Scott on June 7, 2008 at 1:38 pm
That’s right! The majority of Christians in the West (and especially living in the U.S.) have abandoned their faith and/or are not Christian at all!
This grave news is delivered to us by Mike Ratliff of Possessing the Treasure, who tells us:
We must admit that the spiritual condition of the 21st Century Church in this country and in most of the West is generally or mostly apostate. Thankfully, God always has His remnant of faithful believers even in the worst apostate periods.
WOW!!! Generally or Mostly Apostate?!?! Now THAT is certainly a strong opinion!
To be sure we’re clear, apostate is defined this way: “one who forsakes his religion or faith” (from L.L. apostata and from Gk. apostasia); “defection, desertion, rebellion;” from apostenai “to defect”
So according to Mike, the majority of the Christian Church (in the West at least) has forsaken Christ, has defected to the other side. What about the Christian Church in the rest of the world? He doesn’t say, but it’s a pretty safe bet that he believes that all Catholics and Orthodox (Eastern, Russian, Egyptian, etc) are completely lost, and most Protestants and Evangelicals in the rest of the world are apostate as well.
But as he says, thankfully there is always a remnant of believers and thank God Mike (and presumably his wife and kids) are in that remnant. Funny how that works, ain’t it?!?
I have no doubt that Mike Ratliff is a serious and dedicated Christian who loves the Lord. A regular commenter at VS and elsewhere, Rick Freuh, really seems to like Mike, and since I have come to respect Rick over the last couple years I can only trust his judgment. Unfortunately, most likely Mike wouldn’t extend that same courtesy back to me because, you see, I am apostate (and if you are reading this, you are probably apostate as well…sorry!).
Anyhow, here’s where my problem starts – Mike just seems to be just a tad full of himself and of his own perspectives and opinions on all things Christian. He is quick to discount anyone whose opinions aren’t in line with his own, even if their views are backed up by just as much study (or more) than his own. In Mike’s mind, it’s a “remnant thing.” In other words, if you are not as conservative as he is and/or not as against all things emergent as he is, then you just wont get it/understand it. If you stand in disagreement with Mike, it’s because you are apostate and/or misled. It can’t be that you have solid, valid points to make that refute much of what he says.
Perhaps part of why I have a difficult time with Mike is that it seems he has never met a conservative commentary that he couldn’t paraphrase. There isn’t a lot of creative and/or critical thinking in the writing on his blog. There are a lot of words that echo John MacCarthur, Jay Vernon McGee, Spurgeon, Whitehead, Ravenhill, etc. But the insights are all just repetition of what he has read and maybe of whatever book/commentary happens to be sitting open by his computer. Not that study is bad (obviously) and not that commentaries are bad (obviously). But Mike seems to be so locked into his own very narrow rut of Christianity, and so ensconced in that rut by the reading and studying he has done that he selectively uses to reinforce his own “remnant-based” perspective on Christianity, that he isn’t able to see anything beyond his very narrow vision path.
He would, undoubtedly, remind me that we are told that the way is narrow, and with that I agree. And yet Mike seems to be one of those who believes that it is up to him to decide just HOW narrow the way is and WHERE the boundaries of this narrow way are set.
The proof is in the opening statement that I quoted from Mike: “We must admit that the spiritual condition of the 21st Century Church in this country and in most of the West is generally or mostly apostate.”
Why must we admit this? Because Mike has said it is so. Period.
Funny, but I’m pretty sure the Pharisees said something similar and look where it got them!
I could say more about this post and many, many, many others that Mike has written over the last several months. I could talk about how he views any disagreement with what he says as persecution for standing in the narrow way as part of the remnant. I could talk about how he seems to have a persecution complex of sorts that forces him to view any disagreement in any form as carnal/fleshly resistance by those who are rejecting the remnant path of “true” Christianity. I could discuss his habit of minimizing those arguments that stand in opposition to his own opinions by making the claim that those who disagree with him do so because of their desire to walk in the flesh and to reject living righteously. Here’s one of those statements:
The resistance to some of these teachings has been quite eye-opening. There are some who see any call to walk righteously as hypocritical because they associate it with self-righteousness. Is walking in right behaviour hypocritical?
I guess that Mike’s remnant-oriented view of himself, his faith and Christianity in general doesn’t allow him to believe that there are those who FULLY believe in the necessity of living righteously, walking in right behavior, etc…and who can STILL DISAGREE with him and his very narrow commentaries on the faith.
Like the peeps at SLICE, Apprising, etc, Mike has established the framework of his views and opinions to appear that they are authoritative on all things TRULY Christian in the sense of the remnant of the Church that he believes he is a part of, the remnant that he believes has been set aside by God while the rest of the Christians mistakenly believe that they are walking in faith while they are actually walking towards the gates of Hell.
I guess Calvinism goes a long way towards allowing people to convince themselves that they have been “chosen” to be a part of the “remnant” while the rest of the poor schlubs of the world simply THINK they are Christ followers but will die someday and find themselves in eternal judgment.
I can’t help but wonder why he even bothers when Calvinism provides a convenient “out” - those who call themselves (mistakenly) Christian and who are in reality apostate were not “called” to be part of the remnant. So why care? Why rail against the apostate Church. To semi-borrow a phrase from the 60′s – Let ‘em die and let God sort it out.
Hmmm…I wonder where I can get a membership to the Remnant Club?!?
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