The Curse of Gospel Contextualization


by Mike Ratliff

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-19 ESV)

Several weeks ago I found myself in a battle of words with a couple of men who tried every argument you can imagine in an attempt to move me away from the stance I have taken, which is that truth is the truth regardless whether people believe it or not. Along with this, I also refused to “compromise” by admitting that what I held to be true was only my opinion and, therefore, their “opinion” was just as valid. While this culture may actually side with those two fellows rather than me, I still stand and refuse to budge from the stance that the truth revealed in God’s Word is not hidden from the regenerate heart. The Holy Spirit works in our hearts to validate what is true and what is not. I have always allowed discussion on these topics as long as the one disagreeing with me will use scripture alone, in context, as the basis for his or her argument. No one has taken that challenge. Instead, all I have received are philosophical arguments and quotes from some source other than God’s Word. Continue reading