In response to important information which had been brought to me here at Apprising Ministries back on October 23, as an SBC pastor I felt led to write Southern Baptist Convention Embracing Gnostic Mysticism . This piece mentioned both Kent Shirley, who is Director of Missions for Grand Valley Baptist Association (SBC) in CO and the president of the SBC Dr. Frank Page.

The response from brother pastors and others in the SBC which would lead to a follow up article SBC Embraces Emergent Church And Contemplative Spirituality. The Lord then moved upon Phil Perkins, a brother in the SBC who teaches at a small SBC school, to contact me and he shared his Open Letter to Frank Page and Kent Shirley.

This is deeper into the SBC than I had realized. So after much positive response from people in the SBC thanking me for looking into these issues and some subsequent articles leading to the creation of a new category SBC/Contemplative/Emergent I feel led to republish Perkins’ Open Letter with his permission. Following it will be the response that Phil received from Dr. Frank Page.

I offer this with the prayer that more people will be able to take a close look at what someone who actually is taking a stand like Phil Perkins looks like. We don’t see that often in today’s talk out of both sides of your mouth, “Look not with thine eyes lest thy see” version of evangelical Christianity. I commend you Brother Phil. And now let us ride together to the sound of the guns!

Open Letter to Frank Page and Kent Shirley

As a Southern Baptist, active in preparing the next generation of youth to hold fast that which was once delivered to the Saints, I am dismayed to learn that you have actually embraced the Emergent/ing. They actively seek to replace that clear message once delivered with postmodern deconstruction. I beg you to reconsider.

The end result for the SBC will be like the liberal Protestant denominations. There will be no next generation, a fact I think is self-evident.

Dr. Page, you have said that you welcome Emergents and their influence into the SBC. You appreciate their “contributions.”

Which ones exactly? Their derision of doctrine? Their licentious approval of sexual perversion? The introduction of Eastern Mysticism by Rob Bell to the youth? Brian McLaren’s well-known denial of the substitutionary atonement? The work of Tony Jones to introduce Contemplative Prayer to young people? Shall I continue? This is only the tip of the tip of the iceberg. We can take up the “biblical” panentheism of Mike Morrell, or the profanity of Mark Driscoll and David Sherwood, who also glorifies sodomy.

It is said that to “reach” the postmodern unbeliever, we must take on his language and way of thinking. Not being a young man, I have befriended or known drunks, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, pimps, prostitutes, and atheists. Would you apply that logic to these groups? Should I get a harem so I may effectively witness to a pimp? Get drunk for a drunk? Deny the Lord to win an atheist?

Emergents either deny the truth, deny its importance, or deny its knowability in order to communicate it well to those that think the same. You don’t see a logical (never mind biblical) problem with that?

It is further said that the Emergent/ing pronounce against many of the evils in the modern Evangelical church. So do atheists, Mormons, JW’s, and Jay Leno. Shall we welcome Kingdom Halls into the SBC as long as they “support the Cooperative Program” and have “biblical methodologies” as you say? I have Mormon neighbors. Shall I give them your number?

It is also said that a new strain has emerged from the Emergent called the Emerging and they are much better. Emergent Lite. They believe in truth, they just do not know much about it or are not willing to say it much because that is offensive to postmoderns. Paul, on the other hand, counted on the power of a set of propositions he called the gospel to save. And he didn’t seem to avoid the offense of the cross. He was beaten most places he went. Remember that from the book of Acts? Are the Emergent/ing folks smarter than Paul? They’re certainly not braver. Not saying the gospel is a better way to convert others than saying it? Can potential converts simply surmise it from our pasted-on, ultra-loving smarmy face? Perhaps we can be “missional” and hint at it will we smile a lot, do good works, and read a short article by an Emergent author glorifying the latest doctrinal or behavioral aberration from Spencer Burke.

Paul demanded that believers confess Christ. Out loud. In public.

As much as possible in light of these things, I want to show deference to you, Dr. Page, for two reasons. First, we are to be submissive to those in spiritual authority. Second, perhaps you were not as aware of the poisonous nature of the Emergent as I.

In reference to your authority it is obligatory for an overseer to uphold the standard of truth. You have not.

Is it of no concern to you that you share in their evil work simply by letting them in? Perhaps you remember II John 10-11. “If any man comes to you, not bearing this doctrine, do not receive him into the house and do not speak to greet him. For the man speaking to greet him has fellowship in his evil works.”

Apparently it is just fine with you that John O’Keefe openly glorifies the drug culture, Communism, and homosexuality and has been able to remain an SBC pastor for some time now.* Brian McLaren’s A Generous Orthodoxy entreats us to stop telling folks about Jesus as personal savior and to stop worrying about saving folks from hell. Instead, we are to be “missional,” a term currently in vogue with mollifiers in our SBC colleges and seminaries.

In regard to the possibility of ignorance, you could be excused for not knowing of the Emergent. However, being in your position it is your business to know these things. Of all SBC-ers, you are to be the most diligent watchman on our SBC wall. You are not.

Doctrinal compromise to show exaggerated numbers may boost our reputation in many quarters, but it damns the next generation.

What do you think will come of any church or movement that takes on the doctrine of those who deny doctrine? Do you really expect that the children of those who deny that we can know truth will be able to enunciate the doctrines of their parents or even ascertain that which cannot be spoken? On what basis do you think they will build their churches in their generation? Have you forgotten that Christianity is a confessional religion? That means doctrine taken as absolute truth expressed propositionally. Am I right to assume (by outward appearance) that this problem matters little or not at all to you as long as the numbers reflect well on you during your watch? After all, your picture will remain up at SBC headquarters along with a shining record of growth, right?

Don’t be foolish. God will not allow any church to long linger while ashamed of “Me and My words.” He will be ashamed of us! Wood, hay, and stubble stack high, but burn hot. We will join the Laodiceans in God’s spittoon, later to be thrown before the stench of our disobedience becomes too vile for God to stomach. God will call real saints who will obediently bring every thought captive to His lordship. They will tread upon our dust, evangelize those whom we ignored for lack of a message, shame our cowardice with the suffering we refused to endure, and teach the doctrines we trivialized while we await our certain, final, and dreadful judgment.

Praying for your repentance,
Phil Perkins.

*Recently I learned that O’Keefe is making a move. So perhaps that problem has been addressed. If so, I thank you.

Republished by permission. The original can be seen here.

Dr. Page Repies

Here is Dr. Frank Page’s response to this open letter on November 13, 2006:

Phil, Let me be as clear as I can. People love to take what I have said and apply it in broad brush application. When I encouraged the involvement of emerging churches and leaders, I was referring only to those whose message and methodologies which are biblically based. When I made that statement, I was referring to the emerging churches of which I had at that time become aware. I was referring to a group of young leaders in churches who were reaching the lost with the clear message of Christ. They are biblically sound in both message and methodology. The groups, pastors, and churches to which you refer are obviously not among the group to which I refer. I do believe that there are ways to be relevant in today’s culture without sacrificing the very clear commands of Christ.

I do not know if this helps. I hope that it does. I do not normally respond to open letters. However, in this instance, I hope that my response will make this issue very clear. I also know that I have listened to your side and that is one side of the argument. However, my statements in the above paragraph are as clear as I can make them. I stand by them. I encourage young and nontraditional leadership which is Biblically based.

In Christ,

Frank Page


See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8, NASB)

Due to the sensitive nature of this information concerning the Emergent Church which might be a bit of a shock to some I remind the reader that I did not write this Open Letter itself. Even though I am in personal contact with Brother Phil obviously I can’t speak for him or for Dr. Page. However the following comment placed at Emergent theologian Scot McKnight’s Jesus website the other day by Dr. Mark Divine, Associate Professor of Christian Theology at SBC owned Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is indicative of what I see Dr. Page saying:

Much that I am learning about the emerging movement attracts me. I am a Professor in a Southern Baptist Seminary and am working hard to correct D.A Carson’s highly distorted reduction of the movement… We do know that the Southern Baptist Convention is quite large. There are also many Southern Baptist pastors, mostly youngish ones, who are part of the emerging conversation. I am convinced that the SBC would benefit much from certain insights and emphases prized within the emerging movement conversation.

By the way this comment also appears in full at Theology Dr. DeVine’s own website as well. Men and women, this type of thinking is a grave danger to the Body of Christ in general and to the SBC in particular. It gives evidence of the acceptance of the Emergent Church’s main premise of this allegedly contextualizing of the Gospel message so that it will relate to so-called “postmoderns.” But you need to understand that postmodernism isn’t new at all. It is simply the old philosophy of relativism redefined. If you want to know what it really is then picture a know-it-all fourteen-year-old who has just been told they can’t do something. Off they storm in full pout slamming the door to their room and blasting the CD player in order to drown out the real world.

I am one who received much training through the ministry of Dr. Walter Martin (SBC) and who has also been led by the Lord to specifically study this convoluted “conversation” from its own sources throughout this past year. As a result of my research I have since labeled this Emergent rebellion against the Word of God as a neo-liberal cult. Based on much familiarity with his labor in Christ in my view Dr. Martin, who labeled their forebears “the Cult of Liberal Theology,” would also have labeled this Emergent movement as the cult of the new liberalism. For at its rotten essence it has an existential neo-orthodox (at best) approach to the Bible, it openly embraces heretical Contemplative Spirituality as a core doctrine and it has now reduced Jesus to a cause du jour with its reimagined social gospel.