Who is it that will take up the slack?

kby Mike Ratliff

16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “ Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (Romans 10:16-17 NASB)

This ministry began as part of an effort to resist the overtaking of huge parts of the SBC by the Purpose Driven Paradigm. I was a deacon at a small Baptist Church in Olathe, Kansas, but had served in the same capacity at a much larger SBC church in Oklahoma. At that church I had witnessed one of the first PDC takeovers in Oklahoma, which was in the mid-1990’s. I lost many friends who stood up to the change and were told by the pastor(s) that they either went along with the changes or they weren’t welcome. During that same period I was so busy I really didn’t know what was going on. I had no idea who Rick Warren was, but I did know that our entire staff flew out to California to spend a week at Saddleback Valley Baptist Church for indoctrination. In any case, by the time my company relocated me from OKC to Tulsa in 2000 most of the people at that church were strangers to me and when I taught classes, I was not ever allowed to go any deeper with them than the shallow end of the kiddie pool.

In 2001 I was recruited by the company I work for now and we moved to the Kansas City area. We became part of that little Baptist church in Olathe, Kansas and all was well. However, something wasn’t right. My wife went for a visit to Oklahoma and while there fell and broke her ankle. I had to fly down there and drive her back to Kansas for her ankle to be repaired by an orthopedic surgeon. Our pastor came to sit with me while that was going on. Did we talk about my wife and her operation? Did we talk about our family’s spiritual needs? No, he knew about our spiritual journey in Oklahoma because he had traced back our membership history to see if I would make a good candidate to be a deacon. In any case, when he came upon that large church we had come from that had gone PDC he got real excited.

The problem was that there was a very large church just a few blocks north of ours that was growing like crazy and was building a new building, but about the time we had moved to Kansas it was still meeting in the Public Library across the creek from our church. What was their secret? Why were they growing like that and we weren’t? They were Seeker Sensitive. He wanted to know all about our experience at our old church and I got the impression he wanted me to help him implement it there since I had been through it on a very large scale before. He left before my wife came out of her anesthesia. I had simply told him how the whole thing had affected us and how quick our church had changed and how we had lost all those members who had been the backbone of the church and suddenly we were a church full of young hipsters who really knew nothing about the Bible and had no patience for doctrine. He simply shrugged that part off.

Fast forward to 2004-2005. God took me through a serious personal revival. I have written about this many times before. In any case, at the end of August of 2004 people in our church were coming to me for counseling rather than the staff. By this time I was a deacon, but I really didn’t fit in with the other deacons. Suddenly, all through 2005 and the beginning of 2006 we began to get a lot of pressure from the pastor a few of the other deacons to read Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Church. At this same time I had become deeply involved with Ken Silva and blogging about what was wrong with the Seeker Sensitive paradigm and how it was not the correct way to do church. When our pastor gave me that book to read I knew I had to address the problem to him and the other leaders. I did a great deal of research on the Purpose Driven Church model and wrote a position paper against it. I gave it the leadership and this resulted in my wife and I being removed from all responsibility in that church. We left the Sunday before they started their 40 days of Purpose. I never heard from the leadership again.

The Purpose Driven paradigm is just one aspect of the growing apostasy in the visible church. The tragic thing is how the Church has basically lost the last three generations of spiritual leaders who should have been trained in proper Bible Study and how to properly do ministry. Instead, they have been trained to minister as if the Church was a business. I am convinced that God is calling those who do know the truth to replace those who have corrupted themselves by becoming part of the Compromised Church. Who is it that can take up the slack, to step up to the plate, speak the truth in love to all those whom God directs to listen? Well, there are many good pastors out there. There are many good spiritual leaders out there. The dividing line between those ministries and those of the Compromised Church are clearly defined and so we we can find them. However, there are so many of God’s people who have been chased out of their PDC churches like I was because they wouldn’t put up with the apostasy there. There are many people God is drawing to Himself that need to hear the truth. Who is going to speak it to them?

11 For the Scripture says, “ Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “ Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “ How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” (Romans 10:11-15 NASB)

Is God calling you to be one of those whom He will send into the battle?  Well, I am no pastor or evangelist, however, I can teach and I can present the gospel. However, If God sent me to do those other things I may not think I could do, it makes no difference because I know that I must go and that He would make it work for His glory. How about you?

I believe the greatest need in our 21st Century Church are church leaders who will not compromise the truth, who will preach the whole gospel without trying to make it appealing to the flesh, and will disciple their disciples. Also, I am convinced that God is raising up a group of people in these last days who will be used by Him in an extraordinary way for the Kingdom of God. The Christian Research Network is a good example. Our team is very varied. We are all unique, but God is using this ministry in a very powerful way. However, since I became a team member, I have found many others out there who all seem to be responding to the call to “take up the slack” and help as many people as they can to find the truth. It has blessed my heart to read their comments, visit their blogs and websites, fellowship with them and find our common ground of sorrow for the state of the Church in our time. This sorrow, I believe, is from the Holy Spirit grieving for the rampant apostasy and outright heresy passing for Christianity today.

God is Sovereign and He loves His Church and will never stop building it until it is complete. In the meantime, get ready because He will not stand for the corruption we are witnessing now to continue unabated forever. Perhaps those He is raising up to “take up the slack” will have to minister in an environment that is anything but safe. Look at how Christians are treated in China, North Korea, India, Sudan, and all Muslim countries. Didn’t Jesus say that we should expect to be persecuted for Righteousness sake? He was persecuted for it and all who follow Him will be persecuted. If we desire to live godly lives in obedience to our Lord then we will be persecuted. (2 Timothy 3:12) Even so, we must not shrink from the call and we won’t if our hope is in heaven instead of here in the temporal.

The state of the Church in our time can cause us to despair if we take our eyes off of our Lord. However, as long as we have breath we must proclaim the truth to this lost and dying world. We must never stop rebuking those who try to pass their apostasy off as Christianity, but at the same time, we must do so in love from the motivation of healing and restoration. Our responses to them must be spoken from a humble heart that is bound to the truth of God’s word. We have hope because our treasure is in Heaven, not here. Our faith is in our Lord, not some religious system. Our walk before the face of our Lord must be one of devotion to our Lord keyed by spending time in His Word and in secret prayer. We must not look at our faith as being tied to religion. Instead it must be bound to our Lord and we must serve Him in building His Church in the power of the Holy Spirit for His glory alone.

Soli Deo Gloria!

6 thoughts on “Who is it that will take up the slack?

  1. Yes and Amen,—-Don’t stop Teaching the Whole counsel of God’s Words,I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for the Earthen Vessels that are willing in courage and boldness to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Christ exampled: Jesus preached REPENT-FOLLOW ME—AND IT WILL COST YOU! Everyday we have a need and this need is Jesus,If Jesus is not on the throne of our hearts,then our flesh is…..It is either “give up everything and follow Me” or “don’t come at all.” Thank you for not compromising the word of God it encourages me to stand firmer, steadfastly,and dig deeper as a berean. I Love you Brother To God be ALL the Glory, May Jesus be Magnified

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  2. Yes, I had experienced the PD paradigm. Warren and Hybles were big influences upon he leadership of my former denomination.


  3. Brother Mike, I can truly relate. I was involved in ‘men’s discipleship ministry’ with over 200 men in weekly attendance, in a local seeker-friendly church that was in the process of transitioning to Rick Warren’s faulty ‘Purpose Driven’ mode [I call it ‘purpose drivel’ mode]. All the ‘leadership staff’ hiked off to Saddleback for a week-long ‘INDOCTRINATION’ conference [or as I would call it, an UNDOCTRINATION conference], and then things quickly went from BAD, to OH MY.

    Any and all attempts I made to approach the men’s ministry leadership team leaders, and the pastor, to implement a solid Bible-based discipleship class, were met with strong opposition and rejection… because that didn’t fit the ‘model’.

    After a couple months of TOTAL DOWNGRADE both in the men’s ministry and the pulpit, I chose to leave and seek out a solid Bible Based Church.

    PS- You might find this interesting. After I resigned from leadership and left, NO ONE from the ‘seeker’ church ever called me to ask me why I left, or to find out if I’m OK. I thought that was quite strange.

    Dan Tolly, Tampa FL

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  4. Hi to all and AMEN!

    This took the words right out of my heart. I must share my heart here…

    First, when I read in Ezekiel, it models what is happening in the church so well. If you read the parts where he is called to be a watchman, and in chapter 33 where he is called to warn them, and in chapter 34, it reads like a script for today! I just got done rereading it now.

    Second, this apostasy operates like a militant takeover. It rolls in like a thick fog, engulfing one church steeple after another. It is a cold business transaction. That is all they care about; money. They don’t care about the sheep, their spiritual health, doctrine, saving lost souls, or the glory of God. None of what Jesus cares about do they care about. What they do care about, He doesn’t. What difference does it make how many are there, if they are not growing in the Lord? Better few that are taught well and stay, than many who only stay because they are not taught the truth. I would rather preach the truth and have few stay who are true sheep, then water it down and have masses come and receive nothing, just to get their money. What do they care about? Money, and that is it. It is a harlot church that sells its soul to the highest bidder, whatever it takes to get them in here. Not for fellowship, discipleship, or communion, or God forbid exercising the gifts to the glory of God, but to fill the pews with mindless mannequins, who will listen to mind numbing speeches and have their flesh entertained, and in turn, fill the money plates. That is it. That is the only goal. They will use you to build their empires. As soon as there is an issue, you will be promptly shown the exit.

    Third, many people are still blinded by the concept that this building with all its operations is ‘the church.’ Nope. Sorry, but guess again. WE are the church. The heart of a pastor, the test of how true it is, is in this; does he feed the Lord’s sheep even at his own expense, or does he mow over their needs for his own benefit? Remember the Lord told Peter; ‘If you love Me, feed my sheep’. The church is the group of born again believers. And we don’t need them, their building, their programs, or anything else they have to offer their seeker sensitive congregations. In fact, that very term is a giveaway; seeker sensitive? Sensitive to what? What the congregation wants, what appeals to their flesh? In a word; yes, they want to ‘give the people what they want so that they will come and fill their plates’ like a business. If you research the whole Peter Drucker connection you see it there too. Their ‘results oriented’ arrow points to the pile of money, thus; a harlot. The finishing touches of the harlot of Revelation are being assembled as we speak.

    Fourth, I don’t put up with their corruption either. But I am so tired of the complacency I find among brethren who do claim to know what is happening, and just lay low. I agree, there are MANY good pastors out there. I know God is calling me to some role in this, I don’t know what. I have been trying to get a home group together, but again am only met with complacency. I have read accounts of others where it has gone well. You just meet mutually like a group of friends (and no one can tell you that you can’t do that, but they will try) and do all of what a true church does. If there is no ‘pastor’ in the group, God may raise one up, but just read the bible as a bible study group and discuss it. One meeting is better than one whole year in a PDC!

    Fifth, persecution will come either way. We may as well be fellowshipping according to the Lord’s will. My prayer has been to find such a home church group (or start one, however it comes to be) as it is so necessary for us as brethren.

    Love and blessings to Mike and all who come on here!
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