The Confessing Movement is very encouraging, a bright spot in the sea of End Times apostasy. It consists primarily of individuals attending mainline churches.
Following is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on “the Confessing Movement”, found here (Wikipedia is probably not the most accurate source). I have emphasized points by bolding and added comments in [brackets].
Here is the Wikipedia excerpt:
“The Confessing Movement is an Evangelical movement [primarily] within … mainline Protestant denominations to return those churches to what the members of the movement see as theological orthodoxy.
It relates and cross pollinates with other conservative Christian movements such as Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Holiness groups, Anabaptists, and Fundamentalists. Its members have a stated commitment to remain in their home denominations, unless forced out, to stay and work for reform from within, in contrast to what they see as other modern reform movements that splintered Protestantism into thousands of denominations. They acknowledge that full reform of their churches may not be achieved. Of particular concern to those in the Confessing movement has been a perceived lack of concern for, or non-evangelical approaches to, evangelism, to the deity of Christ, to questions of sexuality and homosexuality in particular.”
I found several denominational lists of Confessing Movements:
1) In the Wikipedia article mentioned above, there are sections dealing with Confessing Movements in the following denominations:
4.4 Church of the Brethren
4.6 United Church of Christ
Read through each of the above sections, and you will find a number of links to related websites for each denomination.
2) The Association for Church Renewal website provides links to the following denominational Confession Movements:
American Baptist Church
Anglican Communion Episcopal Church
Church of the Brethren
Disciples of Christ Christian Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church In America (ELCA)
Presbyterian Church USA
United Church of Canada
United Church of Christ
United Methodist Church
4) Finally, the longest list, at Wikinoah.org. Note the following comment in this article: “each mainline denomination has within it a Confessing Movement or renewal movement which is more conservative in tone.”
Here is the list of mainline denominations (I am searching for the Confessing Movement websites for each of these denominations):
- American Baptist Churches USA 1,442,824 members (2001)
- Armenian Apostolic Church / Catholicossate of Cilicia
- Armenian Apostolic Church / Catholicossate of Etchmiadzin
- Assyrian Church of the East 120,000 members (1989)
- Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 804,842 members (2001)
- Congregational Christian Churches, (not part of any national CCC body)
- Dutch Reformed Church 9,395 members (2001)
- Eastern Orthodox Church: American Diocese
- Episcopal Church in the United States of America
- Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 5,099,877 members (2001)
- International Council of Community Churches 200,263 members (2000)
- Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
- Metropolitan Community Church 44,000 members (1998)
- Moravians (religion) in America, Alaska Province
- Moravians (religion) in America, Northern Province 24,650 members (2003)
- Moravians (religion) in America, Southern Province 21,513 members (1991)
- National Association of Congregational Christian Churches 65,569 members (2000)
- North American Baptist Conference
- Presbyterian Church (USA) 3,455,952 members (2001)
- Reformed Church in America 285,453 members (2001)
- Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
- United Church of Christ 1,359,105 members (2001)
- United Methodist Church 8,298,145 members (2001)
Perhaps the Confessing Movement can provide us with a working model for how to deal with Spiritual Formation and the Emerging/ Emergent Church movements. We should examine the Confessing Movement groups more closely, to see how they have organized themselves and spoken out in protest against their denominations. (I am still trying to locate specific Confessing Movement criticisms of Spiritual Formation and the Emerging/Emergent Church movements; the criticisms located so far have used more general terms, such as “the deity of Christ”, “biblical inerrancy”, etc.)
Up to this point, I have recommended leaving any denomination that is getting swallowed up in Spiritual Formation and the Emerging/Emergent Church movements. One problem with this approach, however, is as follows. Suppose one leaves an Emerging Church (Emerging Churches still retain at least some biblical doctrines). As concerned Christians continue leaving an Emerging Church, it eventually becomes Emergent (aka Liberalism 2.0) – no biblical attenders are left.
On the other hand, if one remains in a Spiritual Formation/Emerging/Emergent church with a FAMILY, he risks exposing his family members to false teachings which will very likely lead them away from biblical Christian faith. My best advice for those with families, under these circumstances, would be to pray, pray, pray about whether you should stay or leave. Consider factors such as your spiritual strength, the spiritual strength of your spouse, and the spiritual strength of your children (as well as their ages).
There are individuals whose Christian faith grows when confronted; they are tried and tested and end up maturing when their pastors try to present false teachings. This was the case for me. During my “single years,” I attended several churches that were biblically sound at one point. As they changed and started falling into apostasy, I felt led to study their doctrinal errors; I eventually moved on to more biblically sound churches. I can honestly say I am a more mature, knowledgeable, discerning Christian for having attended all of these churches. And, hopefully I can help others encountering similar false teachings in their churches.
FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
(I’m looking for more recent publications)
The Rebirth of Orthdoxy: Signs of New Life in Christianity, by Thomas C. Oden (2002), pp. 140-153 (click on the TITLE to read online)
The Remnant Spirit: Conservative Reform in Mainline Protestantism,
by Douglas E. Cowan (2003)(click on the TITLE to read online)
In Googling for more info, I also found two less common terms for the Confessing Movement: “Renewal Movement” and “Remnant Movement.”