The Emergent Church—an Evolutionary Hermeneutic?

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Many people have been perplexed on why the leaders of what’s called the emergent church movement believe and teach the way they do. The research we have done into the movement shows very clearly it is a result of using an evolutionary hermeneutic. And what do I mean by that? Because the leaders have accepted the secular belief in evolution, they then use this to interpret and understand Scripture. Here is emergent church leader Brian Mclaren in his own words:

If we believe that  the same God who created an evolving universe is revealed in an evolving  Bible, we can derive some fascinating insights from contemporary studies of  genetics.  Today’s chickens, it turns out, still have the genetic  information in their DNA that was used to produce long tails, scales and teeth  in their ancestors the dinosaurs.  During embryonic development, some of  those primitive dinosaur characteristics still manifest themselves in  chickens. (Human embryos similarly have stages where they sport gills and  tails, so it is said that our ontogeny recapitulates our phylogeny.)  We  might say that the Bible similarly retains a record of its own evolution, and  in our individual spiritual development we may personally recapitulate earlier  stages. This is a theme to which we will return in our last few chapters.  (McLaren, Brian D.,  A new kind of Christianity: ten questions that are transforming the  faith (New York: HarperOne, 2010), p. 273)
The above quote is from McLaren’s notes at the end of the book. In the section of Chapter 10 that this note refers to, McLaren uses the word “evolution” very loosely, but also uses evolutionary ideas. Mclaren states, “As human capacity grows to conceive of a higher and wiser view of God, each new vision is faithfully preserved in Scripture like fossils in layers of sediment” (p. 103). Really, both statements say it all—they sum up much of the emergent church theology.

How many people have not really understood that the emergent church really is an outgrowth of evolution applied to the Bible?

Again, such movements show clearly the importance of the Answers in Genesis’ biblical upholding ministry as we expose the scientific and theological problems with evolution and the church’s compromise with it.

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