It is Finished


by Mike Ratliff

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 ESV)

As we have seen in the last two posts in our examination of the Word-Faith movement, one of the teachings from their leadership is that Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross was insufficient to accomplish the salvation of His people. They teach that Jesus then had to go to Hell to suffer as a lost person by being tormented by Satan. If that were true then what did Jesus mean when He said, “It is finished”? (John 19:30) Continue reading

An Examination of the Word-Faith Movement Part 2


by Mike Ratliff

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV)

I have debated Pelagians. I have debated Atheists. I have debated Agnostics. I have debated Campbellites. I have debated Semi-Pelagians and Arminians. I have debated Antinomians. I have debated Hyper-Calvinists. In every case I must say that I would much rather debate believers who have the same respect for the Word of God that I have. The hardest to debate are those whose Bible knowledge is superficial at best. What little they have has been spoon-fed to them from their favorite teacher of whatever Biblical error they hold. Instead of searching the scripture to see if what I say is so, they quote Brother So and So or read some commentary or book that supports their doctrine. Continue reading

An Examination of the Word-Faith Movement Part 1


by Mike Ratliff

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV)

I used to work at a Computer Store back in the mid 1980’s. I became a Christian just six months or so before I went to work there. One of my coworkers was a fellow who claimed to be a bi-vocational preacher. He was one of the most difficult people I have ever had to work with, but that is not the reason I am using this example for this article. He was also deeply into the Word-Faith movement.

I had two small children at that time and the youngest was constantly passing his infectious microbes to me. Therefore, it seemed as if I was also constantly fighting off colds and such. One day I was sitting at my desk trying to stop sneezing and coughing when my Word-Faith co-worker showed up. He said, “Hi, what’s going on?” I told him what was going on then lightheartedly mentioned that I was fighting a cold. What he said next really surprised me. He said, “You are sick because that is what you claimed.” I must have looked perplexed because he then said, “You are sick because you made a negative confession that you are sick.” That surprised me because I was pretty sure that I had the same cold my son had. Continue reading

The Word Our Only Rule


by John Calvin

Unto the pure all things are pure; but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him: being abominable and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. – Titus 1:15-16

St. Paul hath shown us that we must be ruled by the Word of God, and hold the commandments of men as vain and foolish; for holiness and perfection of life belongeth not to them. He condemneth some of their commandments, as when they forbid certain meats, and will not suffer us to use that liberty which God giveth the faithful. Those who troubled the church in St. Paul’s time, by setting forth such traditions, used the commandments of the law as a shield. These were but men’s inventions: because the temple was to be abolished at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Those in the church of Christ, who hold this superstition, to have certain meats forbidden, have not the authority of God, for it was against His mind and purpose that the Christian should be subject to such ceremonies. Continue reading

The Work of the Trinity in Monergism


The Shepherd Knows His Sheep by Name
by John Hendryx

Monergism: The view that the Holy Spirit is the only agent who effects regeneration of Christians. It is on contrast with synergism, the view that there is a cooperation between the divine and the human in the regeneration process. (Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms)

God the Father made a pretemporal covenant with the Eternal Son (Psalm 110; John 6:38, 17:2; Eph 1:3, 4; Heb. 6:16-17; Heb 10:5) to enter into human history and redeem a people for Himself through His blood. Among the redemptive blessings that flow from the finished work of the cross are the effectually calling and supernaturally drawing of those same people to Himself (John 6:37, 44, 63-65; 15:16, Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:4). Christ himself was chosen to be our Savior before the creation of the world (1 Pet. 1:20; Ephesians 1:4) and accomplishes this for His people in last times by taking on their flesh, fulfilling the demands of the law for them in His life, death and physical resurrection. Through human means of preaching the gospel, the Holy Spirit applies the life-giving work of the Son to the same by raising them from spiritual death, opening their blind eyes, unplugging their deaf ears, disarming their natural hostility and granting them new spiritual affections which see the truth, beauty and excellency of Christ (Ezek 36:26; Rom 10:17; 12:3; 1 Cor. 12:3; 2 Cor 4:13; Eph 6:23; Phil 1:29; 1 Thess 2:13; Heb 12:2). He then counts the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto those united to Him by the Holy Spirit through faith. Continue reading

Jesus and Nicodemus


by J.C. Ryle

I. REGENERATION

“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

“The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

“Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

“Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”—John 3:1–8.

The conversation between Christ and Nicodemus, which begins with these verses, is one of the most important passages in the Bible. Nowhere else do we find stronger statements about those two mighty subjects: the new birth and salvation by faith in the Son of God. Continue reading

Freedom of the Will


by R.C. Sproul

Does God’s foreknowledge eliminate human freedom? Does the immutability of God and the omniscience of God mean the end of all human freedom?

  • If free human actions were not known in advance by God, then when He learned of them, He would undergo a change in His knowledge; He would learn something new. Here both immutability and omniscience would be compromised.

If human actions are known by God in advance, is it not certain that they will come to pass exactly as God has foreknown them? If God knows today what I will do tomorrow, then there is no doubt that when tomorrow comes, I will do what God already knows I will do. With respect to the mind of God my future behavior is absolutely certain. But, does that mean that my future actions are absolutely determined or coerced by God? Continue reading

A 15-Year Retrospective on the Lordship Controversy


We are in a deadly battle. The church is becoming a horrible shipwreck. Why? The bar has been lowered. We are in the final stages of what Charles Spurgeon called the Great Downgrade Controversy. The church’s situation can be quite discouraging if we forget that God is still Sovereign and there are still pockets of believers, a remnant if you will, that has not bowed the knee to Baal. The visible church is ate up with idolatry and the biggest idol it worships is self. These folks decry the need for any doctrine as long as what they do in their churches continues to draw crowds. Of course, what they are doing is seeking cultural relevance including a version of the gospel that threatens no one with the reality of eternal death and the wrath God against all sins that have not been atoned for. Continue reading

What Is the Will of God and How Do We Know It?


by John Piper

Romans 12:1-2

I appeal to you therefore, brothers,by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

The aim of Romans 12:1-2 is that all of life would become “spiritual worship.” Verse 1: “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” The aim of all human life in God’s eyes is that Christ would be made to look as valuable as he is. Worship means using our minds and hearts and bodies to express the worth of God and all he is for us in Jesus. There is a way to live—a way to love—that does that. There is a way to do your job that expresses the true value of God. If you can’t find it, that may mean you should change jobs. Or it might mean that verse 2 is not happening to the degree it should. Continue reading

Death in Adam Life in Christ


by Mike Ratliff

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned– for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. (Romans 5:12-14 ESV)

Last week I received several comments from a Pelagian who attacked the doctrines of grace with his arguments against original sin. That view is totally man-focused and utterly unbiblical. I have had many comments lately from people who have escaped from the Word of Faith Movement. This has caused some others to attempt to make comments here defending the WOF and ridiculing those who have left churches who were becoming mired in apostasy. Are these things related? At first glance, Pelagianism, WOF, and the growing apostasy in our churches do not seem to have much of a relationship. However, there must be one because these comments were all in reference to a series of posts I made about the differences between the natural man mindset and the transformed mindset along with the comments from some readers. Continue reading

Godlessness in the Last Days


by Mike Ratliff

These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. (Jude 1:16-19 ESV)

In the last two posts we have looked at the vast difference between the natural man mindset and the transformed mindset. Only regenerate believers can have the latter while the former is the mindset of everyone else. The transformed mindset should be growing more and more apparent to the believer as they learn to be spirit-filled and walk in obedience to his or her Lord. Now we will take a look at end result of those with the natural man mindset as God gives them up. Continue reading

Walking in Wisdom


by Mike Ratliff

Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:5-6 ESV)

There are really only two mindsets. There is the natural man mindset that we were all born with then there is the transformed mindset that comes as a result of being transformed by the renewal of our minds as a way of life and walking before the face of God. (Romans 12:1-2) The natural man mindset sees things of God as foolishness or unfairness while the transformed mindset is in the process of learning to see things as God sees them.

Continue reading

The Transformed Mindset


by Mike Ratliff

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18 ESV)

On Friday the 19th of October, my wife and I celebrated our anniversary. Prior to making it home from work, I had one of those days I would just as soon forget. I was confronted with unreasonable people all day in just about every aspect I could. Perhaps it was just my perception and this stuff goes on all the time, however, I was definitely being tested. One of these tests was a set of comments on this blog from a person whose theology would best be understood as Pelagian. In other words, he did not believe in the doctrine of original sin. He accused me of not knowing my Bible and of blindly following the doctrines of men. I prayed about it then simply sent emails to this person explaining that I was not going to post his comments.

Continue reading

Repost of Oh Lord, be Glorified in Me!


The following was originally posted on January 10, 2006. Enjoy and be blessed!

 

by Mike Ratliff

I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. (Isaiah 42:8)Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD has said, ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.'” And Aaron held his peace. (Leviticus 10:3)

God is far more serious about His glory than anyone else. Does it feel wrong to you that our God demands that we be humble before Him while also demanding that His creation exist solely to glorify Him? (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:10; 2 Timothy 2:4; John 8:29; Romans 8:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; Ephesians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 5:9) If that concept rankles within your soul then it is imperative for you do some self-examination. Continue reading