by Mike Ratliff
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. (Romans 12:16 ESV)
No matter what category this ministry is placed in some peoples’ catalogs, I still see myself as primarily a teacher of God’s Word. I find that the act of having to take those firm stands in face of obvious wrong doctrine and wrong motives et cetera is not something I relish. Therefore, the label of “ODM” given with disdain and often included with other descriptive words like “hater” or “narrow-minded” or “ bigoted” sting and brings out emotions that I would rather not experience. There is never a battle fought that is not accompanied by a period afterward in which peace and joy seem far away indeed and I find myself contemplating doing something else to serve my Lord. That is, until I spend some time in prayer, seeking His face and direction. Yes, there will still be those who hate what I do. Yes, there will still be those who view Christianity as subjective and, therefore, we have no right to question another’s practice of it and we must still stand against these things as long as God gives us the time and ability to do so as painful as that may be.
In light of this and what we have taken a close look at over the last several posts, it should be abundantly clear to all reading this that God is sovereign. He is the one who has determined what the gospel is. He is the one who has determined what the purpose of the Church is and of whom it is made up. We do not determine these things. Culture does not determine these things. We cannot be editing doctrine and the Gospel in order to make them more palatable to culture. We cannot treat God’s good Word and the Gospel as subjective, but as completely under His control, blessed by the Holy Spirit, as we are faithful in our obedience to them and execution of them. This is orthodoxy. Saying one is orthodox, but then saying and doing New Age things on Twitter and Facebook or whatever would make one inconsistent wouldn’t it? Didn’t Jesus say that we would know false prophets by their fruit?
What is the chief way God has determined to maintain His doctrine within the Church? Let us see.
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:1-11 ESV)
The answer to our question is found in v2, which is an answer to Paul’s rhetorical questions in v1. If those things are true, and we know they are, then we are to do what? From the consent of the wills and minds he proceeded to the agreement in the doctrine, that there might be full and perfect concord. When we humble ourselves with our minds fixed on Christ and His glory alone, we will work for that glory not our own. From that base, we will not seek to establish our own glory in any way. Instead, we will seek to do His will in all things, to put other’s interests over our own. The emergents are big on this sort of thing, in a slanted sort of way, from a point of deifying people saying that if we want to meet God then all we need to do is look in the face of the next person we meet. No, that is blasphemous my brethren. But, we are to follow Christ’s example and serve other people as He did. If we will do that, and that “we” includes our Christian leaders, then our doctrines will also be scriptural not subjective and that means that we will be living according the same Christian doctrines that those churches Paul planted in the 1st Century followed.
It is as I have been saying; this Christianity is not as complicated as some have made it. In any case, I will continue to serve my Lord in this ministry as Long as He allows me to do so. I expect Him to continue to allow me to suffer at the hands of those who hate the truth for this does humble me and I certainly need that. Please continue to pray for this ministry and me.
Soli Deo Gloria!