Should Christians dialogue with obvious apostates and heretics?

by Mike Ratliff

8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. 10 For, “ The one who desires life, to love and see good days, Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit. 11 “ HE must turn away from evil and do good; HE must seek peace and pursue it. 12 “ For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, And His ears attend to their prayer, But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:8-12 NASB)

This era of the Church is one of extreme deception due to compromise with the standards and focus of the world. Separation between the Church and the world is not being kept. Instead, the holy barrier between the two has been breached as false prophets have welcomed in not only the world and its ways into their churches, but have also embraced the mysticism of the Eastern religions. Syncretism is the new byword of the Emergent Village and the New Evangelism. On the other hand, God is good. He keeps His promises. The Lord told Peter that He is the one building His Church and no evil will ever be able to destroy it. (Matthew 16:18) If this is true, and it is because our Lord spoke it, then how do we reconcile the rapid apostasy of so much of the visible Church with what He said? God always keeps a remnant during times of rampant apostasy. These Christians are the small group whom God has reserved who have not bowed the knee to Baal. These are also the ones in whom God is developing Christlikeness and through the fires of persecution by those in the visible Church who have succumbed to the heresies and ungodliness going on in it, He is teaching them how to stand firm and never compromise with evil. In this they learn the difference between debate and dialogue and know that the former actually clarifies the truth and why they hold to it while the latter is only a conversation which has the intent of compromising the truth.

Part of this strong stand against evil by the remnant is to remain humble as Peter stated in the passage I placed at the top of this post. As we minster and walk through each day, we will be tested. We will be put in positions in which our faith will be tested. In this, we are being trained to respond to these things the way Jesus would. He was firm. He never compromised. He was very abrupt and rigid with apostates, but with sinners who came to Him in repentance, He was gentle yet firm. We are to to turn away from evil and do good as we seek peace and pursue it. However, our enemy will make sure that the pressure to compromise will come to bear in our lives. We must be salt and light in this world, but not part of it.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:11-16 NASB)<

11 μακάριοί ἐστε ὅταν ὀνειδίσωσιν ὑμᾶς καὶ διώξωσιν καὶ εἴπωσιν πᾶν πονηρὸν καθʼ ὑμῶν [ψευδόμενοι] ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ. 12 χαίρετε καὶ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε, ὅτι ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολὺς ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς· οὕτως γὰρ ἐδίωξαν τοὺς προφήτας τοὺς πρὸ ὑμῶν. 13 Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ ἅλας τῆς γῆς· ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας μωρανθῇ, ἐν τίνι ἁλισθήσεται; εἰς οὐδὲν ἰσχύει ἔτι εἰ μὴ βληθὲν ἔξω καταπατεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων. 14 Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ φῶς τοῦ κόσμου. οὐ δύναται πόλις κρυβῆναι ἐπάνω ὄρους κειμένη· 15 οὐδὲ καίουσιν λύχνον καὶ τιθέασιν αὐτὸν ὑπὸ τὸν μόδιον ἀλλʼ ἐπὶ τὴν λυχνίαν, καὶ λάμπει πᾶσιν τοῖς ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ. 16 οὕτως λαμψάτω τὸ φῶς ὑμῶν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ὅπως ἴδωσιν ὑμῶν τὰ καλὰ ἔργα καὶ δοξάσωσιν τὸν πατέρα ὑμῶν τὸν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. (Matthew 5:11-16 NA28)

To be salt of the earth is to be that irritant that enters a wound and causes that burning sensation that no one likes. We are to walk in holiness and separation from the world never compromising. Because of this the world will lash out at Christians who walk through their lives this way. Notice that to be salt of the earth does not mean losing those qualities that bring that irritating burning to the spiritual wounds of the lost. In fact, when Christians compromise with the world they lose their saltiness and become worthless in the Kingdom. We are also to be light (φῶς) of the world (κόσμου). The word φῶς is the root of our English word “phosphorus” for instance. It is referring to a light that is not kindled by men nor can it be put out by men, such as moonlight or sunlight. The quality of being the light of the world is to be understood as reflecting the light of God’s truth into the darkness and deception and apostasy that is running rampant in the world and the compromised Church. These who reflect Christ’s light into this present darkness walk before all, doing good works of faith giving all the glory to God. These good works are good in God’s eyes. They are works of obedience within the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The word for world, κόσμου, refers in this context to the morality structure within the world system. It is the fallen world in rebellion against God.

The Christian is to be in the world walking through it as salt and light in complete obedience and surrender to the Lordship of Christ (Matthew 16:24-26). They are also to be well equipped soldiers in Christ’s army. This means that they must know the truth and how to debate those who hate God’s truth. These debates must never be allowed to devolve into dialogue though. This is when the Christian is willing to allow apostates and heretics to say things unchallenged that are nothing but the product of the doctrines of demons. No, we must not even be involved in these things. Instead, we tell the truth. We stand firm and when people refuse to listen, we end it. When we are told we are closed minded and intolerant because of this, we must not allow this to weaken our resolve to be obedient in our firm stance. Brian McLaren has stated that the Christians who refuse to dialogue with other religions and those with other “opinions” actually make up only a small percentage of the Church. That is sad and probably true. However, what we must never forget is that we are not to return evil with evil. When we are accused and reviled because of our uncompromising stance, we are instructed by our Lord to rejoice (χαιρετε) and be glad (αγαλλιασθε). To χαιρετε is to be full of cheer while to be αγαλλιασθε is to jump for joy to be exceedingly glad and full of rejoicing. I personally find this difficult. As long as we are too self-focused and have our eyes on the effect of our ministries on ourselves we will have a problem obeying our Lord this way. However, when our focus is correctly on God’s Kingdom and His Righteousness then we will view the temporal and its tests and trials with same joy our Lord had in the midst of His debates with the Sadducees and Pharisees.

Should we dialogue with apostates and those seeking to destroy our faith? No, we can debate them, being salt and light, but never dialogue with them for all this does is introduce doubt and weaken our resolve to stand firm. In these dialogues we can often end up with some great bitterness and a reluctance to reenter the battle. However, when we debate correctly, we can stand in our assigned place on the battle line, bearing our godly armor and ready to give as good as we take from the foes of God’s truth. We must resolve to remain separate from the world and its ways.

Cities well fortified have broad walls, and so had Jerusalem in her glory. The New Jerusalem must, in like manner, be surrounded and preserved by a broad wall of nonconformity to the world, and separation from its customs and spirit. The tendency of these days break down the holy barrier, and make the distinction between the church and the world merely nominal. Professors are no longer strict and Puritanical, questionable literature is read on all hands, frivolous pastimes are currently indulged, and a general laxity threatens to deprive the Lord’s peculiar people of those sacred singularities which separate them from sinners. It will be an ill day for the church and the world when the proposed amalgamation shall be complete, and the sons of God and the daughters of men shall be as one: then shall another deluge of wrath be ushered in. Beloved reader, be it your aim in heart, in word, in dress, in action to maintain the broad wall, remembering that the friendship of this world is enmity against God.

The broad wall afforded a pleasant place of resort for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, from which they could command prospects of the surrounding country. This reminds us of the Lord’s exceeding broad commandments, in which we walk at liberty in communion with Jesus, overlooking the scenes of earth, and looking out towards the glories of heaven. Separated from the world, and denying ourselves all ungodliness and fleshly lusts, we are nevertheless not in prison, nor restricted within narrow bounds; nay, we walk at liberty, because we keep His precepts. Come, reader, this evening walk with God in His statutes. As friend met friend upon the city wall, so meet thou thy God in the way of holy prayer and meditation. The bulwarks of salvation thou hast a right to traverse, for thou art a freeman of the royal burgh, a citizen of the metropolis of the universe.- C.H. Spurgeon from Spurgeon’s Evening by Evening – emphasis mine.

My brethren, the health of the Church looks to our eyes as bordering on death, however, let us never forget that God is Sovereign and totally in control of all things. Our Lord is still building His Church and we make a huge mistake to think of this in simplistic terms such as in numbers. Nay! Our Lord is still building His Church, but this building is one of greater depth and centered on a very firm foundation. The dead religiosity of the majority of the visible Church is not “The Church!” No, the real Church is still with us and those of us in it must continue to be salt and light in the world as we take up our crosses and follow our Lord each and every day.

Soli Deo Gloria!

15 thoughts on “Should Christians dialogue with obvious apostates and heretics?

  1. Amen brother. I have to often remind myself that even though this world was created by the Lord, it’s spiritual world system is not His, but Satan’s. Lord, keep us from compromise!

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  2. Thanks Mike, a timely message indeed.Compromise all around us and all done in the name of our Lord.But he is Lord, no matter what and Lord over his Church,and his word is firm.As for myself I will serve the Lord and I will serve him through his Word and by his Word and according to his Word.Without his Word we are nothing and we can do nothing.All of the mess we see around us is because of compromise, someone thought they knew better than the Word.Pure foolishness.Let us keep ourselves in the Word and repentance. God is faithful let us be faithful.

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  3. Thanks mike and thank you so very much for answering my email. This is just what I needed to hear. Many times I have felt like running away from it all,but I am always brought back. My precious Lord and Savior, He, is all we need as the days grow darker and darker. God Bless Katie

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  4. Excellent reminder! My dear wife and I worshiped the Lord today with a church that meets about 5 miles from our home and were reminded by the pastor of some of these same truths. This may be a church we can join, in good conscience. The service was Christ-exalting and we were reminded that we warrant none of God’s mercy or grace. Fellowship was sweet, to boot. We will go back and pray the Lord build this church as He does will all His saints.

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  5. APOSTATES & HERETICS DIALOGING:
    Downey / Warren/ Osteen / Meyer Form Unholy Alliance

    I discovered your post about Rick Warren / Joyce Meyer connection. So you will want to know about this which should vaporized any doubts Christians might have about this unholy alliance.

    There is even more bad news. Victoria Osteen is partnering with Roma Downey. Joel Osteen already partnered with Rick Warren via Hillsong.

    “Roma Downey is a practicing Catholic and an active in her faith Christian woman.” Source: Roma Downey’s own website:
    https://www.facebook.com/Roma.Downey/info

    This could be the most horrific development I ever sent you. And as it if is not bad enough, note the inclusion or Priscilla Shirer, Joyce Meyer, and Christine Caine?

    I sure hope you post a comment on Christian post:

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/victoria-osteen-kay-warren-to-appear-in-new-tv-special-by-roma-downey-mark-burnett-129380/

    This is a very predictable sequel, since Roma Downey was invited by Rick Warren to speak from the pulpit Saddleback Church to promote her biblically and fatally flawed “Son of God” movie. If you don’t believe my report, read the testimony of Pennie DeWitt, a former New Ager (New Light) about who Roma Downey really is:

    http://www.truthkeepers.com/?p=513

    Kay Warren and Saddleback Staff promote Roman Catholic mystic Henri Nouwen…Proof:
    http://apprising.org/2010/09/14/kay-warren-henri-nouwen-and-contemplative-spirituality/
    &
    http://apprising.org/2011/12/19/setting-kay-warren-straight-about-roman-catholic-mystic-henri-nouwen/

    Rick Warren (Southern Baptist) has collaborated with Roma Downey. And so has Southern Baptist Lifeway books, which promoted by Roma Downey and a host of other Spiritual Formation Roman Catholic Mystics.

    VICTORIA OSTEEN: Victoria Osteen

    “When we obey God, we’re not doing it for God…we’re doing it for ourself. Because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. Do good ’cause God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God, really. You’re doing it for yourself because that’s what makes God happy.” SOURCE: http://thepedestrianchristian.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-real-reason-behind-victoria-osteens.html

    and this video Victoria Osteen to see and hear her for yourself:

    Were you aware of these revelations regarding Roma Downey’s teaching?

    ROMA DOWNEY:

    In the March 2014 First for Women magazine, Downey said, “I think we all have a responsibility to see God in each other. That’s how I’ve raised my children – that no matter whose face they look into, they’re looking into the face of God, who’s in all of us.”
    Source: First for Women magazine, 03/31/14, pp. 44-45

    Now that means you have to see the face of God in whom Isaiah said this:
    “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” Isaiah 8:20

    Now that means you would have to see the face of God in the Judaizers whom Paul twice eternally damned in Galatians.

    That means you would have to see the face of God in whom Paul called servants of Satan masquerading as servants of righteousness:

    “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” 2 Corinthians 11:14-15
    Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

    That means you would have to see the face of God in who the Apostle John said:

    “and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” 1 John 4:3

    That means you would have to see the face of God in whom Jesus called brood of vipers.

    That means you would have to see the face of God in whom Jesus called “depart from me ye wicked and accursed I never knew you.”

    That means you would have to see the face of God in whom Jesus called “Ye are of your father the devil”:

    “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44

    Says Roma states, ‘My kids go to school about a 40-minute drive away. I’m open to the group’s opinion about what we listen to on the way there. On the way back, I get my own selections — books on tape by Eckhart Tolle, Tony Robbins…My husband says I’m so self-realized I’m practically levitating.’ Tony Robbins walked on fire and Eckart Tolle is a New Age leader who states in his book:

    “Don’t get attached to any one word. You can substitute ‘Christ’ for presence, if that is more meaningful to you. Christ is your God-essence or the Self, as it is sometimes called in the East. The only difference between Christ and presence is that Christ refers to your indwelling divinity regardless of whether you are conscious of it or not, whereas presence means your awakened divinity or God-essence.”
    Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (Novato, CA: Namaste, 1999), p. 104.

    ****
    BOTTOM LINE: THESE THREE WOMEN ARE THREE PEAS IN THE SAME POISONOUS POD

    Kindest regards in Christ,

    James Sundquist
    Director
    http://www.perfectpeaceplan.com
    &
    http://www.eaglemasterworksproductions.com

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  6. James, thank you very much for commenting here and sharing this.

    This very thing has been on my heart since I saw what was going on. Again, thank you for this and also for your diligence in your ministry.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  7. May we take all thoughts that set itself up against Christ captive and demolish all strongholds against Christ. May we do it compassionate confrontation and Biblical apologetics!

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  8. Pingback: ¿Deben los cristianos dialogar con los apóstatas y herejes evidentes? | Bautistas Reformados en Peru

  9. A great message and some very wonderful comments. Remaining humble indeed as I study 2 Peter.
    So sad to see so many falling away…
    Come quickly our Lord and King.

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