by Mike Ratliff
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.”
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:18-21 ESV)
I do not know if you remember that day several years ago when I walked into your bookstore in Siloam Springs. I was a bit surprised that you knew who I was, but I do remember the very cordial conversation we had that day. Both of us have traveled far since then. I was just a couple of years into God drawing me into this discernment ministry and I still did not have a clear picture of what was going on in the visible church. I doubt if any of can claim to know that even now. In any case, since that day I have always considered you a friend and one of many allies in the Truth War. However, lately you have written several things online that have caused me to hurt for you brother.
What do I mean? As a contributor to Christian Research Network and other online resources, I know what it means to be a target of those who will use all sorts of ugly tactics from all sorts of motivations to attack me personally as well as what I have written and published. I have swung the sword against some with every intent on taking out me and my ministry “in the name of Jesus.” Therefore, I think I know what has motivated you to come to the defense of men such as Rick Warren and John Piper and others even though these men have obviously made questionable doctrinal (in the case of Rick Warren) and unwise (in the case of John Piper) decisions that baffle those of us who do all we can to be centered on God’s Word as the one and only standard of Truth.
However, perhaps you should reconsider your latest “Open Letter to John Piper.” Why? Up until about a year ago I owned nearly a dozen of his books, but then it became apparent that something had changed. He began to partner with those who I could not nor would ever partner with or even consider a genuine prophet/preacher/teacher of the Word of God. I would include in that group men like Mark Driscoll and Rick Warren et cetera. We have attempted to get him to reconsider and repent yet he will not listen. I have since disposed of all of my John Piper books. I have removed all of my links on my blogs and websites that pointed back to the Desiring God ministry. Is this permanent? Possibly, but that would depend upon John Piper and whether he heeds the warnings he is receiving from those of us who are lovingly trying to reprove him. If he refuses then I fear it will remain permanent. Frank, this is Biblical.
This is what we do:
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)
We compare what they teach with God’s Word, even when they used to be sound, but now they are not:
If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. (1 Timothy 6:3-5 ESV)
You see, those of us who use God’s Word to hold those who are outside of God’s Truth accountable are not the ones who are puffed up with conceit and understanding nothing, but the ones who refuse to repent are. I fully understand that there are some out there who think they are the sword of God attacking everyone who they disagree with, but that is not us and I challenge you to examine my ministry and that of Ken Silva and our group to show where we have fallen into guilt here. I know we have not. In my case, I attempt to work from God’s Word outward. I use His truth as the standard, showing what is truth and what is not then tell the Body of Christ that anyone who strays from that standard is not to be trusted or even heard. Why? Because we are talking about God’s Truth here, not man’s philosophy or political correctness or hurt feelings, et cetera.
Frank, when you take those standards and look at your defense of John Piper at all costs and then look at what he has done over the last few years, well, the word COMPROMISE is the prevalent theme and anyone who knows our Lord’s Words at all knows that there is no room for that. Does that mean we throw John Piper and all who support him under the bus? I have already told you what we are doing. We are calling for his repentance. We are calling for those who support him to revaluate what they are doing and for them to repent. We are calling for a return to following Christ as His disciples rather than following men.
Soli Deo Gloria!