The Compromised Church Part 2 – Spiritual Blindness

by Mike Ratliff

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23)

Over the last several months, perhaps even over the last few years, I have become aware of a disturbing phenomenon in the Church in America. Perhaps you have noticed it as well. The phenomenon I am writing about is willful ignorance in our spiritual leaders.

In the early to mid 1980’s I lived in the Edmond, Oklahoma area. During this period a postal worker at the main Edmond Post Office came to work one day with his National Guard pistol. He entered the employee area and locked the doors so people couldn’t escape then systematically started shooting and killing his former co-workers. The expression “Going Postal” came from this incident.

In 1989 into 1991 I worked at the F.D.I.C. office in Oklahoma City. One of my co-workers was the daughter of a postal worker who was there in the Edmond Post Office that day. She told me his experience. He was able to escape being killed by fleeing in the opposite direction from where the shots were coming from. He found one unlocked door and was able to get out. However, on his way out he found several of his co-workers hiding behind cabinets or in closets or behind doors. He tried to get them to follow him out, but they refused. They were convinced that they would be safe where they were. They were all killed. Those postal workers who thought they were safe staying put were being willfully ignorant of a clear and present danger. It cost them their lives.

The Compromised Church is being led by those who are spiritually blind. The spiritually blind Christian leader exhibits that blindness in several ways, however, willful ignorance is perhaps the one we see the most. What is the source of spiritual blindness? How does a professing Christian fall into spiritual blindness? Is it something that God does or allows to happen? If that is true, why does He do it? The following passage speaks of how God worked to blind some of Israel, but not all, to the truth of His saving Grace.

What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.” (Romans 11:7-8)

Why did God do this? Is this the only example? Let’s look at another passage.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:18-32)

When people worship what is not worthy of worship instead of worshipping God, He will give them over to whatever it is. This giving people up or giving people over is the same thing as giving people a spirit of stupor. This is a spiritual blindness that cannot be overcome by any power other than God’s.

What causes people, even professing Christians, to be given up or given over to false worship or false religion? Why would God do this to them? In my study, “Judge Not!” I wrote a chapter called: “The Curse of Self-Righteousness”. In it we explored what happens to Self-Righteous people when they refuse to humble themselves before God. Pride begets self-righteousness which begets spiritual blindness. Humility, on the other hand, begets self-examination and a penitent heart which is full of God’s light, wisdom and discernment.

As we look at the Compromised Church’s humanistic theology we find that the spiritual leaders of this false church are not humble. They are prideful and willfully ignorant. When clear exposition from scripture is used to shine God’s light of rebuke into their false teachings they scoff and turn away from that truth calling it heresy and claim that the messengers are being judgmental. This is the number one red flag that should show us which religious leaders are part of the Compromised Church.

What sort of deception have the leaders of the Compromised Church fallen under? What has caused them to be given over to self-righteousness and spiritual blindness? Well, as we have seen, God does this when people worship false god’s. The Compromised Church’s god is one of their own making. It isn’t the living God. Their god is not sovereign. He is love and grace and mercy, but not just. The worship of this false god requires a huge compromise. This compromise is the sacrifice of God-centered worship, preaching, Bible study and the following of sound Biblical Doctrine such as the Doctrines of Grace. In their place these religious leaders preach a man-centered gospel that contains no mention of the Holiness of God, the Righteousness of God or His Justice. There is no mention of the sin of man and his utter helplessness in turning to God for salvation. Instead, the gospel that is preached is a feel-good pep-talk that makes becoming a Christian no more stressful than buying a Coke at the convenience store.

Why do they do this? What is the motivation for these religious leaders to make this compromise? They want big churches. They want numbers. They justify their compromises and secularization of their churches by saying they are simply creating church for the un-churched. They are creating seeker-sensitive churches that threaten no one with hell or teach that anyone should repent of their sins. They become pragmatic copy cats. They take Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Church model and apply it to their church hoping to have the same results he had.

As a result of these compromises they are no longer worshipping the living God, but are worshipping an idol of their own making. What does God do to those who abandon their devotion to Him for their idols? He gives them over. He sends them a spirit of stupor. They become spiritually blind. Their self-righteousness and their compromises have resulted in spiritually bankrupt churches and their own hearts are now hardened toward the living God.

The spiritually blind religious leader, be he a pastor or deacon or elder, is treading on dangerous ground. He will not listen to God’s messengers tell him of his folly. When these godly men use clear scriptural exposition to show the unbiblical nature of what he is doing, he simply scoffs at them and shows his willful ignorance by refusing to repent.

The Compromised Church is very attractive to the world. Why not, after all, it’s worldly. It has no requirements of repentance or denying of self or dying to self. Instead people go to these “mega-churches” to be entertained for a couple of hours and told that they are fine and are on their way to heaven because they assented to their non-gospel of decisional regeneration. These types of churches will be large and the leaders of them will be empire builders.

However, what we are seeing right before our eyes is God giving these people over to what they really worship. Humanism has conquered their hearts. They are no longer able to see the truth from God’s Word because God has blinded their spiritual eyes.

Let’s pray for God to open the eyes of the genuine believers who are mired in these churches so that they will flee. God will judge the Compromised Church in His timing. The Christian Remnant must create or join churches which are not part of the Compromised Church as they pray for their leaders to not take their eyes off of their Lord Jesus as they serve God for His glory alone.

Dear Heavenly Father–You are the living God. You are not mocked. Your are sovereign and will judge all sin. I pray that You will draw your people out of the Compromised Church. I pray for you to open their eyes and give them Holy Discontent with the compromise going on all around them. Drive them out and send them to churches pastored by Your Men of God who live for Your glory alone. In Jesus’ Name – Amen!

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™ Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.

10 thoughts on “The Compromised Church Part 2 – Spiritual Blindness

  1. Mike, you ask why. I’ve wondered myself and I come up with three basic reasons why the church departed. The Industrial Revolution has led to hedonism whcih includes competition, power, sales strategies, and all the other trappings. Higher education has led to worship(like you point out) of man’s intellect. And permeating all of it the Scripture says the devil knows his time is short. I have enjoyed this series.

  2. Mike, as always…outstanding!

    You know…I know of at least one other person who believes that the apostasy is the falling away of the church from the truth, not the falling away of believers from the church. What do you think? We certainly have fallen far from the description of the New Testament Church.

    The church is becoming less and less effective and relevant in building God’s Kingdom. I am thankful that the remnant though, is being awakened. Let us pray for one another, that we will stand on the truth of God’s Word, and faithfully seek to be conformed to the image of Christ!!

  3. bruisedreed,

    I had not thought of the apostasy that way until recently. It wasn’t until the depth of the apostasy of the Compromised Church started becoming apparent all around us. It just seemed to blossom right before our eyes. Also, the church leaders seem to be falling flat on their faces one after another. It is amazing. If you look at the huge variety that we are seeing there is still one common denominator in them all. They have a flawed view of God and Man and the Bible.

    That is a great observation!

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  4. You guys are discussing an aspect of the falling away phenomenon that isn’t discussed much. The free will people have their view of Hebrews 6 & 10 and likewise the reformed view. If we are honest with each other both views have some problems. I like what you said, Mike, “there is still one common denominator” and that applies to the entire departure of the church as compared with the applied Scriptures in Hebrews. If Rick Warren leads and perpetrates a gigantic apostasy ecclesiastically does he himself get a pass? There are a group of us “free willers” who believe that Hebrews refers to individuals and by implication groups. No one can “lose” their salvation, and no one is “put out” because of behavioral sins. We did not give up sin to get in, no, we believed of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit began a sanctification process. But when a Christian no longer believes in the Jesus of the Bible and in fact creates a false Christ what are we to say? Most Calvinists would believe they never were saved and maybe they are right. But some of us who are just as vehemently against the present day falling away believe that there is a chance as outlined in Hebrews that these people have departed from the faith who now preach another Jesus and another gospel, and are apostates who are leading others to destruction. There is another Biblical possibility that Rick Warren and others are actual “angels of light”, demons in human form. My point, which came from reading your enlightened dialogue, is that we must examine all the implications of what we see happening with all the dangerous warnings included in God’s Word even if some of them are somewhat outside our own accepted theological parameters. In this area we are all on the same side and we can never let the devil divide us which he attempts to do. May I confess that most of the falling away of the church emenates from the Arminian point of view, but they are not part of us. May the Lord Jesus Christ be ever exalted and his Word preached in the power of the Holy Spirit not enticing word’s of men’s wisdom. God bless you both.

  5. Rick,

    That was a good observation and comment. I will never be a free willer nor will I ever be a hyper-calvinist. All men are responsible for their sins, but those who have entered by the narrow gate have been justified by God so that the righteousness of Christ has been imputed unto them.I firmly believe that the effectual calling by the Holy Spirit actually regenerates believer’s hearts enabling them to have the faith to believe and the heart to repent of their sins and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. All of that happens at the miracle of salvation. However, we still have to walk through this life working out our salvation with fear and trembling. It is the regenerate believer who does the good works that are markers of saving faith. Only they will grow in grace and abide in Christ and run the race that is set before them as they walk by faith yoked up with Christ.

    What has that to do with apostates? I believe that Satan has blinded men to believe that religion is equal to saving faith. He can fool the unregenerate into thinking they are saved simply for doing religious things or by having “feelings”. I believe this is part of the spirit of stupor that God sends that gives people over to their idols. When men prefer religion to discipleship then they are idolators. Sorry, but that is what God is showing me. The apostate religious leaders are leading multitudes down the wrong path. Perhaps some in those groups are truely saved, God knows. However, I see multitudes of blasphemers being led by religious blasphemers. Are they demons or simply false prophets? I don’t know, but those with eyes to see and ears to hear can sure tell that they aren’t genuine.

    This does not give me happiness to state these things. However, God is being blasphemed by these false religious leaders and that stirs up righteous indignation in me as it should in all of God’s people.

    I did not write last night so the next post will be later this evening or maybe tomorrow. God has given me a word and I need to pray through this before writing it out.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  6. Dear Mr. Ratliff,
    I have been reading your articles on the compromised church as tears roll down my face. My husband and I and our kids attend a Purpose Driven Church (PDC). I have sensed something was wrong, but not being a theologian I have trusted that our pastor just wants to reach lost people, so I not only jumped on board with PDC but actually have served on the staff and in leadership at our church. Our church has gone through the 40 Days of Purpose campaign and the 40 Days of Community campaign. Recently I resigned from the staff, the leadership team, and all ministry involvement because there were so many things that were distressing to me, although I couldn’t quite put the pieces together. I have been crying out to God to show me what is wrong with ME. Am I just judgmental, critical, negative, not a “team player”, what’s the problem? I literally stumbled across your website and have been getting up in the middle of the night to read the articles. I am struggling to attend church at all, and have even questioned lately whether or not I am a Christian, since I can’t seem to jump on board with the latest, greatest scheme to reach the unchurched (it just seems like marketing). I am DYING of starvation for God’s pure Word and absolutely desperate to be fed spiritually or experience any true fellowship, as week after week we “fill in the blanks” and watch a skit. Even the small groups and women’s Bible studies are topical studies and mostly social gatherings.
    Please pray for me. I don’t know where to turn. My husband is afraid I’m going to cause problems, as I can be outspoken. He is a relatively new believer, and not solidly grounded in God’s Word, so he doesn’t even understand what I’m talking about when I try to describe to him the things I see wrong. I have not told our pastor the true reasons why I resigned from staff, as I am not a theologian and don’t have the Biblical knowledge to stand up against the PDC agenda. I’ve already been branded as “not a team player” for questioning things or disagreeing. I’m afraid to speak against PDC as I would be instantly “voted off the island” (so to speak), and I don’t want to bring humiliation and embarassment to my husband or devastate my children.
    Mr. Ratliff, I apologize that I didn’t even use my real name on this document for fear it would be posted. I don’t want to cause distress to my husband and kids. I don’t know what to do. Today (Easter) was horrible. I don’t see how any conversions can be real when you just “check the box on your card if you choose to live God’s way so He can take your messes and make them into something beautiful. If you checked that box and made that decision to believe in Jesus’, then you can know for certain you’ll be in heaven.” I know my salvation experience 12 years ago was one of utter devastation as the Holy Spirit convicted me of my unrighteousness and the awfulness of my sins, followed by long hours of repentance and tears as I was born again.
    Anyways, your writings have finally put into words what has been eating at me, and I thank God that He allowed me to stumble across your website. Please pray that God will open my husband’s eyes and lead our family into a church where believers worship in “Spirit and in truth.” I will keep reading your articles. They are encouraging me that God has not abandoned me to die in this place. God bless you.

  7. Terri,

    Unfortunately, what you shared in your comment is all too common these days. My wife and I are still looking for a church. We left our old church nearly a year ago. However, be encouraged! My time away from being involved in church since then has not hurt my relationship with my Lord one bit. I was puzzled about that. Both of us have testified to this. I am convinced that we need to part of a local church, but we should never idolize preachers or a building or the programs that go on there.

    I have prayed for God to give you the spiritual wisdom and discernment you need in these last days. Your husband’s spiritual maturity concerns me, but our God is huge and all powerful. He is good! I have prayed that both you and your husband will be led to the right Christian fellowship. You would not have become broken over the PDC stuff in your church if the Holy Spirit had not given you eyes to see and ears to hear. I can tell you that you should also be praying for others in that body to see what is going on.

    In your description of your own salvation experience, yes that is how God does it.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  8. Your opening reference to Matthew 7:22-23 should be Matthew 6:22-23. How could an article dealing with the spiritual blindness of our leaders miss something so important?

  9. Thank you so much for pointing out that typo Dave. I wrote that nearly two years ago and I believe I was using Quickverse at that time on my MAC for my Bible text source. It has a notorious habit of not filling in the reference. i probably typed the reference in and mistyped the chapter. But, of course, the text is right and does address this problem. I now use e-Sword and The Bible Desktop on my MAC and they never let me down.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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