The Compromised Church Part 3 – Ungodly Discernment

by Mike Ratliff

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:1-6)

One of the most tragic aspects of the Compromised Church, which is a product of its emphasis on numbers, baptisms. relavance, and worldliness is its complete lack of correct theology pertaining to salvation and assurance. Those who are believing they became part of the Kingdom of God in these churches are, for the most part, responding to a doctrine of salvation based upon some form of works righteousness which is the belief that one’s standing before God is founded and maintained by works of merit. These works begin with walking an aisle at an invitation then praying a sinner’s prayer followed by baptism. Assurance of salvation is then always looking back at that moment as when the believer chose to be “saved” by obeying the call at the invitation.

The need to repent is never mentioned in this type of “evangelical” church. It is never mentioned because no mention of why it is necessary is ever mentioned either. These preachers never mention God’s Holiness, Righteousness or Justice. His wrath against all sin is not mentioned either. Instead God is presented as a loving god who wants all people to simply seek Him and do some religious work so they can become part of His Kingdom. When people do respond to this “evangelical” invitation they are never counseled about their sin and their need to repent, deny self and take up their cross as they follow Jesus. Instead, they simply assent to whatever doctrinal statements the church wants them to agree to and that’s that. There is never a call to biblical discipleship.

Since this type of “salvation” permeates the Compromised Church their numbers are dominated by simply religious people who are, for the most part, unregenerate. They base their assurance of salvation on their religious work at that moment when they assented. They may have even prayed a “sinners prayer” before they were presented to the church for membership and baptism. However, there has been no regeneration by God because the genuine Gospel is not preached in these churches.

These works righteousness Christians, being unregenerate, are basing their salvation on their own work at the moment of their spurious conversion. When they doubt, and they will, they are told to look back to that day when they knelt and prayed that sinner’s prayer and were baptized. However, if they are ever presented with Bible passages such as the one I placed at the top of this post (1 John 2:1-6) they struggle because they have no real spiritual power to keep God’s commandments. They don’t grow in grace because they are unregenerate. They are religious, that’s all.

In order for these churches full of unregenerate people to feel saved they provide them with emotional, “spirit-filled” worship to generate “feelings” that God is with them. These worship times are man-focused and geared to entertain in such a way that these “feelings” come forth. I must be saved because when I hear that certain song I get goose bumps and chills. I know I am a Christian because I feel like one when we all come together for our exciting worship time.

Another problem is these churches do not teach that a life of repentance from sin is necessary for Christians. In other words, all God wants is for people to be religious converts and it doesn’t matter about the sin in our lives at all. I suppose they are ignoring passages like 1 John 2:1-6 which tell us that since Jesus died in our place to pay the price for our sins that those that know Him will keep His commandments. Those who say they are Christians, but don’t keep those commandments as a way of life are not Christians at all. They are part of the Compromised Church who are unregenerate works righteousness converts.

What is Ungodly Discernment? This is speaking of the Pastors, elders and deacons who persist in propagating this humanistic abomination we are calling the Compromised Church. These “Christian” leaders write books and have conferences and speak on radio talk shows and have write-ups in liberal “Christian” magazines speaking of how God is blessing their pragmatic ministries with huge numbers of converts each week. They proclaim to the world that “Thousands are being swept into the Kingdom” by their ministries. Along with that, they have made friends with the world by taking the large sums of money they get from their large numbers of converts and their book sales and do humanitarian work such as addressing Global Warming and World Hunger. The liberal media and the world love this. They then look at the Christians who are not part of the Compromised Church and accuse them of being self-righteous and judgmental because they are continually rebuking these leaders for their spiritual bankruptcy and also because they are not doing these humanitarian works. However, let’s not become discouraged. Instead, let’s put our own house in order.

For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God. Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. (2 Corinthians 13:4-6)

There is not one thing we can do to stop the deception; instead we must pray, witness, and rebuke as God leads us. We can and must get as close to God as we can with our devotion. We must seek Personal Holiness in our own lives. Why? When we follow hard after God, a wonderful thing happens to our discernment. Instead of the Ungodly Discernment of the spiritually blind, God opens our eyes and ears so that we can see and hear the truth. When we are walking the walk by faith this way we will never stumble into deception.

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. (2 Peter 1:5-10)

We must walk in repentance always seeking the Lord’s will. This obedient walk is one of spiritual growth. Instead of works righteousness we must obey the Lord in our good works all for His glory. We will do good works, but as a product of Christ’s Righteousness in us not earning salvation by those works. Also, when we are blessed by godly pastors, elders and deacons who refuse to compromise with the World or become part of the Compromised Church, we should thank the Lord for them, pray for them, help and support them as God leads.

Dear Heavenly Father, you are Holy, Righteous and Just. You are worthy! Oh Lord, there is a huge deception polluting the American Church. It seems that many of pastors, elders and deacons have taken the bait of this deception, hook, line and sinker. Oh Lord it is discouraging at times to witness this and experience the backlash of their attacks when we rebuke them according to Your Word. Please remove your Remnant from the deception Lord. Send us discernment, wisdom and understanding so we can fight the good fight and run the race to completion—All for Your Glory–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.

13 thoughts on “The Compromised Church Part 3 – Ungodly Discernment

  1. WOW!!! Excellent post Michael! You correctly described the state of the church. and how it has become so full of unregenerate members. We have certainly used false doctrinal teaching on salvation to affirm many that are only religious, and have never the gracious work of the Spirit’s regeneration in their hearts. The fact that this has been going on for generations has set the stage for the Apostasy. I stand amazed at the work of God in His Elect, and His moving them to truth. God is so gracious and good to do this work.

    Mike you stated, “There is not one thing we can do to stop the deception; instead we must pray, witness, and rebuke as God leads us.”
    This is so very true, and a few years ago God led me through a study of Daniel…and Revelation. God used this time to confirm that our role as the church, the Bride of Christ, the elect of God, is to DECLARE THE WORD. We are not responsible for making people believe it or respond to it. We are about praying for the furthering of the Kingdom of God. And honestly…this is done by DECLARING the TRUTH. There is no other way for the Kingdom of God to be furthered. When I declare truth…believers are given more grace and faith to believe, therefore empowering them to put to death more deeds of the flesh. When this happens, then the Kingdom’s reign is furthered…and strengthened in the life of the believer. Also, when I declare truth to the lost… those who are included in the elect receive it and it does it’s effectual work in their heart to regenerate their heart.

    I heard John Piper say in a conference last year, that one of the greatest prayers of the saints should be “God further Your Kingdom.”
    He based that assessement on the Model Prayer of our Lord. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.” His children are about furthering the Kingdom of God.

    Mike states, “Also, when we are blessed by godly pastors, elders and deacons who refuse to compromise with the World or become part of the Compromised Church, we should thank the Lord for them, pray for them, help and support them as God leads.”

    Yes Michael….they do most certainly do need prayer…thank you for mentioning it.

    Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us!!

  2. bruisedreed,

    Thank you for this great comment! Isn’t it an awsome thing that we are not responsible for saving anyone. All we are responsible to do is to tell people the truth. I heard John Piper’s sermon you were referring to on Podcast not long ago. That is very perceptive of you in picking up on that because that sermon made a huge impact on me as well. Godly pastors are a blessing from God and we should do all we can for them, especially prayer.

    Your quote from 1 John 3 is from a passage that I dearly love.

    See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3 ESV)

    What a wonderful promise!

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  3. Mike: You share some tremendous insights in this post.

    Years ago I stopped “extending the invitation” in the traditional sense, for many of the reasons you list here. Calling for “decisions for Christ” in this context just didn’t seem to comport with the teachings of Christ with respect to discipleship.

    Also, I noticed that many people had (have) the mentality that we (their home church) are doing our evangelizing when the minister stands up front and calls on people to come forward. Jesus, on the other hand, charged His apostles and all who follow their example to make disciples as they/we make our way through life.

    There is so much more I could write, but I’d just be restating what you’ve written. This is a great post, brother! Thank you for the effort you put into this site. It is a real blessing to me.

  4. Thanks Bill! I wanted to write so much more in the post as well, but again, it would just be me stating the obvious. DIscipleship is the key isn’t it? I may not be glamorus or newsworthy or whatever, but it is what Jesus told us to do. Very good point.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  5. Great! Whether it is by their own works(baptism, membership, etc.) or their profession is based on the works of others(slick invitation, human presentation, etc.) it is still human works. I continue to hear preachers give “Jesus can help your life” invitations. It is a serious issue that when a person responds to Christ based on anything but his own sin and the only Sinbearer it is humanism. Somewhere along the line we progress from the Compromised Church to the False Church. Or maybe we are already there. Keep writing, Mike!

  6. Spiritualosis…you made some great observations in your post! You are so right about the invitation.

    and Henry…you nailed it. Humanism is at the very root.

    Mike have you noticed that the most discerning and wise bloggers make their way to you site…to blog?

  7. bruisdedreed,

    Ditto and ditto and I have been very blessed lately with many new friends who are very wise and discerning. In that I am grateful because it is the Lord who does all of this. When we come together and share what God has given us aren’t we iron sharpening iron so each of us can grow in grace all the more? Soli Deo Gloria!

  8. Indeed, as Luther stated, “The life of a Christian is a life of repentance.”

    Great truths. Keep on writing and being faithful, as you cannot help be as you walk in the Spirit.

    The following statement certainly describes many. “In order for these churches full of unregenerate people to feel saved they provide them with emotional, “spirit-filled” worship to generate “feelings” that God is with them. These worship times are man-focused and geared to entertain in such a way that these “feelings” come forth. I must be saved because when I hear that certain song I get goose bumps and chills. I know I am a Christian because I feel like one when we all come together for our exciting worship time.” Such a great deception.

    You are right and faithful in reminding us that we must pray and pray regularly for the advancement of HIS kingdom, and that we must speak HIS TRUTH faithfully– always remembering that the battle is the LORD’s. We are called to be faithful, to be humble, to be obedient, to treasure what HE treasures, to hunger and thirst for righteousness, to be zealous in speaking the truth … etc. And we must always remember that HE is sovereign.

    Thank you for the multiple reminders and for the teaching.

  9. Mike,

    This series has been very beneficial. Your thoughts are always very intriguing and yet faithful to what Scripture teaches. I also appreciate you taking head on the man-centeredness of the church growth movement.

    Keep up the good work!

    Mike

  10. Kim,

    Thank you for you kind words and I commend your insight in seeing through the deception.

    Mike,

    Thanks Brother. Keep taking on the extreme fundamentalist militants as well. :-)

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  11. Dear Mike:

    I couldn’t have said it better. Psalm 11:3 comes to mind: When the foundations are being detroyed what can the righteous do? 11:4 says that God’s throne is in heaven and he scrutinizes the sons of men. We must depart from evil, trust in Christ (11:1) and devote ourselves to knowing and serving him. Guy

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