Westminster Larger Catechism Study

The Narrow Path and Walking by Faith

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Bunyan remains a favorite. Has anyone ever seen a list of all the ways to get off the narrow path?

Btw, Mike that’s a gift! “ I can now listen to or read the work of a professing Christian and can almost instantly tell if that person is focused on God and His glory and the edification of the Body of Christ for God’s glory or if all they are about is just more religiosity and taking people captive by philosophy and empty deceit according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. This is where God has this ministry and me now.”

You use it as well as any I know.

We had the Purpose Drive movement in our Church, there are many others today. Each has its path, almost gnostic like way to follow. I’ve read many accounts of the issues, but I’ve never heard a clearly articulated Elevator Talk of what was/is wrong with the Purpose Driven Methodology. Is there one out there, for those with ears to hear?

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

4 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.
6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord– 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight– 8 we are of good courage and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one…

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Westminster Larger Catechism Study

Idolatry and the Holiness of God

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Mike’s comment on this is extremely useful. I love how he turns to Luther and Tyndale to highlight the issue.

I was personally back in the late 80’s attracted to the current Spiritual Formation movement, being a card carrying Renovare person. Practicing the solitary and silence 🤐 🤫. In the practice of Lectio, I was asked to follow my heart to hear what God was speaking though a limited word or phrase. I think I was drawn (could I say saved) out of it because I kept wanting to engage my mind and understand God’s word from God’s whole word in the Bible alone, not a mystical repetition. Lectio itself seemed so limited in hearing the full story of what God’s word reveals. And becomes mystical or even gnostic in gaining a higher personal revelation via the experience or personally directly from God.

Of course the Spiritual disciplines are now broadly taught and encouraged and those involved rarely will tolerate any questioning. In my observation, I can’t go a day without someone happily speaking about their Spiritual Formation practices. All of course really sincerely pursued.

This is well outside the realm of monks and nuns. It’s in the mainline and evangelical visible churches.

Curiously if the word to describe this is “idolatry” perhaps we can learn from what Paul says, and Old John Gill comments upon. I never looked at it in this context.

1 Corinthians 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

for then must you needs go out of the world; meaning not out of Greece, or of any of the cities thereof, into other parts, but out of the world itself; they must even destroy themselves, or seek out for a new world: it is an hyperbolical way of speaking, showing that the thing is impracticable and impossible, since men of this sort are everywhere; and were all trade and conversation with them to be forbidden, the families of God’s people could never be supported, nor the interest of religion maintained; a stop would soon be put to worldly business, and saints would have little or nothing to do in the world; wherefore, as the Arabic version reads it, “business would compel you to go out of the world”.

But he goes on to explicitly say this does apply to the church. If so it presents a very challenging 😥 task to be separate. We probably need more insight and Grace in applying that since so many are involved.

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments; 3 and let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.”  (Genesis 35:1-3 NASB)
 idolatry 1: the worship of a physical object as a god 2: immoderate attachment or devotion to something (from Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary)

I’m sure that most Christians’ conception of idolatry is one in which people fall down and worship some statue or image or a facsimile of something that appears…

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Westminster Larger Catechism Study

The Prayer of Faith

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Mike uses an unfamiliar word Diaprax. When I looked into I noticed a lot of familiar related terms. Turns out it opens up a huge area that needs one to depend upon a lot of prayer and a bucket full of God’s Authoritative Word, the Scriptures to examine. I’ll probably never use the terms “What do you think about or How do you feel about” again!

Here are a couple of quotes I found along the way. Just a sample.

“Classical theology has erred in its insistence that theology be ‘God-centered,’ not ‘man-centered.’” – Robert Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation 1

“An undisputed historical fact is that I am the founder, really, of the church-growth movement in this country….I advocated and launched what has become known as the marketing approach in Christianity.” – Robert Schuller, as quoted in Willow Creek Seeker Services by G.A. Pritchard

“In seminary I took the equivalent of a total quality management course where I learned how to survey the congregation: ‘What do you think and how do you feel?’….[However, w]e’re accountable to [the Word of God], as is, not how do we feel or think about it.” – Dean Gotcher, The Institute of Authority Research

1 I checked the first quote to an old reference in one of Ken Silva’s posts. I assume it and others are accurate but I didn’t read the book itself or verify the others. Robert Schuller, Self–Esteem: The New Reformation [Waco: Word Books, 1982], , p 64.

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:7-11 (LSB) 

Despite what the Health, Wealth, and Prosperity preachers say or those who preach nothing but positive messages to all who are Christians, the Word of God promises something very different…

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