Friday, January 19, 2007

EVANGELIZING EMERGENTS, Part II (OF III)

CONFRONTATIONS WITH TRUTH.

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.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Eddie said...

Phil,
I met a guy who started talking about "missional living", are you familiar with this term. It sounds cery emergent to me but have to do my reasearch..just wondering if you had run into this or not.
Thanks,
Eddie

1:42 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Eddie,
Yes, I've heard of it. It's hogwash. To understand what is meant by it, read the chapter of McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy called "Why I Am Missional. What is meant by it is to make nice things happen today by being nice to people. It has nothing to do with the gospel. Real Christians have started using it to mean evangleistic, but Emergents mean just the opposite--left wing social outcomes.

I am rushed right now, but will give you chapter and verse out of McLaren here in this comment thread tomorrow. Or if you have a copy, go to paged 115 and 113 and the first couple pages of that chapter.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins

7:18 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Eddy,
Here is the rest of that answer. I'm really going to be lazy here. Read these two articles (they are short): http://zitsemerge.blogspot.com/2006/07/why-i-am-not-missional-part-one.html and
http://zitsemerge.blogspot.com/2006/07/why-i-am-not-missional-part-two.html

You need to forget the page references in my last comment and just read the articles. I remembered wrong. That will explain the twisted way Emergents use the term "missional." It sounds good, but as McLaren makes plain it has nothing to do with the gospel.

In Christ,
Phil.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

This is the most idiotic, condescending post I've ever read. Do some research, then come talk to me.

6:44 AM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Rob,
Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. If you have a question, go ahead and ask. If you have an objection, go ahead and state it. What I won't let you do on this blog is simply spout pergoratives. If I'm wrong, tell me how. Then I will answer you in a civil way.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

6:55 AM  

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