When this issue of the FGB arrived, still fresh in my mind was the discussion of about slippery slopes and a statement that Centuri0n made in the comments. He said, "My point in posting both kinds of slippery slopes (valid and invalid) is that you can make the slippery slope argument if your cause-and-effect chain is solid." I had been mulling those thoughts over and wondered how it applied to the "Emergent Church" debate.
The theme of the Fall 2006 issue of FGB is "Backsliding" and one of the articles (written by Joel R. Beeke and taking from his book Backsliding: Its Disease and Cure) was titled "Signs of Backsliding Churches". It seems to me that this article very clearly lays out a solid chain of cause-and-effect that bolsters a valid slippery slope argument against the "Emergent Church."
The content of the article will be posted in a seven part series. See if you agree that "Emergent" doesn’t start to seem an awful lot like "Backsliding." - Isaiah 5:20
SIGNS OF BACKSLIDING CHURCHES
And my people are bent to backsliding from me - Hosea 11:7
IS THE PRESENT-DAY CHURCH following the Word and ways of the Lord and abhorring all that is otherwise? Is the fear of God, the love for truth and for God’s glory, and the desire to walk according to all God’s commandments prospering among God’s church? Before God and men, we must confess that, honestly, the answer is no. True, there may still be some outward truth, outward growth, and even outward spiritual privileges to an extent that the church of former ages scarcely possessed. But Israel could claim the same things- outward truth, outward growth, outward privileges- and yet they were backsliding...
A church tends to slide from a strong foundation. Therefore, God calls His church to be aware of how backsliding begins, how it thrives, and how it ends. We must be acquainted with Satan’s devices and methodical plans to bring the church into an abominable, backsliding condition. Under the light of the Holy Spirit, the history of Israel and the church reveals a clear pattern of step-by-step backsliding, a pattern we will consider in closer detail.
1. When the church begins to backslide, the first visible sign is usually an increase in worldliness.
2. Worldliness bend the church towards further backsliding and into a hardening condition of unbelief.
3. Unbelief leads the church to backslide further into a hardened condition of indifference.
4. Indifference produces its close companion on the road of backsliding: ignorance.
5. Spiritual and intellectual ignorance of the truth leads to the fatal plague of spiritual deadness in the church.
6. Spiritual deadness bends backsliding into man-centeredness.
7. This brings us to the last step of a backsliding church: man-centeredness yields the fruits of an unholy or no holy expectation from God.