The Good Practitioner

Some friends sent me this after the skirmishes we had this week with those who claim that intellect and human reason combined with Liberal Theology far outweighs knowledge of and obedience to God’s Word. Those of the Liberal Theology camp are like snakes, they are all head and no feet. – Mike Ratliff

by Thomas Watson

A sermon is never rightly heard—until it is practiced.
“If you know these things, happy are you if you do
them.” John 13:17

Christ does not put happiness upon knowing—but upon
doing. It is not knowledge of the points of religion—but
practice, which renders a man truly happy and blessed.

Luke 6:46, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t
do the things I say?” It is not the mere knowledge and
acceptance of the most glorious Gospel truths—which will
bring a man to heaven. If a man could fluently discourse
on all Scriptural truths, if his head were a treasury of
wisdom, an ocean of learning—yet this could not entitle
him to happiness. His knowledge might make him admired
by men—but not blessed by God. If a man knew and
believed all the doctrines of Scripture—this would not
crown him with happiness.

Knowledge is a fair garland to look upon—but it is like
Rachael. Though she was beautiful—yet being barren
she said, “Give me children or I die!” Just so, if knowledge
does not bring forth the child of obedience—it will die and
come to nothing.

I would by no means disparage knowledge. Knowledge
is the pilot to guide us in our obedience. Yet, knowledge
must usher in obedience. Knowledge may put us into the
way of happiness, but it is only practice which brings us
there! Knowledge alone, cannot make a man eternally
happy and blessed.

Knowledge alone, does not make a man better; therefore,
it cannot make him happy and blessed. Bare knowledge
has no influence; it does not leave a spiritual tincture of
holiness behind. Knowledge informs—not transforms.
Knowledge, of itself, has no power upon the heart to
make it more holy. Bare knowledge is like weak medicine,
which does not work. It does not warm the affections nor
purge the conscience; it does not fetch virtue from Christ
to dry up the bloody issue of sin.

A man may receive the light of the truth—yet not love the
truth, “They perish because they refused to love the truth
and so be saved.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10. The Apostle calls
it “a form of knowledge,” Romans 2:20. Knowledge alone,
is but a dead form, having nothing to animate it. He who
has knowledge alone—is a spiritual stillborn! He looks like
a Christian—but has neither appetite nor motion.

Knowledge alone, makes men monsters in religion! They
are all head—but no feet! They do not walk in Christ,
Colossians 2:6. A man may have Scriptural knowledge—
and still be profane! He may have a clear head—and a
foul heart! The understanding may be illumined—when
the foot treads in unholy paths. If knowledge is divorced
from practice, and does not make a man better—then it
cannot make a man eternally happy and blessed.

If bare knowledge will save, then all who have knowledge
shall be saved. But that is not true—for then Judas would
be saved, for he had knowledge enough. Then the devil
would be saved! A man may have right knowledge, and
be no better than a devil! Hell is full of learned heads!

Knowledge alone, makes a man’s case worse! Knowledge
takes away all excuse. Knowledge adds to a man’s torment.
“Woe to you! I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land
of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you!” It will be
better with heathen—than with professing Christians living
in a contradiction to their knowledge. Luke 12:47, “The
servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his
duty, he refused to do it!”

Knowledge without practice, serves only as a torch to light
men to hell—the brighter the light, the hotter the fire!

37 thoughts on “The Good Practitioner

  1. “they are all head and no feet.”

    Good, Mike. A long tongue and little ears. They see the world from the earth and not from heaven. Their strength is their poison which comes from their mouth, and they look for sense their prey through their tongue. When I was first saved the word “liberal” was the catch all for deviant and humanistic theologies. Today their are several labels that mean liberal, however they are much more adept at camouflage.

    They deny Biblical faith and yet construct a reasoned faith which begins with the premise that God’s Word cannot be taken literally. Every man’s opinion is interesting and valid, and their moarls and lifestyle are more or less congruent with the heathen. We are considered now the last bastion of archaic and unsophisticated faith based upon a simplistic understanding of the written Scriptures. Even now there is a mixture of some orthodox views mixed with much unbiblical theologies. You really cannot say doctrine, that is too specific. Theology covers it.

    Years ago on American Bandstand they would play a song and scramble the letters of the title for kids to unscarmble. In much of today’s theological discussion they done the reverse, taken truth and scrambled it. Some recognizeable letters with lots of letters from another language.

    “Just so, if knowledge does not bring forth the child of obedience—it will die and
    come to nothing.”

    And with this post modern knowledge it is dead already.

  2. Dear Brother Mike….interesting post.” Knowledge without practice, serves only as a torch to light
    men to hell—the brighter the light, the hotter the fire!”

    There is a vital missing ingredient in your piece. You can have knowledge, you can have practise but you can be missing intimacy. If you practice, based on knowledge then two things will happen. You will fail, be wearied and give up, or you will have limited success and that would be directly related to the rise of self righteousness within you. Only that which flows from love is true. A man can know that the speed limit, by law is 65mph. He knows this because it is written law. He also knows that there is a penalty for breaking this law, so he does not break it , not because he does not want to go faster, but because he does not want to be fined. The difference between conduct based on love and conduct based on knowledge is the difference between religion and true relationship. Only that which flows from His manifest presence, only that which flows from love and a pure heart,only these things are pure and undefiled. If you like you could read Bibliocentric or Christocentic at “Scottish Warriors for Christ.”…………………….Frank

  3. That’s a given appolus. This is a piece from Thomas Watson who also said:

    (Thomas Watson, “The Perfume of Love”)

    “And though I understand all mysteries and all
    knowledge, but have not love, I am nothing.”
    1 Corinthians 13:2

    If a man’s head were a library of all learning,
    if he could know all that is knowable—but have
    not love, all is nothing. Knowledge without love,
    makes a man no better than a devil.

    Let a man come to church, pray, and read
    Scripture; yet if his heart burns in malice—it
    is but going to hell in more saint-like manner.

    “Oh, how precious a jewel,” said Augustine, “is
    love! How choice a grace that, if this is lacking, all
    other things, though ever so glorious, are in vain!”

    An unloving person is an unregenerate person. “At
    one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived
    and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.
    We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating
    one another.” Titus 3:3. This is as if Paul had said,
    “Before grace came—we were filled and ready to
    burst with this poison of malice!”

    A malicious person is of no kin to God, for God is love.

  4. Hi Mike..you say”thats a given.” And yet I have rarely seen it in my 17 years as a Christian. People talk about love all the time,. but what does it really mean? Can I ask you an honest question Mike , for I know, by what you have written, that you are someone who knows the word of God. Do you “know,” Jesus? Joseph did not “know,” Mary until after Jesus was born. This manifest presence, this actual experienced reality of knowing Jesus, would you say that you have been swept of your feet by the Lord and that He is the lover of your soul? If you go to …………………….http://scottishwarriors.wordpress.com/ and check out” Bibliocentric or Christocentric” and “A vision of coming into His presence please give me your thoughts. This is a vital topic and goes beyond the emergent church. There are five virgins with oil, five without. None of us want to fall into the latter category………..Frank

  5. Frank,

    Yes, I know Him. I pray as much as possible. I walk in light of His work of Grace in my life, showing me mercy, imputing the Righteousness of Christ to me, regenerating me. Why? Because I have believed God and am trusting in the promises of the inheritance by God to those who have received the Son as Lord and Saviour. My faith is not based on religion, but is throughly awash in His Grace. As I said, I commune with Him daily as much as I can. I delight in God daily, all day. He is the object of all I do. I live to bring Him glory.

    Do you know Him like that?

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  6. Daer Brother Mke

    I am glad to hear that you know Him. Yes brother I too know HIm in that way. I talk to Him and He talks to me. I only mention it because so many people have never experienced him experientially. He has never spoken to them, and they have never sat in His actual presence. It is in this presence that everything flows. If one has not been consumed in His love actually( as opposed to a head knowledge or an assent to an abstract truth) then one truly does not know Him.

    My original point was that your piece did not speak of it, it mentioned knowledge and practice, but not presence. If nothing can occur, unless it flows out of actually experiencing Him, then surely any teaching on how to live a life that honors God must be start with the foundation? I am sure we agree on this…………In the beauty of Holiness…….Frank

  7. Frank,

    Yes, we can agree on this. I have hundreds of posts here on this site and I would say that the vast majority of them speak of this. This post and the few before it are part of long protracted battle with apostates attempting to destroy our faith. Some of us are called to fight for truth and point people to it while warning them of the false teachers and lies of the enemy. We live in perilous times. Much that passes for Christianity is not. I would much prefer to teach about discipleship and salvation and being Spirit-filled, but there are times when the battle is thrust upon us. We must wear and use the armor God has given us in order to stand and not fall. I believe you have entered into the very end of a long protracted battle when the darts are not flying as thickly as they were earlier this week.

    The reason I can stand and not fall, to tell the truth when it would be much easier to just seek peace is because I am aware of the depths of sin that God delivered me from. I am more grateful for that than I can express here. So, I live for His glory and obey Him even when it appears the cost is very high.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  8. HI Mike

    You really believe that the Liberals are the problem? Hmm. I think their error is obvious.

    If sin is at work in the Church , where do you believe it is hiding? Do you believe that it is hiding and making its last stand with the liberals? Is that why the American church is so weak and enemic? Where did Jesus find sin? Where had sin retreated to? It was hiding in the Temple, in the Pharisees. Who are todays Pharisees? The liberals? Noooo.

    It is hiding in what claims to be orthodox. Can I ask you Mike, in your worship, and in your prayers, are you emmotianal? Do you “feel ,” Jesus? Does He speak to you, does He give you words of wisdom? ………………..Frank

  9. Frank,

    The problem is that the vast majority of professing Christians are enslaved to their flesh. Liberalism is apostate Christianity. Are there “Orthodox” professing Christians who are enslaved to their flesh? Yes, but that does not mean they aren’t genuine Christians. The Visible Church contains both wheat and tares whatever form they take. Within the Visible Church is the Invisible True Church made up of only genuine believers, the few that have found the narrow gate. Only these KNOW Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

    I find your last few questions troubling because I do have a very personal relationship with my Lord and I know what real worship is. What troubles me is that you are insinuating that anyone who knows doctrine and loves the Word of God cannot really know Jesus. If that is the direction you are going then you are wrong. My “religion” is rooted in my relationship with my Lord not the other way around.

    I have the Holy Spirit and my faith is alive so, yes I do have the mind of Christ. He gives me wisdom and discernment, which I ask for everyday so I can serve Him. I am not driven by my emotions because that can be influenced by the flesh. Is my relationship with God emotional at times? Sure it is, but as a by product, not the focus of it. To do otherwise would not be wise at all.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  10. Hi Mike

    Please do not find my questions troubling. My questions are honest my friend. I am not suggesting anyone that knows doctrine and loves the word of God cannot really know Jesus. What I am suggesting is that you can love the word of God and know doctrine and not know Jesus.

    The emmotinal question was not entirely serious. You answerd it well so it need not be revisited. If you have a wife and children you will know that one cannot love someone as a matter of technicality, yet rather more as a passion.

    I am assuming that you are a Baptist still? For lack of a better phrase I am a Pentecostal. Although I did attend Calvary Baptist Seminary in Belton MO, which if you lived in the Kansas area you are probably aware of.

    Mike you said that the true Church is made up of genuine believers, the few that have found the narrow gate. Did not Jesus say that there were 10 virgins, all were virgins, all had lamps, only five had oil. I know that you will already know what oil signifies in the Scripture. So I would say to you, who are the ones who are prepared for Jesus return? Who are the only ones that can actually give light. Can one be the light of the world if he has no oil in his lamp? What does Scripture say happens to those who have no oil?

    My point being Mike. If you as a Babtist, deny the power of the Holy Spirit to work in His people visibly, the sign gifts, the fullness of the Gospel, then are you not in the camp of the Liberals? You would go to great lengths to counter the arguments of the higher critis, which I would commend you for. Yet you are perhaps yourself a higher critic of the supernatural yourself for today. Are they alone to be condemned because they deny the supernatural in the Scriptures? What of those who would deny the supernaturla element of the Holy Spirit today, do they not deny”the power therof?”

    Perhaps I am wrong and you accept all of the Bible, including all of Corinthians? I would like to think so. For my dream is to bring together the Baptists of this world, strong in the Word and fervent for doctrine, and the true Pentecostals, those who only hold to the Word and nothing else and who also move in the miraculous. Below is my post , Bibliocentric or Christicentric. ……………….

    BIBLIOCENTRIC OR CHRISTOCENTRIC?
    John 5:39-40 ..You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
    Jesus is clearly stating that there is no life in the Scriptures. It does not matter whether it is in the Old or the New Testament, there is no life in the Scriptures. If there was life in the words themselves and the knowledge of these words then the Pharisees would be men full of life. Yet what did Jesus say about these men? They were full of dead men’s bones, whitewashed tombs. They knew the word but they did not know God.

    Words are vehicles for communicating. The word itself is a symbol of what is real. You may read about the truth or even hear about the truth and they may be precursors to life, but they are not life itself. Life comes to those who willingly come to Jesus and meet Him personally. And so the word without Jesus is empty and meaningless to the readers. It is in the person of Jesus that we are saved, and then He illuminates the word. The word of God must never be worshipped, how silly to worship the description rather that what is described. All of the word of God is useful to point us towards God, but it is only in His presence that anything is achieved. A man could read the sermon on the mount and rightly conclude that this was a masterpiece of teaching. Yet, outside of Gods presence, outside of His Spirit, all those who try and live by these commands will fail miserably or have some success and become self-righteous. The Bible is a treasure from God, but it is Jesus Himself, of whom the whole Bible testifies, who is the Word. Jesus is the same yesterday today and forever. Heaven and earth will pass away but the Word, Jesus, is eternal.

    I was saved knowing virtually nothing of Scripture. Men were saved in the first three hundred years of the church by the declaration of Truth, Jesus being the truth, by the Holy Spirit of the living God. After I was saved I devoured the Scriptures and as I read it I saw my own story in it. All the promises, the new heart, the love, the joy, my Jesus it testified to in all of the word. The Spirit had laid it all on my heart and every page was a confirmation and it was exciting. I had no intellectual battles. My spirit witnessed with the word of God. I read many parts that I did not understand but there was no resisting in my spirit, just a sense that somewhere down the line, if it pleased my Lord, I would understand.

    So to have life we must come to Jesus. The word “come ,” does not mean one time just as the word “abide,” is a continuous action verb better stated “keep abiding.” So we ought to keep coming to Jesus. Not keep getting saved, but keep seeking Him out. He is a treasure to be sought after, just “as the deer panteth for the water brooks,” then so my soul continually panteths after Him. He is my light and I detest the darkness. He is perfect light and I live in shades of gray at best. How could it be otherwise for in my flesh there is no good thing. Until it is raised in incorruption I can only know Him in measure. That is an agony and a despair that can be hard to live with. The only thing that makes it bearable is the measure I receive from Him daily, His blessings are new every morning and His steadfast love never ceases and His grace is sufficient to keep me wanting more. And every so often I am enraptured and filled to capacity, a continual baptism of the Holy Spirit if you like. And I am strengthened and encouraged and changed in the fire of His manifest presence and I move to a different level. Gratefulness and thankfulness keeps me in this place. I have found eternal life in the person and the manifest presence of Jesus and the Scriptures testify to that and there is unity……………………..Frank

  11. Appolus – I am one who does not deny the validity of anything in the New Testament, and I am not a dispensationalist. However I do believe that the overwhelming majority of what passes for the gifts is based upon emotionalism and not the Word of God. I also was save with precious little knowledge of the Scriptures, however after my conversion I was drawn to them by the Spirit. I am demonstrative in my worship including (before my ankle opperation) dancing before the Lord without drawing attention to myself.

    The baptism of the Holy Spirit comes upon a sinner when he is converted and he is baptized into Christ, and the filling of the Spirit is in direct proportion to our prayerful obedience. Your Bibliocentris vs. Christocentric postulate is a false dichotomy because they are compatible. I have seen some believers rely heavily upon experience while others reject any experience. Those of us who stand upon the Bible as truth and yet have wept before God in worship, and have experienced fresh revelation while fasting, and have been transformed in seasons with our prayer closets, and even had experiences with the Living God too sacred to share, we reject your seeming premise.

    Especiall when you seem to imply your elevated spiritual status even as it pertains to salvation experience. You asked for an honest and genuine observation and I have given it. Many Christians have not had some of the experiences you have dilineated and yet are true and commited yokefellows in Christ. And I have met some who espouse some of what you have shared who are liberal in their view of Scripture and lifestyle while others are dedicated believers.

    Mike is reformed in his theology (staunch and with a vivid experience!) and yet he doesn’t constantly try to evangelize everyone to that view in his writings. Perhaps we all could learn something from him, no?

  12. Frank,

    I would have a hard time replying to your question about being a Baptist or not. I am Reformed. I love R.C. Sproul, John Piper, John MacArthur, Kim Riddlebarger, James White, John Owen, John Bunyan, William Tyndale, Martin Luther, etc. You have Presbyterians, Reformed Baptists, and Lutherans in that bunch. There is one commonality in their theology though. God is Sovereign and He saves His people for His purposes according to His will, in His timing. I was a Southern Baptist until 2005 or so. I attend an independent Reformed Baptist church.

    You keep mentioning the parable of the ten virgins. That is a parable by our Lord to emphasize the importance of being ready for Christ’s return for there is no second chance once He returns. Christ used the analogy of a Jewish wedding. These weddings would begin at the bride’s house when the bridegroom arrived to observe the wedding ritual. There would be a procession that would follow as the bridegroom took the bride to his house. The wedding lamps were needed to light the way. They were actually torches. In this analogy the oil would be what gives the light. This is the Holy Spirit. Those with the Holy Spirit have God’s light. All in Christ are given the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of the promise of eternal life when they believe.

    Do not confuse Justification with Sanctification. We are justified by faith when we believe God by His Grace through faith. He regenerates believers by according faith with grace. Faith comes alive by His grace. That is why our salvation is His work, not ours.

    On the other hand, Sanctification is our cooperation with Him becoming removed from sin. In this process we become more and more mature and as we become more and more Spirit-filled. This is having our lives totally saturated in God’s Word where His truth and light permeate every part of our lives.

    When I mention Liberal Christians I am referring to those who discount what I just shared saying that that doctrine and such is unimportant. It is more important to just love other people do charity. These things are the product of being Spirit-filled, not the source of it. Doctrine is vital because it explains God’s Truth. All doctrine was developed in response to heresies. God uses these heretical things so that we dig out the truth from His Word and thereby know Him and His ways better.

    You make the mistake of lumping all non-Pentacostals into the camp of the Liberals. I have a brother and sister-in-law in your camp. They are baby Christians and have very little Bible knowledge. They know what Kenneth Copeland says, but not what the Word says. They view sickness and pressure and problems as curses instead of seeing them as God working in us to sanctify us. Their faith is weak because it is focused in what you refer to as “fullness” and “signs” instead of in maturing in the fire as God upholds us in it.

    In other words, their focus is on the temporal instead of the eternal. It is on themselves rather than in bringing glory to God by their obedience by faith.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  13. The Holy Spirit.That is just something I have never felt yet. What does it feel like? I do feel joy and experience tears upon revelation of truth. I did and do feel sorrow and shame about my sins. I really think my Pentecostal brother feels superior to us who don’t feel it. He seems very focused on those “gifts.” I really believe that he thinks by having them it’s some kind of proof that he has salvation. This has been going on for over 25 years now. Self focused not Christ focused. It isn’t our best life now.

  14. Deb,

    The Holy Spirit ALWAYS directs our hearts to Christ. He is always revealing to us what our Lord has and is doing for us. I have always found that interesting how people like my brother and your brother see themselves are spiritually superior, but have no real spiritual depth and very little, if any, humility.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  15. But see, Deb, you do feel/experience the Holy Spirit. We need not let others define legitimate spiritual experience for us, we can hold fast to the things we have both seen and heard. Your experience and feeling is every bit as valid as anyone else’s. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Hi Guys

    Let me answer Rick and Mike and Deb altogether since there seems to be postulation and and assertion going on. Just as an aside, I would rather ask questions than to make assumptions, I find it more helpful. Assumption number 1. That I pited Bibliocentrism against Christicentrism. Not true. I am sold out to the Scriptures and refuse to believe anything that is not written. That is why I have rejected so called revivals at Toronto and Pensacolo and so on. That is why I have written against the likes of Benny Hinn and so on. That is why I ended that particualr piece with this line ” I have found eternal life in the person and the manifest presence of Jesus and the Scriptures testify to that and there is unity.” We must worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth.

    I find it a little ironic that Rick would encourage Deb that because she has shed tears then that is the Holy Spirit.

    I do not know about the brothers Mike mentioned, perhaps they have no spiritual depth or any humility. Mike wrote “You make the mistake of lumping all non-Pentacostals into the camp of the Liberals.” Perhaps Mike makes a similiar mistake by lumping all “Pentecostals” into the same camp as Kenneth Copeland. A man that I have publicly callled a “peddler of the Gospel.”

    There is nothing superior Deb in having been Baptized in the Holy Spirit. It is open to all believers. If you have not experienced it(and it is an experience), I would urge you to seek it. Study Acts and Corinthians make your own mind up. Never let anyone tell you that you were automaticly Baptized in the Holy Spirit when you were saved. They have no Scripture for that, and it is all about Scripture. It is an actual experience and it has nothing to do with crying, feeling sorry for our sins, or joy. Baptism is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, not the indwelling. My brother Mike may be slighty confused as to what happens at Justification and then how we are sanctified. We will never become more Christlike, we will never be set apart, outside of the Bapatism of the Holy Spirit. We will never have the power to achieve anything eternal, outside of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. That is why the Disciples could not go about their work until after Acts 2.

    We must not mistake loud noise or apparent boldness of men for the power of the Holy Spirit. I have know street preachers and men who have procalimed the Gospel from the rooftops whose personal and inner lives were actually shocking. Peter was a bold witness for Christ, right up to the time he cut the ear of those who would come and take Him, that was just moments before he denied him, even with curses. You see he was willing to die for a glorious King, but he was not willing to die for a humiliated one. So, again, a lot of what passes for bold declaration of the truth, is merely noise which has no power behind it. If you want to see examples of real power, outpouring power, study the Welsh and lewis revivals where bars closed down because the Spirit fell on a popluation. Ot study the great awakenings that followed where men, Baptized in the Holy Spirit, procalimed the word with power and lives were changed, communities were changed, countries were changed. That is the power of which I speak. And yes it is the full Gospel because it also includes all of the sign gifts, including tongues, which is one of the major signs of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit(but not always) It includes words of knowledge, interpretations of tongues, healings, prophecy. Why does it include these things?Because it is written. Seek for it Deb, ask the Lord about it, read the Word, do not listen to mens advice if it counters the Word. For men change their minds all the time, but the Word of God never changes, praise God………..Frank

  17. Frank,
    You said: My brother Mike may be slighty confused as to what happens at Justification and then how we are sanctified.
    Mike isn’t confused. You might be and Rick also knows what he is talking about. They both have the Holy Spirit. You are being superior just by telling me that my tears display nothing.
    I was actually being sarcastic when I posed that question. My sweet and precious brothers didn’t know that. I am sick of Pentecostals (of all brands) being superior. I have never heard another denomination think so highly of themselves to actually decide who has the Holy Spirit and who doesn’t. We do know what it is.

  18. Frank,

    You said, “Never let anyone tell you that you were automaticly Baptized in the Holy Spirit when you were saved. They have no Scripture for that”

    Yes we do. Those you are using are misinterpreted.

    Also, we do have many who show that the Holy Spirit is given to all who believe. For example:

    And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22 ESV)

    No one is saved without this seal. This is the seal that all genuine believers receive when God the Father Justifies them. If you are having problems understanding justification then I suggest Romans 4.

    Lastly, these “gifts” that Pentecostals claim were signs to the Jews that Gentiles were also elect. Tongues, etc. were always signs to Jews. They were never for self-edification. The were not gibberish, but known languages. They were not ecstatic utterances, but know languages spoken by people who did not know those languages. They were signs. Also, they could not be for revelation since the Bible contains all of the God given revelation we are going to have in this age. Also, I have discussed this at length with my brother and other’s who are confused about this. This is nothing new. You do not have anything new that we have not stood against here. My brother described how he started speaking in tongues. Do you remember how I have made it clear to you that any works of the flesh is sin? Well how he started his gibberish and then told me how he was guided into doing it, I was totally amazed at how this is nothing but a work of the will and that means a work of the flesh and is sin. You have no scripture that backs up doing this.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  19. I am a student of the Welsh (both) revivals, the Lewis revival (Duncan), the Finney revivals, and all the different revivals within the First and secong Great Awakenings and there was almost no emphasis on the “sign gifts” which is a man made category anyway, they were marked by repentance, prayer, and complet surrender to God’s will.

    Whitefield, Wesley, Edwards, and many others were powerful men of God who never emphasized the gifts of the Spirit but emphasized prayer and the preaching of the Word. Your definition of being baptized in the Holy Spirit certainly leans toward a charismatic understanding, but I have met many charismatics and Pentecostals who were humble followers of the Lord Jesus. I have met others who proudly parade their experience with a discernable air of superiority.

    You encourage Deb to seek something that you have described as an experience. We should never seek an experience, only Christ through prayer and the illumination of God’s precious Word. Yours Frank is nothing new, I have met many people who profess what you do and have a condescending spirit as if we all needed what they supposedly have. Wesley never had it, he was changed when after having come in contact with Moravian missionaries and been convicted about their HUMITY and SACRIFICE he surrendered completely to the cause of the Lord Jesus. No tongues, no sign gifts, only a pliable spirit that said “Here am I, send me”.

    That is who God uses, not someone who holds his own experience in high esteem. When you insinuate through clandestine “questions” that Mike Ratliff is liberal you reveal the shallowness of the experience you tout. We have heard your rhetoric before from others and it remains unremarkable and high minded. Not the humble spirit of Christ that is evident in someone like Mike.

  20. Acts 2:5-13

    5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

  21. On the Day of Pentecost the disciples spoke in tongues and three thousand people were saved, and an entire denomination focuses on the tongues and not the souls saved. That is akin to having a million dollars in a paper bag and being excited about the bag.

  22. Well Guys

    If you honestly read the replies here, you will definately see pride, no doubt about that. You will also see deliberate distortions of what I have said. I believe that we should always think the best of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Please re-read and see that I have described not a single experience that I have had not one, save for sittiing at the feet of Jesus, in His presence.

    As far as brother Mike being confused about Justification, I was merely using the same phrase that he used to descibe my own notion of Justification. I urged Deb to read the Scriptures and decide for herself. I urged her not to listen to men but to read the Word of God which never changes. I find it hard to believe that one Christian would attack another for pointing someone in the direction of Scriptures and asking them to decide on what is true based on their reading of the Scripture. Now you guys have a certain interpretation of these Scriptures, and with seemingly great pride you assert your particular position( and without love I may add:( I think Debs reply is remarkably lacking in love, but thats just my take. I only urge people to read and make up their own mind based on prayer…………..Frank PS I do think that people should be fully convinced in what they believe, for after all they will give an account for every word that comes out of their mouths. Perhaps if we disagree, we can agree that we both Love the Scriptures and have come to different conclusions and therefore have to agree to disagree. In that way we will at least maintain love, for you can have truth, and you can even give your body to be burned, but if you do not have love then you do not have anything.

  23. Frank,

    Pride is to view oneself in better light than you deserve, to not see oneself in total spiritual bankruptcy before God outside of His grace. Humility is the opposite. To stand for truth and not back off of it, to stand firm and not fall away is not pride if done in obedience to that truth and to God. This is what I do. It is the ministry God has given me and equipped me to do. I have gone back reread my comments to you. I see no where where I was operating within pride. To know the truth is available only to those who truly know God and live for His glory alone. Jesus said that they will know the truth and the truth shall set them free.

    Now would it be right to compromise with someone who is not in this truth for the sake of peace and perceived unity? No! I love God and I love the body of Christ. The Church is under attack and there are many of us who have been given the role and ministry of speaking the truth to it in order that conviction of sin will come then repentance or hardening of hearts in order that rebellion will only deepen. God is glorified in both.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  24. ” I do think that people should be fully convinced in what they believe, for after all they will give an account for every word that comes out of their mouths.”

    The martyrs might have taken issue with that sentiment.

    Rom.4:20 -21 – He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised he was able also to perform.

    I believe the exact opposite. I think believers should be fully convinced in what they believe while speaking the truth in love and humility.

    “Please re-read and see that I have described not a single experience that I have had not one, save for sittiing at the feet of Jesus, in His presence.”

    Beside the implications of that remark, did you not describe the baptism of the Holy Spirit as an experience? Your vision of bringing Baptists together implies that you and not they have a greater understanding of Scripture based upon your experience in the Holy Spirit. I do believe you are fervent and yet condescending to those who haven’t had your specific experience.

  25. I Corithians 12:7 “..the illumination by teaching from the Spirit is given to
    each one for the profit of all..” This verse cuts to the core of the
    individual motivations of those who lust after “gifts” and
    “experiences”. Other translations say, “..manifestation of the Spirit”

    Most people seeking experiences look for the Holy Spirit to “manifest”
    -Himself- to them via the experiences. They look to be “spirit-filled”
    so they know they “have” the Spirit. They are looking to/at the Spirit;
    much the same way the pilgrims of ‘Rome’ look for “manifestations” of
    their Queen of Heaven.

    But the word actually means what the Spirit is “distributing”. That
    which He is “teaching”. This sentence indicates a fulfillment of Jesus’
    words, “..when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you
    into all Truth; for He will not speak things originating from Himself,
    but whatever He hears He will speak..” (Jn16:13) The Holy Spirit is
    not the focus. He is the agent. Notice that Jn16:13 is different, too.
    The typical argument is that the “Spirit decides to do…” something
    new or different, so therefore, we should be willing to
    ‘go-with-the-flow’ of the spirit’s whims. But God’s Holy Spirit does
    not initiate new things. He takes from the Father and the Son and
    discloses to us. He “illumines” us as to wisdom and spiritual
    understanding. He never says, ‘Look at Me.. let Me MANIFEST -Myself- to
    you with some hocus-pocus.” But that is what charismania seeks.

    And finally, what the Holy Spirit distributes is not for each of us to
    become self-absorbed in our own mini-trance-state of mantra ‘worship’.
    What He distributes individually is “for the profit of -all-”. “For
    none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.” We belong to
    the Lord. (Rom14:7-8)

    Tongues:
    ~~~~~~~~

    12:10 “..to another tongues of nationalities, to another the
    interpretation of tongues..”

    First of all, let’s clear up one fallacy about the word “tongues”. I
    know of at least one translation (LITV) that tries to ‘clarify’
    -doctrine- throughout these chapters by differentiating between
    “languages” and “tongues” according to the understanding of its editor.
    KJV adds “unknown” in front of some in italics. But the word for
    tongues comes from “glossa”. The word from which the various
    derivations of “glottis/glottal stop” comes. It is a word related to
    the entire vocal mechanism by which we speak and make vocal sounds;
    starting at the vocal chords and ending up at the tongue. But the same
    Greek word is also used of, “language or dialect used by a particular
    people distinct from that of other nations”. And all instances for
    “tongues” in these passages come from the same Greek word. It is not
    differentiated in the word, itself. Thus, we must receive our
    understanding from the context and overall teaching and ‘Spirit’.

    The fact that this passage includes discussion of things more than mere
    “babbling” is indicated by “tongues of nationalities”. Here, again,
    other translations speak of “kinds of tongues”. And, without looking
    any further, people assume “kind” means, a linguistic -kind-, or
    euphoric -kind-… much as people might ask, “what -kind- of day have
    you had?” or “what -kind- of ice cream would you like?” As if
    ‘babbling’ is a -kind- of acceptable vocal sound.

    But “kind” is actually related to “KIND-red”. (genos == offspring,
    family, tribe, nation)

    Thus, when the Holy Spirit distributed the ‘gift’ of ‘tongues’, it is a
    “language” or “dialect”. As Paul goes on to speak of “..so many ethnic
    languages in the world..” (14:10) This is what He did at Pentecost. All
    the hearers understood the preaching “in their own -dialects-”.
    (Acts2:6-8) This is in contrast to the unintelligible
    “babbling/gibberish” which goes on in so-called “tongues” services.

    And as if there should be any question as to what he is talking about,
    he follows with “interpretation of tongues”. Interpretation is used
    when a person not familiar with the language being spoken, is given its
    meaning. Many missionaries are ‘gifted’ with linguistic skills and
    wisdom to go to various parts of the world and “interpret/translate”
    God’s Word into the local, native, ethnic languages and dialects. This
    is the work the Holy Spirit ‘distributes’. But does ‘everybody’ go out
    under Wycliffe (or whoever else) to do translation work? Of course not!
    (vs30)

    13:1 “If I were to speak with the tongues…” Others say, “Though I
    speak with the tongues of men and of angels..” Most people understand
    the word “though” in this kind of context as, ‘-while- I’m speaking in
    tongues and using my prayer language…if I do it without love..” They
    make an -assumption- that, indeed, yes, they -do- utter these sounds;
    only, they need to be sure they are doing it ‘lovingly’.

    But the idea is more, rather, ‘If it were to be the case that I could
    speak so euphorically with the angels…” Paul is comparing with the
    lofty grandeur that people lust after, vs neglecting the care for
    fellow-believers. He is not saying that, -while- one mutters gibberish,
    to -also- be sure to “love”. He is referring to “tongues” in a
    ‘hypothetical’ sense, for the sake of illustration; and the way he says
    it, he is making it into more of an ‘impossible’ situation; something
    actually unattainable in reality; but if it were even possible to do
    such things, if I am without love…blah, blah, etc.etc. They were
    lusting after the supernatural, while taking each other to court out of
    hate and envy. (ch6) As he writes to the Philippians, “Let each of you
    not look out for his own interests, but also for the interests of
    others.” (Php2:4)

    13:8 “..if there are tongues, they will cease..” At Pentecost, the
    Holy Spirit was given to the Jewish Believers. This was a new covenant
    from God. Something similar happened in the O.T. where some of God’s
    Spirit that was on Moses was distributed to elders who helped him
    govern the people. When this happened, they “prophesied” but then, as
    the “sign” of this new gift had served its purpose in authenticating
    the elders as being God’s servants, “..they never did so again.”
    (Num11:25) What happened in Acts ch2 was a special “sign” to Israel,
    which served a ‘temporary’ purpose, as we have discussed at other
    times.

    Now, just in case anybody complains that this discussion is about
    “tongues”, but Num11:25 said “prophesied”, remember that Acts was not
    ‘only’ about the fact that all these people heard the preaching in
    their own individual ETHNIC DIALECTS, but… the disciples were
    -PREACHING-! In Acts ch2 they were -not- ‘babbling’ unintelligibly and
    incoherently. They were -PREACHING- understood words, in recognized
    dialects, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And people were coming under
    conviction, repenting before God, and getting saved, and being immersed
    in water. They did so under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Who
    knows ‘what’ those 70 in Numbers ch11 said, what their message for that
    day was; but they were filled with the Holy Spirit and were -PREACHING-.
    In that instance, some different ‘dialects’ were not necessary, because
    they were all one nationality. Let us understand that there is no
    recorded Scriptural reference to the Holy Spirit anointing people to
    utter gibberish. Where gibberish is mentioned (mutter and peep -Is8:19)
    it is with reference to pagan idolatry and the occult.

    14:2 “..he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to
    God…however in the spirit he speaks mysteries.” In ch14 I believe
    Paul is doing a lot of argument with ‘tongue-in-cheek’. Many people
    take this verse (the parts quoted here), to suggest things like “prayer
    language”. That when they babble, that it is just between them and God.
    Their own special corner on God. But notice Paul’s emphasis. “..no one
    understands him..” And vs3-4, someone who preaches (in UNDERSTOOD
    speech) is building up and exhorting “the church”. When he says the
    person “speaks..to God”, I believe he is carrying along in the
    fantastical world of the hypothetical of 13:1. Taken in the context of
    everything else he says, it certainly seems more like he is ‘poking
    fun’ at the ridiculousness of it all. Too bad we don’t have a video of
    Paul saying it, to get his vocal inflections and physical gestures as
    he would be saying it, perhaps, rolling back his eyes and making some
    wild hand gestures to mimic the false ‘grandeur’ he is poking fun at..?
    Because… “no one understands him”..!

    14:3-4 Preaching builds up. Tongues is selfish; “..builds HIMSELF up”.
    Notice the emphasis. Preach for the building up of “the church”.

    14:5,18 “I wish you all spoke with tongues…I thank my God I speak in
    tongues more than every one of you..” (Let’s not forget that Paul would
    have been fluent in at least Hebrew and Greek. Likely also Latin and
    Aramaic? He was an educated scholar.)

    Ignoring all the arguments the other direction, those who lust for
    their experiences take these comments out of the overall context to
    suggest that Paul ‘endorses’ babbling. Again, I believe he is
    proclaiming the stupidity of babbling through the use of the absurd.
    (See his wide hand gestures as he ‘wishes’ for them “-ALL-” to speak
    with tongues? See his mock snooty nose in the air that “I speak in
    tongues more than every one of you”? Let me speak tongue-in-cheek
    “foolishly” (2Cor11:17) See how much better than you I am? See all
    these languages I can speak?) But let’s see his argument…

    14:6~~ Remember, he has repeated the “building up the church” concept.
    (vs4,5) How is any “building up” going to occur if he was not coming
    with knowledge, teaching, etc? In order for teaching to occur, it must
    be orderly and discernable. Music is not recognized, except it has
    ordered notes and pitches. (vs7) A call-to-arms is not heeded if the
    trumpet doesn’t emit sounds that are ‘recognized’. (vs8) The many
    “ethnic languages” around the world have their own distinction in
    sounds. It is not merely understanding words, but each language has its
    own “dynamics”. (vs11) If there is lack of understanding the language,
    it is understood that the ‘other’ person is a “foreigner”.

    A little sidebar here: Taking this last statement another step; if the
    Believer’s citizenship is in Heaven (Php3:20), being indwelt by the
    Holy Spirit (Rom8:9), and somebody is babbling a so-called “spiritual”
    language that is not understood by the Believer, not being “witnessed”
    by the Believer’s indwelling Holy Spirit (Rom8:16), they are a
    “foreigner”. As we have said repeatedly in other studies on this
    subject, they are of a different “spirit” than God’s Holy Spirit.
    Remember, Corinth’s background, their past, in idolatry. (12:2)

    14:12-13 But the repeated exhortation “..to excel in the building up
    of the church.” Therefore, let’s have none of this babbling. Nobody
    else understands it. If something is to be uttered in an assembly that
    others don’t understand, let it be INTERPRETED. Why? For ‘understanding’

    14:14~~ The mind. Typical situations of being “spirit-filled” involve
    the use of mantras for the purpose of “emptying” the mind. An empty
    computer (void of software) does not work. In similar fashion, an empty
    mind cannot function. God gave us minds in order that we can
    “understand” Him. Just do a word-search through Proverbs and see how
    many times the word “understanding” appears!

    Also notice: “The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge, but
    fools despise wisdom and instruction… then you shall understand the
    fear of Jehovah, and find the knowledge of God.” (Pr1:7,2:5) When these
    people have their worship/tongues times, they often abandon Scripture
    teaching for the service, because they’ve “had the spirit”. When they
    set aside “wisdom and instruction” like that, God calls them “fools”.

    14:16~~ What kind of witness is possible if the “unlearned” cannot
    understand? If he understands, his heart is convicted and he “falls
    down on his face and worships” and confesses to God. (vs24-25) [Ed:
    Notice this 'worship' is a "falling down"...not standing erect with
    hands raised. It is repentance... not an assumption of one's own
    inherent 'worth' to God.] If babbling is going on, they will do, as we
    know they do. When TV news specials show charismania, they usually
    consider it to be off-the-wall. “..will they not say that you are not
    in your right minds?” (vs23)

    14:19 “..five words with my mind..” rather than a whole service of
    babbling. Why? “..that I may -teach- others..” Again: for building up.

    14:21 “With men of other languages and other lips I will speak to this
    people; and yet, for all that, they will not hear Me, says the Lord.”
    At Pentecost the first reaction to the giving of the Holy Spirit was
    scoffing and ridicule, ‘They’re drunk’. (Acts2:13) And while thousands
    did come to the Lord in those days, how many -more- did not! For the
    most part, the leadership did not. And the final pronouncement of
    Israel’s rejection is recorded in Acts 28:28.

    14:22 “..tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to
    unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who
    believe.” Even if we didn’t have all the other arguments, this one
    verse, right here, could ‘cure’ all the errors regarding babbling. Who
    is it who continually seeks “tongues”? Those who call themselves
    “Christian”. But I don’t see how it could be any clearer than this.
    Tongues isn’t even -for- the Believers! It (speaking in someone else’s
    language such that they can understand what is being said) was a “sign”
    for Israel, regarding the coming of the Holy Spirit; and of the fact
    that the Holy Spirit was also being given to Gentiles (Ac10:46) and
    Jews of the dispersion (Ac19:6) What Believers do when they gather is
    to hear the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. When charismania
    often lays aside teaching and doctrine, in favor of so-called ‘worship’
    and tongues experiences, by their practice they are proclaiming
    themselves to be unbelievers. They are seeking and doing the
    -opposite- of what Paul is teaching here. They reject what he says is
    for Believers, and embrace what he says is for unbelievers. (were it
    even possible to be said that their babbling and what happened in Acts
    ch2 was even the same thing. It’s not!) Thus, there can be only one
    conclusion.

    14:26 When the group meets, different ones have different
    contributions. What is the goal? Again.. “for BUILDING UP” If a
    foreigner is there who speaks a different language, “let one
    interpret” (vs27) If there is no interpreter, “let him keep silent in
    church..” (vs28)

    14:29 When preachers/teacher speak, it says, “..let the others
    discern..” Now again, using simple logic: why should others “discern”
    what is being said? What is the purpose, which Paul has repeated over
    and over and over? For “building up”. Now, if someone is babbling and
    “not -understood-” by the rest, how can they discern? They cannot.

    The argument is given on the order of, “If you haven’t experienced it,
    don’t judge..” And yet, the clear teaching is that, if it is of God, it
    should be -discernable-. If we are told to “discern”, and we would then
    realize that anything coming from God’s Holy Spirit is discernable, if
    what they do is not discernable, due to its ‘babbling’
    non-understandable nature, that very reasoning is cause enough to see a
    big “red flag” regarding the whole so-called “tongues” phenomenon. But
    they hide behind what I believe is Paul’s tongue-in-cheek comment about
    speaking “..but to God” and that they are speaking “mysteries”. (14:2)
    They don’t see/hear him ‘mocking’, and ignoring all the rest of the
    teaching in its context, pick out what they ‘want-to-see’.

    14:32 “..the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets..”
    This is a root/core doctrine regarding “spiritual matters”. This verse,
    by itself, also, negates so-called “tongues” as it is practiced. The
    whole object and methodology of charismania is to “empty” one’s mind,
    and loose control of themselves over to the spirits by which they
    become “spirit-filled”. Yes, “loose” is the intended word. They do not
    -accidentally- “lose” control. They -deliberately- “loose” control of
    themselves, and deliver that control over to the ‘filling’ spirits. In
    doing this, they purposely disobey this verse.

    A prophet’s control over himself, even when being filled by God’s Holy
    Spirit is evident in the Scriptures. Remember that the prophets were
    “propelled along by the Holy Spirit” when the Scriptures were written.
    (2Pt1:21) And yet, as anybody who has studied the matter will affirm to
    you, each book of the Bible, penned by different men, each retain the
    personality, educational sophistication, and background of each man who
    took pen-in-hand. They wrote down God’s Words, but did so within the
    personal makeup of each writer. They were not in trances, being
    out-of-control of their own functions when they wrote.

    14:33 “..God is not of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches
    of the saints..” If a room-full of people are all babbling, what does
    one hear? A din. A jumble of indistinguishable sounds. Remember,
    already, the argument of music with its distinction in notes, etc. If a
    congregation is singing songs of praise to God, a person walking by
    outside can hear God being glorified. If a preacher/teacher is speaking
    “one by one” (vs31), that, too, can be heard and understood. But when
    everyone is babbling, the sound is “confused”. It is not of God.

    14:39 “..be zealous to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with
    tongues..” Aah, see?? Paul says, “You can’t tell me I shouldn’t
    speak-in-tongues. Let’s hear your answer to -THAT- huh? Huh? Huh? Paul
    said I can!! After all, he said, ‘I speak with tongues more than every
    one of you’. So, what’s your answer to -THAT-?? I dare you, if you can!”

    Again… “context”. Remember? If someone is to speak in a group in
    another language, let it be “interpreted”. (vs27) Yes, even if there is
    more than one to speak, let them speak “each in turn”… INTERPRETED.
    If more than one person is to speak, when the next one speaks, let the
    first one keep silent while the next speaks. One-at-a-time. “..each in
    turn..” You see, in ‘context’, we understand that there is NO provision
    for the likes of what goes on in the so-called “tongues” services,
    where everybody is all babbling and muttering all at the same time. So
    yes, if a Japanese Believer is visiting in an English-speaking
    congregation and is to share God’s Word to the group, let him speak, as
    long as there is someone who can interpret it into English so that the
    group can understand with the “mind” (vs14-15), for the “building up”
    of the group. Don’t let him be forbidden from sharing with the group,
    just because he’s of another language. But also… -translate- it.

    14:40 “Let all things be done decently and in order” This pretty much
    sums up the matter. The so-called “tongues” services are -not-
    “orderly”. In fact, they usually boast in their disorderliness as being
    some sort of going-with-the-flow of the ‘spirit’. And when people are
    falling down all over, “slain”, some in immodest poses, how is such a
    scenario to be considered “decently”?

    Summary: “Ten Commandments for Tongues”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    God’s Holy Spirit:

    1) Is -One- Spirit (12:4)
    2) Distributes different gifts to different people (12:4)
    3) Gives teaching and illumination from the Father and Son (12:7)
    4) Does not focus attention to Himself (Jn16:13)
    5) Does not usurp self-control away from the individual (14:32)

    Scriptural Tongues (speaking):

    6) Is understandable ethnic language/dialect (12:10,14:9-11,19,Ac2:6,8)
    7) For the building up of the Church (12:7,20,14:3,4,5,12,17,26,31)
    8) Gift will teach/preach, with understanding (12:28,14:5,15,19,24)
    9) Foreign tongue only useful if interpreted (14:5,13,27)
    10) If others don’t understand, benefits only “self”, and should
    keep quiet (14:4,28, Php2:3)

    As one analyzes a so-called “tongues” service, do its activities line
    up with these Scriptural parameters? If they don’t, they are not of
    God’s Holy Spirit. But, “..if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant.”
    (14:38)

    Amen!
    Taken from excerpt from, A Voice in the Wilderness

  26. Hi Mike

    Listen brother. I like the fact that you are fully convinvced, you should be . I like the fact that your first inclination is not to attack, I believe that to be Christlike. Others on this thread will take every sentence I say and just disagree with it, because its a spirit of divisiveness. I can make a statement that we should be fully convinced in all that we do and still people can disagree with that. I am not quite sure where to go with that.

    You say that you are among the few called to defend the faith? Well listen brother, I would never intefere with a mans calling from God. If I made a statement like that on your blog, what do you think the others would say about that. What would I be accused of? Pride? Superiority? Well I will leave that for your readers to decide.

    I also simply ask anyone to read the Scriptures and decide for themselves. I am not sure it gets any simpler than that. Maybe good men will disagree on various aspects of the Scriptures while standing boldy on the Word of God.

    Last point, and I think you may know this. When I suggested that a great dream of mine is to see the Baptists, and for lack of a better phrase, the Pentecostals(I am a member of no denomination, in fact I grew up Catholic and reject Catholicism totally) come together for the cause of Christ, I was not putting the Baptists down. For unlike, I imagine, any other commentators here, I actually was part of a Southern Baptist church for a year and a half. The Pastor and I ended up becoming best friends, this was while I was attending Calvary Baptist Seminary. My point being, I have attended Baptists and non-denominational churches, so I speak from experience(I realise that may be a dirty word around here :)

    I found the Baptists to be strong in the word. I was paying them a compliment. Yet , sadly, some peoples eyes are dark and they perceive all things darkly, always wanting to find fault, disagreeing even when they, on second thoughts, actually agree. They make mistakes because it is their knee jerk reaction to disagree………….Frank

  27. Frank,

    Sadly, much of the Southern Baptist denomination has taken the road of pragmatism and has become united with emergents and liberals. There has always been a liberal wing within the SBC. The Fundamentalist movement which was begun in the late 1970′s forced the Liberals out of leadership positions within the convention. They also took the money away from seminaries who had liberal professors. Now, while I agree that liberalism is the fast road to apostasy, the utra-fundamentalism of some is simply Phariseeism. The reason I left the denomination was because of the encroachment of the Purpose Driven Church model.

    Truth is not fluid nor does it come in various flavors based upon our wants and desires. However, the truth that is absolute is found only in the Word of God. I believe you agree with this. Therefore, when we get into theological discussions or apologetics with the unbelieving, the teaching of men cannot be used in argument. Only the Word of God. Therefore, in the war I fight in every day many a man’s favorite interpretation of scripture has been revealed to be nothing more than some person’s personal theology all wrapped up in out-of-context scripture.

    I fight these battles nearly everyday. I find that I can only do so for just a few days at a time before I have to retreat to a nice quiet place to rest awhile. I was hoping to do that this weekend. I was in battle all week with atheists and liberals and apostates. When you commented here I was still in battle mode. When you made some false assumptions about my responses to you then I responded back in battle mode.

    I am on the front lines in this war and yes it is a war. The comment section here is only a very small part of the war I participate in. My email box is huge and I share the ugly contents only with those who aid me in the battle. It can be quite annoying when someone who is not in the war makes comments which seem to be aid and comfort to the enemy.

    Some you are referring to in your comment are my fellow warriors. I love them and we help each other in these battles.

    One of the strangest things I experience is when I talk of these things to Christians who have no idea that apostasy is running rampant in the leadership of most denominations. I daresay, very few pew sitting Christians have ever been in hand to hand combat with people who hate God, hate the Bible, hate all Christians and want to destroy our faith. Ephesians 6 describes this battle exactly.

    I shared all of this in an attempt to show you what really goes on here. I teach as much as possible about repentance, obedience, humility, and walking by faith. The rest of the time is taken up standing and not falling in the thickest part of the battle.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  28. Mike, I know that you must know that the Lord has many warriors involved in many battles. There is a reason that my site is called “Scottish Warriors for Christ.”
    http://scottishwarriors.wordpress.com/ Let each of us go into battle accrording to the Lord of Hosts directions. If you go into my site, check out these posts. “Where are you in the Battle?”….”Will you stand up and die for God?”….”You will die for your Country, but will you die for Christ?”….”Arise and let you enemies be Scattered.”….”Abide in Christ and Die.”….”Abandoned to the Battle.”

  29. Frank,

    This battle CANNOT, I repeat CANNOT be fought emotionally, or from the basis of appealing to other’s emotions. If you are attacked by a seed of Satan who is glib, deceiving, brilliant, etc. and you are relying on emotions you will be defeated in short order. It is only by being armored and in prayer and totally dependent upon God’s Wisdom and Discernment which He will give liberally to those who draw near unto Him that we can stand and not fall. I counsel others to stay out of the battle unless they are willing to fight it humbly and obedient to God throughout it all. I never seek out the battle by the way. It always comes to me. I simply proclaim the truth on this blog. My articles are picked up by Christian Research Network, Apostasy Watch and a few others. I see God pulling in those who object to His truth so that we will find ourselves in a fully pitched battle. Why? It is so the truth will be known. It prepares us for what is coming. It also clarifies the truth for fence sitters. God is in total control, but, again, if you attempt to do this emotionally you will find yourself canned spam in short order.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  30. Hi Mike

    Not really sure the point of your last comment. You have stated time and again that you are a defender of the faith. You council people to saty out of the battle. The truth is, every single Christian is involved in the battle, not a chosen few. You say “It is only by being armored and in prayer and totally dependent upon God’s Wisdom and Discernment which He will give liberally to those who draw near unto Him that we can stand and not fall.” That is a comment that no genuine Christian would ever argue with. I get the feeling Mike, and I could be wrong, that you feel like you are one of the very few who are fighting a battle. And that you never seek the battle but it always comes to you. Not exactly sure what all that means, it sounds quite grand. At the end of your comment you say this “if you attempt to do this emotionally you will find yourself canned spam in short order.” Well, it is your blog and you can do what you like, I simply have no idea where you are coming from……………….Frank

  31. Frank,

    The reason you do not understand what I’m talking about is that you are not in this battle. Yes, every Christian should be in the war and should take part, but there are some battles within this war that most believers could not fight in their baby Christian maturity level. This is not a battle against personal sin or fighting temptation. The battle I’m talking about is withstanding a concentrated assault by very evil men against the Church. These fellows are evil. They are deceitful. They cannot be withstood by Christians with good intentions and emotions because there is an evil spiritual power that controls them.

    My counsel to other believers to stay out of this battle is to do so IF THEY ARE NOT PREPARED!

    Your ignorance about this is very revealing.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  32. There are Pentecostals who are in this battle but there are many others who are fighting their own soteriological battle. There are Baptists who are in this battle, but there are many more who are ambivalent about it. There are many reformed in this battle, but there are many who are looking the other way.

    This battle transcends denominations and perspectives, this battle is for the very soul of the gospel itself. Much ground has been lost, but like Gideon God has His followers. If one does not understand what battle we are referencing, you are not in it.

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