You Had Me At Hillel: My Debate with J. Jacob Prasch

An invitation to a debate came in the mail yesterday from James Jacob Prasch of Moriel Ministries and I said I would post it on my blog. Here it is:

___________________________________

"Emergent Church/ For Moriel New Zealand web site please   Inbox Jacob/Moriel

<moriel@ntlworld.com> to me, David, Jackie, Nigel, Carol

  May 28 (21 hours ago)

From: Jacob/Moriel <moriel@ntlworld.com> Mailed-By: ntlworld.com

To: tallskinnykiwi@gmail.com

Cc: David Lister <morieldavid@yahoo.com>, Jackie Alnor <jalnor@yahoo.com>, Nigel Nicholson <moriel@paradise.net.nz>, Carol Champion <morielcarol@yahoo.com>

Date: May 28, 2006 8:49 AM

Subject: Emergent Church/ For Moriel New Zealand web site please

Reply | Reply to all | Forward | Print | Add sender to Contacts list | Delete this message | Report phishing | Show original | Message text garbled?

Why Don’t You Try Telling The Truth?

I do not know who you are, but I have read what you say regarding Chuck Smith Sr. and his statement.

Why don’t you try being honest?

1. Brian Maclaren  said & wrote ‘the church should declare a 5 year moratorium on the homosexuality issue and then decide its position’. Maclaren refused to accept the biblical position on unnatural sexuality. How can the church decide on something God has already decided? Is the bible the inspired word of the church or the inspired word of God?

2. Yes, the 7/11 choruses are mantras,

3. Yes, God does forbid the use of icons and graven images in worship.

4. No, the apostles never omitted repentance in their message, but made it the pre-condition (Acts 2:38).

5. Maclaren denies that Christianity is or ever was propositional truth. The New Testament proposes that if the death & resurrection of Jesus are not objective historical facts then Christianity is bogus (1 Cor. 15:3-9).

6. UH emergent church leader Steve Chalk says Hindus & Moslems can be saved without a faith in Christ and be ‘Born Again’ without confessing Jesus.

7. Chalk says that if The Father out our sins on His Son it would be an act of ‘cosmic child abuse’; he boasts he no longer believes in substitutionary atonement.

Andrew, whether you are a biblical ignoramus, a deceiving liar, or both – I do not know. But Emergent Church is simply post modernism masquerading as Christianity. It is not the Gospel of Jesus, but fundamentally constitutes the rejection of it.

I openly challenge you to public debate me in front of a video camera when I am next in New Zealand.

We will post this challenge on our NZ web site.

Sincerely,

J. Jacob Prasch

_____________________________

My response:

Dear Jacob

thank you for your invitation to debate in New Zealand.

How can i refuse? Alan Campbell "ran scared" from a debate from you, according to Wikipedia, and I would not want Wikipedia to remember me that way.

Please go ahead and post the challenge. And I will post it on my blog for the record. I look forward to seeing my name on your NZ website. Maybe there are people there who still remember me. It has been 26 years since I left NZ – perhaps I should send you some photos of me as a child to post on the web site so that I might be better recognized?

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Can I suggest a late October date? I wanted to be in NZ then and have been looking for a way to creatively fund the trip. Perhaps God has brought you into the picture for such a time as this?

I have to admit – I am a little anxious about the debate because I look horrible in front of a camera and also because I expect to be beaten badly by you in a debate.  I suppose you will rip me to shreds. I am not an academic – just a reflective practitioner, a church-planting missionary, whose mission field is the emerging culture. And you are a world-renown scholar whose grasp on the Hebrew Scriptures must be immense. I studied Greek for a few years at Bible College but, unfortunately, did not study Hebrew. I hope I will not be too much of a disappointment.

To tell the truth, I would rather have a public chat than a debate. This will be less humiliating for me and it may be a valuable learning time for those who are doing ministry in the emerging culture. Much of your teaching (I googled around last night) would be helpful and, in fact, is already very similar to what I am hearing from the global emerging church.

I know very little about the Hebrew Roots Movement but it would be great if you could explain why believers must take it seriously and why must we reinstitute Midrash to fully understand the mysteries of our Hebrew Bible.  I understand there is much opposition to this, for which you have had your own share of controversy,  but I am open to hear your argument.

BTW – I think I am on your side in this debate. I feel the Australians were far too extreme, unfair and unscholarly in their treatment of your teaching. Like you, many of us in the emerging church have been attacked and maligned unfairly. Perhaps we can swap war stories?

You may not be aware of this but I have come across churches ministering in the emerging culture ["emerging churches"] that are employing the use of "Midrash‘. Quite possibly they have received this from you. I don’t know. Is anyone else preaching the necessity of Midrash for Protestants?

And it is possible that few of them in the emerging church understand the full meaning of the term. But as you have said . . . "It takes the wisdom of the ancients to really understand these things" (Link)

Perhaps we could use the time more productively to discuss the practice of midrash and its possible dangers. For me, and my conservative protestant/reformed background, it sounds like Midrash is bordering on gnosticism – but I am sure you will deal with that adequately when we meet.

We could also chat about the Reformation. I agree with you when you say "The problem with the Reformers is that they only went so far" (Link) but i take issue with you when you say . .  "Unfortunately, although the Reformers were dynamic personalities, they were not dynamic thinkers" (Link)

I was in Geneva last month where i took a tour of the Reformation buildings and saw the extent of the transformation of that city. Calvin was an incredibly bright young man in his 20’s and his Institutes reflect that. And there was a balance between strong thinking AND holistic ministry that transformed the country. I feel we have moved too far towards the academic and have much to learn from the Reformation. But we can discuss that more in New Zealand.

The only thing I ask, James, is this. In order for us to have an intelligent conversation about churches in the emerging culture, I need to understand where you are coming from. I read on your web site that you are a "church planter" like me. Could you please send me the contact details of two or three churches that you have planted or have helped to plant that could be used as models for a better way of church planting. It would be helpful if these churches were planted in the emerging culture so that I can make fair comparisons and contrasts with the kinds of emerging churches we are seeing planted around the world that are bringing the gospel to emerging cultures. What I will try and do is match them with an emerging church that I know of in the same country and perhaps the same city. We can then draw some conclusions and have a scholarly discussion. Or debate if you like. This would be fair, don’t you think?

Please have your secretary contact me about flight arrangements and i will give her the address to send the tickets. It has been over a decade since I have been to New Zealand and I am very excited about seeing my country of birth again. And, of course, to meet you and enjoy our debate together.

Sincerely

Andrew Jones

P.S.

As for the the issues you brought up in your challenge, here are some knee jerk reactions so that you know where i am coming from and can best prepare for our debate

Regarding the issues you bring up:

– I am not sure what Steve Chalke has to do with the emerging church (his church in London, as far as I know, would not be considered "emerging") but I will be happy to bring the findings of the Evangelical Alliance on this issue with me and we can discuss them. You may not ascribe to the EA as I do, but I hope you can appreciate our efforts to be diligent in examining this issue. As you may know, I attended the debate with Steve Chalke in London hosted by the EA which issued the following statement – of which I affirm

"Penal substitution is still central for most British evangelicals’ understanding of the cross, and the Alliance’s own ethos reflects that. However, there is an extent to which the exact mechanics of the atonement must remain a mystery to us in our limited, sinful perception. We are very pleased that this symposium has done so much to deepen understanding of the cross of Christ, but we recognise that study and discussion on this vital matter must continue. In particular, we welcome the fact that both Steve Chalke and Alan Mann affirmed their willingness to continue creative engagement with penal substitutionary atonement, and to work alongside its proponents in the cause of the gospel. In the spirit of the symposium, we hope that others will continue to listen to their concerns." Link

– Brian McLaren suggested a 5 year moratorium?  I would be interested to know if any churches, emerging or not, have implemented such a thing. Do you know of one? Most emerging church leaders that spoke of this, despite having great respect for Brian McLaren, did not think the moratorium was a good idea.

– 7/11 choruses? You will have to explain this to me.

– Omitted repentance? Who said anything about that?

– Icons? God may have forbidden the use of graven images but the appropriate use of icons, discussed at length during the Second Council of Nicea, are given legitimacy. Even today, the cross, the table, the cup and wine are all important symbols of our faith (I speak as a protestant). But surely the Hebrews have a rich heritage of such iconic symbols also? At least, when i read of OT worship and the festivals, I see oil, olives, water, and many icons that enriched the worship of the One True God. In fact, wasn’t much of it was God’s idea in the first place?

But you will no doubt throw some Hebrew words at me and quote Rabbi Rosencratzenburgsteinendorf and tell me that I dont understand my Hebrew Bible because I am a Protestant and don’t understand Midrash.

And, who knows, you might be right.

__________________

BLOG RELATED:

Brian McLaren: a True Son of Lucifer (Tapestry Faith Community)

Pattern, not just Prediction. Midrash Hermaneutics (Chuck Missler)

Further:

I sent off another letter to Jacob. You can read it at comment number 15

Moriel Ministries

Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)

63 Comments

  • Hi Andrew – blessings on you for this…
    i guess my immediate response is…concern about the aggressiveness with which the criticism of you/Brian Mclaren etc has been made. Gal5:22-23 makes clear that the fruit of the Spirit is ‘gentleness’. I’m not sure why people want to be so aggressive when making their comments…?
    Of course, they could claim that it is ‘righteous anger’, but why waste the energy? If we need to get angry then why not get angry about people dying from needless poverty, or the evil of war, the humongous amounts of money wasted on nuclear arms, or the HIV Aids plague that is killing innocent people, or global warming…
    Andrew, you’re a good man. Bless you.

  • Hi Andy
    Thanks for this. I hope I can be a gracious and good humoured when I am attacked.
    Innes
    ps. Hope you get to NZ in October…be *very* interested to hear if you receive the tickets from Mr P.

  • well mr jones,
    rather a den of lions to be faced don’t you think ?
    so go get ’em !!!!!
    (as boldly and as lovingingly as you are able,
    and knowing His complete peace)

  • Andrew, I strongly suggest you don’t do any “debate” with this man (I believe he is a brother). I have met him. I have known people who follow him. I have known people who are attacked by him. When you are on his side, he is actually very stimulating, thought provoking, very insightful. He says many good things, and is a good teacher.
    But if he sees anything in you he doesn’t agree with, watch out. He can be vicious. He will not let up. He sees everything as black and white; there is no middle ground. He is tenacious. Any flaw, any weakness will be brought to the surface and magnified, whether or not there is any substance or not. You are right; you would be sliced and diced.
    He attracts people who tend to a kind of spiritual paranoia. I have seen this first hand. He is so extreme and unyielding that these weaker people get sucked up in a wave of fear and anxiety about the condition of the Church that they tend to hide in their homes and never open themselves to others for fellowship, unless the others are paranoid, too. It is not a healthy spiritual condition in those who need to fellowship with others, but can’t.
    An exchange of emails is by far a much safer way to approach him. Even that has its hazards. Beware, seriously.

  • Thanks Jeff
    Actually, we are already exchanging emails and he is congenial and straightforward. There may have been some mistaken identity involved and we are working on what to do next.

  • J.J.P, is extreme in his views. He does see things black and white. I admire him because he practices what he preaches. I follow his ministry, yet I attend a reformed Anglican church, which has amillenial theology. I agree with his use of Midrash, insofar as I understand that he is trying to interpret the Scriptures, through their Jewishness, rather than through Graeco-Roman ideas as much of the Protestant church (and Catholic church) has taken to doing. He wants us to understand how a Jewish apostle, versed in the the Old Testament Scriptures, was interpreting, the Old Testament in light of Christ and the cross.
    JJP has opposed “the Hebrew Roots Movement” where it insists that gentile believers need to play at being Jews, in order to live in the New Covenant. He opposed those who have gone so far as to state that Jews do not need the preaching of the gospel, because they will somehow be saved under the Old covenant. The Protestant, fundamentalist sites that attack JJP, are ignorant of what he actually teaches. They also count among their number those who cannot stand that Christians should beieve that Israel has any relevance in God’s purpose today, or in the future.
    Am I brainwashed or weak, because I can see merit in JJP’s ministry. Have I stopped attending church, and barricaded myself inside, just because he has warned me and others about the compromise that has occurred with the Evangelcal church? I don’t know, should I be purpose driven, seeker sensitive, emergent? I cannot decide which brand of Christianity best suits me. Well, at them moment, I am really content with a conservative Protestant church where the gospel is boldy proclaimed, despite being my holding premillenial eschatology.
    I guess I need to wire myself up again so that I can be properly re-programmed bt JJP!

  • Who cares about the tags and brands? I am sure God is not looking to see what we call ourselves or what the critics call each other.
    “I have this against you . . . you called yourself ‘Emerging-missional’ . . .”
    of course there is merit!!!
    I actually sat down with Prasch’s Midrash stuff this morning, while the wife took over the computer, and found some good thoughts.
    I think the fundamentalists are concerned wth the flow of power – if say only Jewish or only Midrash style hermeneutics . . then the power flows to the Jewish Midrashers and away from themselves./
    But yes – there is much to learn and concepts such as multiple layers of meaning and revelation being pattern (not just prediction) fits well with current conversation.

  • well done andrew, for being gentle in your response.
    may God take that seed and make a great harvest of humility from it…i know it must hurt God so much when we snipe and attack each other.

  • “Andrew, whether you are a biblical ignoramus, a deceiving liar, or both – I do not know. But Emergent Church is simply post modernism masquerading as Christianity. It is not the Gospel of Jesus, but fundamentally constitutes the rejection of it.”
    Quite a gracuous response really TSK!
    I’m afraid my Aussie Irish temperament doesn’t find it easy to be quite so kind… and i’ll leave it at that before I say what i really think!

  • You would have already seen my blog on this issue. I have known Mr Prasch for many years through tape, writings and conferences.
    I am afraid he treats the Kingdom of God as his own playground in which he is the school yard bully, he so likes to have the pre-eminence and I have never known him to back down…if you don’t agree with him then you are ‘outside’. As someone who has first hand experience of cults I recognise a very authoritarian spirit in him and his followers will defend his positions, even in all his rudeness.
    I pray there will be a change from your discussions with him, but remember the Gospel of Jesus Christ does not need a defence, it is the gospel and thats it.
    I pray for you and Jacob in your conversations.
    Peace
    Dave
    PS….feel free to have a go on my world cup sweepstake over at the blog

  • hey. thanks everyone. for the record, I sent off another letter. here it is:
    “Jacob
    I cant keep my straight face any longer. Let me break it for both our sakes.
    Gosh – this debate thing is sooooo ALPHA-MALE!!! . . dont you think?
    New Zealand is a long way for both of us and i was just joking about you guys flying me over there.
    i have a better idea.
    Come on up to my home in Stromness, Orkney Islands (Scotland). You will be my guest. I cant pay for your plane ticket but i will put you in a hotel or find you some good accommodation. Heck – you can even sleep on our couch like my friends do.
    Instead of a hard-core debate [not nearly hospitable enough for these warm hearted people in our fishing community here], i will set up a meeting for you and you can speak for a long time on the emerging church. At the very end, we can have some questions and answers and perhaps I will take 5 minutes to give some feedback – perhaps a violent disapproval or a hearty applause – whatever – to which you can also respond.
    Then we could pray for a while for your ministry. If people are led to do so, they may even lay hands on you and send you off with God’s blessing on your ministry.
    Who knows? You might even create another support group in the process.
    The emerging church in UK is far easier to throw stones at than in USA – We have some glorious messes that were made in the 1980’s – in particular the Nine O’Clock Service – which went cultic and weird and even sexually immoral.
    Other models have done quite well, however, and the emerging missional church is now an integrated part of church life in UK. They use words like “mission-shaped’ and “fresh expressions” but its basically the same thing.
    The folk up here will give you a warm welcome. they will not have heard of Brian McLaren but some of the older ones may have heard Steve Chalke at large Christian festivals like Springharvest. So, even though it doesnt relate to emerging church, you could still address those issues.
    Word of warning: the Scots are very proud of their Reformation and will not take kindly to your put downs of Reformation advances and Reformation Bibles. But I am sure you are no stranger to a little controversy.
    So, consider this an open invitation. When you find yourself in UK, please take an extra day or two and come up. The food is fantastic – best beef and seafood in the world. I will no doubt show it off to you. Maybe i will make you a curry. And the neo-lithic villages and stones are also worth a look.
    Maybe you should bring your family also.
    See you when you get here
    Andrew Jones”

  • So Andrew, you wouldn’t happen to have a wry sense of humor would you? 😉 Of course, now you have me itching to come visit with my family. I’ve always wanted to come hang in that part of the world.

  • Oh, dear. You just thumbed your nose and stuck out your tongue at the schoolyard bully.
    I would take him a bit more seriously. He is capable of making much trouble for you. Hopefully, he will view you as too small to bother with (no offense intended).

  • I don’t sense that Andrew isn’t taking him seriously. I sense that he’s heeding the admonishment in scripture to avoid vain and foolish arguments. Something I’m not always good at obeying but something that I think Andrew has done well and with his own personal flavor 🙂

  • Toilet Paper Tube View of Church History

    Some people have a toilet-paper-tube view of church history. In
    their quest for the original version, they find a spot they like and
    stake a claim to it. Then they defend it with all they have,
    sometimes viewing their neighbors as combatants.
    Andrew
    Jon

  • Well, I have learned some things just reading the ‘debate’ so far. At first I thought that JJP would NEVER pay for your trip to NZ…I still have my doubts. Will he pay and also pay for the hotel? I think you should stay for a week..and bring the family.
    On the other side the debate…hummm. If it were the same debate say in Porto Alegre Argentina would you still go? Or is it NZ that is the attractive thing? I do not know…and Porto Alegre seems like it might be nice too. 🙂 blessings.

  • Actually, I did invite him to Brazil to the big emerging church conference called Tribal Generation (in a few weeks)
    but honestly, and we have emailed each other about this
    we dont think the debate is going to happen.
    He wants to debate someone regarding penal subsitution and the atonement or someone directly associated with Emergent (Emergent Village) and it looks like i am not that person.

  • I thought I recognised that tone. I got an email from the same guy this morning.
    It’s not pleasant reading. Apparently, I am a perverting Christianity into a ‘neo-pagan influenced post modern religion.’ I must say that I’m quote surprised as I had no idea I was so powerful!? 😉
    I’ve never heard of this guy before, so thanks for the links.

  • JJP can say what he wants about the emerging church. I’m far more offended on behalf of the English language, proper spelling, and good grammar. I will not even mention the sentence structure (oh, but I just did). This is what happens when books like The DaVinci Code become the standard fare of our literary diets.

  • If I come to Scotland, will I get a tour of the the seafood and beef delights or do I need to challenge you to a fight first? I hope that is not the case.

  • hey jon. thanks for noticingthe reference to Rabbi Hillel of the Pharisaic School where Paul studied under Gamaliel. Good eye!!!
    Jason – you will have to be a lot more manner-deficient to get that of invitation out of me.
    tell you what – you can sleep NEXT to the couch on the floor and I will feed you HAGGIS!

  • In light of Jason’s comments, Andrew, I officially challenge you to a duel with balloon-swords. Next time I’m in Scotland, you better watch out. =)

  • i am going away to think of something really obnoxious to say to andrew in a very bad mannered way because i don’t want to be left out of the invitation either
    erm……..let me think now ???

  • thank you
    what a very Christian way to go about things !!!
    now i want sumo video though – that is hilarious !

  • haggis – hmmmm…now that got me really interested. But I have no interest in sumo wrestling so I’ll just pop by and watch y’all instead.
    every time I see this in my cocomment list I laugh at the title as well.

  • What I don’t like is that James Jacob Prasch from Moriel Ministries got himself “remembered by Wikipedia” (as a bad dream) for this judging all the bad bad others stuff.
    Judging is so easy – there are so many un-perfect things to judge. In fact, I’m the only perfect person. So if I start judging I won’t come to an end I fear. Let’s get remembered by Wikipedia for doing good in this world.

  • yes – and lets get remembered by Google for good things
    try typing in “[your name]” AND “church” into a search engine and see what comes out.

  • Thanks for the idea Andrew. Did just that and came up with my own web page. funny. It came up with a few others as well….and my brother on some page too. Thanks for reuniting our family. 🙂

  • will certainly make every effort! i guess ‘last stand’ for x-men iii can wait until sunday …
    b-

  • that’s the great thing about having a name like Makeesha – I’m EVERYWHERE! 😉
    Jonny Baker, You, Jason Clark, Dan Kimball, my own 2 blogs…in that order.

  • Truth matters – opinions not.
    At the end of the day every single believer who claims to be Christian must examine themselves and their beliefs according the Word of God. True disciples continue in His Word (John 8:31)- they don’t contradict it and they don’t exceed what is written (1 Cor 4:6, Rev 22:19)
    Where do you stand? What is your authority? Is it the Bible or is it the majority of people’s opinions (Laodicea)? It is quite apparent that you and your friends hardly refer to scripture, and when you do, it is out of all reasonable context.
    You seem to have a good sense of humor but no amount of joking hides the obvious flaws of contra-biblical teaching. In your response to the debate challenge, did you conveniently forget to quote scripture, or do you intentionally joke around the real issue? (It seems reasonable to me that someone calling himself “TallSkinnyKiwi” resides in New Zealand – however, Scotland is real close to England so I hope the debate will take place).
    Jesus promised that the true church would always be around and that the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The true bible believing church has always been around and has never been a part of anything Catholic or Protestant. Priscillian, Waldensians, Albigenses, Anabaptists, Bohemian Brethren, Plymouth Brethren etc. etc. have always been around. Numerous other churches in all centuries – without organizational nametags testify to the existence of the true church throughout all centuries. An excellent book documenting this uncomfortable truth is “The Pilgrim Church” written by E.H. Broadbent. It can be ordered from The Berean Call http://www.thebereancall.org
    The New Testament itself uses Midrash and most of the groups mentioned above, especially the Plymouth brethren and even the puritans did employ the same principles although they did not call it midrash. Others, like Watchman Nee also did use the same principles to further illustrate or illuminate the plain objective teaching of scripture. Others currently, in small groups, not part of any main stream fad, teach in exactly the same way and when they hear Jacob Prasch teach, it is nothing new at all – simply a confirmation.
    Paul himself did use Midrash in Gal 4:22-31. Most people understand Midrash to be what we usually call typology. Perhaps typology is the closest description for someone unfamiliar with midrash. The bible, as it was written by Jews, or converts to Judaism (Luke) does employ these methods. It has absolutely nothing to do with Gnosticism.
    If you had properly done your homework – rather than learning by way of google, you would have known that Jacob clearly speaks against Gnosticism. Contrary to Gnostic interpretation, Midrash is rather based on literal hermeneutics and never contradicts scripture if employed correctly. A little googling around doesn’t help your cause – it rather testifies to poor research and a complete lack of knowledge on the subject.
    Hebrew Roots Movement? Jacob Prasch is extremely vocal against this false movement while he himself is as fundamental as the preceding generation of bible teachers like D.L. Moody, R.A. Torrey, A.W. Tozer etc. Not one fundamental doctrine to which these men held is contradicted by Jacob Prasch but yet you allude to him being part of this movement when in fact it rather seems that you yourself have no idea of what HRM teaches. Once again you googled around but all you substantiate is your own lack of knowledge. Why not refer to Jacob’s own teachings in public domain against HRM rather than some Aho or Vicky trying to bad-mouth him.
    So Calvin did wonders in Geneva? Not really – You neglect to mention that he had his opponents killed (what a great man?!). Calvin further doesn’t mention any testimony of being born again in his writings. This Calvinistic/Augustinian false teaching also led Zwingli into killing/drowning Anabaptists for being literally obedient to the biblical command to be fully immersed (baptized) in water after salvation. (Acts 8:35-39, Acts 2:38). Instead of being immersed Zwingli was rather part of the emergent church of his day and “emerged” into the broad way (Mt 7:13) by accepting the current trendy Roman Catholic thing of sprinkling babies and killing true Christians.
    Geneva was a failure because God never called us to build His kingdom here on earth, as Calvin’s police state attempted, but he rather said that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). Christians are called out of the world, as sojourners, not conforming to this world (Rom12:2), where we await the return of Jesus as our hope. Only then will His kingdom be on this earth – anything before then is in the process of building antichrist’s kingdom.
    The council of Nicea is useless (see link below) for any truly bible believing Christian – only God’s Word counts (1 Cor 4:6 [nasb] – exceed not what is written, Rev 22:18)
    http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/beast07.htm
    O, but we shouldn’t judge, says one of your blogggig friends – according to who? Certainly not God’s Word. Matthew 7 refers to hypocritical judgment, not a lukewarm excuse for accepting false teaching & deception. Christians are commanded to discern (anakrino) and decide (diakrino) – (1 Cor 14:29, 1 John 4:1, 1 Cor 5:11-12. John 7:24) “Krino”, means “to judge, if perhaps you can remember from your university Greek classes,” and anakrino (discern) and diakrino (decide) is obviously derived form this word.
    Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement (John 7:24).
    It seems that you yourself judge according to the flesh, according to appearance (like tours through Geneva) rather than referring to God’s unfailing Word as standard. But the Bereans were commended because they even checked the teaching of Paul to see if it was according to scripture (Acts 17:11).
    Oh, but you so harsh says another. Truth hurts, but it also saves. Another blog (one rare reference to scripture) says that Jacob, and I suppose people like myself, doesn’t have the fruit of the Spirit which is gentleness.
    So, my question is, was Jesus not gentle when he said:
    Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? (Matthew 23:33)
    Did Jesus not have the fruit of the Spirit when he said:
    Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness (Matthew 23:27).
    Was Paul unloving when he warned about and names false teachers (1 Tim 1:20, 2 Tim1:15, 2 Tim 2:17, 2 Tim 3:13, 2 Tim 4:14).
    Was Paul wrong when he “withstood him (Peter) to the face, because he was to be blamed” (Gal 2:11)?
    Sadly, this person’s perverted definition of gentleness thinks it to be some hippie flowery, wishy washy, all loving, false tolerating syndrome. The Love of God loves people enough to tell them the truth in order to save them – it “rejoices with the truth”(1 Cor 13:6) and never apart or separated from truth.
    The Emergent Church movement is not biblical. The only thing you are emerging into is the last days falling away from the faith (1 Tim 4:1). In the last days many will fall away from the faith. This faith always existed but now you sadly want to emerge into something different. There is nothing to emerge into because it always existed. We should rather return to the old biblical ways, we should return to “the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 1:3) The true Christian faith was once for all delivered and never ceased to exist since. We should return to the Word of God and “examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith…”(2 Cor 13:5).
    Paul warned clearly:
    “A time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires” (1 Tim 4:1).
    Don’t have your ears tickled and don’t tickle the ears of others. Don’t take the broad easy road that leads multitudes to a fiery hell but rather take up your cross, die to self and self love, die to the world and walk along the narrow difficult path which few find. Turn away from false teaching, look to the simplicity of Christ and ask for forgiveness, turn from sin and walk with Jesus by His unfailing love and truth according to His unfailing Word – the Bible.
    I would love to send you a couple of articles regarding the false teachings of emergent church,
    Gerdus Human

  • Very well said Gerdus Human (“,)…I’m in complete agreement with you…
    Russell Lorilla

  • I’m forever amazed at people who seem totally convinced that what they say is “truth,” and that what is said by those who disagree with them is mere “opinion.” Ironically, some examples given above of Jesus and Paul lashing out in righteous judgment, are actually examples of these men standing up against the literalists and legalists of their day. Jesus stood up to the scribes, priests and Pharisees for their condemnation of “sinners” while refusing to help the people “enter in,” and Paul lashed out at the Judaizers (and Peter) for demanding that the Gentiles follow the Law. Imagine that: expecting them to follow the Law!?
    Jesus also said the following in Luke 11:
    “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs.”
    Jesus evidently didn’t think too much of those who memorialized the prophets while preaching the same doctrine as their fathers who did the killing. Somehow I suspect that both Jesus and Paul would be mighty unwelcome in many of today’s churches. Neither followed man-made rules or kowtowed to pompous religious authority. They were radicals. And the establishment usually doesn’t like radicals until their dead and memorialized.
    I love the “ears tickled” quote. In my experience, there are many Christians who love to be reminded from the pulpit that they are the only ones going to heaven and that all those who disagree with them are going to hell. Some like to think of themselves as “persecuted” and therefore, somehow, special. But I think that there is quite a lot of ear tickling going on. In fact, most anytime you hear something that you agree wholeheartedly with, and that makes you feel “right,” “true,” vindicated and smug, then you’re probably getting the old ear tickle treatment. How many successful “ministries” are there that specialized in ear tickling? Would they be successful if they really spoke the truth and made the people so mad that they rose up to stone them? Both Jesus and Paul did this. In fact, Paul supported himself (to what extent I don’t know) so he wouldn’t be obligated to the detriment of the Gospel (see 1 Corinthians 9).
    How can one know that their truth is “true” and that everyone else’s is not? Well, when some Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons (see Matthew 12); Jesus told them, basically, that evil can’t cast itself out (do good). Evil does evil and good does good. Good trees produce good fruit and bad trees produce bad fruit. Therefore, all of this arguing over who has “truth” is useless. Good will do good and evil will do evil. If emerging church is evil, then it will do evil. But, if it does good (see Matt 12:28), then it does so by the power of the Spirit of God.
    We should all be very careful before calling good, evil. Check out Matthew 12:32.

  • What I say do not matter and can be discarded as mere opinion, but the Word of God should be respected. His Word is Truth – not my words (John 17:17). I hope that you will not believe what I have to say, but that you will search the Scriptures in order to see if what I say is Biblical or not (Acts 17:11). I am a sinner, a nobody, saved by grace – so please check me out against the unfailing Word of God.
    Am I a literalist and a Pharisee?
    A literalist I surely am. I believe that words mean something and that the most logical way to read the bible is literally. Even when the Bible uses figure of speech we can literally observe that it is figure of speech in order to deduce a literal application from the context. I took you literally when even you yourself responded in a literal way. The Bible quotes itself literally so why should I not be a literalist? Jesus was a literal person, died on a literal cross, and rose literally from the dead. It is very clear that when one part of Scripture quotes another part of Scripture that it does so in a literal way.
    You say : “How can one know that their truth is “true” and that everyone else’s is not?”
    If the Bible weren’t true then why does God say that His Word is Truth (John 17:17). Why are we encouraged to stick to the bible, to not look beyond what is written and not add anything (1 Cor 4:6, Rev 22:19). We know the bible is true because it accurately predicted hundreds of prophecies which Jesus literally fulfilled. How can we otherwise know truth except by the Bible? We must stick to the Bible. The bible is the biblical Christian’s compass. The Word of God is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our Path (Psalm 119:114). Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1, John 1;14). If we reject the Bible – then we reject Jesus. There is no two ways about it. Both the Word of God and logical/rational thought makes it abundantly clear that we need a clear standard as a basis of comparison (1 Cor 4:6, Rev 22:19).
    In order for Truth to be Truth, it must be objectively comparable. If you have no absolute frame of reference – then you cannot even be sure that you are sure. Simple logic explains this well. Opinions must be compared against an unfailing and perfect standard. If everybody wrote science exams without a true marking sheet, who will score the highest, and who will fail? Will everyone have some small idea of the right answer? Can everybody just answer what they want? In fact, without an externally comparable standard, an absolute frame of reference, they may answer the questions as if it were a French exam. We need an external unbiased reference as a basis of comparison.
    It is like driving on the highway with everybody inventing there own traffic rules. Chaos, hurt and death are the only natural consequences. For example, a certain man from remote jungle drives along without a driver’s license. In fact it is his first time driving – he simply do not understand those metal pillars on the street corners with the three brightly colored lights. It doesn’t make any sense to him. After running a red light and nearly hitting a pedestrian someone shouts intently: “You fool, don’t you know how to drive;” but man replies, “Yet another legalistic European.”
    Another guy drives along and thinks he is in America – He drives on the right hand side. Man it feels food, and it works very well, at least for the moment. For his own good someone points out to him that he is in the United Kingdom. “Here we drive on the left”, the person points out – “you are endangering the lives of many people, including your own.” But sadly, the Yankee pulls up his shoulders and says: “You Pharisee, who said you can make the rules.” Confused the man walks away wondering how the American can think this way. After all, he is just another traffic user. The Brit didn’t even make the rules, a higher governmental authority made them. For his own good he knows that everybody should follow these rules – otherwise its end will lead to destruction. If no one has respect for the rules, the basis of comparison, then nobody can be compared and everybody is right. Chaos rules.
    Without a basis of comparison, we are floating on every imaginable wind of doctrine. Anybody and everybody are right. All paths are simply yet another means of reaching the same end. Every religion is just another way, or a different form of expression of the same “truth” according to such a devastating philosophy. But the Bible is exclusive. It is Jesus who said that the path is narrow and that few find it – not me. It is Jesus who said: “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
    You accuse me of being a Pharisee, but you have an unbiblical idea of exactly what a Pharisee is. It was the Pharisees who taught the inventions of men as the doctrines of God (Mat 15:9) They added to and twisted the Law of Moses. They were the ones not listening to Moses and the Prophets! You should realize what the Bibles says about the Pharisees and not have your own idea. The Pharisees added to the Word of God. Examples are when they made a fuss about the hand washings, a “tradition of the elders”- not a commandment given by Moses (Mat 15:2). They also declared their money untouchable for the use Parental care (Mark 7:11) – yet again something not found in the Old Testament. All these things were added to the Word of God – not a literal interpretation of the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses never even contained the Pharisaical dimensions. Speaking of the Pharisees Jesus said, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mat 15:9). A Pharisee, according to Jesus, is someone who teaches their own ideas as if it were the very commandments of God. This problem has always been around. For example, the Roman Catholic Church have for centuries taught strange things foreign to the Bible, but did so by pretending that it was the commandments of God. The idea that Mary is “Co-Mediatrix” (Co –Saviour) alongside Jesus is totally unbiblical since Mary herself said that she needed a Savior by stating:
    “My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” (Luke 1:46-47)
    If Mary spoke about her “Saviour” – how then can she be “Co-Mediator” ? Such silliness are the obvious inventions of men.
    Similarly heretical is the idea f transubstantiation (the bread and wine magically turning into Jesus Himself – Almighty God turning into a small piece of bread and into some wine only to be eaten and digested by His own creation). This is what the dictionary calls cannibalism. This is foreign to the Bible. To eat Him in the daily “mass”-acre in the “Eucharist” and then drink His blood? Not in the Bible.
    Although Jesus did say that “This is my body”, we know that He said that we should do it “in remembrance” of Him (Luke 22:19). He also said “I am the Door” and yet no one thinks He is a physical door by attempting to install Him in the Kitchen. The idea of such a transformed “bread/Eucharist” is foreign to the bible, but your Emerging Church promoter Dr. Robert Webber is all for the Eucharist.
    Is this not evil? Webber is a Pharisee and anyone who follows him is as well. They teach inventions of men as the commandments of God. It is amazing to see so called Protestants go Catholic by doing “Prayer breathing”, “multi sensory worship”, “labyrinth” walking and even Hindu Yoga and Buddhist meditation. This is what Pharisees do: they add to the bible and pretend that it is Christian. How can it not be evil? How can the emerging church be anything but evil? This is way the way of the world and this is the way of the emerging church. It is rotten to the core and no person belongs in such a false movement.
    Yet you say that we must judge the emerging church’s “fruit”. Do you call meditation, yoga, transubstantiation and pedophilic nunnery good fruit? Did you even notice that Jesus was not speaking of a church movement in Matthew 12? Yet you misapply what He said regarding individuals and apply it to a movement. He said “The good man brings good treasure” – NOT “the good movement” (Mat 12:35). By referring to Matthew 12, are you saying that I blasphemed the Holy Spirit? You are a bit careless in you misapplication of Matthew 12. Perhaps you should have read these words in the same chapter that you are referring to:
    “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an account for it in the day of judgment” (Mat 12:36).
    If the Pharisees had literally interpreted Moses and the Prophets they would have been following Jesus along with the other disciples. Philip and Nathanael were able to literally find Jesus – “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45). The faithful ones stuck to the Old Testament while the Pharisees added and nullified it through their own inventions. You have it the wrong way around. Wasn’t Stephan martyred by the Pharisees because he expounded from Moses and the Prophets that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah. Stephan confounded them by the power and Wisdom of the Holy Spirit but, unable to respond, all they could do was lie and say that he was speaking blasphemous things against Moses. In fact, Stephan himself used Moses and the Prophets to show the Messiahship of Jesus. Read Acts 6:8 to Acts 7:60. Here are more examples showing you have it the wrong way around:
    “Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” (Luke 16:27-31)
    “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).
    “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.” (Luke 24:44).
    “Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come” (Acts 26:22)
    “And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening”(Acts 28:23).
    Quoting Scripture doesn’t make me a legalist. I never expected anyone to follow the Law. The Law is there to point to Jesus and I would encourage anybody to “enter in” – as long as it in accordance with the terms Jesus laid down in the Bible. If we try and keep the Law we soon realize that our evil sinful nature is totally incompatible with the Holy standards of God. God, being perfectly Holy cannot tolerate even one sin. If we even stole once, His own Law condemns us to eternal judgment in the Lake of Fire. More than that, if we even think dirty thoughts, then we are also condemned before a perfectly righteous God. Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Mat 5:27-28) I am quilty – How about you? If we see our sin before a perfectly holy God then we realize that we are at God’s mercy. But God is righteous and just and His Holiness requires that sin must still be punished. God must judge unrighteousness – otherwise He Himself cannot be Righteous. We must recognize that we are hopeless and that before a Holy God, even our most righteous deeds “are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isa 64:6).
    If we have this conviction, then the Good News of Jesus is applicable to us. The good news is that Jesus lived the perfect life, a life totally acceptable to God. Jesus took our place on that cross. God became a Man so that He Himself can do for us that we cannot do ourselves. God lived the life He Himself requires. More heartbreaking is that He not only lived the perfect live on our behalf, he also died the death that we deserve. He took the punishment of my sin, and your sin, on that cross. We broke the Law He perfectly kept and He offered up Himself out of love for you and me. No one is good enough for God – only Jesus. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” ( 2 Cor 5:21). By recognizing our sin and sinful nature we can turn to God and ask Him to forgive us in the basis of His Son. The death of Jesus can be counted as our death and His life can be counted as our Life. This free gift is available to anyone who accepts the divine terms of also laying down their lives and living a crucified life. A crucified life is a life that looses all hope in the efforts of self. It puts Jesus first amongst all things. It looses all hope in self righteousness, it denies self, it stops trying to be good before God. A crucified life falls humbly at the feet of Jesus looking only to Him to be our Righteousness.
    But Jesus did nor only die on the cross – He also rose and lives forever more. This means that we can know Him personally as Savior from our sins. If we died in Him (born again) – then we also rose together with Him. He can thus live His righteousness through us- If we walk the narrow road of faith in Him. “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” (John 15:4) He died for us and HE lives for us. He is our righteousness and He is our sanctification. If we yield to Him he lives through us on a daily basis. What good News! What great news for sinners like myself!
    “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent”(Acts 17:30).
    Gerdus Human

  • Sorry Gerdus . . did you say something?
    you were right when you said i googled around to find stuff but i also believe meeting personally is a better way to understand.
    i wish people would do the same things with the emerging church. come over for a coffee and help us for a day.

  • Gerdus Human – what 2 excellent posts. WOW.
    I know they were posted in 2006 but only came across them know. Thanks be to God for men such as yourself. Be blessed in the LORD JESUS CHRIST dear brother.

  • TSK, tsk! What a shame! Gerdus Human is taking you logically, step-by-step through the Truth and your reply is “Sorry, Gerdus…did you say something?” How arrogant and offensive!

  • This post popped up in my Google news reader today, but it appears to be something that took place a couple of years ago. Pardon my ignorance, but did the debate ever take place? If so, is it posted somewhere? Thanks!

  • Jacob has challenged me several times to debate. There are a number of reasons that I haven’t. First Jacob’s debates are about theatre and circus. They’re about him. Secondly I wouldn’t take his academic achievements too seriously. He has few. He talks himself up. Watch a debate of his and he sticks to a very narrow rhetoric he defines as orthodox but it is really extremist ‘Christian’ Zionist and fundementalist in character. He will never respond constructively to your argument. There is never a debate. Thirdly I use to think of Jacob as unhinged and almost demonic in character. These days he just seems a sad attention seeker. He once had a debate with Alex Awad. For anyone watching it was overwhelmingly evident Alex shredded and dusted him. Jacob went on to claim success and ridicule Alex. Personally I’d avoid- it’s not worth the time. Steve Tollestrup

  • Thanks for that! I am a follower of JJP and wow,what a good leader.I am drawn in by his truth. People wants to custom make their lives and by all means go ahead! But that don’t mean that you are living the way God intend for you! True Christians should set apart and be recognizable,not by acting better than anyone else but by leading and setting examples.
    If you do not want to change your life for Christ because you are too comfortable with the temperary glam go ahead and when it iall go away, Jesus will not answer that door.
    I have read the bible from front to back and JJP IS A LEADER AND A STRENGTH THAT EXHIBIT TRUE CHRISTIANITY!
    No one can win JJP ON A DEBATE BECAUSE NOONE CAN DEBATE TRUTH!!!!!!

  • To my brother in Christ, Gerdus Human I want to say that I read this only in 2013 but it is the truth and God’s Word and I am greatfull for you taking the time to give it to the readers. I agree with it in all respect. Keep up such good work and rubb the ears. dont tickle them. Irritate as good salt should.

  • Andrew, I think it is pathetic to see a poor response to any issue. You make light of the straight questions. You dance around the topic with screeds of text, when it is quicker to give your simple answers to the questions, and just respectively decline to debate, or just call the guy and talk to him to clear the air if you’re worried about your image and being posted on wikipaedia.
    You’d be a good politician, if you could debate.

  • Hmmm…
    Trying to find out just who JJP was, and came across these tidbits. Seems like some humility is in order all around. Ask questions humbly and politely, then disagree politely when there is deviation from God’s word. Gerdus, you’re a smart guy, but you’re a little long-winded for this format–people will be more inclined to pay attention if you do a little editing.
    More love, people. Contempt is always borne of arrogance. Not appropriate for anyone who desires to abide in Christ. Jesus is Risen! Repentance, anyone?

  • Omit your use of the word “pathetic,” and the last sentence, and this would have been decent constructive criticism. There’s too much name calling going on here. You are entitled to feel his response is pathetic and characteristic of politicians, but to state it doesn’t help your goal… which I assume is to persuade him to change his method of response?
    It is objectively pathetic to see insults or implied insults amidst debate among Christians. The great irony is that supporters of both sides would probably respond to that statement by claiming that the opposing side does not consist of actual Christians, hence the behavior. No true Scotsman…

  • Pity this Prash guy is a trinity devil! Funny that those claiming to be fundamental berean bible scholars miss the fact that neither Jesus nor Paul were tritarians and that this evil illogical concept is unbiblical.

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