Always Ready

by Mike Ratliff

15 κύριον δὲ τὸν Χριστὸν ἁγιάσατε ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν, ἕτοιμοι ἀεὶ πρὸς ἀπολογίαν παντὶ τῷ αἰτοῦντι ὑμᾶς λόγον περὶ τῆς ἐν ὑμῖν ἐλπίδος (1 Peter 3:15 NA27)

15 but reverence Christ in your hearts as Lord always being prepared to make a defense to everyone asking for a reason for the hope in you. (1 Peter 3:15 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1) 

I took a few days off as I had family visiting from Oklahoma. On Saturday we returned from an outing and as I opened the door to get out of the car, I heard someone say, “Hello!” I thought it was one of my neighbors. Everyone else went into the house and I stayed out on the driveway to talk to a fellow holding a sign he wanted to plant in my yard saying that our house was protected by his “Home Protection System.” All I had to do was agree to pay the monthly fee, have the sign put in the yard, and the cost of installation and the equipment was “free.” I do not remember how many times or how many ways I said no and was not interested. I have this extra God given gene that automatically shuts off the part of my brain that says, “Yes” when high-pressure sales techniques are applied. In fact, the more they are applied the angrier I become and when all is said and done the last company I will ever do business with is that company no matter what and I will tell everyone I know not to do business with them, et cetera. 

It got very close to that point and I started moving closer to him to get into his face and politely tell him to leave my property NOW. He must have detected that he had gone too far because he changed gears real fast. He asked me how old I was. I told him I was 60 and he acted like that was a surprise and said that he would have guessed 45 or so. I am not stupid and could tell he was trying to flatter me. I was ready for this to be over and so the words to tell him to leave were almost out of my mouth when he asked, “Where do you go to church?” I gave him the name of our church and where it was. He made a comment that that was long way to drive and implied that it surely wasn’t worth it. I had turned away from him, but now I turned back toward him and asked, “What’s that supposed to mean?” He then said that he was a missionary in training at the most powerful church in the world and offered me a flyer from The World Revival Church, which is in Kansas City, Missouri. I handed it back to him with a sad little smile and said, “I know all about World Revival Church…” I just stopped. It was amazing I realized that if I started going after all the things that are unbiblical about TWRC out on my driveway he would have a pat answer to everything. In fact, as soon as I said what I said he asked, “What have you heard that is so wrong with what we do?”

He had this look of victory on his face and I could tell he was already set to give me all those surface level answers they give to the usual ignorant pew sitters they encounter who couldn’t defend their faith if their life depended on it.

I asked him if he had ever heard of Christian Research Network or Ken Silva He said no. I asked him if he had ever heard of Possessing the Treasure or me. He said no. I asked those things to see if he had any knowledge of the articles we have posted about them. I then asked him some diagnostic questions about his understanding of theology. I asked him about the Trinity and Jesus Christ specifically. He agreed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and the second person of the Trinity and that he was fully God and fully man. I asked him about the worship they do at TWRC and the speaking in tongues, the Word of Faith stuff, the finding of gold dust, et cetera. He said that was just their worship. I said you are doing all of that in the flesh aren’t you? He said yes. I then quoted most of John 15 where Jesus told his disciples that they are incapable of doing any good unless they abide in Him. Anything done in the flesh is not of God. He said that everything Jesus did was in the flesh. I said that Jesus had a body, but no sin nature. He said that Jesus had a sin nature like us. I told him that if Jesus was God then he had no sin nature and that if he had a sin nature then he could sin, but he was incapable of sin so he was able to keep the law, which none of us can do. He argued with me about that for at least five minutes.

I then took him through several other passages in the New Testament first in the Greek then English showing him that the sin nature is what we are all born with, but Jesus was not because he was the incarnate son of God. By the questions he asked me, it soon became clear that he did not know all the books of the New Testament nor did he know that they were originally written in Greek. When we had got to this point, he was totally off of trying to prove that what was going on at TWRC was for me and that he could persuade me through theological discussions. In fact, he started backing away down my driveway with his sign.

Inconsistencies are the sure sign of bad theology. The best way to expose them is to start at the foundation and work from there. Start with God and the doctrine of the Trinity and the Son and the Holy Spirit, et cetera. Then as you work into the Gospel and worship, those inconsistencies will become glaringly apparent. When the argument to support a point is philosophical rather than Biblical then that is a failed argument. If a biblical truth is refused because it is unpopular that does not make it wrong.

After my encounter with that young man, I was very quiet. I did not discuss what happened with anyone until today. I did not look at it as some sort of “victory,” but as an example of 1 Peter 3:13-17.

13 Καὶ τίς ὁ κακώσων ὑμᾶς ἐὰν τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ζηλωταὶ γένησθε; 14 ἀλλ᾽ εἰ καὶ πάσχοιτε διὰ δικαιοσύνην, μακάριοι. τὸν δὲ φόβον αὐτῶν μὴ φοβηθῆτε μηδὲ ταραχθῆτε, 15 κύριον δὲ τὸν Χριστὸν ἁγιάσατε ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν, ἕτοιμοι ἀεὶ πρὸς ἀπολογίαν παντὶ τῷ αἰτοῦντι ὑμᾶς λόγον περὶ τῆς ἐν ὑμῖν ἐλπίδος, 16 ἀλλὰ μετὰ πραΰτητος καὶ φόβου, συνείδησιν ἔχοντες ἀγαθήν, ἵνα ἐν ᾧ καταλαλεῖσθε καταισχυνθῶσιν οἱ ἐπηρεάζοντες ὑμῶν τὴν ἀγαθὴν ἐν Χριστῷ ἀναστροφήν. 17 κρεῖττον γὰρ ἀγαθοποιοῦντας, εἰ θέλοι τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, πάσχειν ἢ κακοποιοῦντας. (1 Peter 3:13-17 NA27)

13 And who is there to harm you who are zealous for doing good? 14 But if indeed you should suffer because of righteousness, you are blessed. Have no fear of them, neither be troubled, 15 but reverence Christ in your hearts as Lord always being prepared to make a defense to everyone asking for a reason for the hope in you. 16 But with meekness and fear, having a good conscience, that whereas you are spoken against, may the ones mistreating you be humiliated by your good conduct in Christ. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if it is the will of God, than for doing wrong. (1 Peter 3:13-17 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1) 

The implication from that young man was that if I disagreed with him and what was going on at TWRC then I was either a pagan or a Pharisee. If I did not agree with him then I deserved to be belittled and ridiculed. I purposely resisted attacking things about TWRC even though he kept egging me on to try to get me to do so for some reason. I did not attack them at all. I simply told him that what they call worship is simply false because it is done in the flesh not in Spirit and Truth, which can only be done as one abides in Christ. In this day, in this age, doing what I did would be considered offensive by a lot of Christians I know, but since when is it wrong to tell the truth? Isn’t it much worse to not tell the truth to people, leaving them in darkness?

Soli Deo Gloria!

13 thoughts on “Always Ready

  1. Mike,

    That sounded like a Divine appointment if you ask me.

    You did the right thing and hopefully he’ll remember the seeds you’ve planted.

    God Bless those seeds!

  2. The best way to expose the false is to absolutely KNOW the TRUTH.
    (WORD)
    I have heard that people who handle currency on a regular basis do not study
    the counterfeit bills, they study the real ones to know them so well that there
    is no mistake when they encounter a fake one!!

  3. So if you won’t buy his peace and security system, perhaps you will buy his peace and security system. Neither of which are worth the price, nor will they deliver what they promise!
    But to his credit, he endured sound doctrine…for a little while.
    But then, you were just a man standing on the street, and alone… and you needed him in his mind. How could he be expected to turn his back on a large crowd of folks he was comfortable with, which had a big building, universal appeal, and had been that way for years?!?! Surely they were right and you wrong!
    Sound familiar?
    The Innkeeper who had no room, had been waiting his whole life for Messiah, yet did not recognize that Emmanuel’s time and place were at hand, thanks to his dependence on the system he was sold…

  4. Mike,

    Good to know you visited the homeland. Not sure it’s worth any time off in purgatory :-)

    Most excellent counsel you have provided here, especially: “Start with God and the doctrine of the Trinity and the Son and the Holy Spirit, et cetera. Then as you work into the Gospel and worship, those inconsistencies will become glaringly apparent. When the argument to support a point is philosophical rather than Biblical then that is a failed argument.”

    Thank you for giving us this peek into your personal life. I think we all have fleshly tendencies to push people away rather than engage them with the gospel.

    Press on, my brother!

  5. Denise, all through that I desperately tried to get him to see that all that “light show” and false worship stuff he was all excited about had no eternal value whatsoever. What good is that to those who are seeking A SAVIOUR? What if I had been dying what good would that garbage they preach be? Yes, lets pray God uses those truths, those seeds, and brings forth much fruit.

  6. Amen Angi. I do not pretend to be an expert yet, but Greg Bahnsen’s book Always Ready has really helped me in this. You are right about that. Forget their false stuff. Get them to address the truth and compare what they say against IT.

  7. Mickey, what I felt for that fellow was pity after he told me that The World Revival Church was “The Most Powerful Church in the World.” Whoever told him that or is teaching him and those like him that while he doesn’t even understand basic theology, the books of the New Testament or that they were written originally in Greek not Hebrew and that Jesus was God and was, therefore, not able to sin, and that since Jesus was “IN THE FLESH” then al that false worship is okay in the flesh too…well anyway, there is so much of the New Testament that clears up all that, but he knew none of it. His sales pitch probably would work on a lot of pew sitters in those marginal churches out there. However, I pray that God used that encounter to open that fellows eyes to the darkness there and perhaps draw him out of it.

  8. Thank you Manfred. It is good to be back. The secular is a distraction for me as it is for everyone. It wasn’t until he pulled that flyer out of his pouch that it was like God poked me in the back and said, “Now its time…”

  9. Hmm. The most powerful church in the world? Don’t the RCs claim that? Does the pope know about this?!? Mike what a blessing that the Lord put you in that place at that time. I pray that the seeds would bear fruit. In any case another example of where the religious people are going these days and of God’s mercy in bringing people the truth. For that is merciful that someone who is in darkness would be given His light.

  10. Julie, well it didn’t “feel”like it at the time, but afterwards when I walked through the conversation, I was amazed the progression from his claims to how God caused it to come down to me challenging his presuppositions. If we would do that with all who are selling junk food and calling it Christianity perhaps God would use us to do a bit of house cleaning. Yes, may God use His truths, those seeds, to draw some of those from darkness into light. When I gave him the name of our church, which is Mission Road Bible Church, he made a face like he had taken some bad tasting medicine, but I am sure he had never been there. I am also sure that the truths we hear from the Bible being opened every Sunday they never hear at TWRC. No, people go there to be entertained and to GET materially.

  11. Julie – thanks for giving me a good laugh in the middle of my “Dilbert job”! Let’s all join in and call the pope! Mike Bickle – you got some ‘splainin’ to do!

  12. Mike, I know how you feel, as I too share in love one on one with folks, yet when it comes to the submission to His Word, they walk away. It is heartbreaking…

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