The Emerging Church and The One Project? is a series of PowerPoint presentations asking the question if there is in fact a connection between the two. The purpose of the presentations are not to lambast those who want to lift Jesus up, but rather to allow leaders of the One Project to tell us in their own words (and the words of those promoting the project) what their goals and aspirations really are, and how these goals have been enacted in their past experiences.
Presentation 1 of 10 is a summary of the Emerging Church as defined on Wikipedia. This is a summary of the 17 page article found there which is taken from many leading proponents of the Emerging Church here in America.
Presentations 2 through 4 deal with Leonard Sweet, a leader in the Emerging Church movement and a professor at George Fox University, and many of the nearly 50 books he has authored which express his various viewpoints.
Presentations 5 through 9 deal with the five main leaders of The One Project, four of which graduated with or started DMin degrees from George Fox University under the mentorship of Leonard Sweet. In each presentation an objective look is taken at material in print telling of each leaders work and ministry up to 2012. The question will naturally follow; is this the direction we should be leading our young people in the Adventist Church?
Presentation 10 deals with the One Project gathering in Seattle, February of 2012, looking at the claims of the Project “Jesus. All” and comparing this to what really took place at the gathering. Yes, there was some good points made, and we need to lift Jesus up, but…. We also take a look at a little of the evidence suggesting The One Project is a response to GYC.
For a fully interactive edition of all 10 presentations with video clips, contact: email@example.com
My study into the emerging church started when a pastor back East asked if I knew anything about “The One Project”. When I began to study into the history of the Project and those who started the movement, I was led to enquire about the Emerging Church and its teachings and history. I found that it deals with much more than just “spiritual formation” and “centering prayer.”
The Emerging church is described in Wikipedia, taking 10 pages with 71 references. It is a good summary based on many of the books written by those in the movement itself. All of the following quotes from this web site are taken form quotes of those in the Emerging Church movement, or those who have studied into the movement in an academic research setting. There is much more to the Emerging Church movement than Contemplative Prayer and Spiritual Formation.
“While emerging is a wider, informal, church-based, global movement, Emergent refers to an official organization, the Emergent Village, associated with Brian McLaren, and has also been called the ‘Emergent stream.’” Adventist here refers to Seventh-day Adventist. The reference is taken form Ryan Bell’s blog, pastor of the Hollywood Church who is very much a part of the Emerging Church movement.
Conversation, simple story, narrative and missional, are all catch phrases of the Emerging Church. Some of the things they stand for are not wrong in and of themselves, like feeding the poor, helping the orphans, standing up for the underdog, etc. But for true Christianity, these activities are not an end in themselves. We will see later how Ellen White says “The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed, they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless.”
Some of the things they stand for are not wrong in and of themselves, like feeding the poor, helping the orphans, standing up for the underdog, etc. But for true Christianity, these activities are not an end in themselves. We will see later how Ellen White says “The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed, they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless.” Its not an either or. If we are living for the future, it should effect the way we are living now.
On the surface this sounds good, perhaps like the French revolution. Much of the sentiment behind it was rebelling against false forms of religion in Europe during the period of the dark ages. But there were also elements of rebelling against God and any restraint against human passion.
Propositional teaching methods would be preaching with the assumption that you had truth to share or knew the meaning of a certain passage and where presenting it as such. “Attractional understanding of mission” means seeking to attract others to Jesus by telling them that we are sinners and in need of a savior and that Christ is the only way.
This is Key. SO you hold a weekend gathering. Have some general presentation, and then facilitate dialogue. So Bible truth is not proclaimed but dialogue encouraged and “holy spirit” leads people to “Jesus” on “their own terms.” Yes, God wants us to come and reason together, but based on His truth not our “terms”. Those in the emerging church movement have their own “Dogma.”
Evangelism as required by the third angel’s message would be considered “proselytizing.”
Not only does each individual interpret the Bible based on his own culture but then these ideas are shared with others. Very ecumenical in nature. “Let none cherish the idea that special providences or miraculous manifestations are to be the proof of the genuineness of their work or of the ideas they advocate. When persons will speak lightly of the word of God, and set their impressions, feelings, and exercises above the divine standard, we may know that they have no light in them.” (MB 146)
Who defines “movement toward Christ” and which “Christ” are we talking about.
What do they mean by non-critical. Then people can gather and dialog and have a “conversation” in a safe environment and no one can disagree.
The quote above continues: “Thus the meaning of the Good Samaritan is more important than the Ten Commandments - even assuming that the latter could be remembered in any detail by anyone.”
Presenting the idea that there is a broad way and a strait way would be classified as “confrontational evangelism”.
Religion being a creed or set beliefs, spirituality more of an experience not necessarily based on doctrine.
Read Great Controversy chapter 27 “Modern Revivals”, and Chapters 29 -34: “The Origin of Evil,” “Enmity Between Man and Satan,” “Agency of Evil Spirits,” “Snares of Satan,” “The First Great Deception,” “Can the Dead Speak to Us? (Spiritualism).” These chapters give us insight into what is taking place today in the world and in our church.
We will look at just one contrast between Emerging Church ideas and Jesus’ Methods.Contrast what Bible teaches with Emerging Church idea of mission/EvangelismLuke 4:18-19 Jesus was preaching at Nazareth, quoted from Isa. 61:1-2. Didn’t say Lord sent me to have “conversations”. Jesus did have conversations. Read John 3 and 4, women at the well and Nichodimas. Didn’t talk about the weather and the latest Greek games (Olympics). The mission was blended to meet both physical and spiritual needs. All these phrases can apply to both.  (2097) Greek= to announcegood news (“evangelize”) especially the gospel: - declare, bring (declare, show) glad (good) tidings, preach (the gospel). Jesus preached good news of salvation which is the fact that He will save people from sin. What’s sin, who’s a sinner, what are the wages, how do we escape the wages. Heal or make whole: the emotions, the body physically, and the mind spiritually.  (2784) to herald (as a public crier), especially divine truth (the gospel): - preach (-er), proclaim, publish. Word for “blind” can be mean both physical or spiritual. (2784) Used the word Preach 3 times.  Acceptable year denotes a prophetic message announcing arrival of Messiah, the 70 weeks prophecy, also hints at Jubilee year when captives set free.
Sermonizing speaks more of one who talks about Christianity/religion but doesn't live it.
EGW’s statement broken down. Found this article after 1st weeks presentation.
“The Dichotomous Model (below),” based on Greek Dualistic thinking, presents the steps in MH 143 as two competing Gospels: The “Social Gospel” and the “Everlasting Gospel” (not evangelical gospel). A mathematician would call this graph between the secular and the spiritual “inversely proportional.” This means that the closer you get to the everlasting gospel—spiritual end—the further you get from the social end, and vice versa.
Jesus method was that all aspects of his ministry where centered around leading people to the cross. If people came to Him and asked outright what they must do to be saved (number 4) Jesus would tell them. If people where not open to His teachings right away He would spend time socializing, sympathizing and serving, with the purpose of opening up opportunities to lead them to salvation. In our next presentation we will look at a leading spokesman for the Emerging Church movement—Leonard Sweet.
Emerging Church: “is a Christian movement of
the late 20th and early 21st centuries that crosses
a number of theological boundaries: participants
can be described as Protestant, post-Protestant,
catholic, evangelical, post-evangelical, liberal,
post-liberal, conservative, post-conservative,
anabaptist, adventist, reformed, charismatic,
neocharismatic, and post-charismatic. “
“In the US, some Roman Catholics have also
begun to describe themselves as being part of the
“Stuart Murray states: „Emerging churches are
so disparate there are exceptions to any
generalisations. Most are too new and too fluid
to clarify, let alone assess their significance.
There is no consensus yet about what language
to use: 'new ways of being church'; 'emerging
church'; 'fresh expressions of church'; 'future
church'; 'church next'; or „the coming church‟.”
“Proponents believe the movement transcends such
„modernist‟ labels of „conservative‟ and „liberal,‟
calling the movement a „conversation‟ to emphasize
its developing and decentralized nature, its vast
range of standpoints [beliefs], and its commitment to
“What those involved in the conversation mostly
agree on is their disillusionment with the organized
and institutional church and their support for the
deconstruction of modern Christian worship,
modern evangelism, and the nature of modern
“The emerging church favors the use of simple story
“Members of the movement often place a high
value on good works or social activism,
including missional living. While some
Evangelicals emphasize eternal salvation,
many in the emerging church emphasize the
here and now.”
“Gibbs and Bolger interviewed a number of
people involved in leading emerging churches
and from this research have identified some
core values in the emerging church, including
desires to imitate the life of Jesus; transform
secular society; emphasize communal living;
welcome outsiders; be generous and creative;
and lead without control.”
“Emerging Christians began to challenge the
modern church on issues such as: institutional
structures, systematic theology, propositional
teaching methods, a perceived preoccupation
with buildings, an attractional understanding
of mission, professional clergy, and a perceived
preoccupation with the political process and
unhelpful jargon („Christian-ese‟).”
“As a result, some in the emerging church
believe it is necessary to deconstruct modern
Christian dogma. One way this happens is by
engaging in dialogue, rather than proclaiming
a predigested message, believing that this
[dialogue] leads people to Jesus through the
Holy Spirit on their own terms.”
“The emerging church movement contains a
great diversity in beliefs and practices,
although some have adopted a preoccupation
with sacred rituals, good works, and political
and social activism. Much of the Emerging
Church movement has also adopted the
approach to evangelism which stressed peerto-peer dialogue rather than dogmatic
proclamation and proselytizing.”
“A plurality of Scriptural interpretations is
acknowledged in the emerging church
movement. Participants in the movement
exhibit a particular concern for the effect of the
modern reader's cultural context on the act of
interpretation echoing the ideas of postmodern
“Some emerging church leaders see interfaith
dialogue a means to share their narratives as
they learn from the narratives of others.”
“A Christian is then defined by their focus and
movement toward Christ rather than a limited
set of shared beliefs and values.”
“Teachers in the Emerging Church tend to
view the Bible and its stories through a lens
which they believe finds significance and
meaning for their community's social and
personal stories rather than for the purpose of
finding cross-cultural, propositional absolutes
regarding salvation and conduct.”
“The emerging church claims they are creating
a safe environment for those with opinions
ordinarily rejected within modern conservative
evangelicalism and fundamentalism. Noncritical, interfaith dialog is preferred over
dogmatically-driven evangelism in the
movement. Story and narrative replaces the
“The bible is no longer a principal source of
morality, functioning as a rulebook. The
gradualism of postmodernity has transformed
the text into a guide, a source of spirituality, in
which the power of the story as a moral
reference point has superseded the didactic
[instruction or teaching].”
“Those in the movement do not engage in
aggressive apologetics or confrontational
evangelism in the traditional sense, preferring
to encourage the freedom to discover truth
through conversation and relationships with
the Christian community.”
“This can involve everything from expressive,
neocharismatic style of worship and the use of
contemporary music and films to more ancient
liturgical customs and eclectic expressions of
spirituality, with the goal of making the church
gathering reflect the local community's tastes.”
“Emerging church practitioners are happy to take
elements of worship from a wide variety of historic
traditions, including traditions of the Catholic
Church, the Anglican churches, the Orthodox
churches, and Celtic Christianity. From these and
other religious traditions emerging church groups
take, adapt and blend various historic church
practices including liturgy, prayer beads, icons,
spiritual direction, the labyrinth, and lectio divina.
The Emerging Church is also sometimes called the
“One of the key social drives in Western Postindustrialized countries, is the rise in new/old
forms of mysticism. … Therefore, the Emerging
Church is operating in a new context of
postmodern spirituality, as a new form of
mysticism. … many people now believe in and are
searching for something more spiritual
(postmodern view). This has been characterized as
a major shift from religion to spirituality.”
“[T]he Emerging Church Movement is seeking to
missionally assist people to shift from being
spiritual tourists to Christian pilgrims. Many are
drawing on ancient Christian resources
recontextualised into the contemporary such as
contemplation and contemplative forms of prayer,
symbolic multi-sensory worship, story telling and
many others. This again has required a change
in focus as the majority of unchurched and
dechurched people are seeking 'something that
works' rather than something that is „true‟. ”
World wide movement
Involves all of Christendom and other religions
Includes some in Seventh-day Adventist Church
Has many good sounding stated values and goals
Represents those with vast difference in beliefs
Seeks to find agreement on key points
Moving from authority of Scripture to narratives
Culture and experience rather than absolute truth
Moves from Biblical organization to individualism
Worship combines old & new forms of mysticism
Brings about change through “Conversations” etc.
Involves much more than Contemplative Prayer, etc.
Separates mission work from gospel message
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he hath anointed me to preach the
gospel to the poor;
he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
to preach deliverance to the captives,
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty them that are bruised,
to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
“Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching
the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who
desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them,
ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then
He bade them, „Follow Me.‟“
“There is need of coming close to the people by personal
effort. If less time were given to sermonizing, and more time
were spent in personal ministry, greater results would be
seen. The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the
sorrowing and the bereaved comforted, the ignorant
instructed, the inexperienced counseled. We are to weep
with those that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice.
Accompanied by the power of persuasion, the power of
prayer, the power of the love of God, this work will not,
cannot, be without fruit.” (Ministry of Healing, p. 143)
(May-Ellen Colón, “Once a Month Jesus Comes and Holds my Hand,” Elders Digest, Dec.
2011, pp. 26-27; http://www.eldersdigest.org/assets/archives/ED%20Q4%202011.pdf)