into the integrity and validity of God’s Word. The truth is that not everyone will see the gates of Heaven…and Hell is real. Our repentance of sin and acceptance of Christ our Savior…by the grace of God…is the only way out of eternal damnation. Any teachings to the contrary is…heresy.
For a while now the leadership of Compass Point and I have been able to sit on the sidelines of the Emergent debate. While there was much that we disagreed with theologically…there were also many Emergent things that we did when it came to outreach and missions. I think there was certain “frog in the kettle” scenario for us…while we were bothered by statements and books by some of Emergent’s leadership…it was not to a crescendo that really rocked our world.
That all changed last year when many of the main “voices” of Emergent began to get a little louder with their universalism stance. It began to show up in books they were writing, magazines they contributing to, in interviews they were conducting, in videos they were producing and in keynote speeches they were giving. They would be very subtle in the way they would drop it in…while talking about social justice, inequality and missional outreach. It was almost “smoke and mirror”-like…an old magician’s trick to divert your attention away from what was really happening. It would be something as simple and unassuming as, “God isn’t mad…God is love…He doesn’t want you to feel guilty about the sin in your life…and oh, by the way…everyone is saved no matter what they believe…they just don’t know it”. Universalism. Heresy.
It is not my place to name names or expose those “voices” of Emergent. They do not fall under my accountability…nor do I have access to them. However, their heretical views and false teachings have now been brought into the field of the Compass Point flock…and it IS my job to protect the sheep. The Elders of Compass Point and I can no longer sit silently by. We have decided to take stand. The following things have been implemented at Compass Point:
- For the first time in our history we now have a Constitution & Bylaws with a comprehensive Statement Of Faith.
- Our small groups are being revamped in order to protect the doctrinal integrity of God’s Word. Resources by authors, pastors or speakers aligning with Emergent will no longer be used.
- We have a much better mentoring strategy and program in place for our up-and-coming leaders.
- There is greater accountability and training in place for those that preach or teach the Word of God at Compass Point.
- Only literal translations of the Bible will be used in the preaching and teaching of God’s Word at Compass Point. Our sword of choice…English Standard Version (ESV).
- Our Sunday messages will occasionally be topical-based series…but will mainly be expository in nature. We have already been doing this for some time…but we have now made a more “official” stance of it.
- We are in the process of having our church listing removed from websites or publications that have ties to Emergent. We are also in the process of disassociating ourselves from networks or alliances that are affiliated with Emergent
- This post was added to my blog to be a public statement that Compass Point Church and Chris Elrod is not affiliated in any way, shape or form with Emergent.
There will be those that will criticize the steps we have taken. So be it. There will be those that will choose not to fellowship with us. We can accept that. There will also be those that will say that this blog post was not needed because Emergent has no official theological stance. That’s a crock! Those that speak for you…define you…and what you believe. Others will say that we’re being legalistic. It’s not legalistic to believe that “theology” contradictory to the Word of God is wrong. Finally, there will be those that say that we’re judging. No…it’s called discernment…and it’s Biblical. It’s what we’re suppose to do as the shepherds of the flock that God has entrusted us with.