by Mike Ratliff
Οὐ περὶ τούτων δὲ ἐρωτῶ μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ τῶν πιστευόντων διὰ τοῦ λόγου αὐτῶν εἰς ἐμέ, ἵνα πάντες ἓν ὦσιν, καθὼς σύ, πάτερ, ἐν ἐμοὶ κἀγὼ ἐν σοί, ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἡμῖν ὦσιν, ἵνα ὁ κόσμος πιστεύῃ ὅτι σύ με ἀπέστειλας. (John 17:20-21 NA27)
“I do not pray concerning these only, but also concerning those who will believe in Me through their word, that all may be one as You, Father, are in Me, and I in you, that they also may be in us that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (a personal translation of John 17:20-21 from the NA27 Greek text)
In yesterday’s post, Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, we looked at John 17 and our Lord’s prayer that transitioned Him from His earthly ministry to the beginning of His intercessory ministry for all believers. In the third section of the prayer, which is for the entire Church, I excerpted the section I placed at the top of this post. From that I exposited the following paragraph:
How often do we hear of the lack of unity in the visible church in our time? It is lamented as if we should compromise and come together at all costs. However, that is unbiblical. The basis of true Christian unity centers in adherence to the revelation the Father mediated to our Lord’s first disciples through Him. Believers are also to be united in the common belief of the truth that was received in the Word of God (Philippians 2:2). This became a reality when the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4; 1 Corinthians 12:13). True Christian unity is not based on fleshly, temporal, or experiential things. No! It is based upon the common eternal life shared by all who believe the truth. These come together in the Body of Christ all sharing His life.
Last weekend my wife and I were involved in some discussions with other believers about these very things. I did not say much about the rank apostasy we discuss here from time to time, but I was absolutely taken aback by the ignorance expressed by some in that room of the darkness that is rampant in the visible church in our time. Again, there were only a few there who knew who I was and knew about this ministry and I was not there to take over the conversation. However, the few who were there who did know about me and what I do were watching carefully when these topics came up. I held my peace. On the other hand, no outright support any apostate teacher was expressed by anyone either or I might have reneged on my promise to be quiet.
As many of you know, I came out of the SBC and I have many family still attending some of those churches. When I visit, I am utterly amazed at the differences. Some are huge. Some are small. Some are very conservative. Some are borderline Post Modern. Our brother Ken Siliva has put together three posts that I believe each of you should take the time to read in light of these issues concerning the SBC and the encroachment of mysticism within Evangelicalism. The first one is PROMOTING CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUALITY/MYSTICISM OK IN SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. The second is: FOCUS ON THE FAMILY DISRESPECTS LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS TO PROMOTE CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUALITY/MYSTICISM.The third is: DR. ED YOUNG PROMOTING CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUALITY/MYSTICISM FOR HIS SOUTHERN BAPTISTS.
Now my brethren, let us not forget our Lord’s prayer on our behalf to be protected from the enemy and His wiles. If this is going on in these churches and those in them and their leaders are not in the least convicted of the sinfulness of what they are doing yet we see the evil for what it is then what is the reality? Whatever it is, let us thank God for opening our eyes to these things and for keeping us from those deceptions. Let us pray for God to have mercy on those being deceived that some may be drawn out of that darkness into the light and be saved. God’s will be done.
Whatever the case, we do know that there is no way that can be unified in fellowship with those who claim to be Christians who practice such things. Unity at all cost? No!
Soli Deo Gloria!