Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ablaze With a Heaven-Descended Fire!

by Charles Spurgeon

We want also a revival of vigorous, consecrated strength. I have pleaded for true piety; I now beg for one of the highest results of it. We need saints. We need gracious minds trained to a high form of spiritual life by much converse with God in solitude.

Saints acquire nobility from their constant resort to the place where the Lord meets with them. There they also acquire that power in prayer which we so greatly need. Oh, that we had more men like John Knox, whose prayers were more terrible to Queen Mary than 10,000 men! Oh, that we had more Elijahs by whose faith the windows of heavens should be shut or opened!

This power comes not by a sudden effort; it is the outcome of a life devoted to the God of Israel! If our life is all in public, it will be a frothy, vapoury ineffectual existence; but if we hold high converse with God in secret, we shall be mighty for good. He that is a prince with God will take high rank with men, after the true measure of nobility.

Beware of being a lean-to; endeavour to rest on your own walls of real faith in the Lord Jesus. May none of us fall into a mean, poverty-stricken dependence on man! We want among us believers like those solid, substantial family mansions which stand from generation to generation as landmarks of the country; no lath-and-plaster fabrics, but edifices solidly constructed to bear all weathers, and defy time itself.

Given a host of men who are steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, the glory of God's grace will be clearly manifested, not only in them, but in those round about them. The Lord send us a revival of consecrated strength, and heavenly energy!

Preach by your hands if you cannot preach by your tongues. When our church members show the fruits of true godliness, we shall soon have inquiries for the tree which bears such a crop.

Oh the coming together of the saints is the first part of Pentecost, and the ingathering of sinners is the second. It began with "only a prayer meeting", but it ended with a grand baptism of thousands of converts. Oh that the prayers of believers may act as lode stones to sinners! Oh that every gathering of faithful men might be a lure to attract others to Jesus! May many souls fly to Him because they see others speeding in that direction.

"Lord, we turn from these poor foolish procrastinators to thyself, and we plead for them with thine all-wise and gracious spirit! Lord, turn them and they shall be turned! By their conversion, pray that a true revival has commenced tonight! Let it spread through all our households, and then run from church to church till the whole of christendom shall be ablaze with a heaven-descended fire!"

18 Comments:

Blogger Phil Perkins said...

KennyO,
Great article.

Charlie said, "This power comes not by a sudden effort; it is the outcome of a life devoted to the God of Israel! If our life is all in public, it will be a frothy, vapoury ineffectual existence; but if we hold high converse with God in secret, we shall be mighty for good."

This isn't just true of the source of spiritual power, but it's the source of actually knowing God in a personal way. Many of the false teachings in which Modern Evangelicalism is awash wouldn't survive if only the folks knew God. What I mean by that is if folks knew what God's personality was like by spending time in Scripture constantly, they'd automatically have nothing to do with certain teachers because they'd immediately know it doesn't feel right. Even if they couldn't recall a particular Scripture, they'd just know it's not right because God isn't like that. Just like a loving husband has an intimate feel for what his wife likes, children who take time with the Father won't go outside His will just because they know it isn't something He'd like.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Hey Kenny and Hank,
Great Spurgeon.

I know this is off the subject, but remember when I responded to your post on Ravi Zacharias not mentioning Jesus in a prayer at the National Prayer Breakfast?

When I pointed out that, according to Scripture, he was probably not even saved, since the fail to confess is given repeatedly as a sign of being unregenerated? You said that you knew his heart--something Solomon said no man can know. I quoted Scripture and you wouldn[t believe it because you knew RZ' heart. Remember that?

Well, now he's endorsed New Age, Catholic mystic Henri Nouwen and he seems to be unable to say that practicing homosexuality is inconsistent with being a real Christian. If you don't believe me go here: http://apprising.org/2008/09/ravi-zacharias-on-can-a-person-live-a-sincere-christian-life-as-a-homosexual/ .

Proverbs says this: Every word of God is tested, He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.

The lesson: Trust God over your own judgment and over the judgments of the religious institutions and leaders around here. You'll always be right.

On another note, I just noticed the "Jesus" picture on you site. Now you quote Spurgeon. Christians of his day would never abide such a practice, because it violates the second commandment. In fact this practice has been rejected through church history for the same reason. Only the apostate groups practiced it. Read Exodus 20: 4-6. No image depicting deity is allowed.

Read Matthew Henry on the topic as well. Remember the golden calf. It was to represent Yahweh. God killed a bunch for it.

God bless,
Phil Perkins.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Excellent observation Phil. I think you are totally right. Very well stated!

11:30 PM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Phil, my last comment was a reaction to your first comment! (Excellent observation Phil. I think you are totally right. Very well stated!)

You have successfully provoked me to add another comment... I NEVER said I knew Ravi Zacharias' heart. I said I believed he was a christian. He has a profession of faith and based on the limited information I have of him I think he is saved. Yes, I could be wrong, so could you be as well. I do not know 100% for sure. Are you 100% sure he is not?

Also, I did see that video of Ravi Zacharias commenting on Henri Nouwen and I find it very disturbing. I think christians should be extremely careful being influenced by Nouwen and I think it is especially reckless to condone him by quoting him from a position of influence and authority as RZ is doing here.

As far as the logo, my brother designed that many years ago and we have at times discussed the issue of whether or not it violates the second commandment and we came to the belief that it did not. I do hope we are not violating the second commandment.

11:44 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Kenny,
Sorry, if I remembered wrong. If you say so, I know you'd not lie. And I shouldn't have written like I did. I should have just pointed out what RZ's up to. However, it IS worth noting that if you just go with Scripture, you're pretty safe as that verse in Proverbs says. Have confidence in God, not your own estimations.

Go back to the second commandment. The language is explicit and deals with ANY image of any god. Also, if you go to the old guys, you'll find the historical understanding is to take the commandment at face value. There is nothing figurative there. No image of anything at all as a representation of deity. "Hope" isn't a good idea in such a serious affair.

Also, if you just look at the images, they are all simply made up out of thin air. Then we tell our kids, "This is Jesus." What is the reason for lying like that? It gets like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. AND almost all the images are of a European, effeminate fellow. As far as we know Jesus was bald, short, and fat. He could have had buck teeth. If you look at Sallman's "Christ at the Door", it contradicts the passage of Scripture (Revelation 3:20) that it's supposed to represent. And it violates all sorts of theology essential to understanding who God is. For instance, Sallman's christ can't get in the door of a sinner's heart because there's no knob on the outside. Not exactly the doctrines of Grace.

AND whatever you do to represent Christ, it always ends up bringing Him down. Sallman's Christ really should have been glorified with a shining head and hair, golden belt, sword out of His mouth, etc. Instead, we' rather bring Him down. These phony pictures have done alot to make folks think of Christ as weak, meek, effeminate mess. No God worth worshipping and, I think, one of the reasons we see so few men in the "churches".

Your image has very European lines. How did that happen to a Palestinian Jew of 2000 years ago? Did you just make it up? Oh yeah, that's right. You did. Since when have we been given permission to make up things about God and present them? I believe one of the reasons we love to make Christ in our own image, is that we worship ourselved, really. Don't believe me? Take this test:

Imagine in your mind's eye a black, Asian, or Hispanic Jesus. How does that make you feel? Don't like it do you?

Or try this test: Tell your wife you love her so much you're going to take a picture of some lady you like the looks of, frame it, put it on your night stand and pretend it's her. See what you get for dinner.

We are Christians. We are to traffic in truth, not make believe. Any pictue that claims to be of Jesus is make believe.

Please consider the case I've made here is this limited time. Paul Washer rails against this, too. He's right.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Just a quick note on RZ, could you figure out by the video if RZ said one way or another if you could practice homosexuality and be a Christian? He went on and on. He's gone south so far. He made his bones in public by opposing mystical religions. Now he's mixing it in. This is heinous.

Phil.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Hank said...

Phil,
It was I that responded to your remarks on R Z and not Ken. I was troubled when you had mentioned he was now advocating as Christian a lifestyle that Scripture condemns. I went to the link you referred to and did not see the logic of your conclusions. R Z's statement of Henri Nouwen was that his struggle with his sexual orientation did not cause him to fall into the sin of homosexuality. Should I assume your belief is that he struggled with therefore he was guilty of? I might encourage you to read Matthew 7:1-6. The last two verses are to me a constant reminder of my sacred obligation to self examination as a correct path to loving others as Scripture commands and my propensity to fail at it.

7:47 AM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Hank,
You said, "...you (refering to me) had mentioned he was now advocating as Christian a lifestyle (homosexuality) that Scripture condemns..."

That's not true. I said he failed to condemn it when asked directly about it. Reread this: "...he seems to be unable to say that practicing homosexuality is inconsistent with being a real Christian." Notice the word "seems". When asked directly if practicing that lifestyle was something that would preclude one from being a Christian, he didn't say one way or another. Further, I asked this of Kenny: "Just a quick note on RZ, could you figure out by the video if RZ said one way or another if you could practice homosexuality and be a Christian?" That's a question, not a statement and you know that, Hank. He simply refused to stand up and say what Scripture so clearly states: Homosexuals won't see the kingdom of God. The strongest thing he said was that in some groups you couldn't be a leader.

Why did you misrepresent me about this?

You said, " Should I assume your belief is that he struggled with therefore he was guilty of?"

ANSWER: No, you should read what I actually said.

And what about RZ's endorsement of Nouwen? Here's a passage for you to read: Deut. 13. It says that anyone who recommends a false prophet be heard deserves death. (And before you ask if I think we should kill RZ,that was OC.) RZ called Nouwen one of the greatest saints of the faith. One of the links you folks have is to CRN. Go read what Silva et. al. have written about Nouwen. Google Nouwen. Read some of his writings. He was a Catholic who wished to promote a mix of mysticism and psychological theory.

How do you defend RZ on this?

You can't say RZ is simply uninformed or stupid. He's brilliant and well read. If he's mistaken, then he's not yet read Nouwen, has he? So he's not being honest on it at all, either way you look at it.

Now on to Matthew 7. Why do you now take verses 1-6 seriously, when the last time we spoke of RZ, you decided to ignore the rest of the chapter? Specifically 15 and following. And you really don't take even 1-6 seriously. If you did, you'd have apologized for impugning my character as you've now admitted. And why did you impugn my character? Because I applied the Scripture to RZ and the Scripture condemns the act of failing to confess when pressured.
You steadfastly refused to obey Scripture in regard to RZ and hated me without a cause, violating Matthew 5:21, where Jesus says, "You have heard that the ancients were told, 'You shall not commit murder' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell."

And that's part of the same sermon Jesus finished in Matthew 7. Or do we get to pick again what Scripture to obey?

CRN, Slice of Laodicea, Surphside, and others have now condemned RZ, for these compromises. Have you written them and impugned their characters? How do you defend a man who once tasted the wonderful things of God and now traffics in filth, seemingly unwilling to say you can't be a Christian and practice homosexuality and turning folks on to false teachers?

Better yet, how to you defend your anger at the messenger, especially now that it's evident to so many that our suspicions were right?

You said, "The last two verses are to me a constant reminder of my sacred obligation to self examination as a correct path to loving others as Scripture commands and my propensity to fail at it." However, the last two verses of Mt. 7:1-6 says this: "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces."

The subject of neither verse is love for your brothers explicity or how to properly exercise it. Verse 5, in line with the first four verses, is instruction on how to properly prepare yourself in order to rightly judge, rebuke, and admonish your brother. I quote: "...and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." So, get right with God yourself. Then your job is to judge others in order to help your brother in his personal walk and to avoid false teachers as the rest of the chapter commands. For more on the connection between loving service and the obligation to judge others see Leviticus 19:17-18, which says, "You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD." The Hebrew contains an emphatic infinitive absolute, so that "you may surely reprove your neighbor" isn't a great translation. Rather, it's best translated something like "you will vigorously reprove your neighbor." See the NIV for a better translation here. (The NIV is usually sloppy but it beats the NASB in this case.) And verse 6 is completely off the subject you claim for it. It's simply an admonition not to stoop low in proclaming truth. Don't act like a beggar when presenting truth. If someone won't hear, go your way or they'll eat up your time, your energy, and may persecute you while you could have been ministering to someone else.

Now I'm going to talk about three specks in your eye, Hank, as gently as possible. First is your anger. I'll be brief because I've already mentioned it. Your anger at someone with whom you disagree isn't good when there isn't biblical cause. It's like a knee jerk reaction. The last time we spoke about RZ I presented calmly all sorts of Scripture. In return all I got was anger and direct insults. You wouldn't even deal with the Scriptures I presented. I asked you over and over to deal with them. If I'm wrong about the passage, point it out. Tell me why. Don't just accuse me of being hateful for applying it as I did. You've done that here again. And in order to get your accusations to stick, you actually misrepresent what I've said. That's not even honest, Hank.

Second, is your unfamiliarity with Scripture. That's not necessarily a sin, but in this case, it's close. Scripture says not many are to be teachers and Paul instructs directly that an elder ought to be able to teach. Not all are fit, simply on the basis of what they know and don't know, and their ability to communicate it. This includes such things as the ability to think logically, as well as familiarity with the subject matter. A case in point is right nere in your treatment of Matthew 7. You ripped it out of context and completely misunderstood verse 6. Verse 5 you did a little better, but still didn't understand the purpose clause in the second half of the verse. I think if you just read it, you'll understand it, but you didn't seem to understand that it's logical connection to the command in the first half of the verse governs the meaning of the first half, not the other way round. Your understanding of the entire first 5 verses is in line with the typical Modern Evangelical pop-theology-inspired ethic of "Don't judge". This understanding (a MISunderstanding) completely divorces the passage from the rest of Scripture (indeed, from the rest of chapter). The rest of Scripture is replete with exhortations to encourage brothers in sanctification and to discern false teachers and false prophets. Thus all sorts of judging is a direct command of Scripture. While you're not an official teacher or elder to my knowledge, you have taken the role in that you correct others. That being so, one ought to have done their homework or stay silent on unfamiliar subjects.
I will say this as gently as possible, Hank: You're much more familiar with traditional religious sound bites and witticisms than with Scripture.

For instance, you got on my case for judging RZ. BUT you judged me. Where is the logic? AND EVEN WORSE, where is the Scripture?

Third, is a matter to which I can't really speak absolutely, since I can't see your heart. Is there a problem with pride? The reason I ask this is that when corrected Scripturely you don't even acknowledge it. Instead, it's all-mad-all-the-time. Why? Did you see my response to Kenny when he had to correct me? Did I get angry? No. I apologized.

When I point out that no one can see another's heart and you have made an entire argument dfeinding RZ based on the fact that you can, why not just admit you're wrong on one point? I used to teach college. I'm a fairly intelligent fellow. I read 4 languages. But if I'm wrong I admit it. As a teacher, I found that to keep my student's respect, I'd better thank the student who corrects me or everyone will know that I'm lying. When faced with Scripture after Scripture, can't you even just be polite? Why the insults? Insults are appropriate if they are grounded in truth. They are sin when they are simply ejaculations of personal anger.

Finally, what are you fellas going to do with the idol? I have to know because the Scripture says, "...1 Corinthians 5:11 I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler-- not even to eat with such a one." If you don't answer, I'll just watch for a week or so.

You men are found of quoting Paul Washer. He makes quite a big deal over the "Jesus" pictures for the same reasons I've laid out-a position I have held ever since I studied Exoduse properly years ago. Implying that you're in line with him when you are so at odds on such an important subject as idolatry isn't exactly Kosher. The same is true of Spurgeon and quite a few others I've seen quoted here.

Moses, too.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Phil,

I know you are a brother in the Lord. I've spoken to you on the phone and we've both encouraged each other in our walk toward our Savior. Hank and I both go to the same church. We fight side by side helping other saints in our congregation and praying for others we know who are struggling with life's many problems and difficulties. I try my best to honor my Lord by primarily being a loving husband to my wife and a God-fearing father to my 3 teenage children. I struggled each day to pay my bills and lead my family to grow in their walk with their Savior JESUS. Neither Hank, nor myself have everything right in our faith. We both spur each other on as iron sharpens iron.

Phil, as I mentioned in a previous comment I did watch that clip of RZ and I think he is making a huge mistake by condoning Nouwen and by suggesting a person could be a christian and a homosexual at the same time. I DO NOT believe that is possible. I tend to agree with the assessments of Ken Silva and Ingrid when it comes to Nouwen. Lighthouse trails also has just publish a post about Nouwen which I intent to forward to Hank. I think he should read it, and I am sure he will. it will help explain the case against Nouwen, which is a very valid one.

I think you ought to take a little time and speak with Hank, if you like. I can give you his number, please let me know if you want it.

As far as violating the second commandment with the Discover Jesus logo, I will let my brother see your comments and discuss it with him. I will also do some more research myself to understand this commandment more clearly.

I would mention to you that at times you do seem to want to pick a fight and I would recommend that you lighten up a bit when it comes to brother-on-brother dialog.

I admire a person like you who defends the faith and the Truth but please try to give your brothers like Hank and I the benefit of the doubt when it comes down to dealing with these issues. I think Hank should defend each point you've brought to him and if he has the time (which can be lengthy) I'm sure he will respond.

Silva, Ingrid, you, Herescope, Lighthousetrails, Thinkerup, OldTruth, Hank, etc, etc, are all on the same side. Let's learn from each other. Let's be direct but also patient. You may be completely right with every position you hold, but in the meantime, help your brothers in the process of learning and study, and at the same time, reamain open with a willingness to learn from others. I am sure you do this already. Thanks for your concern for God's Truth!

10:50 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Kenny,
Have you started witnessing regularly?

Here's a little humor (I hope you get the point):

Okay, I'm bad and you're good. There. How's that? In fact, I'm such an evil, evil man that I should be drawn and quartered at dawn. And you, on the other hand, are so angelic that you're almost the FOURTH MEMBER OF THE TRINITY. There. That's GOTTA do it.

Now will you deal with the Scriptures I quoted to you?

If not, just admit you don't have an answer and don't care about those scriptures.

Kenny, you said, "...Hank should defend each point you've brought to him..." He never has. The only biblical thing he does is to say that I'm wrong to reprove him and then he does the typical Modern Evangelical thing by claiming that the Bible forbids it. (Yet, he does it to others, proving he's not being honest.) That's it. That's all I've gotten out of him. And when he does try to quote and use Scripture, frankly, he hasn't got the chops to do a decent job of it. I don't have the vertical jump to play in the NBA and he really isn't able to teach.

Now you can get mad about that, but it's true. Look at his writing.

He can serve God, but not as a teacher. He ought to hit the streets witnessing or do the work of a biblical deacon. These are not lesser things. Remember the last will be first and the first last. A faithful deacon will outrank a proud teacher. I rather suspect that we'll see a lot of that sort of thing when the Kingdom comes.

Now, let's go back to your statement that "...Hank should defend each point you've brought to him..."

That's insanely wrong. When you hear Scripture quoted you're supposed to defend against it? Are you kiddng me? This is exactly what I mean about spending time in Scripture so that you can begin to think biblically.

Kenny, show me just one passage where we're told to defend our position when someone shows us in Scripture that we may be in violation of it. Does that sound biblical to you, Kenny?

If I've abused Scripture, then he ought to set me straight. If not, he should repent. The Bereans didn't defend themselves against Paul. They checked it out biblically to see if it was right.

Something neither you nor Hank have attempted to do.

And, Kenny, you need to get real, too. Not that you're unable to teach, BUT you NEED to start thinking biblically. You should call sin sin, not a mistake.

I dare you, Kenny, to find anywhere in Scripture where what RZ has done is called a mistake. You won't find it. Yet, in contradiction to Scripture, you call it a mistake over and over and over.

Why? How do you excuse that?

Kenny, I urge you, I beg you, I ask you, I pray that you will bring every thought under the lordship of Christ as you ask of others. This doesn't happen accidently. You actually HAVE TO DO IT ON PURPOSE. THAT'S WHY IT'S A COMMAND AND NOT A DESCRIPTION of something that is likely to happen.

Start with RZ. Stop calling it a mistake. Call it sin. God does.

Is God wrong?

WELL---so much for business. How's your job? Getting enough rest? How's the family?

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Phil,

What I was trying to say to you about Hank was that he should reply to your comments. If he is not clear about the points you are making with the scriptures you are using, he should attempt to understand and you should attempt to clearly explain, even if that means doing it differently. Isn't that what you would do when witnessing to someone? Other christians may not always understand what you saying, therefore shouldn't you explain it in a different way rather than assuming they are simply heretics and apostate? Hank is neither. I know this because I know him as a brother. I would suggest trying to communicate with him in a different way in order to make your points more easily understood by him. That's why I suggested giving him a phone call.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Hank said...

Phil,
First of all please know I have no hatred for you unless of course I have no understanding of what that means. I would say that if you have Christ in you I do love you. I'm not too certain I like you very much but then again all I know of you is the few words you have written and I do feel a little trampled on here. I am an elder and have been for many years but that does not qualify me and wisdom is vindicated by her children. I have been reading and studying the Bible for many years but without the wisdom of God's Spirit leading that can not benefit me for certain. I am surprised you assumed I was talking of you when I said, "The last two verses are to me a constant reminder of my sacred obligation to self examination as a correct path to loving others as Scripture commands and my propensity to fail at it." How did you confuse my(I) with your(you)? I want to thank you Phil for so eloquently pointing out my weaknesses and deficiencies. I have no doubt whatsoever that I have much in my life I need to repent of and I must confess that much of my prayers to the Father are prayers for forgiveness. When I read in Luke 18 I see myself represented well in the 13th verse. I thank you for your constructive criticism. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise. I wish with all my heart to not be foolish. Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked. I do some teaching and preaching. Should I stop doing that? You have clearly spoken very well of your understanding and therefore perhaps you can help me see my folly. Please strike away, I need the righteous. I'm certain your statements about Mr. Zacharias are for the protection of Christ's Church and in no way to point toward you as a standard. All of the testimony Mr Zacharias has made of the Lord is surly a mockery of the great Savior and please help us see. Where he says that man is basically a sinful being with a predisposition to sin and every man struggles with temptation every day, well I always thought that was true. I am certain my struggles with anger are far less serious than Henri Nouwen's struggles and I'm so thankful that God did not make me a sinner like Henri. After all Nouwen was not like us. Even though Henri never lived out that struggle I have actually punched people out for their thoughtless disrespect of me. I eagerly await your sagacious response.

10:11 PM  
Anonymous EK said...

Phil,

Let me say this: I think the manner with which you address the men on this blog is not wise or loving. I have read many of your posts, including some from previous discussions, and I consistently see you relating to Kenny and Hank in a demeaning and condescending manner. Here are a few things you've said during this discussion:


“You steadfastly refused to obey Scripture in regard to RZ and hated me without a cause, violating Matthew 5:21”

“I will say this as gently as possible, Hank: You're much more familiar with traditional religious sound bites and witticisms than with Scripture.”

“When faced with Scripture after Scripture, can't you even just be polite?”

“Okay, I'm bad and you're good. There. How's that? In fact, I'm such an evil, evil man that I should be drawn and quartered at dawn. And you, on the other hand, are so angelic that you're almost the FOURTH MEMBER OF THE TRINITY. There. That's GOTTA do it.”


Those are some strong words about Hank hating you without a cause. I have seen nothing in either Hank's or Kenny's words that imply a hatred for you. Rather, I have seen humility and respect in their responses, if not agreement. Matthew 5:22 speaks of the danger of calling a brother a fool, and it seems to me that you, not Hank or Kenny, have come close to making that claim. I find your response about Hank's religious sound bytes offensive and anything but gentle; surely you could have made your point in a more considerate and dignified fashion. I also it absurd that you would request that they be more polite; as far as I can tell, Kenny and Hank have shown you more respect than you have shown to them. Additionally, the final comment listed above is not humorous; it is sarcastic, and in my opinion tasteless. You are speaking to men who have studied scripture and served the LORD for many years, and even if they are misguided in some of their opinions, they ought to be shown respect. I think that the above comments are representative of your attitude toward Kenny and Hank and that your criticism would be much more effective if you would rebuke in an uplifting manner.

As for Leviticus 19:17 (‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.’), I agree with you that we should rebuke and exhort one another and that it does not happen enough in our culture. However, I would be interested in hearing your interpretation of Ephesians 4:1-4, 29-32 and James 4:10-12; I think that the beginning of Matthew 7 closely parallels these passages. I do understand that other passages of scripture clearly state that we are to exhort and encourage one another, but these three passages emphasize the need for humility when doing so. I think that it is possible to raise questions and challenge opinions and doctrines (i.e. exhort and rebuke) in a humble manner without proclaiming judgment and condemnation, from which my second point follows. You have consistently held yourself up as an example for Kenny and Hank to follow, essentially asserting your superiority in things spiritual. The following comments illustrate this attitude:


”The last time we spoke about RZ I presented calmly all sorts of Scripture.”

“Did you see my response to Kenny when he had to correct me? Did I get angry? No. I apologized.”

“I used to teach college. I'm a fairly intelligent fellow. I read 4 languages. But if I'm wrong I admit it.”

“I've laid out a position I have held ever since
I studied Exodus properly years ago.” (emphasis added)



I have to ask the question, why should we assume that you have studied Exodus properly and we have not? These comments do not seem to fall in line with Paul’s and James’ commands to be humble and longsuffering. You say that you calmly present scripture, but it seems that Kenny and Hank disagree with your interpretation. I would disagree with you on Exodus 20, where God commands the Israelites not to make a graven image or any likeness of anything in the earth below or the heaven above. Does this mean that we are not to make any sculptures or paintings of anything? I think not, the next verse continues the command by stating that they not bow down or worship them. I could be wrong, but in Romans 14, Paul allows that there are “doubtful things” or doctrines that we should not allow to become divisive. I hope that we can agree that Jesus Christ is Lord and we are called to serve Him and know His word, but this does not mean that we will all agree with every point doctrine. There is room for disagreement on these “doubtful things.” I’ll finish with the following words of Solomon:

He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding. Proverbs 15:32

Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows on a fool. Proverbs 17:10

These verses apply to all of us: you, Kenny, Hank, and myself. I hope that you will be more receptive to Hank’s words and address him respectfully, and I hope that Kenny and Hank will test both yours and my words with scripture, and that you will do likewise in a loving and considerate manner.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

EK, Kenny, and Hank,
Okay, you're still angry because I've been too harsh. Can you answer my assertions?

Obviously not. Otherwise you would.

For instanced, EK whines about statements like this: “I will say this as gently as possible, Hank: You're much more familiar with traditional religious sound bites and witticisms than with Scripture.” Now he's mad that I said it, but he can't give a reasonable reason that it's wrong. All you have to do is read Hank's nonsense. He's all mad all the time, but he didn't even try to answer me biblically.

If he could he would.

And the fact is, that it's true. Again, I'll say that all Hank has done biblically is to make the lame claim that the Bible forbids correction. Now EK is trying the same lie. And like Hank he violates his own rule by correcting me. Now either he can't think that through or he knows better and simply has chosen to be hypocritical.

To EK: Like Hank, you can't have it both ways. If Ephesians 4 and James 4 means I can't rebuke a brother in sin (idolatry isn't a doubtful thing simply because you want to claim that) then you can't rebuke me, either. And your claim that the Scripture calls for rebuke, but somehow still forbids it is simply a useful tool of the hypocritical.

If you were mildly familiar with Scripture, it'd be easy for you. Simply go to the Lev. passage. You see the balance there. And actually, it's not a balance. Love requires reproof. Interpret the incomplete passages in view of the complete passages, just as you would interpret the murky passages in light ot the clear passages. The James passage obviously is referring to doubtful or nitpicking judgements, that arise out of carnality. (For instance, judging a brother's heart, simply because he points out your sin in light of Scripture because you don't like that.) If you simply read James and not rip 4:10-12 out of the rest of the book, you'll see that James is rebuking all the time. Thus we know that it's not a blanket prohibition.

The Ephesians passage doesn't even contain any sort of prohibition, but only to be gentle and promote unity. Read Phil. 1. There you will see that unity is achieved by growing in discernment, not by letting sin in the body slide, as you suggest, EK.

The Matthew 7 passage is instruction on preparing oneself to judge. There is no prohibition against judging. In fact, most of the passage is a primer on judging correctly. If you think there is, quote it, EK. If not, be honest. The only prohibition is against judging if you want to be judged similarly.

Finally, you said, "...why should we assume that you have studied Exodus properly and we have not?" Simple. You don't obey it. So either you don't understand it, or you simply wish to sin. You decide. And you don't really have to assume anything. Just read the passage. Read Matthew Henry, Spurgeon, Machen, or any of the old commentaries. Idols are prohibited. When you say otherwise, you're lying.

Exodus 20:4-6: You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Read that. You aren't to make any image of anything at all if you worship it. You lie that these pictures are Jesus and then tell your kids He's God.

This isn't hard.

And even if you stick with the lie that it's scripturally okay to make images and say "This is God", we aren't to lie. What Kenny has done is to make up out of thin air a picture and present it as if it's Jesus. That's lying because he knew better.

A lie is something presented as fact, when the presenter is in full knowledge that it's not. So either Kenny's lying or he's had a break with reality.

Perhaps, he's like the lady in Latin America who dropped yogurt on the floor and thought the splat looked like the "Virgin Mary".

Which brings up a question I have for all of you: How is what Kenny has done any better than what the yogurt lady has done?

Can you answer that?

The yogurt lady didn't lie. She THOUGHT Mary really looked like that.

EK, that's all I'll take time to answer on the specific facts scriptpurally.

Here is one on your sins, EK: you want to judge others, but you want to say ollie-oolie-oxen-free for yourself and for your friends. That's why you don't want to reconcile the different passages that take up reproof. You like to keep both sides in your back pocket so that you may rebuke others, but if they rebuke you, then you can rebuke them for rebuking you.

It's a heart issue.

Two notes for Hank:

1. You're comments about RZ and HN aren't really clear to me. Saying that RZ has promoted true doctrine doesn't mitigate one bit that he's now apostate. And the issue with HN isn't his temptation for homosexuality. I have my temptations, too. The issue with HN is that he denied the gospel completely. If you think I'm wrong, read his stuff.

2. You said, "Should I stop doing that?" This is really hard, but yes. I don't mean to be mean, but you don't have the ability to really study literature and understand it well. That being so, you ought to either not teach or to be teaching only in a very limited way. The fact that you couldn't understand Mt 7:1-6 in light of the rest of the chapter is just one expample. Your reasoning is not up to snuff for doing the sort of thing I really good teacher must do.

Sorry, but that's my honest answer. You're not like EK. He's just not honest and that's much worse.

It is my belief that Evangelicalism is a mental ghetto. There is so little emphasis on KNOWing. Most pastors are biblically illiterate. Even the ones that aren't don't educate the folks much. Oddly, there is great emphasis on "the heart". Kenny does that a lot, too. He defends you, not on the basis that what you say is right, but on the fact that he "knows" your "heart"--something the Scripture says can't be true.

This turns the biblical worldview on its head. Because of this steadfast refusal to think, Kenny (like many others) will look past sin, bad doctrine, and poor handling of the Scripture based on whom he likes. According to Deut. 13, relationships are secondary to truth.

Truth over relationship. Or to put it another way: My relationship to God over my relationship to all others.

AGAIN: Now will you deal with the Scriptures I quoted to you?

If not, just admit you don't have an answer and don't care about those scriptures.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Here's a thought:
I was a kid when these "Jesus" pictures started becoming accptable among Evangelical protestants. (Before that we took the second commandment for what it actually says and the conservative Presbyterians still do.) Back then we laughed at and sorned the Catholics for having "Jesus" statues. The explanation I got when I asked my elders was that the Catholics' images were three-dimensional and ours were only two-dimensional.

Is it that extra dimension that you have left out what makes it not a sin? It's worth a try, don't ya think?

Phil.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Hank,
Since you're still defending Henri Nouwen and since Kenny says that we're all on the same side with Ken Silva, here's an article Silve did today on Nouwen:

http://christianresearchnetwork.com/?p=8143

Now what's your excuse?

Phil.

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phil,

I have to say that you have severly twisted my words. Please tell me where I stated that it is wrong to rebuke someone. I made no such statement; my claim was that this rebuke must be done in a loving way that promotes unity and growth, not in a way that is demeaning or insulting. The intent of referring you to the Ephesians passage was to say that when we rebuke (as we should), it should be good for building up and imparting grace to those who hear that rebuke. James 4 has a similar thrust. I am not making the "lame" claim that the bible forbids correction. You yourself said "The Ephesians passage doesn't even contain any sort of prohibition, but only to be gentle and promote unity." My claim is that you are not being gentle or promoting unity. So, please address this argument, and don't twist my words to mean anything different.

In addition to that misunderstanding, you did nothing to address the idea of doubtful things, such as pictorial representations of Christ. Is it not possible that a painting or other depiction of Christ is not meant to say "this is what Christ looked like," but to capture something of the truth about God (e.g. the compassion of Christ, or the suffering of Christ) in a way that words may not be able to? I do not understand your claim that there is worship involved in such doings.

You also made no response to my claim that you have held yourself up as an example for us, rather than pointing us to Christ and scriptures as our example. What do you have to say to that?

And finally, I am not rebuking you for rebuking in the general sense; I am rebuking you and exhorting you to be less caustic and belittling with your language. I don't appreciate being thrown into the mix with "the yogurt lady," it seems a gross comparison. Now please address these questions that I have set before you, and please do not answer accusations that, to my knowledge, I have not made. Please do not twist my words, and please address all the scriptures that I have set forth (i.e. Romans 14). It seems to me that you have selectively chosen which arguments to distort and then dismantle, and until I feel that you are actually listening to what I have to say and answer accordingly, I have a very hard time accepting the accusations that you have leveled at me. I hope that this helps to clarify things, and I look forward to reading your response.

EK

11:42 PM  
Blogger gangstaaaa said...

Phil,

Would you please email me your phone number?

I want to talk to you.

Thanks,
Kenny

9:46 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home