by Mike Ratliff
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. (2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV)
The lack of tolerance within the visible church for the exclusivity of the genuine Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is rooted in the “Hermeneutic of Humility.” Even amongst some pretty solid Christians that I am close to, I have noticed that pained or shocked look on their faces when they hear me succinctly define the Gospel the way our Lord Jesus did and the way the Apostle Paul did. These reactions are rooted in the “Hermeneutic of Humility,” which is a way of looking at our faith and interpreting the very Word of God through a filter that sees certainty as a product of pride and uncertainty as a virtue. It looks so humble to these people when they hear a Christian leader say that they don’t know the full truth about this or that, but as far as they know, “blah…blah…blah.” These people contend that to be certain divides people while uncertainty creates an environment of unity. I have been accused of being filled with pride over the last several years so many times by some people because I will not agree with their interpretation of scripture or whatever. My brethren, our God does not give us His truth in shades of gray. He tells us succinctly what is truth and what is not. The Gospel, for instance, is very well defined and those who insist on a variegated version of it do so because they view certainty as divisive and uncertainty as being truly humble and uniting.
I contend that the “Hermeneutic of Humility” is that decaying point from which the godlessness in these days has become so manifest in the visible church in our time. Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post (2 Timothy 3:1-5). This is a warning of what happens in the Church when the Christian leaders forsake their true duty, which is to minister according the very clear commandments from God’s Word. When Christian liberalism in any form is embraced by those in control in our churches, the Gospel will be neglected. It will be watered down. Those who refuse to compromise will be attacked and accused of all sorts of things with claims that they are not Christlike because they preach the Word with no compromise. The gospel is then changed to something else like replacing it with doing good works or whatever. However, there is a cure for this and this is what we must do as we pray for God to turn the hearts of His men around to preach the Word again.
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV)
You see, even if there are people calling the shots in our churches who will not endure sound teaching, we must not compromise. Despite what so many say in our time about the truth being unknowable, we must not give in to that lie. Let us continue to obey our Lord in standing firm, pointing the lost to that narrow gate, rebuking those who preach or teach what is false while we exhort the faithful.
Will this cause the faithful to be persecuted? Will people accuse us, slander us, and attempt to silence us as we do this? Sure, and this has happened before. Our enemy does not like it when we shine the light of God’s truth into the darkness he has created. That is what we are called to do though and I offer this short post up as a challenge and an exhortation to all who have been given the responsibility to rightly divide the Word of Truth. That challenge is to do so for God’s glory alone. Do what you are called to do regardless of who does not like it. Who are we to obey, God or man?
Soli Deo Gloria!