by Mike Ratliff
Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains. (John 9:35-41)
Humanism is the corrupt root of the Evangelical Church in America. As in all of Satan’s counterfeits, it contains much that is right, but it is polluted with just enough falsity that it dishonors God and elevates Man. Most evangelicals would deny that Humanism has any part of their beliefs, doctrines, or how they “do church.” In fact, they are convinced that they are “the only ones” who are doing church correctly. There is an aura of pride in their self-concept even though they would flatly deny that that is the case. The problem is, of course, that all who are not Spirit-led are spiritually blind to some degree. On top of that, Satan is hard at work deceiving them that the opposite is true.
The ultimate goal of Humanism is the happiness of Man. Within that philosophy is included a set of values that are intended to convince people that they are special creations of God who somehow deserve lives free from all suffering. In it we learn that suffering is caused by failure or sin in the life of the one suffering. It claims that if sin is avoided then God must bless the Christians who have “arrived.” Those who have bought into this false view of Christianity are also painfully ignorant of Church history and their Bibles. In fact, when doctrines are given to them that expose the falsity of their beliefs, they react in unbelief and hostility.
If a believer does come to the right view of God and Man then he or she sees suffering very differently than those mired in Humanism. The Christian who has been delivered from the lies of Humanistic Christianity will be seen as legalistic, narrow minded, and ignorant of “true” Christianity. Actually genuine Christianity is not geared towards the happiness of Man at all. Instead, it is geared toward the glory of God. The Christians in this form of Christianity are not in bondage to the false humility of Humanism. They do not see sin as simply avoidance of it and thereby becoming godly. Instead, they see sin as that part of them that must be denied. God’s glory is paramount to them. Godliness is seen as not just sin avoidance, but as obedience in all areas of their lives no matter how severe they suffer.
We have arrived at Job Chapter 15. This is Eliphaz’s second diatribe against Job. It is broken down into two main parts. Verses 1-16 contain his rebuke of Job for his claim of innocence. Verses 17-35 are his monologue in which he attempts to prove to Job that all suffering is the result of wickedness or sin in ones life. Job was suffering and, therefore, he must be wicked. Job continues to proclaim his innocence, however, so the attacks continue from his three friends who are steeped in their humanistic form of belief in God and His ways.
Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said: “Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind? Should he argue in unprofitable talk, or in words with which he can do no good? But you are doing away with the fear of God and hindering meditation before God. For your iniquity teaches your mouth, and you choose the tongue of the crafty. Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; your own lips testify against you. “Are you the first man who was born? Or were you brought forth before the hills? Have you listened in the council of God? And do you limit wisdom to yourself? What do you know that we do not know? What do you understand that is not clear to us? Both the gray-haired and the aged are among us, older than your father. Are the comforts of God too small for you, or the word that deals gently with you? Why does your heart carry you away, and why do your eyes flash, that you turn your spirit against God and bring such words out of your mouth? What is man, that he can be pure? Or he who is born of a woman, that he can be righteous? Behold, God puts no trust in his holy ones, and the heavens are not pure in his sight; how much less one who is abominable and corrupt, a man who drinks injustice like water! (Job 15:1-16)
Job keeps telling them that they are wrong. He is not steeped in sin so his suffering is not due to God punishing him for it. They, on the other hand, are spiritually blind because of their humanism. They see Job’s claim of innocence as an affront to God’s character. They see it as blasphemous. As we have seen in earlier posts, however, Job’s suffering is severe, yet it was not due to his sin, but for the glory of God. They continue to falsely accuse Job of sinful behavior.
How do you like to be falsely accused? How about when a pastor or Church leader accuses you of sacrilege or blasphemy or false doctrine or heresy or legalism or backsliding when you know that you are guilty of only being obedient to what God has given for you to do? In a humanistic evangelical church these days, any believer who takes a stand on correct doctrinal issues, where the church is soft on those doctrines, will be persecuted. The heat will be something along the lines of, “No one can know for sure that what you are stating is true or not…” In other words, the humanistic evangelicals are not truly Biblical. They hold to parts, but those parts are probably taken out of context. Traditions are far more important to them than what the Bible says. They are also largely ignorant of Church History or they see it as irrelevant. They say they are “Biblicists.” They mean by that that they refuse to hold to any particular doctrinal views. Instead, they claim to follow what the Bible says. However, I have never heard one who claims this have an accurate understanding of the Biblical passages they claim to hold to.
“I will show you; hear me, and what I have seen I will declare (what wise men have told, without hiding it from their fathers, to whom alone the land was given, and no stranger passed among them). The wicked man writhes in pain all his days, through all the years that are laid up for the ruthless. Dreadful sounds are in his ears; in prosperity the destroyer will come upon him. He does not believe that he will return out of darkness, and he is marked for the sword. He wanders abroad for bread, saying, ‘Where is it?’ He knows that a day of darkness is ready at his hand; distress and anguish terrify him; they prevail against him, like a king ready for battle. Because he has stretched out his hand against God and defies the Almighty, running stubbornly against him with a thickly bossed shield; because he has covered his face with his fat and gathered fat upon his waist and has lived in desolate cities, in houses that none should inhabit, which were ready to become heaps of ruins; he will not be rich, and his wealth will not endure, nor will his possessions spread over the earth; he will not depart from darkness; the flame will dry up his shoots, and by the breath of his mouth he will depart. Let him not trust in emptiness, deceiving himself, for emptiness will be his payment. It will be paid in full before his time, and his branch will not be green. He will shake off his unripe grape like the vine, and cast off his blossom like the olive tree. For the company of the godless is barren, and fire consumes the tents of bribery. hey conceive trouble and give birth to evil, and their womb prepares deceit.” (Job 15:17-35)
In this section of Chapter 15 Eliphaz tries to prove to Job that wicked people don’t prosper. In the humanistic economy, good people don’t suffer while wicked people always suffer. Now, honestly, is this true? How many sinful and godless movie stars are very wealthy? Look at Dictators. Franco was dictator of Spain from before WWII into the 1980’s. Fidel Castro took over Cuba in the late 1950’s. He is getting old, but he is still alive. The Wicked may suffer the consequences of bad health or be killed, but good people suffer the same thing don’t they? My Grandmother was a wonderful woman. I loved her as did all who knew her. She was a good Christian lady. She died in 1986 of a massive heart attack. I still miss her. Did she die because she was a blasphemer? Do you see how silly it is for us to think like this? Do we see now how illogical Humanism is? Any approach to our relationship with God that is tainted by Humanism will rob God of His glory by presenting a false view of Him. It will also glorify Man by making people the determiner of their “fate.”
Let’s agree to go to the Lord in prayer to have Him examine our hearts closely and reveal to us any ungodliness there. Pray for Him to draw us into repentance. Teach us to live for His glory alone and eradicate all vestiges of Humanism from us.
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Wonderfully presented, Mike.
What really saddens me about this type of thinking is when Christians are made to believe that the suffering is due to a lack of faith within themselves, (especially the “name it and claim it” crowd), when to suffer graciously takes a very deep faith as Job has displayed.
Last night, as I was preparing to write this, I felt like not doing so at all. I wanted to get up from my desk and do anyting but study my Bible and write. The more I tried to get into this chapter in Job the more intense those feeling became. Several months ago I might have given in and not written this, but I have learned that when that happens, the “work” will be glorifying to God and edifying for someone. It may not be popular with a lot of people, but someone will be edifyed by it. So, I prayed for strength and wisdom and plowed through it. I pray that God used this in your heart.
Good stuff! Like Terry I have hear so many people say that there illness is because of lack of faith and it so sad. You have people walking around thinking that the Cancer they have is because they did not trust God enough, those poor souls and shame on htose that hem thinking that way. I have a quote I have kept on my fridge for years and share it when I can.
In times of trouble say, First: He brought me here ; it is by His will I am in this strait place: In that I will rest. Next: He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child. Then: He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow. Last: In His good time He can bring me out again – how and when He knows. Say: I am here (1) by God’s appointment (2) in His keeping (3) under His training (4) for His time.” Andrew Murray
Another good one is this…
God never promises that the righteous will not suffer. But what He does promise regarding suffering is something glorious. He promises that He will walk through the suffering with us and give us the grace and strength to deal with it victoriously. In Psalm 23 He says: “I will walk with you through the valley of the shadow of death.” In Isaiah 43 He says: “I will pass with you through the high waters and will walk with you through the fire.”‘ – Dr. David Reagan
Thanks for the great messages on suffering.
God Bless Cristina
Cristina ( I keep wanting to spell your name Christina 🙂 ),
Well said! Your comment shows a great deal of wisdom. Looks to me that you have this one nailed. Praise the Lord because He is the one who has brought you to this knowledge and, more importantly, this understanding of His sovereignty in all things.
Again, well thought out and presented. It is a challenge to speak out against humanism and then be inevitably accused of an array of unpleasant things. In the midst of this, I have felt it essential to keep a firewall between my personal devotion and journey as I humbly follow my Master, and being used of the Spirit, as you are, Mike, to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine”. Humanism, emergent philosophy, seeker approach, purpose driven, and the whole rainbow of intertwined, unscriptural teachings must be given proper authorship – Satan. He is the father of lies and he is the puppet master that has so many at the end of his manipulative strings. We will all suffer, especially for standing for Christ. Keep feeding, Mike, we’re being strengthened!
Your encouragment is appreciated and needed. Our common enemy really came hard after me last night. I was so discouraged that I almost did not write this post. I had to fall before the throne of grace for protection and strength to study Chapter 15. Why? I would have thought some of the earlier chapters were more powerful, why this one? Perhaps God knew I needed to be a bit more humble in order to write this. 🙂 I suppose we can all use a healthy dose of humility. Thanks for the encouragment!
Mike, you are so right when you say that godly people will suffer. The Bible tells us over and over again that we will. Look at the persecuted chuch since it began. They suffer more than I can even imagine and not because they are wicked. A long time ago I used to pray that if God would keep my family safe and well then He could do miserable things to me in exchange :)! It’s funny how we try to bargin with God when we don’t know any better. Of course, God was merciful to me and knew where I was spiritually and kept me from any real suffering. He has now taught me to pray for His will and the strength to accept it and learn everything from it that I can. God is good and cares for His children and His grace is sufficient for us. In Psalms 50 or 51(I think. I’m at work on break right now so I can’t look it up) it says that He keeps our tears in a bottle! Thanks Mike!
Yes, you have it right. I didn’t realize you were a night owl. 🙂 I used to work those hours when I worked in a large bank’s data center back when I was young enough to like it. 🙂 The tears in a bottle verse is Psalms 56:8. Bible software is so cool! Bargaining with God is so childish isn’t it? All veins of humanistic concepts of God and His ways lead to humanising God according to our wills. I can only imagine how much this must hurt God for His people to do this. You are on the right track Sarah!
Everyone spells me name with an “h” in it. My mom wanted my name to be different.Yes and praise the Lord for all He has given me. If he would only help me with me typing 🙂
Same here. 🙂