Christ’s Glory and the Prophetic Word

by Mike Ratliff

1 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” 8 And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. (Matthew 17:1-8 ESV)

From what I have observed, and please correct me if I am wrong, it seems that telling a false prophet or false teacher from those who are true is not as difficult as we may think. Those who are true understand and teach the centrality of our Lord Jesus Christ in all things. It really is all about Him and His glory. On the other hand, those who are false will focus nearly all of what they preach and teach from the perspective of Man. Instead of teaching our role in the Kingdom as subjects of God, they expound things for the benefit of what is fair or what seems right to men, making excuses for fleshly indulgences and not calling it sin. They refuse to accept that the Bible teaches that sin is what separates Men from God and those who die in their sin will spend eternity in Hell. Of course these teachings echo the lie that our enemy told Eve in the Garden, “Has God really said?” Genuine Christianity is based on Christ and we learn the truth about Him and us from the prophetic Word of God. There is a huge difference between the made-up religious writings by men and those we find in the Word of God.

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:16-21 ESV)

God is good. Our Lord Jesus Christ left eyewitnesses to what He said and did while on Earth. Peter tells us here that when he shares the truth with those who read what he writes and hears what he preaches, they had better pay attention and heed it. What he has written in this book as well as his first epistle (1 Peter) is God breathed. It is the Word of God. It is God centered, not man centered. It is light shining in a dark place and will result in our Lord’s light taking root and in the hearts of men at their rebirth. Peter than says that the truth from God’s Word is not the interpretation of Men. It is God spoken as the Holy Spirit guided those who wrote it. However, there have always been men who are of Satan’s seed who try to pass themselves off as prophets of God.

1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3 ESV)

I read an article today about Bishop John Shelby Spong of the Episcopalian Church in America. He is the epitome of a liberal theologian. He is calling for a new Reformation of the Church based upon the following 12 Theses:

1. Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. So most theological God-talk is today meaningless. A new way to speak of God must be found.

2. Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity. So the Christology of the ages is bankrupt.

3. The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which human beings fell into sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense.

4. The virgin birth, understood as literal biology, makes Christ’s divinity, as traditionally understood, impossible.

5. The miracle stories of the New Testament can no longer be interpreted in a post-Newtonian world as supernatural events performed by an incarnate deity.

6. The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed.

7. Resurrection is an action of God. Jesus was raised into the meaning of God. It therefore cannot be a physical resuscitation occurring inside human history.

8. The story of the Ascension assumed a three-tiered universe and is therefore not capable of being translated into the concepts of a post-Copernican space age.

9. There is no external, objective, revealed standard writ in scripture or on tablets of stone that will govern our ethical behavior for all time.

10. Prayer cannot be a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history in a particular way.

11. The hope for life after death must be separated forever from the behavior control mentality of reward and punishment. The Church must abandon, therefore, its reliance on guilt as a motivator of behavior.

12. All human beings bear God’s image and must be respected for what each person is. Therefore, no external description of one’s being, whether based on race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, can properly be used as the basis for either rejection or discrimination.

What is very disturbing to me is that there are people out there who actually believe this is man of God. Of course these theses are simply the words of our enemy put in religious form for people to say, “Yeah! Now I can live any way I want!” Do you see the human orientation of this? It is as if Bishop Spong has deliberately robbed God of His glory and given it to Man. What is awaiting false prophets like this?

4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15 Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. (2 Peter 2:4-16 ESV)

How do we tell a false prophet from a real one? His message will somehow remove God from the center of all things, rob Him of His glory and somehow make Man sovereign in some way. They may fool many people who will join them in their destruction, but God is not fooled and, if we are discerning, neither will we. Soli Deo Gloria!

23 thoughts on “Christ’s Glory and the Prophetic Word

  1. Wow, what is this world coming to? We are discerning, because we are His elect, and He says we won’t be fooled. Can you believe that people actually believe what this Bishop said? I guess sin can be just that blinding. You could almost laugh about them if it wasn’t so pathetic.

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  2. It is just plain ridiculous. It’s the anything goes, come as you are, and stay as you are kinda place! 🙂

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  3. Mike,
    That doesn’t even make me as angry as the seemingly good churches that only care about their pasture positions and new church buildings.

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  4. Deb,

    The ways of distraction from our Lord as the center of all things are many varied. It really should make us wonder at the genuniness of most professing Christians shouldn’t it?

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  5. I am so grateful God woke me up, but as you said before. We do actually have to want to know truth. It doesn’t just pop in your head. You actually have to read the Bible sometime in your life or you will just believe any thing that comes along. Some of these churches don’t even have you bring your Bible with you to look up the passages that are being preached on.

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  6. Great post, Mike.

    While I can sympathize with the disbelief expressed by some of your commenter that supposedly Christian people could actually believe the garbage spewed by the Apostate Bishop Spong, in the light of scripture it’s not all that surprising after all:

    Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

    Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

    Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

    And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

    And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

    Welcome to Laodicea!

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  7. Thanks Coram Deo! You are right. This is just another example of apostasy that is rampant in spiritual blindness that is as deep and dark as the pit of Hell.

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  8. Books: “Why Christianity Must Change or Die”, “A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith is Dying and How a New Faith is Being Born”.

    Well, he is on the forefront of ‘transforming’ and ‘reimagining’ Christianity to fit in with the new age world religion, whatever it’s official name shall eventually be. (The woman who rides the beast?)

    Years ago I used to think “the apostacy” was going to be when, one Sunday, Christians everywhere woke up and thought, “I don’t want to bother going to church or being Christian anymore”. It turns out, church is going strong, but much of visible Christianity being changed to fit in with the developing global ‘spirituality’.

    As always, “Spong is wrong.”

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  9. I wish people like this will at least be honest enough to get out of the pulpit and stop pretending to be messengers of God. It would make our work easier. But of course, how would they fool their target audience?

    Indeed, welcome to Laodicea!

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  10. Amen Loretta! I had the same misconception. These people want the benefits of Christianity in our present salvation (a clear conscience, etc) without the “burden” of obedience to God. Therefore, they mist over God and Bible, but keep the feel good stuff. Yep, Spong is wrong along with all those like him.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  11. Mr. Spong,

    I write this with all humility and with a genuine love for your soul. It is impossible for me to overemphasize the seriousness of the things you have written, and how the Author of the Word looks upon them. The things you have written are blasphemy, and I can only surmise that you have never met the Living Christ.

    Please receive this letter in the name of the Lord Jesus, God the Father through the Spirit calls you and all who have followed you to repent. You are in the bowels of deep deception and I exhort you to search the Scriptures. God is a God of love, but He will not, nor can He, ignore His justice.

    Jesus, God is the flesh, died on the cross for the forgiveness of sins. On the third day He rose from the dead to substantiate Who He is, and to pave the way for the resurrection of all who believe on Him. Mr. Spong, this is the truth and it may very well be your last chance. You may dismiss this as a communication from an unspohisticated Christian, or you may just hear God’s voice in these words.

    May God have mercy on you and draw you to Himself.

    Mike, a few days you asked me about confronting heretics in love without compromise. I’m still just beginning, but I felt led to give a humble example. We must warn and even rebuke, but love must be our motive. I find it very hard sometimes.

    Your friend, Rick

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  12. Let a man have what he will, and do what he will, it signifies nothing without charity; which surely implies that charity is the great thing, and that everything which has not charity in some way contained or implied in it is nothing, and that this charity is the life and soul of all religion, without which all things that wear the name of virtues are empty and vain.

    —Jonathan Edwards

    All the fruits of the Spirit which we are to lay weight upon as evidential of grace, are summed up in charity, or Christian love; because this is the sum of all grace. And the only way, therefore, in which any can know their good estate, is by discerning the exercises of this divine charity in their hearts; for without charity, let men have what gifts you please, they are nothing.

    —Jonathan Edwards

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  13. Only God can change a man’s heart. We need to continually pray that our Father calls their names and opens their eyes for all these people have forgotten God’s precepts, society only teaches man’s precepts. We pray that we learn and we live by God’s precepts. That He changes our society and we again place our focus on Him. We need to pray that God has mercy upon them all, with us included. For all of us live in this wicked society. We need to pray that the Lord’s hand is upon each and everyone of us. We also need to thank the Lord for blinding these people for they are blind for His purpose and in the end it will be for God’s Glory and not our own. Our prayers need to line up with scripture.

    For all the Glory be God’s, in Christ Jesus. Amen

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  14. This will wrap it up in a nut shell….Christ did it all, we did NOTHING. If He chose you before the foundation of the world, HOW praytell did YOU do something! Our ‘good works’ are imperfect. Everything we do is imperfect. Which all boils down to this…….If He doesn’t let you in because you believe His Perfect Son did it ALL, then buddy, you ain’t gettin in!! He lets you in as His Sovereign choice and gift on account of His Son and Him choosing you, or you will NOT make it. He shares His Sons perfect blood and glory with no one.

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  15. This is obvious heresy. Apparently, those following him are not of God, and therefore, Satan doesn’t have to disguise himself as an angel of light as he does in other sublime doctrines that take glory from God. This type of heresy I feel will get more and more prominent as mankind falls more and more in love with himself instead of with his Maker!

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  16. Bishop Spong probably isn’t listened to by a lot of more conservative Christians because he’s part of “the liberal church” … although what he said was awful, I find myself a lot more concerned about people within the conservative ranks (such as Rick Warren, Bill Hybels and Rob Bell) who are spouting things of a heretical nature … but because of their supposed “conservative Bible-believing stance,” their false teachings are sliding under the radar of a lot of believers.

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  17. I agree with “thegreatapostasy.” I stopped reading midway through Mr. Spong’s baloney. It’s too obvious. It will do damage to the unsaved. But the church is in very real danger from the Osteen types who smile you onto the wrong path.

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  18. Pingback: Twelve Theses of Reformation from an Episcopalian Bishop? Christians, Prepare to Fight for Truth! « fruitful musings

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