The False Gospel of the Hermeneutic of Humility

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!

13 thoughts on “The False Gospel of the Hermeneutic of Humility

  1. The irony of course is amazing. They are absolutely certain that they know nothing (which of course I will grant them! 🙂 ), but what is dripping with hubris and pride even more is that they are just as absolutely certain that you or anyone else knows nothing as well. The arrogance is stunning. The stupidity is pathetic.
    When you run from God you don’t get smarter.


  2. Amen to that Daniel. Yes indeed. This post was born from a “discussion” with one of those who doesn’t care too much for the Biblical Gospel. He proves continually that he is doing that very thing, i.e. sitting in judgment of God’s Word. Those who do that have their own Jesus as well. 🙂


  3. It all comes down to whether we actually trust God or not doesn’t it. Either we are searching and trusting that he is faithful and has led us to truth and will continue to, or we think He is in someway playing some game waiting for us to just happen upon it. Which is what these people seem to think of God!What kind of god to they believe in that would leave them making their best guesses. NO!He is a just, merciful and graceful God, when He says He has given us everything we need, He means it!Either He has given us a new heart or He hasn’t. Either we have the Holy Spirit to guide us or we don’t. I think the real reason for their ‘liberalism’, is that they don’t want to be proved wrong.They’ll believe in the gospel, but just incase, they keep an open mind. NO, NO, NO! Praise be the God that in His wonderous mercy and grace He has allowed us to know His truth. I do not fully understand it, but I love it : )
    Thanks Mike.


  4. “Despite what so many say in our time about the truth being unknowable”
    I have been in a dry spell in my walk with the Lord, going through a divorce I do not want, but I finally was able to listen to some John Piper sermons while driving last week. He reminded me that the Law of NonContradiction has gotten him out of many traps set by others refuting the truth of the Gospel.
    The phrase above is used by so many “noble” christians to celebrate the virtue of uncertainty you mentioned without realizing that they are proclaiming a truth as they say truth cannot be known. “Professing to to wise they make themselves fools,” comes to mind.
    Foolishness. Seems to be the mark of the times.


  5. I am truly sorry about your divorce John. The truth, God’s truth, is knowable and must be because without knowing it, we cannot know Christ. Christ Himself accused those who were not truly His as being those who believed the lies of the enemy while those who were truly His were those who believed God and HIs truths about Him. Fools deny this.


  6. Hi Mike,
    I just love this passage:
    Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances
    of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
    God bless you today, Mike. Keep speaking those “utterances of God.” We are commanded to do so.


  7. Thanks Mike. In our counseling sessions, with a wonderful truly Christian counselor, my wife kept saying how she did not want to be judged. The counselor, saying it was time to address this issue, told us that if one person in a relationship repents and desires reconciliation and the other refuses, they would be judged by the church as an unbeliever and similarly if the one refused to repent while the other desired reconcilation, that person would be judged as an unbeliever. That truth was not received well by my wife.
    As for me, I have been broken and a student of Ephesians 5, especially 5:25. Being mentored in what it means to be more like Christ, to become a servant of all. In fact, the counselor said the purpose of marriage counseling was not about restoration but about 2 people becoming more like Christ, with the marriage benefiting as a result but not the primary purpose. Had never heard that before but it is so true. But through our men’s bible study, multiple men are learning how to be Christ-like husbands in their homes and it is good.
    Thanks for your prayers.


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