The Deceit of Human Reason

by Mike Ratliff

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. (2 Timothy 3:1-8 ESV)

Genuine Christianity is not a world religion. Instead, it is a fellowship of believers who have been justified by Faith. There are many professing Christians who would not fit that definition. They may be religious. They may have made a “profession of faith,” but they are not regenerate nor do they have The Holy Spirit. Why? They have not repented and submitted to the Lordship of Christ. They are not New Creations through the washing of Regeneration, which quickens believers from being spiritually dead to spiritually alive in Christ. (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13)

Saving Faith is not the result of Human Reason. It is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8,9) Knowing God and obeying God requires an active faith that is outside of Human Reason. Over the last several months I have debated some folks that were obviously very bright, but their arguments were based entirely within intellect and totally outside of faith. After a few rounds of back and forth responses it becomes very obvious that unless God opens their hearts to the truth they simply will not believe it. They will even say things like I and those who fight the fight along side me have no regard for the truth. How do we answer a charge like that when all we do is present the truth? They have their own understanding of the truth that they have formulated via Human Reason, which looks at Biblical Truth as nonsense because it makes demands that are outside of what they can understand or see as fair or right.

Those mired in this religion of Human Reason are hypocrites who are always learning, but never able to arrive at knowledge of the truth. They accuse those who teach Biblical Truth of not teaching what the original languages say because they rely on “tainted” translations. That is a bogus accusation.

I study the Old Testament Hebrew and the New Testament Greek with excellent language tools. Many of my like-minded brethren are fluent in those languages as well. The Protestant Reformation was lead by the Holy Spirit who drew men such as William Tyndale, Martin Luther, and John Calvin along with multitudes of others to translate the Bible from the original languages into the common tongues of their people. William Tyndale was a formidable scholar who knew seven languages including Hebrew and Greek. His translation of the Bible was the basis for both the Geneva Bible and the King James Bible. However, those of the Human Reason religion consider themselves better scholars than Tyndale, Calvin, Luther, Beza, Knox, Henry, Bunyan, Owen, Edwards, Gill, Spurgeon, Broadus, Piper, and MacArthur. Why? These men and untold numbers of others of like faith wrote about, taught, and preached (the later ones still do) a Gospel of Faith that God used to regenerate, justify, sanctify, adopt and glorify His people. It is outside of Human Reason.

Those of the religion of Human Reason debate deceitfully. They focus on words and logic, but since faith is outside of Human Reason and totally not understandable by an unregenerate mind, they cannot see it nor grasp it. When we reason with them using words of faith, they hear an unintelligible language and reject it as nonsense. What we see as our Spirit-filled walk unto personal holiness, they see as hypocrisy and us being judgmental because we point out that they are mired in their flesh instead of being led by the Spirit. We become frustrated because it appears they are just being hard headed. However, they really cannot grasp the truth because their hearts are hard and God has not given them the ability to understand it by His Grace. Tragically, their religion of Human Reason also gives them false assurance they are right and we are wrong because, after all, to them we are speaking nonsense. They have a religion, but it is one of their own making and it is not Genuine Christianity. Because of that, they also use the tactics of the world. That should be no surprise to us since they are conformed to the world, they will be like it. Here is an example of these tactics exposed by my friend Ken Silva.

Martin Luther wrote the following about John 6:42 which says, “And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?”

“This passage shows how the Israelites complained about what Jesus taught. They thought it was ridiculous, foolish, and offensive for him to claim that he came down from heaven and could give eternal life. After all, they knew his father, Joseph, and his mother, Mary. They complained because they thought either he was telling an outrageous lie or he was a complete fool. Why would he try to convince them that he had come down from heaven when his parents lived near Capernaum?”

“John writes this as a warning to everyone. When it comes to God’s Word and how God deals with us, we shouldn’t worry whether or not it makes sense. If you want to be a Christian and understand the teachings of the Christian faith, you shouldn’t judge the Christian doctrines with your mind to find out whether or not they sound correct. Instead, you should immediately say, “I’m not asking how it all makes sense. All I need to know is whether it is God’s Word or not. If God said it, then that decides it.” Often I have warned you not to argue about lofty, spiritual matters or try to figure them out. For as soon as you try to make sense of them and put them in terms you can understand, you slip and fall.”

“Origen and other church fathers had that experience. They made the mistake of reaching too high. They tried to combine reason and wordly righteousness with the doctrine of the Christian faith. These teachings transcend our reason.” – Martin Luther

What must we do? We must never stop praying for these people and we should always be ready to give an account of what God has done in our own hearts. We must tell them the truth and pray that God will take it and shatter their pride as He effectually calls them into the light.

Soli Deo Gloria

Addendum: Follow this link to a wonderful sermon that addresses this vital topic succinctly and Biblically.

32 thoughts on “The Deceit of Human Reason

  1. This has gotten out of hand Mike, it’s just going back and forth, it’s painful to watch and unfruitful. Everyone should drop it, the swearing issue et al, that is the Christian thing to do here. If everyone keeps attacking each other, we just look less and less like Jesus, and more and more like hypocrites. What happened to turning the other cheek? No excuses.

    I don’t know what to say about all of this, as I’ve said my peace on both sides, other than it’s just getting out of hand.

    I’m posting this same post on CRN.info too. Truth war or not, now it’s just a slapping contest. That’s how I see it. I’m probably not the only one being offended either. That says a lot when I go…”whoa…this is getting out of control”.

    Love,

    Joe

  2. Mike,
    The best thing that you can do is stay away from such men. “Don’t cast your pearls to swine lest they turn and attack you.” (perhaps that has already happened)

    You must not even give these men the time of day. Paul says that we should not even eat with men who claim Christ but are not really of the faith.

    Mike, spend your time on glorifying God, making much of Him, Praising Him, Preaching Him, telling of the Cross, telling of sin, telling of God’s justice, anger, Holiness, Terror, Mercy towards sinners by means of the Cross of Jesus Christ.

    Don’t spend your time arguing with fools.

    Proverbs 26:4

    Mike, I can’t say it enough. SPEND YOUR TIME SPEAKING OF THE WONDERS OF THE CROSS

    Should you spend your whole life arguing with such men, then of what benefit will Christ gain, of what glory shall he receive?

    It is now day, but soon the night will come and the light shall be no more. So use your time wisely.

    In your zeal to defend the character of our God, don’t end up losing sight of the person of Christ. He needs not your defense, but He deserves your faithfulness to preach HIS glories, HIS cross, HIS justice, HIS mercy.

    He deserves far more attention then those “Super Apostles” of the Emerging Church, or ANYONE else. Spend your time preaching CHRIST.

    To know Him and to make Him known, so that the Lamb of God may receive the reward of His suffering!!!! Amen.

  3. Louis,

    I agree with you. However, I will never stop warning the brethren about the lies these people teach. I will never stop preaching Jesus and Him crucified. Thanks for the reminder. :-)

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  4. I agree that you should not stop warning the brethen. There are some of the elect out there attending seeker friendly churches or churches going emergent who have not yet been awakened to what is happening. I was in that situation just months ago-blissfully ignorant to the changes that were gradually taking place in my church. What woke me up was the discernment websites I happened upon while surfing the web. The more I read, the more I began to recognize problems that had crept in. I left that church and am now in a more Biblically based, conservative Baptist church where the full Word of God is preached boldy and without apology. I was used to feel-good sermons. Now I am getting meat and lots of it. The more I hear/read, the more I realize just how starved I was-for years. Was lolled to sleep and not growing spiritually as I should have been. How I regret so many wasted years. Keep sounding the alarm! Those hard core people will never listen, but some of their flock who truly love the Lord need to hear the warnings and get out of those churches. Unless we point out the errors, they will sleep on. Yes, the true gospel must be boldy preached, but error must be exposed also even though doing so brings criticism. The truth of God will win out in the end. And, if God be for us, who can be against us? We are not being unChristian to kindly, lovingly expose error. On the contrary, it would be unChristian (and disobedient even) not to do so. Kim Olsen on her site, “DiscernIt” had a good piece on Nov 11 entitled ‘Do Not Judge-Discern’. She has been accused of being divisive and judgemental. She expounds on Matt 7. You can read her article at http://kimolsen.wordpress.com/ Scroll down to the third article-excellent. Keep on doing what you are doing, Mike. Your articles have been a real help to me.

  5. Thanks for your leadership, Mike.
    I didn’t get involved in this interaction, but I am learning from it. Today, John Piper’s site (desiringgod.org) was promoting this 1993 sermon on 1 Corinthians 5:1-13.

    [quote]
    [Paul} said, “You have become arrogant.” People in the church were actually boasting in this immorality. Now how could that be? What kind of theology would give rise to boasting in immorality? We have seen it in Paul’s letters elsewhere. It says, “Let us sin that grace may abound” (Rom. 3:8; 6:1). So it’s a theology that misunderstands the power of grace, and turns it into license. It’s a theology that misunderstands freedom and uses it as “an opportunity for the flesh” (Gal. 5:13), and says (as they were saying at Corinth) “all things are lawful for me” (1 Cor. 6:12; 10:23). And so they were boasting in their freedom and in the tolerance of grace. Pride was the basis of sinful toleration not pharisaical judgment.
    […]
    True Biblical brokenness does not say, “I could never judge a brother like that.” True Biblical brokenness believes verses 9-13 and submits to the authority of the apostle.
    […]
    Biblical brokenness submits to the painful, risky, time-consuming, often oppressive process of church discipline. It says, “I will take the log out of my eye that I may see clearly to do whatever eye-surgery the Bible calls upon me to do.” It says, “I will look to myself lest I too be tempted as I try to follow God’s counsel in excluding another in the hope of reconciliation.” Humility does not tell God how to be gracious. It listens and tries to obey with fear and trembling.
    [endquote]

  6. Mike:
    I’ve been watching the debacle at CRN.Info, commenting some, also blogged about it myself. As I’ve stated before on this blog, I admire your resolve to engage those guys. While I believe they believe their blog began with good intentions, it has (at least in my eyes) become nothing more than a place to criticize two people in particular. I think time could be better served. I don’t believe they are making any converts over there with their anry, exegetical gymnastics.

    It appears they believe they must condemn and criticize Ingrid, Ken and others into their way of thinking (or into oblivion). I am reminded of Gamaliel’s words: “…for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39) If Ingrid/Ken are providentually destined for failure or success, that is up to God. Same goes for CRN.Info. Until then, most certainly expose error, but then just move on. I appreciate the way you have handled this situation.

  7. Keith,

    Welcome fellow warrior. Thank you for standing for the truth. Each day I beleive I am going to switch gears and move on to another topic, but God keeps bringing me back to this one. Actualy, the basis for this post became etched in my mind 3 or 4 days ago as I was in the heat of battle. Perhaps this post was the one God wanted me to write from the beginning and we can post some more edifying stuff. :-)

    By-the-way, I got involved in this by reading your piece on your blog last week about the foul language. I followed the links you had there and found myself in a hornets nest of iniquity and darkness.

    Please keep me and this ministry in your prayers.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  8. Mat 10:14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
    15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

    MacArthur says of this:
    shake off the dust from your feet, It was common for Jews to shake the dust off their feet – as an expression of disdain – when returning from Gentile regions. Paul and Barnabas also did this when expelled from Antioch (Acts 13:15) This was a visisble protest, signifying that they regarded the place as no better than a pagan land.

    Mr 6:11 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

    MacArthur says of this:
    shake off the dust, A symbolic act that signified complete renunciation of further fellowship with those who rejected them. When the disciples made this gesture, it would show that the people had rejected Jesus and the gospel, and were hence rejected by the disciples and the Lord.

    From this I see a commandment to walk away from those who have head knowledge but refuse heart knowledge of God’s Word. In other words, give the Gospel to those who will receive it and do not waste time on those who openly reject the Word.

  9. Thanks Mike for the link to that sermon. Wow, does that take you the range of emotions of ashamed to humbly grateful. I also listened to J Pipers last night. You can’t be born again unless God grants it. I know I tried but it didn’t work. God regenerated my heart. We are very blessed. God is so Holy I just can’t perceive just how Holy he really is. It’s beyond my human reasoning. We know he is so powerful that when he say’s
    I AM, people fall over. Now that’s power!

  10. Paul,

    Thank you very much for that exposition. I beleive this thread has about run out. I hope so. :-) I am ready for something a great deal more edifying. :-)

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  11. Amen Deb! I listened to that sermon instead of watching MNF lastnight. He addressed it all didn’t he? Another reader sent me the link to it after she had read this post. I beleive God did that because this battle is very severe and takes a great toll. After hearing the sermon it was as if I had been totally refreshed. God is good!

  12. Amen and Amen Mike

    We must continue to stand for the truth. And as you stated, God’s word is clear some become full of knowledge without ever coming to the truth.

    That is the situation I am facing with an individual I am currently speaking with. He is full of head knowledge but the heart is not in it.

    He wants to argue every word. Sometimes I just want to shake him and say the truth is right in front of your nose, how can you not see it. But then I realise that he is blinded to the truth and cannot see it no matter how much I try.

    I pray the Lord will remove the scales from before his eyes and that he will come to know the truth.

    Serving Him to Serve Others,
    Bryan

  13. Another great post. Whatever the Lord shows you to do, you will be faithful to do it. I was going to say as others have said, shake off the dust from your feet and don’t cast pearls before the swine. I was also going to say that bowing out does not mean they won the debate,it means that you have said what needs to be said and you will not abide in fruitless arguments. Some are blind because they refuse to see. However, you are led by the Holy Spirit in all of this. If what counsel has been given you in this thread has convicted you, then you will obey. You are faithful in that. If God leads you to more articles on this subject til the last day of 2007, then you will be faithful in that. This we can know, it is in God’s hands, not ours save our obedience to the precious Holy Spirit. Let none of us be denied great posts on this subject because a few would have you drop it. Let none of us be denied great posts because you continue in this apart from God’s blessing on it. Know what I mean? You know what God desires of you and you are faithful to do it. And I pray God bless you in all that you do for His Kingdom, by His power and for His glory! Amen!

  14. Thanks for the article. What you’ve written really reminds me of 1 Corinthians 1:20:

    “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”

    Indeed. Where is the one who is wise?

    Keep it up!

  15. Hey Mike-

    Be encouraged. They could destroy you, but they will never destroy the truth. God has to do the work to reach these folks.

    Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

    (and I mean that. HAVE FUN!)

    -The Orange Mailman

  16. Mike, don’t stop warning people of the dangers of such men who are leading people astray. Just don’t give any attention to what they say. Paul had to deal with the same thing, the “super apostles” of his day were attacking him, however he didn’t spend much time defending himself, he just went right back to exposing their error and preaching Christ.

    Keep it up Mike. Just don’t give much attention to what they say. Keep speaking the truth. Keep warning people of the danger of false teachers.

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