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2. No wimps.
3. No cussin'.
4. State no argument without reference to a biblical passage or passages and show a strong logical connection between your statement and the passages you cite.
5. Insults, sarcasm, name-calling, irony, derision, and humor at the expense of others aren't allowed unless they are biblical or logical, in which case they are WILDLY ENCOURAGED.
6. No aphronism.
7. Fear God, not man.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


If you haven't read my last post, Part VII in the series AMERICAN EVANGELICALISM IS A MENTAL GHETTO, I' really like you to, please. It's hard reading, but more important than just about anything I've ever said. I wrote about what I believe is the most insidious and successful attack on sola scriptura in MEism. The attack is the emphasis on "feeling" the truth, instead of knowing the truth. MEs substitute their feelings by "listening" to emotions during personal devotions and group worship and judge one another based on how they make each other feel while interacting.

A man who did much to popularize this sin is Henry Blackaby. His starting point, as I pointed out in that post, is that the ancient Hebrews didn't consider they knew anything unless they had an intimate, personal experience with it. I pointed out this is a lie and we can know so easily by just a quick reflection. That is to say, the Hebrews, like anyone else, had to have lots and lots of things they knew, not by intimate, personal experience, but simply by being told verbally. For instance, if a shepherd asked a merchant the price of a tent, the merchant simply answered with the number of shekels, homers of wheat or what not. He wasn't likely to ask the shepherd to roll around in the folds of the tent and surmise the price by feeling the qualities of the tent.

I want to give one observation about this whole situation and then ask three questions.

The observation:

The problem isn't Blackaby. Anybody could be Blackaby and anyone could have written a book that promoted feelings as the primary way of coming to an intimate knowledge of God. The condition that made it possible for this man to make millions of dollars hoodwinking the church is the MENTAL GHETTO conditions in the pew. How is it that so many Evangelicals could listen to someone in a Sunday School class say that the Jews didn't know anything simply by reading it without being at least disturbed enough to raise a hand in class and ask some pointed questions? We have been trained to receive uncritically. Criticism and questioning is judgmental and bad (unless, of course, you're questioning and criticizing the one asking the critical questions--then, JUST LIKE MAGIC--it's okay). The attitude that we're in a ghetto, receiving from on high and questioning is bad allows nonsense like Blackaby's to be said regardless of the fact that there's no biblical evidence for it. Indeed, in Blackaby's case, there are boat loads of evidence against it. Common sense ought to have taken over when folks read or were told in Sunday School class that they couldn't know anything until they had a mystical experience. The teacher should have been laughed out the door. Indeed, he would have been if the class had to do with stock investing, chemistry, or calculus. Only in matters of the spiritual are we supposed to become mental slugs, feeling our way alone the sidewalk of life until we find something that makes our antennae wiggle just so, hoping we don't get stepped by the boot of truth.

The questions:

1. If the ancient Hebrews didn't think knowledge could be had simply by cognitive study, why did Moses and others write the Bible or pass on God's words to others, spoken or written? (In fact, why speak or write at all, since the deconstructionists are right?)

2. If real knowledge is possible only by direct personal experience, why did Blackaby write a book to read and study?

3. If, as Blackaby pretends, his teaching is biblical, then he came to this knowledge of God by studying the words of Scripture. Isn't this trying to have it both ways?

Just asking,
Phil Perkins.


Denise said...

"Criticism and questioning is judgmental and bad (unless, of course, you're questioning and criticizing the one asking the critical questions--then, JUST LIKE MAGIC--it's okay)."

Exactly. Absolute epitome of hypocrisy.

"The teacher should have been laughed out the door. Indeed, he would have been if the class had to do with stock investing, chemistry, or calculus. Only in matters of the spiritual are we supposed to become mental slugs, feeling our way alone the sidewalk of life until we find something that makes our antennae wiggle just so, hoping we don't get stepped by the boot of truth."

Right. When it comes to spiritual issues, people really are mental slugs.

I've also noted that these mental slugs also feed the Magisterium Mentality, which allows the Blackaby's of the world to continue selling their mystical snake oil.

A verse that came to mind:

Rom 10:2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
Rom 10:3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.
Rom 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Btw, God expected the Jews to know the Scriptures. This is why Jesus often said "It is written". The apostles also always referred to the OT when proclaiming Truth. The Bereans were commended for going to the Scriptures to test Paul to see if he aligned with Scripture.

In a word, ingnorance is NO virtue: it is a vice. We are to KNOW truth from falsehood, good from evil, right from wrong. We are to know Scripture so that we CAN have discernment in these things.

Isa 45:19 I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, 'Seek me in vain.' I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right.

Joh 8:31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Heb 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,
Heb 5:13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.
Heb 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Phil Perkins said...

Yeah, that would have been a good fourth question. Why did Jesus expect the Jews to "know" things based just on Scripture?


REB said...

Mental Slugs? That's inspired!

Phil Perkins said...

It's descriptive of what's expected, though, huh?


Denise said...

You guys might be interested in this critique by Gary Gilley on Blackaby:


Its interesting how many pastors, when asked for their reason to leave their church they SAY they have no problem with, they answer with "its God's will" or "God is having me move." Yet they can't EXPLAIN what that means. It is indeed mystical. And funny thing is, how many times its "God's will" they move UP the chain! One pastor from my old church was convinced God's will was for him to move to a bigger church---five years later, he moved back to California. LOL. Amazing.

All this mysticism is nothing but a conversation stopper, leaving everyone unable to challege such a comeback.

Interestingly, these same leaders aren't ok with "its God's will" for the folks to not give money to their church fund, or to church hop.

Yesterday at church a singing group called "This Hope" told of a story about how some Muslim with a rifle was waiting outside a store, and a missionary couple, full of fear, finally went up to him and gave him a bible....the guy said he was waiting for that b/c Jesus came to him in a dream and told him to stand there and wait.

These "Jesus" (really Isa) visions are being proclaimed by "Christians" as God's way to convert Muslims.

You should ask by now, "Convert to what?" and "Which Jesus"?

Exactly. Because that isn't how people are saved. They are saved by the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Phil Perkins said...

You're exactly right about "it's God's will" being an excuse for sin. That's the whole point of it.

But here's something your comment made triggered. If I invoke God's name to do what I want, aren't I using God's name in vain?

As to the visions alleged among Arabs, I'm going to watch. I'm not a strict cessationist for two very two specific reasons:

1. The Scriptural evidence for strict cessationism is weak. Yes, the perfect will come and the sign gifts will cease, but Paul didn't say when. Check out I Cor. and see if I'm right. And if I'm wrong and the Scripture does nail down the time, please tell me. I want to be right.

2. The Scripture says that miraculous acts by God will come in the future. We're told to pray for healing. And in the end times God will again have at least one prophet.

Now, don't get me wrong. The Pentecostal movement is a lie. The tongues they practice is a fake and if I didn't want to get too long I could give you all sorts of evidence for that statement, including linguistic evidence. Today's healers are liars, ripping folks off.

But the pattern of God doing miraculous things to bear witness to the gospel among some people at their first contact with the gospel could happen today, according to Scripture. I am afraid that cessationism is an overreaction to the fakery of the Pentecostals.

Sorry if that shakes your confidence in my biblical commitment, but it is because of the Scripture, not experience, I've taken this position. In fact, I've never had any experience with the sign gifts myself, nor have I ever been in the presence of anyone exercising those gifts. I have been in Pentecostal services, but I know for a fact that they aren't practicing biblical gifts. They're faking it, just like the pastors you mentioned.

This makes me the enemy of both camps, but I can't find reason to change it in Scripture. I am open to be straightened out if I'm wrong. So don't be shy in disagreeing. Please give me evidence if I'm wrong.

God bless and thanks for listening,
Phil Perkins.

Phil Perkins said...

Two other things occured to me.

1. J. Edwin Orr wasn't a Pentecostal as far as I know. Yet, he tells the story of a young lady who heard the gospel in a song performed in another language with which she was unfamiliar. So she had something like the occurence in Acts 2. And stories like this come from non-Pentecostal missionaries. It's rare, but some very credible folks say so.

2. A major argument that John MacArthur (a man I respect a lot) gives is that if someone had a prophecy, that undoes the sufficiency of Scripture. And as fake prophecy is practiced today he's right. However, this ain't necessarily so. In Acts, when the Gentiles spoke in tongues, nothing was added to the doctrines of Scripture, but it performed the function of a sign for the Jewish believers to accept the Gentiles. And biblical tongues were an actual word from God, I believe.

It gets worse, though. Paul forbade the forbidding of tongues and prophecy, but also gave us the doctrine of the suffeciency of Scripture expressly. So it seems to me the cessationists will have to thread a very small timeline needle to make their theory even possible.

BUT REMEMBER, my mind will change instantly if evidence seems to require it. So, I'll certainly listen and consider.


Prodigal Knot said...


I am no expert on the gifts of the Spirit, but I agree strongly that what is in evidence today has nothing to do with God or His Spirit. It is far too carnal and unedifying "Word-wise" to be of God.

We've been having a bit of a discussion on tongues over at http://heartcry.me.uk/forum/index.php?topic=246.0, but I think it is clear, since Paul says tongues are for unbelievers not believers, that it is strictly a gift for the purpose of sharing the gospel with someone we could not normally converse with.

Phil Perkins said...

Prod. Knot,
Yes, and one of the proofs that the "tongues" of the Pentecostals is fake and their motivations are evil, is that, when asked to limit their utternances to no more than two or three as the Holy Spirit said in Scripture, they won't comply. Instead, they leave and go where they can sin.

So, I guess, their "Spirit" isn't all that holy.