Tuesday, January 16, 2007

EVANGELIZING EMERGENTS, Part I (OF III)

TWO QUESTIONS EMERGENTS CAN'T ANSWER.

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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10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whyte Stone had a great ability to answer everything but the real question. Love your questions, and I will remember them.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Thanks, Steve.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Steve,
You should know something I failed to cover in the article. I covered only the reasons Emergents hate to answer these questions "yes."

However, if an Emergent answers "no" to the Bible question, then you know you will make no progress with him, but it will also inform your hearers that the Emergent is not a believer. His cover is blown. That's why most will have to say "yes," to keep some sort of credibility.

And if the Emergent answers "no" to the question about right answers, then you can simply ask him to stop responding to your truth claims about Christ and the authority of Scripture. The reason is that he has already said "there is no such thing as a right answer." Ergo, even he has to admit that all his answers are not right. Say, "By your own admission then, none of your answers to me have been right. And you can't give me a correct answer to anything else I say. So since you aren't right, don't you think you should stop answering me?" (Or something along those lines.)

Don't say "wrong." Say "not right." That way he cannot slip by on the excuse that an answer may be neither right nor wrong, but somewhere in between. Use "not right."

Use these if they work for you and pass them along to other believers.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Mike Morrell said...

Soo...I guess comments were shut down on Pulpit Magazine? I don't know if you wanted to follow up on anything I said there; if so, would this be the place to?

1:42 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Mike,
Okay, I have two questions.....

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Which Emergents don't like to answer those questions. We're not idiots.

Answer 1: Yes
Answer 2: Yes

Anything else?

Rob

6:42 AM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Rob,
Let's take this one step at a time.

You said, "Which Emergents don't like to answer those questions."

Reread the article and the previous comments. I listed one and another appears on the comment thread. You're the first to answer these questions right away. However, even you have stayed true to the pattern in that you got really angry at me for asking. I have never seen an Emergent not get mad at these questions. So it's true that you folks hate these questions. There will be exceptions. I've just not found one yet.

You said, "We're not idiots." I didn't say you are. You are, however, in serious error. And if you buy the entire Emergent line you are actually in enough heresy to loose your soul.

You said, "Answer 1: Yes
Answer 2: Yes
Anything else?"

Absolutely. Since you think the Bible has the right to tell you how to think, you must leave the Emergent immediately for the following two reasons:

First, you must repent of all the false teaching involved in that movement. The Bible contradicts these teachings. If you wonder what teachings I am speaking of, simply read the article on Donald Miller or the one on John O'Keefe. O'Keefe was in April and Miller was in November. O'Keefe approves of sodomy, as does McLaren and others. Miller denies that we must believe the gospel to be Christians. If you track back on this comment thread you will find a Mike Morrell. He pushes an eclectic mix of eastern religion with Christianity. He called it "Biblical panentheism." These are just a few examples. Books have been written on the heretical things coming from the Emergent camp.

Second, you must leave the Emergent because the Bible makes it clear we are not to have fellowship with unbelievers and false teachers. We can associate with them in all other areas of life, just not spiritual fellowship with them.

Now if you do not wish to do these very biblical commands, you must understand that you answered the second question wrongly.

I await your polite, reasoned, biblical answer.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins. PS--Here are some biblical references to read: II John 10-11 and II Corinthians 6:14-18.

7:20 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

Firstly,

To answer 1:

There has to be absolute truth. If there's not, then there's no standard by which to make decisions. We should all revert to our Darwinian instincts and eliminate the weakest of our species.

Answer 2:

The Bible has that right, although it often doesn't. I think the better question, to get to the heart of your real questions, is do I think it's inerrant, infalliable etc. The answer there is no.

The Bible is our norming norm in the community of God. If your looking for literal answers I've got some questions for you.

1. I'd like to sell my eldest daughter into slavery, what would be a fair price?
2. The Bible claims the plants were created before the sun. Plants use photosynthesis to survive, how exactly did this work?
3. The Bible says that my hands shouldn't come into contact with Pig Skin. What about the Superbowl today?

You read much more into the Bible then what the text says about itself. It is profitable for Doctrine, reproof etc.

By the way, I do resent the Polite part of your comment. Politeness guised in condesension is not polite. It is you being a jerk, but not coming right out and saying it.

Rob

1:16 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Rob,
I will answer your questions and objections one at a time. Before I do that, you need to stop and think about your answer to number 2. Yes said "yes," idicating the Bible has the right to tell you how to think. But in this comment, as we shall see, you take that back and list instances in which the Bible should not be obeyed and reasons the Bible should not be obeyed--in your view.

Rob: There has to be absolute truth. If there's not, then there's no standard by which to make decisions. We should all revert to our Darwinian instincts and eliminate the weakest of our species.

ANSWER: Then you cannot be a good Emergent since absolute truth is denied. Tony Jones has said so publicly. Now, I know that the big wigs have started backing off that position because it is so easy to refute. However, they just seem to restate it in different terms. For instance, McLaren recently admitted truth exists, but countered with a claim that certainty does not. Two things are important here. First, though he has retreated from the silly position previously taken, the new position seems aimed at the same practical results. Second, the second position is as illogical as the first, coming under the same sort of rational criticisms. Namely, just as "There is not absolute truth," can be done away with by asking the speaker if he is absolutely sure, the same question can be asked of the man who states, "There is no certainty." Are you certain?

So if you really believe in absolute truth and its practical application to life, you are not in step with Emergent thought as defined publicly by your leaders. And you are defending the Emergent, right?

Rob: The Bible has that right (to tell one how to think), although it often doesn't.

ANSWER: No one asked you if it spoke to all men in all situations, and the fact that it does not is no evidence either for or against that right to speak authoritatively on those subjects it addresses.

Rob: I think the better question, to get to the heart of your real questions, is do I think it's inerrant, infalliable etc. The answer there is no.

ANSWER: Three things here: First, inerrancy was not the question and your preference of questions was not asked. Your giving it unprovoked proves my point--Emergents dislike these questions. Second, then your real answer to number two is no. You were not honest or you did not really think it all the way through. If you will not obey the Bible because you think it's wrong, you do not really believe it has the right to tell you how to think. After all, you think it's wrong. This is important for you to understand. You are disobedient to the Bible and it's not right that you go into churches and pretend to be a Christian obedient to the Lord. Third, if you insist the Bible has the right to tell you how to think and simultaneously wish to hold to a doctrinal position that portions of the Bible are not right, then you are left with the awful position that says you must obey error. Besides being an insane position, the Bible tells us to avoid error, so in obeying it you are disobeying it, as well.
Truly a conundrum.

Rob: The Bible is our norming norm in the community of God.

ANSWERS: Not a very good one, though, huh?

Rob: If your looking for literal answers I've got some questions for you.

1. I'd like to sell my eldest daughter into slavery, what would be a fair price?

ANSWER: Don't I'll call the cops.

Rob: 2. The Bible claims the plants were created before the sun. Plants use photosynthesis to survive, how exactly did this work?

ANSWER: Light was made before the plants. Exactly how did that work?

Rob: 3. The Bible says that my hands shouldn't come into contact with Pig Skin.

ANSWER: Actually, no, it doesn't.

Rob: What about the Superbowl today?

ANSWER: Have fun.

Rob: ...I do resent the Polite part of your comment. Politeness guised in condesension is not polite. It is you being a jerk, but not coming right out and saying it.

ANSWER: If you read the posts I warned those evangelizing Emergents not to think themselves superior to Emergents. I said that sort of thing more than once. Be honest here, Rob.

And, yes, the politeness rule is in effect, so please don't make me censor you.

As I said in the articles, Emergents usually respond with anger when confronted with the fact that they are not believers. But if you fail to face that fact and repent, you'll loose your soul. I don't know how to say it more politely and still be clear.

In closing, I made light of a couple of your questions, because you were reaching to find something to object to in regard to Scripture. In so doing you simply reached into the Old Covenant and some special-application laws dealing with specific conditions in ancient Palestine.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Phil,

Don't threaten me. Censor away, I submit you've censored quite a bit in your life.

How can I leave Emergent? What is there to leave? We don't have to define ourselves along your sad denominational lines. We look to include and focus on those issues. You look to exclude and divide. We'll see whose 'more right' in the end I suppose. In the meantime, how does a plumber qualify to teach in a Bible school?

Rob

4:44 PM  

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