Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Separate And Unequal

In my last three articles, I stressed the importance of confronting Emergents with their need for salvation. They are not Christians. They pass themselves off as Christians and some think they are. In the Emergent we see the approval of all sorts of sin, the denial of the substitutionary atonement, the denial of God's creation order expressed in gender roles, etc. But the initial doctrinal problem from which all these other things flow is the denial of biblical doctrine and truth.

Another problem with which real believers need to come to grips is how we ought to relate to Emergents. Currently, the Evangelical church is sinning greatly in that we include Emergents in our numbers. We have no business doing that. It poisons our people and deludes the naive among the Emergents into thinking they aren't under the wrath of God.

Read what God says about unbelievers in the assembly of believers:

14Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?

15Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?

16Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,

17"Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord.
And I will welcome you.

18"And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,"
Says the Lord Almighty.
II Cor 6:14-18.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins


Monday, January 29, 2007



In the first two parts of this series on evanglizing Emergents, we started with two questions aimed at pointing out the differences between normal, logical thinking and Emergent thinking and between Bible-based thinking and Emergent thinking.

The first question was "Is there such a thing as a right answer?" This question is designed to point to the basic fallacy of Emergent thought. Pretend you're an Emergent and your car develops bad brakes. Stopping is a problem. While thinking about your car you realize there is something wrong with your car. This implies your car could be right and when you take it to your mechanic, you expect to pay him hundreds of dollars to find out what is wrong. You want him to find the right answers to the questions "What is wrong with my brakes?" and "What has to be done to fix them?" However, as an Emergent, when you stop thinking about your car, and begin to think about world view questions it is like a switch is flipped. You have to stop thinking rationally and begin to think in terms that exclude right (rational) answers. Obviously, this is a trick we all pull on ourselves from time to time to avoid dealing with spiritual realities. When asked the first question, the Emergent and your hearers have a chance to realize just how stupid it is to think that way. And I'm not being mean here when I call it "stupid." It's really stupid. Even if the Emergents dares to answer "no" he's claiming there's a right answer to that question.

The second question is "Does the Bible have the right to tell you how to think?" Keep the "you" in there. This is to be applied personally. The main point of this question is the stop the Emergent or your hearers from excusing themselves from the truth claims of Scripture. If the Emergent admits "yes" he is in your hands. If he says "no," then you have just short circuited one of his main debate weapons. An Emergent will often quote Scripture to make a point against a believer, but will deflect Scriptural points of argument with the excuse that the Scripture is not all that propositional, inerrant, or authoritive. This takes that argument away from him either way he answers. If "yes," his excuses are gone. If "no," he can no longer legitimately argue anything from Scripture because if it is not binding on him, it is not binding on you. And your hearers will be alerted to what an Emergent really thinks.

In the second part we discussed the necessity to confront the Emergent with the fact that he is not a believer and with the reality of the gospel. This is extremely important for your hearers to hear and understand, too, since the Emergents always pretend to be Christians, and some think they are. If you can establish that, you can present the gospel, if not to the Emergent, to your hearers.

In this third article I want to go into some easy reasoning aimed at establishing the fact that the Emergent is not a believer. This will help you in your confrontation with the fact that he is not a believer and with the presentation of the gospel as something that really is true and something he has to deal with. Even if he is a believing Type III Emergent (see Part II) assume he is not saved for his sake and for the sake of your hearers. I cannot emphasize the importance of truthful confrontation enough. It will be very shocking to the Emergent and many, if not all, of your hearers to hear you say the Emergent is not a believer. However, the Emergent quotes I will give you in this article will help you establish just that fact. This is so important that when an Emergent calls me a brother, I gently tell him we are not brothers, because we believe very different things. I'm a believer in the gospel and he is not. Don't be arrogant, but don't shy about this, either. First, it is the truth. Second, it is just shocking enough to many that the debate will begin in earnest. He will not leave until some resolution is reached or until he or you have to go for other considerations. He will argue with you all the way home that evening in his head. He may even lose sleep. Pray for his conviction.

To establish the difference between Emergent thinking and biblical faith, you will need to be able to quote a number of Emergent leaders. Their own words will expose them when contrasted to Scripture.

One of my favorite quotes from Emergents is Donald Miller's "If we hold that Jesus wanted us to 'believe' certain ideas or 'do' certain things in order to be a Christian, we are holding to heresy." Then quote John 3:16. Ask who is right, Jesus or Miller. According to Miller, are we supposed to believe anything to be Christians? According to Jesus, are we supposed to believe anything to be Christians? Would you say that someone who doesn't believe anything is a believer? Ask these questions and let the Emergent slowly work through them. Even if he is stubborn and simply tries to double talk his way around it, he will demonstrate to all your hearers that he is lying to get out of the facts. And you will be laying the ground work for presenting the gospel to them.

Here are some other quotes that you may use in a similar way and a suggested question or two to follow up:

1. "Emergent doesn't have a position on absolute truth, or on anything for that matter." --Tony Jones, director of Emergent Village(1). According to John 3:16, would Jesus ask His followers to take a position on some things? According to Tony Jones, does the Emergent take a position on anything? Then is the Emergent believing what Jesus told us to believe? Then, since they are not following Christ, are they Christian?

2. "If we hold that Jesus wanted us to 'believe' certain ideas or 'do' certain things in order to be a Christian, we are holding to heresy." --Donald Miller, popular Emergent author(2). Did Jesus ask Nicodemus in John 3:16 to "believe certain things?" Who's right? Miller or Jesus?

3. "...if you’ll simply confess you that you’re a sinner and believe in Jesus you’ll be saved from the torment of eternal hellfire, then go to heaven when you die..." is a statement that Erwin McManus actually makes fun of. Erwin McManus --popular Emergent author, speaker, and pastor(3). Do you think the Bible wants us to believe that Jesus died to save us from hell? Who's right, God or McManus?

I hope this helps in your efforts to work with these people.

In any case, remember to start with the two questions, confront them with the truth of the gospel, and confront them with the contrast between the truth and the Emergent.

ONE LAST REMINDER: Confront, but confront gently as you are no better than an Emergent. You're just saved.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

(1)See http://theoblogy.blogspot.com/2005/11/national-youth-workers-convention.html
(2)See http://www.donaldmillerwords.com/searching.php
(3)McManus, Erwin; The Barbarian Way; Nelson Books; Nashville, TN; 2005; ISBN 0-7852-6432-9; page 32.


Friday, January 19, 2007



In my last post I pointed out two very quick questions to ask an Emergent. These are not trick questions. They are designed to get rid of the clutter of the debate/conversation and get right to the point. And remember these questions may be more for those listening around you than for the Emergent himself.

There are three different types of Emergents as far as I can tell. Type I is the Emergent leader. This is the fellow who has begun teaching the Emergent doctrine formally or informally. He will be very unlikely to respond to the gospel. Don't be afraid to engage him in debate. Indeed, do so. It will enlighten those around you and sharpen you. Just be ready for LOTS OF ANGER, even threats headed your way.

Type II is the unsaved Emergent believer. This is someone who is religious, but not regenerate. He enjoys the Emergent because it allows him to be "Christian," but continue in all sorts of sinful activity or denial of biblical doctrine. He is convinced this is the way to go. Hence, I call him an Emergent believer.

Type III is the church goer who has fallen into the Emergent heresy because of a lack of biblical depth. Just as they are shallow in their understanding of Scriptural doctrine, they have never really thought out the ramifications of Emergent thought. It was probably brought into their life by a bad teacher or friend as the latest Christian fad. Currently, the Evangelical church is filled with people who believe God is love and not much else. They are prime candidates for the Emergent Obfuscation. It sounds so good and so tolerant. In fact, it may not sound much different from what they may be hearing from the pulpit on most Sunday mornings. He may or may not be regenerate, but is truly deceived at this point in his life. Asking the two questions really helps this guy. Let them sink in and take their effect. It may take only a few minutes or he may go home and think it over. At this point you may need to quote a few Emergent authors to show the contrast. I will give some examples of Emergent quotes in my next post. Then the gospel can be presented to him.

Whatever kind of Emergent you are confronting, use the two questions. The Type I will argue and argue, even refuse to leave you alone sometimes. He will hate the two questions, because he knows the trouble he is in if he answers. Ask them anyway for your hearers. The Type II will just disengage unless the Holy Spirit is convicting him. He has no real ax to grind. He will just leave and go his way. The Type III will be spurred to think.

After, the two questions, you must confront the Emergent with the fact that he is not a believer. This will be shocking to him. He may get angry. He has probably never heard anyone tell him that. Do it in a very matter of fact way, not angry. You are only doing this because he needs to know so that he can repent, not to tell him off or win an argument. If you suspect he is a Type III, suggest that perhaps he is not a believer and go over the gospel. At each point of the presentation, ask him if he really believes that point is objectively true. At the end ask for a commitment to repent of all false doctrine and known sin. Either way, if he is saved or not, he needs to repent, get out of the Emergent, and start reading, believing, and obeying the gospel.

If the Emergent is a Type II and he has stuck around after the two questions, you can be sure that he is being convicted. Show him that he is not a believer by contrasting Emergent thought with Scriptural demands to believe the gospel. Then go for it. Give him the gospel.

If the Emergent is a Type I and still arguing, give the gospel anyway. If you have listeners they will hear. Remember, the Type I will get really mad. Don't you do that. Just remain calm and give the gospel as lovingly as possible.

In all three cases, remember to give the gospel and emphasize the objective reality of his sin, his future in hell under the wrath of God, and special emphasis on the objective reality of God's love for him. How real the blood was as it dripped from the cross, down Jesus' beard, and poured out the hole in His side. Remind him that it dried on ground and was walked on. Ask the Emergent if he thinks Jesus really died for him with real blood.

In any case, be sure to remember that you, the two questions, and the confrontation with truth won't save anybody. You must rely on the power of God through the gospel. Pray a lot. You will be in hard ground.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007



Okay, they can answer these questions. They just don't like to.

I started using these two questions with an anonymous commentor that defended Donald Miller. As you may know, Miller says we need not believe anything to be a Christian, and if you think you have to believe something to be a Christian, you're a heretic. (So, I guess you DO have to believe that you DON'T have to believe...? anything?... Right?) After some back-and-forth I finally asked this anonymous commentor these two questions:

1. Is there such a thing as a right answer?

2. Does the Bible have the right to tell you how to think?

It took at least three times to get him to answer even one of the questions. And it made him really angry. Recently I have had the chance to ask those questions in a forum where the interaction is recorded. It happened in the comment thread at Pulpit Magazine. To read it, go to the article entitled "Continuing To Fight The War On Error."

There I met a fellow who called himself "Whyte Stonne." He's 51. After some goings-on about the authority and inerrancy of Scripture--both things on which Whyte was not big (my Winston Churchill impression there!)--I asked these two questions. And asked. And asked. And asked. Four times already! Not only did he not answer them, he didn't even acknowledge the questions. Never did he even say, "I don't want to answer those questions." It's as if his eyes did not see them on the page. Three of my comments to him had nothing on them except the questions or the request for Whyte to answer the questions. Each time his answer was lengthy and without any mention of the questions. He talked about the kenosis briefly, he cyber-snooped and put together what he thought was my life's story followed by a pop-psychoanalysis of my personality, he talked about his life, he talked about some cattle man he knew from Montana, he talked about being from California, he talked about his education, my education, his financial state of affairs, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...

Each time I asked, he talked...about everything...but the questions.

Here is why a postmodern masquerading as a Christian (an Emergent) cannot answer these questions: Accountability--behavioral, and doctrinal.

If there is such a thing as a right answer, an Emergent cannot fall back on a supposed uncertainty to use like we used Xies when we were kids. And if an Emergent has to follow the Scripture instead of use it as a proof texting source for arguing with a believer, he/she will have to obey it. They aren't into that sort of thing. But I have found these two questions and ones like them break open the eyes so that listeners to the conversation, and sometimes even the Emergent himself, can realize just what the issue really is.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Working On A Curriculum

Just in case all three of my readers think I died, I didn't. Just busy out of my head. I am working on a curriculum for Just The Bible Academy. It will be three years and very intensive with the sole purpose of equipping men to preach and serve. It will be at least two years of Greek and two years of Hebrew. The first year the student will take Hebrew. The second year he will take Greek as well. The third year, the student will finish Greek.

After the first year, all work in specific Bible passages will not be done in English--only the originals!!!! More time will be spent in the OT than the NT, roughly in proportion to the volume of the two testaments.

Practicals will include weekly witnessing and street preaching. (You will be expected to work in the vineyard, not just drink the wine.)

Other than the languages, primary focus will be on Bible survey, exegesis, and hermeneutics. There will also be training in systematic theology and apologetics. The apologetics courses will include an introduction to Western philosophy and a complete biblical epistemology.

Pray for good teachers and accountability for me.

Here are some considerations if you want to consider Just The Bible Academy:

If you want to preach like Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles, join us.

If you are tired of being told to shut up about doctrine, join us.

If you are tired of being told to shut up about false teachers, join us.

If you are tired of being told it is impolite to directly confront false teaching, join us.

If you want to be a fool for Christ, join us.

If you want to be holy as He is holy, join us.

If you know you're a filthy sinner, join us.

If you are a man between the ages of 14 and 120, join us.

If you are sure the Bible is all you need to serve God, join us.

If you want to sacrifice for Christ, join us.

If you want to take part in the fellowship of His suffering, join us.

If you want to see folks get saved, join us.

If you are sick of the compromise in the church, join us.

If you want to think biblically, join us.

If you constantly wish, "I don't ever want to be this sinful again," join us.

If you will take correction, join us.

If you will give correction when it may end in your own disgrace, join us.

If you are willing to work your brains out, join us.

If you don't care about the things of this world, join us.

If you think every day about what you will lay at Jesus' feet when you meet Him, join us.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Announcement--Radically Biblical Discipleship

I am looking for one to six men that want to be discipled as Jesus discipled the apostles. Lots of time will be involved and completely holy living will be required. You will be required to witness weekly. You will learn both Hebrew and Greek. And you will study the Bible inside and out. It will be called the Just The Bible Academy.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.


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