by Mike Ratliff
21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:21-23 NASB)
Was it just a couple of years ago that we were vociferously debating what was going on in the seeker sensitive churches all around us as they abandoned expository preaching, replacing it with topical sermons, entertainment, drama, dance, videos, et cetera? Things sure have progressed, or is it actually the opposite with the gospel contextualization having replaced all of that with the goal of church globalization within the framework of Dominonism? I remember some of the debates from that time and as I look back on it now, I see what was actually happening. Of course, at the time, as the Hegelian Dialectic is in play and Diaprax is in one of its incremental changes, it is difficult to see the “big picture.” As we look back at what was done and how it was accomplished by these devoted to their globalization agenda we can see clearly that we were dealing with the forces of our enemy who were dedicated to “ministry” via the practice of cunning in disgraceful, underhanded ways as they tampered with God’s Word for their own ends (2 Corinthians 4:1-2). That is not what He called us to do nor does He allow us to do.
1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 4:1-2 NASB)
This is the Apostle Paul’s statement of the integrity of his ministry and it should ours as well. What does it mean that he renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God? Sounds complex, but it really is not. Paul’s ministry, including all who worked with him was centered in God’s Word as absolute truth. He taught it that way. There was no “wider” view of God’s truth. God said it, therefore, that settled it. That is why he appealed to the people’s conscience. That is how the conscience works. It is a yes or no part of the human heart. It knows nothing about the pollution of “relationship language” in the context of biblical truth. God’s Word is Truth. It kills. It divides.
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two- edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 NASB)
Paul did not hold back on the truth to spare people’s feelings. The Apostles and the early church were martyred for this reason. They approached their Christianity and their daily lives as inseparable and didactically. God gave us His truth, this is what He said, and we will not turn either left or right from it. Therefore, they were persecuted. The church has learned to live dialectically since then, that is, by compromising. That is why it is no longer persecuted. Which brings God glory? Paul shared with the Corinthians what life in this lost and dying world is like for those who live and walk the proper Christian life on the narrow path centered in God’s truth, relating to everyone didactically rather than dialectically.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you. (2 Corinthians 4:7-12 NASB)
If we live our lives in the center of God’s will for us then we will also not compromise with those who compromise His truth. We will not tolerate their lies about God’s truth as they try to minster in disgraceful, underhanded ways as they practice cunning, tampering with God’s Word for their own ends. No, we cannot mix with them at all. The Holy Spirit will work to divide us from them for they and their doctrines are poisonous and deadly. As we stand against those who minister this way or against family and friends who believe this way, it will cost us. The truth of God divides God’s people from those who are not His. There are some who hold that God is all about relationships and that takes precedence over truth. That is found nowhere in God’s Word, but the opposite is. We are told to not be associated in any way with heretics and those who are apostatizing (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
I have been asked for a very precise method to gauge the authenticity of the Christian leader or teacher or preacher or minister. In the past, I would have immediately said that the genuine Christian leader is one centered in God’s Word as the absolute truth while the false leader is one who waffles there. However, we have seen some very well respected Christian leaders make some very strange relationship decisions, appearing with obviously apostates in conferences or whatever. What is going on? It was through further research based on the didactic vs. the dialectic form of Christian ministry that this “gauge” of authenticity was made more apparent to me. Here it is. The genuine Christian leader is not only centered in God’s Word alone as absolute truth, he also ministers didactically. He tells the truth even if it means its going to cause separation in relationships. He does not minister in a way that puts human relationships ahead of God’s truth. On the other hand, the false Christian leader is one who puts human relationships ahead of God’s truth. In other words, he ministers dialectically. He ministers in a way that compromises God’s truth for the sake of relationships.
There you have it. If you are in Christian leadership, I pray that you honestly examine yourself. Pray for God to show you the truth. Pray for God to grant you repentance of the pollution of compromise wherever it is found in your ministry. Yes, if you turn around and minister didactically, it most certainly will cost you here in the temporal, but you will bring God glory in and through your ministry think of that eternal reward my brothers.
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. (Matthew 16:24-27 NASB)
Soli Deo Gloria!