The Chief Way Whereby Doctrine is Maintained

by Mike Ratliff

16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Romans 12:16 (NASB) 

No matter what category this ministry is placed in some peoples’ catalogs, I still see myself as primarily a teacher of God’s Word. Several years ago while I was just getting started writing and blogging I was working with Ken Silva, Ingrid, and Jim Bublitz on the old Slice of Laodicia website dealing with the hateful attacks coming from the emergent and Seeker apologists who had a massive disdain for nearly everything Ingrid or Ken posted there. They also went after the rest of us who supported them grouping us together calling us “haters, narrow-minded, and bigoted” among other things I can’t share here. I remember one term Ingrid used that caused a massive blowup that went on for days. She referred to Christian leaders and their churches who did not cave into the liberalism of the emergent and/or Seeker Sensitive movements while also remaining orthodox in their theology as rapidly becoming a “remnant.” The reaction to that was, as said above, “massive.”

In our Small Group last night we focused on God’s plan for marriage, which is far more important to our health and wellbeing than most people realize. As we went through the Biblical plan for marriage and how vital it is that we maintain and protect it as we also keep our families free from the contamination of the world and its ways, that term “remnant” came up again. Since I was the leader last night I asked the question about what that meant. Some in our group are relatively new Christians, some are more mature and a few us have been at this a while. In any case, as we defined what that meant I saw that look of recognition on face after face as they “got it.” Yes, those in God’s “remnant” stand firm in obedience to Christ no matter what the rest of the visible church does and especially what the world does.

To be part of God’s “remnant” you must fully understand that God is sovereign. He is the one who has determined what the gospel is. He is the one who has determined what the purpose of the Church is and of whom it is made up. We do not determine these things. Culture does not determine these things. We cannot be editing doctrine and the Gospel in order to make them more palatable to culture. We cannot treat God’s good Word and the Gospel as subjective, but as completely under His control, blessed by the Holy Spirit, as we are faithful in our obedience to them and execution of them. This is orthodoxy. Saying one is orthodox, but then saying and doing New Age things on Twitter and Facebook or whatever would make one inconsistent wouldn’t it? Didn’t Jesus say that we would know false prophets by their fruit?

What is the chief way God has determined to maintain His doctrine within the Church? Let us see.

1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:1-11 (NASB) 

The answer to our question is found in v2, which is an answer to Paul’s rhetorical questions in v1. If those things are true, and we know they are, then we are to do what? From the consent of the wills and minds he proceeded to the agreement in the doctrine, that there might be full and perfect concord. When we humble ourselves with our minds fixed on Christ and His glory alone, we will work for that glory not our own. From that base, we will not seek to establish our own glory in any way. Instead, we will seek to do His will in all things, to put other’s interests over our own. The emergents, the Woke leaders, the Seekers, etc. are big on this sort of thing, in a slanted sort of way, from a point of deifying people saying that if we want to meet God then all we need to do is look in the face of the next person we meet. No, that is blasphemous my brethren. But, we are to follow Christ’s example and serve other people as He did. If we will do that, and that “we” includes our Christian leaders, then our doctrines will also be scriptural not subjective and that means that we will be living according the same Christian doctrines that those churches Paul planted in the 1st Century followed.

It is as I have been saying; this Christianity is not as complicated as some have made it. In any case, I will continue to serve my Lord in this ministry as long as He allows me to do so. I expect Him to continue to allow me to suffer at the hands of those who hate the truth for this does humble me and I certainly need that. Please continue to pray for this ministry and me.

Soli Deo Gloria!