The Truth and the Deceived

By Mike Ratliff

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” (1 Corinthians 1:17-19 ESV)

The prevalent lie dominating the emergent “Church” is that the Gospel is defined differently than it is clearly set down in God’s Word. Of course, this should be no surprise since Sacred Scripture tells us plainly that the genuine Gospel is folly or foolishness to those who are perishing. I know that some are saying that the emergents are genuine Christians and that they are leading the way into a “new reformation,” but if one simply dialogues with any of the emergents for very long about the Gospel it becomes very clear in a hurry that it is a different religion.

I received very few comments on yesterday’s post, The Lamb of God. In fact, one I did receive, I did not post because I wanted to address it in this post instead of the comment section.  Here it is minus the email address of who posted it.

er mike, it only shows you don’t have the ability, like daniel, to read into symbolism..

a literal interpretation cut no ice with people endowed with god given common sense and intelligence.

it is a very dangerous gospel you preach there. the evidence can clearly be seem in the violence it has caused in history and even today.

that said, the true gospel is a gospel of peace that unite ALL MEN.

yours, friend, don’t!

Let’s start with the first line. This is in reference to The Lamb of God, which is a presentation of the Gospel. I exegeted some scripture to reveal the Gospel’s exclusivity, the purpose of the Atonement, et cetera. However, the person who made this comment revealed that he and those of like mind reject Sacred Scripture as our benchmark, as God’s Word to His Church. Instead, they elevate mystical interpretations over the Word of God. Did you notice the confusion about Daniel and symbolism? I have studied the book of Daniel many times and am very familiar with it and I know that the only interpreting of symbolism that Daniel did was in reading the handwriting on the wall to the last king of Babylon the night the Medes and Persians invaded the city. The rest of the prophecies were mysteries to Daniel until interpreted by an Angel sent from God. However, this fellow’s point is that the Bible must be interpreted symbolically rather than literally. If we did that my brethren then we would have lost our plumb line and our benchmark. We would have to do away with our doctrines and revert to a mystical priesthood who would have no boundaries on what they taught. Instead, we do have God’s Word and God gave it to the Church for His purpose.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.(Hebrews 4:12 ESV)

In his second statement he says that a literal interpretation of God’s Word is not as important as the “common sense and intelligence” of certain people endowed with that from God. Here is the passage I placed at the top of this post.

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” (1 Corinthians 1:17-19 ESV)

Our understanding of the Gospel comes from a literal interpretation of God’s Word, not from some mystical endowment given to a few “priests.” This statement is almost identical to one I received not long ago in an email from one of the leaders of a “shadow site” of CRN. I told him that I would not post his comments unless he followed the rules of this blog which was that to refute what I teach the only criteria allowed is to show where I am wrong by properly handling God’s Word, to show where I have erred. Instead, he said that that proved nothing for God had given to him and his friends the “common sense and intelligence” so that he did not need to use God’s Word to do that. In other words, their human wisdom is elevated over what God’s Word says.

The third statement is in direct defiance of the truth of the Gospel. It denies the Gospel in its entirety in lieu of a social non-gospel designed to bring everyone together regardless of his or her religion. However, God’s Word clearly says that the Gospel is exclusive and divides people. The purpose of the Gospel is not to bring peace on earth, but to bring peace between God and those He saves through it. Therefore, when we stand firm on God’s truth and so called Christians do all they can to nullify the true Gospel and God’s Word then we must understand that these people are not of God, but of the enemy. The True Gospel does not unite all men, it is not intended to. In fact, by its very nature, it will divide those who are drawn to the truth by God from those who reject it.

Soli Deo Gloria!

7 thoughts on “The Truth and the Deceived

  1. Amen Mike. We are brothers in the same faith, the few that hold the Word of God as not only absolute, but entirely sufficient. And we stand… only by His grace and for His glory and namesake that He might be glorified in the eyes of men… We stand. Stay humble, yet with all boldness. I pray for your strength… And patience, that by God’s Word you will be perfected in the endurance granted to His saints. Keep it coming Mike. Though His Word is a sword that brings death to some, it WILL bring life to others!


  2. I’m wondering if the person who wrote this e-mail to you Mike, even had a clue what they said in the very short portion of e-mail you have here? I am hearing these kinds of words all the time, from those that attend emergent churches. I’ve listened to quite a few sermons online and I don’t hear much encouragment from pastors, to pick up their Bibles daily and read God’s Word for themselves. No urging from a pastor to get to know the Lord and Savior of the Scriptures for yourself. How easy it is when you don’t spend time in God’s Word to consider things that I find truly life-changing to be merely symbolism.

    Your “few priests” comment was spot on, and a very appropriate analysis of what is happening in emergent churches across America today. They wear no crimson and purple vestments, but still people sit in rapt attention and hang on their every word. Whatever they say and whatever purpose-driven, mystical, pop-psychology book they write is snatched up as fast as they can be produced. They have found their leader and they will hang on his or her every word.

    The true Gospel does not unite and you only have to read the beginnings of the church in Acts to see how persecuted Christians were. Thrown to lions, imprisoned, tortured and beheaded. That doesn’t look peaceful to me. The true gospel message demands that Christ, and Christ alone, be given the place of superiority and authority in our hearts. It is an excusive message and there is no other way for a person to reach heaven. That said, how does that unite ALL men?
    John 3:19-20 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light.”
    Men without Christ will continue to love the dark, how can we all be united under a banner of peace?


  3. Lawlessness is habitual sin. Jesus rebuked the spiritual adulterers of his time. Lawlessness runs rampant when the church is ‘predisposed’ to excusing one another instead of ‘reproving’ whenever it is appropriate. There is no light in lawlessness. There is only darkness. It is hard to see in the dark.

    Today when I came into work, my coworker told me how he was so furious with his brother habitually using profanity. Not only was he angry about his brother’s disregard for his unclean heart, he was swearing around his little brother. I was so glad to hear that there are people out there who still care about walking the walk. His indignation with his brother’s lawlessness (habitual sin) was very appropriate. His anger was justified and it was righteous.


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