by Mike Ratliff
15 κύριον δὲ τὸν Χριστὸν ἁγιάσατε ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν, ἕτοιμοι ἀεὶ πρὸς ἀπολογίαν παντὶ τῷ αἰτοῦντι ὑμᾶς λόγον περὶ τῆς ἐν ὑμῖν ἐλπίδος (1 Peter 3:15 NA27)
15 but reverence Christ in your hearts as Lord always being prepared to make a defense to everyone asking for a reason for the hope in you. (1 Peter 3:15 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)
I took a few days off as I had family visiting from Oklahoma. On Saturday we returned from an outing and as I opened the door to get out of the car, I heard someone say, “Hello!” I thought it was one of my neighbors. Everyone else went into the house and I stayed out on the driveway to talk to a fellow holding a sign he wanted to plant in my yard saying that our house was protected by his “Home Protection System.” All I had to do was agree to pay the monthly fee, have the sign put in the yard, and the cost of installation and the equipment was “free.” I do not remember how many times or how many ways I said no and was not interested. I have this extra God given gene that automatically shuts off the part of my brain that says, “Yes” when high-pressure sales techniques are applied. In fact, the more they are applied the angrier I become and when all is said and done the last company I will ever do business with is that company no matter what and I will tell everyone I know not to do business with them, et cetera.
It got very close to that point and I started moving closer to him to get into his face and politely tell him to leave my property NOW. He must have detected that he had gone too far because he changed gears real fast. He asked me how old I was. I told him I was 60 and he acted like that was a surprise and said that he would have guessed 45 or so. I am not stupid and could tell he was trying to flatter me. I was ready for this to be over and so the words to tell him to leave were almost out of my mouth when he asked, “Where do you go to church?” I gave him the name of our church and where it was. He made a comment that that was long way to drive and implied that it surely wasn’t worth it. I had turned away from him, but now I turned back toward him and asked, “What’s that supposed to mean?” He then said that he was a missionary in training at the most powerful church in the world and offered me a flyer from The World Revival Church, which is in Kansas City, Missouri. I handed it back to him with a sad little smile and said, “I know all about World Revival Church…” I just stopped. It was amazing I realized that if I started going after all the things that are unbiblical about TWRC out on my driveway he would have a pat answer to everything. In fact, as soon as I said what I said he asked, “What have you heard that is so wrong with what we do?”
He had this look of victory on his face and I could tell he was already set to give me all those surface level answers they give to the usual ignorant pew sitters they encounter who couldn’t defend their faith if their life depended on it.
I asked him if he had ever heard of Christian Research Network or Ken Silva He said no. I asked him if he had ever heard of Possessing the Treasure or me. He said no. I asked those things to see if he had any knowledge of the articles we have posted about them. I then asked him some diagnostic questions about his understanding of theology. I asked him about the Trinity and Jesus Christ specifically. He agreed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and the second person of the Trinity and that he was fully God and fully man. I asked him about the worship they do at TWRC and the speaking in tongues, the Word of Faith stuff, the finding of gold dust, et cetera. He said that was just their worship. I said you are doing all of that in the flesh aren’t you? He said yes. I then quoted most of John 15 where Jesus told his disciples that they are incapable of doing any good unless they abide in Him. Anything done in the flesh is not of God. He said that everything Jesus did was in the flesh. I said that Jesus had a body, but no sin nature. He said that Jesus had a sin nature like us. I told him that if Jesus was God then he had no sin nature and that if he had a sin nature then he could sin, but he was incapable of sin so he was able to keep the law, which none of us can do. He argued with me about that for at least five minutes.
I then took him through several other passages in the New Testament first in the Greek then English showing him that the sin nature is what we are all born with, but Jesus was not because he was the incarnate son of God. By the questions he asked me, it soon became clear that he did not know all the books of the New Testament nor did he know that they were originally written in Greek. When we had got to this point, he was totally off of trying to prove that what was going on at TWRC was for me and that he could persuade me through theological discussions. In fact, he started backing away down my driveway with his sign.
Inconsistencies are the sure sign of bad theology. The best way to expose them is to start at the foundation and work from there. Start with God and the doctrine of the Trinity and the Son and the Holy Spirit, et cetera. Then as you work into the Gospel and worship, those inconsistencies will become glaringly apparent. When the argument to support a point is philosophical rather than Biblical then that is a failed argument. If a biblical truth is refused because it is unpopular that does not make it wrong.
After my encounter with that young man, I was very quiet. I did not discuss what happened with anyone until today. I did not look at it as some sort of “victory,” but as an example of 1 Peter 3:13-17.
13 Καὶ τίς ὁ κακώσων ὑμᾶς ἐὰν τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ζηλωταὶ γένησθε; 14 ἀλλ᾽ εἰ καὶ πάσχοιτε διὰ δικαιοσύνην, μακάριοι. τὸν δὲ φόβον αὐτῶν μὴ φοβηθῆτε μηδὲ ταραχθῆτε, 15 κύριον δὲ τὸν Χριστὸν ἁγιάσατε ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν, ἕτοιμοι ἀεὶ πρὸς ἀπολογίαν παντὶ τῷ αἰτοῦντι ὑμᾶς λόγον περὶ τῆς ἐν ὑμῖν ἐλπίδος, 16 ἀλλὰ μετὰ πραΰτητος καὶ φόβου, συνείδησιν ἔχοντες ἀγαθήν, ἵνα ἐν ᾧ καταλαλεῖσθε καταισχυνθῶσιν οἱ ἐπηρεάζοντες ὑμῶν τὴν ἀγαθὴν ἐν Χριστῷ ἀναστροφήν. 17 κρεῖττον γὰρ ἀγαθοποιοῦντας, εἰ θέλοι τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, πάσχειν ἢ κακοποιοῦντας. (1 Peter 3:13-17 NA27)
13 And who is there to harm you who are zealous for doing good? 14 But if indeed you should suffer because of righteousness, you are blessed. Have no fear of them, neither be troubled, 15 but reverence Christ in your hearts as Lord always being prepared to make a defense to everyone asking for a reason for the hope in you. 16 But with meekness and fear, having a good conscience, that whereas you are spoken against, may the ones mistreating you be humiliated by your good conduct in Christ. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if it is the will of God, than for doing wrong. (1 Peter 3:13-17 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)
The implication from that young man was that if I disagreed with him and what was going on at TWRC then I was either a pagan or a Pharisee. If I did not agree with him then I deserved to be belittled and ridiculed. I purposely resisted attacking things about TWRC even though he kept egging me on to try to get me to do so for some reason. I did not attack them at all. I simply told him that what they call worship is simply false because it is done in the flesh not in Spirit and Truth, which can only be done as one abides in Christ. In this day, in this age, doing what I did would be considered offensive by a lot of Christians I know, but since when is it wrong to tell the truth? Isn’t it much worse to not tell the truth to people, leaving them in darkness?
Soli Deo Gloria!