Church, Worship

Throwback Thursday ~ Rolling Out the Welcome Wagon

Originally published August 25, 2010

The LORD said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. I Kings 9:3

As Golden Girl Sophia would say, “Picture it:”

After church one Sunday, a friend says, “Why don’t you come over to my house tomorrow night for dinner?”

So, the appropriate time comes on Monday evening, and you drive over to her house. The door is standing open because she is expecting you, and you’re familiar enough with each other that you feel comfortable just walking on in.

As you’re walking in, you see your friend standing there, and you say to her, “I invite you into this house! You are welcome here!”

Anything seem a little off about that?

Well, of course that seems strange. It’s her house.

But that’s what is taking place in churches all over America every Sunday morning. I saw it in a televised local church service last week. The worship leader stood up to lead the first song and said, “God we welcome you into this place!” I’ve heard others say things like, “Lord, we invite you into this house this morning!” We sing songs like Holy Spirit, Thou art Welcome and Lord, we Invite You.

‘Scuse me? Isn’t the church God’s house?

Of course, it isn’t God’s house in the same way the temple was God’s house, in that there isn’t a holy of holies where the actual presence of God resides. On the other hand, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s only a building, like the post office or a doughnut shop.

At some point, way back when, or maybe even recently, a body of Believers got together and asked God to give them a place where they could worship Him. God saw fit to answer that prayer. He provided the land, the permits, and every brick, nail, and piece of sheetrock. He allowed His name to be placed there when we decided to call it “Grace Fellowship”, “St. Luke’s”, or “First Baptist”. He protects that building and allows it to stand as a testimony to the community: God, and God’s people, can be found here.

It’s not your church. It’s not my church. It’s God’s church. And it exists for His glory.

But somewhere along the way, we’ve forgotten that. Somewhere along the way, we gave God an eviction notice and became squatters on His property. How arrogant have we become that we strut into church as though we own the place, and dare to invite Him, to welcome Him into His own house as though He were a guest? How dare we?

Maybe it’s partly because we no longer have a holy of holies that we don’t see God’s house as sacred. “Ah,” you may say, “but that’s Old Testament thinking. Now we understand that when we gather together in His name, He is with us.”


When it’s my church, my comfort, my pew, my ministry that nobody else better touch, my style of music, my opinion about how long the sermon should be, my feelings that got hurt, my idea of how things should operate, what I got out of the service, are we really gathering in His name?

Welcome, Lord. Are You sure You want to come in?

1&2 Peter Bible Study

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Lesson 12

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Read 2 Peter 3

Questions to Consider

1. Read verse 1, noticing the words “beloved” and “sincere mind”. What do these words tell you about how Peter regarded his audience as opposed to…say…how Paul regarded the Galatian Christians?

2. Compare verses 1-3 with Jude 17-19. What does it mean for someone to be a “scoffer”? Make a list of all the words and phrases Peter and Jude use to describe scoffers. Do these words and phrases sound like they are describing lost people or saved people? Examine 2 Peter 2 (or lesson 11, link above) and the remainder of Jude – which words and phrases indicate that some scoffers are false converts (people who claim to be and/or believe themselves to be saved, but aren’t)?

Describe a prototypical lost person (makes no claim to be a Christian) scoffer. Describe a prototypical false convert scoffer. (These might be people you know personally, celebrities, authors, etc.) What’s something you might say, or a question you might ask each of these people as a lead-in to a gospel conversation?

3. Verse 4- What are the scoffers scoffing about? Have you ever heard a lost person scoff at or ridicule this? Read verses 5-7. How does Peter address the argument the scoffers make? What does it mean that they “deliberately overlook” the facts Peter lays out in 5-7? Explain why, in order for a scoffer to hold an anti-biblical view (evolution, abortion, egalitarianism, sexual perversion, etc.), she must first “deliberately overlook” biblical facts or “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”

4. Examine verses 5-13. What is the main topic this passage deals with? How does Peter compare and contrast God’s creation (and first destruction) of the earth with His final destruction of the earth? In what ways will the final destruction be like the first destruction (the Flood)? What does this have to do with the return of Christ (4)?

5. Have you ever been in a situation in which a scoffer made an argument that seemed plausible, or asked a question you couldn’t answer (ex: If God is so good and so powerful, why does He allow evil and suffering?), and you knew she was wrong, but you didn’t know what the biblical answer was? Did you feel confused and anxious? That’s kind of the situation Peter’s audience is in here. Explain each of the components of Peter’s answer to the scoffers’ argument:




How would Peter’s answer to the scoffers’ argument have set the minds of his audience at ease, brought them comfort, and given them hope?

6. Read verses 8, 9, and 15a together. Compare and contrast our impatience for the Lord’s return with His patience toward the world. Why is the Lord taking so long – from our perspective – to come back?

7. Using your cross-references, what does verse 9 teach us about the heart of God toward the unregenerate?

8. Examine verses 11-18. “What sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness” considering that Christ could return at any moment? Make a list of the instructions Peter gives us for the way we should live as we await the Lord’s return:

Be sure to…                                                  Be sure NOT to…





Second Peter 3:8 is often used by Old Earth Creationists and Theistic Evolutionists as a prooftext to explain how God could have taken millions of years to create the earth. Examining this verse in the entire context of chapter 3, is that what Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, intended when he wrote this verse? What was he intending to convey when he wrote this? Explain why it’s important to always use verses in their right context when building doctrine, claiming promises, supporting an argument, applying Scripture to our personal circumstances, etc.

Suggested Memory Verse

Be sure to come back next week as we wrap up
Living Stones: A Study of 1&2 Peter!


Discernment, Doctrinally Sound Teachers, False Doctrine, False Teachers, New Apostolic Reformation, Sermons

Justin Peters: The Modern Prophets and Faith Healers Utterly Destroyed by COVID-19


Last week, Justin Peters released this excellent teaching video demonstrating how the COVID-19 virus totally debunks the claims of these heretical charlatans. Prophets and miraculous healers, they are not. Invest the time to watch it, and consider sharing it (kindly and lovingly, of course) with those you know who are enamored with this kind of “Christianity.”

Answering a Fool, Mailbag

The Mailbag: Answering a Fool #4


Answer a fool according to his folly,
lest he be wise in his own eyes.
Proverbs 26:5

There’s a lot of foolishness masquerading as Christianity these days. Occasionally, I get e-mails and messages showcasing this type of foolishness. It needs to be biblically corrected so these folks can stop “being wise in their own eyes,” repent, and believe and practice the truth of Scripture. From time to time, I share those e-mails in The Mailbag with a biblical corrective, not only so the e-mail writer can be admonished by Scripture, but to provide you with Scriptures and reasoning you can use if you’re ever confronted with this kind of foolishness.

To answer a fool according to his folly (or in the case of most of the foolishness addressed to me – a professing Christian acting the fool by spouting unbiblical folly) is to stand toe to toe with him and firmly and biblically address his unbiblical foolishness without backing down or letting him run roughshod over you – sometimes even mirroring his own words back to him to help him see his hypocrisy. Some Christians think holding your ground, refusing to compromise on biblical truth, and offering correction in this way is unkind or unloving. It is not. Not if you’re going by the Bible’s definition of love rather than the world’s definition (“be nice” “accept everything” “don’t confront”), and not when you’re dealing with a pridefully stubborn person. One of the most unloving things a Christian can do is to see a professing brother or sister in biblical error and ignore it rather than trying to help that person see the truth of God’s Word. Jesus, Paul, Peter, Jude, John, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and many others, did this plenty of times in Scripture, and, often, much more stringently that I and other 21st century Christians do. Sometimes love – real, biblical love – has to be tough in order to reach someone’s heart.

(This reader’s blog comment {in blue},
responding to this article, is reprinted in full.)

Kay Arthur is a servant of the Lord and those of us who are Christians and love God and do her Bible studies can discern for ourselves. Who are you to bring up such things? Go study the Word of God yourself and take the log out of your own eye. Maybe you can go find somewhere to serve and stop trying to bring dissension among believers. I’m sure you can find better things to do then [sic] pick apart a woman who has devoted her entire life to teaching the Word of God. The woman is 86 yrs old, let’s all try to leave a legacy as she is doing.

All right, let’s break this down, shall we?

Kay Arthur is a servant of the Lord…

I never said she wasn’t. I’ve clearly stated on many occasions, including twice in the article you commented on (which I’m assuming you read) that I do not regard her as a false teacher, and I have never questioned her salvation, nor (unless she apostatizes) do I plan to.

By the way, did it ever cross your mind that I might be a servant of the Lord? Just because someone is serving in a way you don’t personally like, doesn’t mean she’s not serving the Lord. A lot of people didn’t care for…say…John the Baptist’s methods, or Jeremiah’s messages, or Paul’s teaching, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t servants of the Lord. When determining whether or not someone is a servant of the Lord, the question is not, “Do I like what this person has to say and the way in which she says it?” the question is, “Does this person’s teaching and behavior line up with Scripture? Is she bearing fruit in keeping with repentance? Is she teaching what is good? Is she following the principle of teaching sound doctrine and rebuking those who contradict it?”.

…and those of us who are Christians and love God and do her Bible studies can discern for ourselves.

So why haven’t you discerned for yourself the things I’ve mentioned in the article? Why are you arguing against the issues I’ve brought up instead of agreeing with them? And why are you accusing and slandering me for exercising biblical discernment? It doesn’t appear from your comment that you are “discerning for yourself” or you would have already noticed these issues and you’d agree with the biblical passages I’ve cited that these things conflict with Scripture.

But you’re right, some Christians who love God and do her Bible studies can discern for themselves. Which, in several cases, is what has led them to write to me and ask about the issues with Kay that I’ve cited in the article. They’ve been discerning. They’ve noticed that some of the things Kay teaches and does conflict with Scripture.

Who are you to bring up such things?

I am a Christian being obedient to the clear teaching of Scripture to contend for the faith.

What’s the problem with bringing up such things? You want to hide the fact that a Christian teacher is deviating from Scripture in certain areas? Can you cite any rightly handled, in context Scripture which supports that idea? Because the Bible never suggests we should hide sin or unbiblical teaching:

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. Ephesians 5:11

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Galatians 6:1

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. James 3:1

(I’m not suggesting, via these verses, that Kay is demonic or a false teacher or anything like that. But anything that you or I or Kay or anyone does that is sinful and/or contradicts Scripture is a work of darkness, and the Bible does not even hint that these things should be covered over, swept under the rug, or hidden. In fact, it says the opposite. God’s desire is always that sin and unbiblical teaching be dealt with and corrected in a biblical manner for His glory and our good.)

And what’s the problem with me or anyone else bringing up such things? In fact, why aren’t you bringing up such things? You’re a discerning Christian who loves God, and does Kay’s Bible studies – why haven’t you brought up the issues with Kay? The Bible clearly instructs us to hold to rightly handled Scripture and reject whatever contradicts it. Why aren’t you doing that? And why are you attacking me for following the Bible’s instructions? That’s not the fruit of a discerning Christian who loves God.

Either Kay is actually being obedient to Scripture in the issues I’ve cited in the article and you can prove that with evidence and Scripture (in which case, it’s actually to your advantage that I’ve brought these things up so you can publicly disprove what I’ve said and exonerate Kay), or she is being disobedient to Scripture in these issues (in which case, it’s also to your advantage, spiritually, that I’ve brought these things up so you can be aware and take Scripture’s side on these things rather than taking Kay’s side).

Go study the Word of God yourself and take the log out of your own eye.

What log? You’re wielding Scripture like a weapon and an insult against a sister in Christ who is obeying God’s Word, and you don’t even seem to understand what it means in context. (And neither of those things, if you’re a student of Kay’s, speaks very well of her teaching). And the reason I know that is because I’ve studied Scripture, as you’ve probably surmised from the copious amounts of it which I’ve cited in that article and this one.

If you’ll read the entirety of Matthew 7, you’ll notice that, in context, verses 1-5 (from which you’ve drawn your remark above) warn against judging others hypocritically. In other words, we’re not to judge a brother or sister for a slight fault (speck) when we’re guilty of that same fault to a much greater degree (log). Can you please explain precisely how I have done that in the article about Kay? Where have I taught unbiblically about spiritual warfare or endorsed someone else who does? When have I ever shared a stage with the likes of Beth Moore or Priscilla Shirer, much less co-authored books with them? When have I ever invited men to a conference I’m speaking at? How am I judging Kay hypocritically rather than judging her with right, biblical judgment?

Further along in Matthew 7, Jesus Himself not only judges false teachers (and, again, I’m not saying Kay is a false teacher) and false doctrine, but tells us to recognize them by their fruits (i.e. make judgments about what is and isn’t biblical). Obviously Jesus is not guilty of hypocritical judgment by warning against false teachers and telling us to do the same, and neither are those of us who obey His instructions.

What is hypocritical judgment is you casting aspersions at me  – like: I haven’t studied the Word, and I’m hypocritically judging someone – with no evidence or biblical support. You have no evidence or grounds for saying that I don’t study the Word. In fact, I think that the twelve years’ worth of material on this blog is sufficient evidence to refute that claim. You have also provided no evidence or biblical support to your claim that I have a “log in my eye.”

But the biggest hypocritical judgment you’re committing? You’re accusing me of being unbiblical based solely on your own personal opinions, not based on Scripture. You have cited no rightly handled Scripture whatsoever. You’re accusing me of judging while you’re judging me. Who’s got the log in her eye?

Maybe you can go find somewhere to serve…

Another unsubstantiated, unbiblically judgmental accusation. You know nothing about me. You have no idea whether I’m “serving” somewhere or not. I am a faithful, active as I’m able to be member of a local church and I serve it in any way I’m permitted to. Furthermore, I am serving the Lord with this ministry. At the moment, I’m doing so by rebuking your unbiblical judgments and ideas.

…and stop trying to bring dissension among believers.

And another Scripture you seem not to understand, which you’re wielding against a sister in Christ like a weapon and an insult. (And, again, your lack of understanding of the Scriptures does not speak well for Kay’s teaching. Jesus said we will know whether teachers are good or bad by the fruit of their ministry. You’re part of the fruit of Kay’s ministry. How do you think your misunderstanding and misusing Scripture reflects on her?)

I’m guessing (since you didn’t quote or reference it) the verse you’re alluding to is Romans 16:17. Let’s look at what it actually says:

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.

Where have I said anything contrary to sound biblical doctrine as taught in Scripture? This verse teaches that the people who cause divisions and create obstacles (“bring dissension”) among Believers are the people who teach things and act in ways that are contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught by Scripture. For example, the things Kay has taught and done (ex: teaching men, yoking with false teachers, etc.) that are contrary to Scripture. Had she not taught and done these things, there would be no “dissension” because I would have been able to happily and wholeheartedly recommend her and you wouldn’t have had anything to complain about. When there is dissension among Believers it is the fault of those who are contradicting Scripture, not those who are standing for Scripture.

I’m sure you can find better things to do then [sic] pick apart a woman who has devoted her entire life to teaching the Word of God.

Log, meet speck. Pot, meet kettle. Do you not see the hypocrisy of you saying this to me? My life is devoted to teaching the Word of God as well, even the parts you don’t personally like. And yet here you are picking me apart. I’m sure you can find better things to do.

And, again, twelve years’ worth of material on this blog. One article about Kay that was written four years ago. Over 1600 on other topics including Bible study, discipleship, encouragement, evangelism, apologetics, recommended Bible teachers, Biblical Counseling resources, and resources for helping people find solid churches all over the world, among a plethora of other topics. Although there’s nothing wrong with the article I wrote on Kay – so I don’t need to “find better things to do” – I’m sure any objective person would see a 1600+:1 ratio as evidence that I’ve certainly found other things to do.

Furthermore, writing a carefully annotated discernment article addressing and explaining multiple issues with a teacher is not “picking someone apart”. It’s called being ethical, biblical, and thorough. (And by the way, one of the reasons I have to be so thorough is because if I only briefly cited one or two issues, I would get critics like you saying, “That’s all you’ve got? That’s nothing!”. It’s a lot harder to dismiss multiple and well-documented incidents.) While some people may choose to write a paragraph casting unfounded aspersions and making unsubstantiated accusations against sisters in Christ (log), I prefer to be as fair, biblical, and extending of grace to the person I’m critiquing as I possibly (speck) can.

The woman is 86 yrs old, let’s all try to leave a legacy as she is doing.

I’m sorry, is there some sort of age limit beyond which we’re allowed to sin and teach unbiblical doctrine with impunity? I don’t recall seeing that in the Bible anywhere. Solomon was elderly when he started worshiping false gods, and yet God doesn’t shy away from pointing this out publicly. In writing. Unconcerned about how doing so might impact Solomon’s legacy. Age is no excuse for sin or unbiblical teaching. In fact, God specifically says quite the opposite:

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-5

The truth is, we’re each responsible for our own legacy. If Kay wants to leave a more godly legacy, the areas I addressed need to be biblically corrected. I am doing my best to leave a legacy of pointing women to Christ and His Word, teaching them to be discerning, and encouraging them to be faithful to their local churches. There are many areas in my life in which I need to be more obedient to God’s Word so that I can leave a more godly legacy.

Misunderstanding and misusing Scripture. Falsely accusing, slandering, and hypocritically judging a sister in Christ. How’s your legacy looking? It’s something to think about, because, as you rightly pointed out, we should all look to the legacy we’re leaving. And we should strive to make it a godly one.

If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Book Reviews, Guest Posts

Guest Post: A Review of Jackie Hill-Perry’s “Jude: Contending for the Faith in Today’s Culture”

If your theology pretty much matches up with mine (as outlined in my “Welcome” and “Statement of Faith” tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page) and you’d like to contribute a guest post, drop me an e-mail at, and let’s chat about it.

For more information on Jackie Hill-Perry, please click here.

A Review of Jackie Hill-Perry’s
“Jude: Contending for the Faith in Today’s Culture”

by: Thomas Coutouzis

There is an old adage that says, “You can’t judge a book by its cover”. The implication is that the outward appearance of a book is not a reliable indicator of the content. This can be true at times, however, I have found more often than not that you actually can judge a book by its cover, probably more today than ever. In the case of Jackie Hill-Perry’s study on Jude, you can indeed judge a book by its cover. I will tell you why shortly.

I was asked if I would read the Jackie Hill-Perry study on Jude and write a review since I have written a commentary on Jude. I have studied extensively in Jude and have a passion for defending the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. Our Lord doesn’t need us to defend His truth or His name, but He chooses to use us and charges us to contend against false teaching.

I don’t know much about Ms. Perry. I saw her in the excellent documentary made by Brandon Kimber called, American Gospel: Christ Alone. In this documentary she and a multitude of other saints presented the tenets of the prosperity gospel and began to dismantle them piece by piece with Scripture until you could see the man-made anti-Christ teaching it really was. What was surprising is when she posted pictures on social media of her with a variety of false teachers. The first thought that immediately popped into my mind was, “How can you teach a study on Jude and then go and befriend those who preach a false gospel?” These two things cannot coexist together. After all, the apostle Paul said, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14. Not to mention that we should not even give a false teacher a greeting (2 John 10-11). My suspicion was that Ms. Perry didn’t fully understand the text and as I read and listened to our dear sister’s messages I found that this is most likely the case.

I started with looking over the cover first. As a person with an Ad Agency background I found that the cover missed the entire theme of Jude. Jude is a polemic epistle. Polemic comes from the Greek word πόλεμος (polemos), which means “war/battle/fight”. Thus Jude is a call to arms for the church to stand up and go to war with false teachers. In verse 3, Jude challenges the believer to contend for the faith earnestly (ἐπαγωνίζομαι – epagonizomai). It gives us our English word, “agonize”. The word denotes a struggle against a competitor or enemy. In this case, Jude is using the word figuratively to describe going to battle against an enemy. It is combat against a foe. The word is used in the present tense denoting that the believer is to constantly combat false teachers. False teachers will never rest spreading heresy, neither should we stop opposing them with the truth. With this said, the cover (image at the top of this article) was an intersection on a city street with three cross walks and various people making their way to and fro. This cover in no way encapsulates the theme of Jude. It is a misrepresentation of the message of this epistle. The theme of Jude is a fight against those wolves in sheep’s clothing who have sneaked into the church with the purpose of turning it away from God. My commentary has a shield with two swords on the cover. This sets the tone for what you are about to read. Unfortunately, the creative team at LifeWay and Ms. Perry missed the mark on the cover for this study.

In this study Ms. Perry did six teaching segments and one summary segment. That said, Her teaching segments skipped over verses 12-13 and 16-19 which are very significant to understanding the text. However, the book does cover these, but not in any depth. Ms. Perry is a godly woman who has a passion for her King. The Lord has saved her, like all of us, from a life of great rebellion. You can see the love and passion she has for Him as she presents each of her messages.

In listening to the first segment (Jude 1-2) Ms. Perry understands that Jude is starting off his letter gently for a reason. The words that follow are going to be strong so he wants to make sure that the elect understand that their faith is secure before he drops some hard words regarding apostates. She makes this point very clear. She also speaks to Jude reminding them that the elect’s faith is secure for all time.

What I believe was missing in her teaching and the book was the historical context for Jude. What ancient heresies were around when Jude wrote the book that would give insight to his remarks? How do we know Jude was Jesus’ brother and not Judas son of James? There are Scriptures that prove Jude was Jesus’ brother, but why were they not cited as proof to whom this was (Mark 6:3)? There are also Scriptures that point to Jude’s unbelief in Christ like John 7:5. These are all important not only in pointing to lineage and authorship, but that God redeemed him (Acts 1:14) from his unbelief and why he is so passionate to contend for the faith. How can we understand the book if we don’t understand the man’s roots?

In the section of the book that covered Jude 1-2 I was perplexed as to why there was teaching about how the ancients wrote letters. The book displayed a letter from a Roman soldier named Apion and wanted the reader to compare them to Paul’s greetings in Ephesians 1:1-2, 1 Corinthians 1:1-3, and John’s greeting in Revelation 1:4-5. It struck me more as a filler to take up space rather than to help the reader to understand what this letter means.

In verse 3, Ms. Perry does not define the Greek word for “contend earnestly” (ἐπαγωνίζομαι – epagonizomai), but she does speak to one aspect of its usage which was regarding a struggle in athletic contests. Fighting to win the wreath. Indeed, the people of this time would be familiar with the Olympic games and the struggle to win, but that is not how Jude is using this word. Epagonizomai” combines the preposition “epi” meaning, “focused on” and “agon” which means “a contest”. In Greek, a preposition intensifies the meaning of the word to show the ferocity of the fight. In this case, Jude is using it figuratively for military combat. A fight in which your very life hangs in the balance and you must fight until the last breath. This is your enemy, not a competitor. You shake hands after a contest with a competitor. In battle, your enemy will gloat over your dead body because he seeks your destruction. Such are false teachers. They seek your destruction. The term is in the present tense which indicates that challenging false teachers is a constant. The Christian is to do this until he breathes his last.

Jude 3 is the cornerstone of the epistle. If you incorrectly interpret this verse, then the meaning of the rest of the book will crumble to the ground. Ms. Perry misses the militaristic intent. This term would indeed be recognized by the hearer in the context of Rome and its gladiators who would “epagonizomai”. This misunderstanding might be why Ms. Perry has associated with apostates like Jenn Johnson. She doesn’t see them as a threat to her or Christ. If you don’t see your enemy as a threat he is going to lure you in and destroy you.

To further show where Ms. Perry misses the mark on this verse, she rightly posits in the accompanying teaching video (#2) that those who contend with hatred in their hearts are wrong. There are infamous discernment blogs out there that excoriate both apostate and brethren alike, attacking their character more than the error. There is no civility. She gives an example of people holding up picket signs “outside”. It struck me as a reference to the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. They certainly are filled with hatred, thus in need of redemption. Ms. Perry states, “It might be that these people have contended for the faith wrong because they have taken the imagery of contending and divorced it from love.” I believe she is referring to these people with picket signs who have hatred in their hearts and not to the church to which Jude wrote his epistle. It was hard to tell. Right after saying this she posits that because Jude called these Christians “beloved” and said “may love be multiplied to you” that Jude is telling them that they are to contend for the faith in love. She further explains, “So when he (Jude) tells them to contend for the faith, love is to be assumed as an active participant in how they do it.”

First, she is reading something into the text that is not there. This is eisegesis (reading one’s own bias into the text that is not the author’s original intent). There is no connection with Jude’s greeting regarding his love for them and love being multiplied to them that would imply that he is exhorting them to contend for the faith in love, especially with his gut punch to them in verse 3. When I first heard this it almost sounded as if she was suggesting that the recipients of this epistle were not contending for the faith in love, but as I listened to it for context a few more times I don’t believe that she was drawing this conclusion.

Regardless, the aforementioned eisegesis of Jude exhorting the church to contend for the faith in love stands. The believers in Jerusalem were passive toward sin. These Christians were allowing false teachers to be a part of the church, thereby allowing in heresy, and turning believers away to a different Christ. Jude is emphatically calling believers to arms to fight against these heretics who have sneaked in. They are going to need to start church discipline immediately because when Jude’s letter is read, they will recognize these wolves. Some of these apostates might be their friends with whom they must now have hard conversations. Relationships will be severed and hearts will be broken.

Ms. Perry didn’t really explain in depth what contending for the faith in love looks like. We certainly should contend for the faith without maligning the character of others or abusive speech. Ms. Perry didn’t distinguish the line other than hatred, cynicism, and cruelty. I was under the impression that there is no room for stern reproofs for apostates. I believe Titus 1:13 and some of Paul’s stern reproofs (See 1 Corinthians 5, 2 Corinthians 12-13, and Galatians) would not side with her. You can be loving and stern in a rebuke, especially when someone is extremely hard-hearted. Ultimately, we should care so much about others’ well being that they see our kindness and care for them, but this doesn’t negate that there might be a time when words need to be stronger in order to penetrate a heart hardened by sin.

This leads me to my next point. In terms of the depth of the study and application, I found this study to be severely lacking. The book’s subtitle is, “Contending for the Faith in Today’s Culture”, but there are no examples of modern day apostasy. Jude clearly points out the attributes of apostates. These were not taught in the teaching video, but the book did scratch the surface of some of these attributes. Many of the study questions asked, “What do you think…?” instead of “What does the text mean?” The “What do you think?” questions lead to subjective answers rather than objective. The line between truth and error is blurred with subjective questioning. When we read a text we want to discern what God actually means.

Here are more examples:

Regarding Jude 6 and the angels that were having sex with women and spawning a super race: “Do you think God should have judged them? Why or Why not?”

Why would you ask that question? Of course they should have been judged!

What was so surprising is that there was no application as to how this relates to identifying an apostate. The study showed the demons in the abyss as a clear judgment from God, but did not relate it to the coming judgment of apostates who are like these demons. The book and teaching didn’t make the correlation that these demons went outside of God’s sexual boundaries that he established in Genesis 2:24. One of the easiest things to discern is that apostates live to go outside the boundaries that God sets with His Law. In this case, and in the case of Sodom, Jude is showing that apostates are the foremost of the sexually immoral. Where there is a sex scandal in the church, you will find an apostate. They will break every one of God’s sexual boundaries, whether heterosexual sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, polyamory, pedophilia, incest, rape, etc. Sexual sin is a judgment from God, but that is never discussed, nor pointing out that men and women in the church venturing outside of God’s sexual boundaries are most likely unregenerate.

Regarding Jude 8 when Jude refers to apostates as dreamers, Ms. Perry gives the transliterated word “enupniazomai”, but doesn’t define it. Why would you give the Greek word that Jude uses and no definition? It means “in a dream state/in a dream while asleep.” Jude is obviously using this term figuratively to denote that apostates are daydreamers. They daydream about sex, money, fame, luxury, and even revenge. Daydreams are a form of self-exaltation. Apostates will go to whatever end to get these things that they lust after; thus they defile their flesh. False teachers do declare divine revelation through dreams, but that is not what they are doing here because these dreams that Jude speaks of lead them to defile their flesh.

Regarding Jude 12-13, questions were asked like:

“What four elements of nature did Jude use to describe the ungodly teachers?” Questions like this will not aid the reader in understanding what Jude means when he says apostates are “autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted;”.

There are many more examples that I could give, but it is not necessary. I don’t believe this study will thoroughly equip you for battle against apostates, not all of which are infamous false teachers like Steven Furtick or TD Jakes. Many are small town church pastors or congregants in our own churches that are either dormant or actively working to lead people away from God. They are regular church attenders like you and me.

With this study we can judge a book by its cover. It is not that the study is heresy, rather it barely scratches the surface of a potent book. I can only speculate as to why Ms. Perry after teaching a study on Jude would associate with those who meet all the criteria Jude gives for apostasy. This epistle should aid in our discernment of counterfeit Christians. If it doesn’t, then we are not heeding the necessity with which Jude wrote this book and commands us to contend earnestly for the faith until we are called home.

Thomas Coutouzis is the author of Agonizing For The Faith: A Biblical Exposition of Jude as well as an epic fantasy series that is partial allegory called Athanasia (The Great Insurrection (part 1) and The Unknown Lands (part 2)). Thomas resides in North Carolina with his wife and two children, is an expositional Bible teacher at his church. He welcomes you to follow him on Twitter.

Book Giveaway: Thomas would like to bless two readers with a copy of his book Agonizing For The Faith: A Biblical Exposition of Jude. To enter the giveaway, drop Thomas an e-mail at before 11:59 p.m., Friday, April 24 and let him know something you liked or learned from his review of Jackie Hill-Perry’s book. Thomas will choose the winners and notify them by e-mail.