The Murder of a Murderer


by Mike Ratliff

If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (1 Peter 4:14-19 ESV)

I watched a series of shows yesterday about psychopathic serial killers. It did not take long to see one common thread with each one. The murderers preyed upon those whom they sought to control. A few were sexual predators but most simply sought to kill one weaker than them in an attempt to fulfill their desire to dominate another. They got off killing people. The tremendous sermon I heard in Church today from our Pastor dealt with Genesis 4, which covers the birth of Cain and Able, Able’s murder, the fallen nature of Cain and all mankind, and the godly line of Seth. Then as I was watching a car race on TV today the local affiliate broke in with a news flash that Dr. George Tiller from Wichita, KS had been murdered. Dr. Tiller was one of a few doctors in our state that performed late-term abortions. He was shot and killed in the foyer of the Lutheran Church in which he was an usher. The alleged shooter was apprehended just about a mile from my house on I-35. Continue reading

What is Christian Liberty?


by Mike Ratliff

But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:25 ESV)

Liberty – ἐλευθερία – eleutheria – freedom, generosity, independence. Freedom is presented as a distinctive blessing of the economy of grace which, in contrast with the OT economy, is represented as including independence from legal restrictions and rules of life (1 Corinthians 10:29; Galatians 2:4; 5:1, 13). In contrast to the present subjection of the creature to the bondage of corruption, freedom represents the future state of the children of God (Romans 8:21; see also vv. 20, 23). The perfect law of freedom (referred to in James 1:25 [above]) is the freedom of generosity, seen exclusively in James 2:12, 13, when the Judge shows his generosity in proportion to the mercifulness of the believers on earth.

Slavery or bondage – δουλεία – douleia – servitude, dependence; the state of a δοῦλος or doulos, a slave. That state of man in which he is prevented from freely possessing and enjoying his life; a state opposed to liberty. In NT used only figuratively (Romans 8:15, 21; Galatians 4:24; 5:1; Hebrews 2:15).

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 ESV)

Galatians 5:1 is often used by some to teach a version of Christian liberty that is not biblical. There are some who teach that this liberty, which is for all genuine Christians, is a freedom to ignore God’s moral Law. This is a form of antinomianism. Those who teach this are giving license to believers to sin. This is not what Paul and James were talking about when they spoke of freedom in Christ and the law of liberty.  Continue reading

The Lord of the Church


by John MacArthur

The truth that Christ is Lord of His church may sound somewhat benign to a casual listener in our generation, but the struggle for Christ’s authority in the church has come to us through the ages on a sea of blood. Thankfully, literal bloodshed over the issue is no longer very common. But faithful Christians are still waging a fierce moral and intellectual battle for Christ’s lordship over the church. Continue reading

Build Your House on the Rock


by Mike Ratliff

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. (Matthew 7:24 ESV)

πας ουν οστις ακουει μου τους λογους τουτους και ποιει αυτους ομοιωσω αυτον ανδρι φρονιμω οστις ωκοδομησεν την οικιαν αυτου επι την πετραν (Matthew 7:24 Textus Receptus)

The liberalization of the Church is the result of men compromising God’s truth for the sake of a false peace. This “peace” is between them and the world. The impetus for these compromises is a desire to not be offensive to those whom they perceive it is desirable for their particular portion of the visible Church to be liked or thought well of by them. In other words, they sand off the edges and soften the hard lines of doctrine in order to open wide their doors to those who desire to be included in their “religion,” but who refuse to obey the words of our Lord. Then there are those who are working overtime to change the Church from one centered on the exclusivity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and His person to one that is pluralistic in nature in that all forms of mysticism are welcomed in. Those doing this attempt to justify what they are doing by twisting Scripture to support their “doctrines.”  Continue reading

Praise the Lord


Praise the Lord, Oh praise His name
From the heights of heav’n He reigns
Seated in the highest place
Surrounded by unending praise

Praise Him for His mighty deeds
Awesome in His majesty
Praise Him now with trumpet sound
Lift your voice and dance around

Everything that has breath, praise the Lord
Everything that’s in us, praise Him
Everything that has breath, praise the Lord

Praise the Lord with instruments
Praise Him for His excellence
Look at what He’s done for us
Bore our sins upon the cross

Praise the Lord with all you are
Mind and soul and will and heart
From His hand comes everything
He alone is God and King

© 2008 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)/Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Music by Doug Plank, Words by Doug Plank and Bob Kauflin

Praise the Lord (click here to listen)

Gold Silver Precious Stones Wood Hay Straw


by Mike Ratliff

For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw– each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:9-15 ESV)

There is a blog devoted to atheism that has linked to a post I did the other day about homosexuality being a sin. The fellow that runs that blog is attempting to show that my refusal to dialogue with him about the issue shows that Christians cannot debate them because our cause is empty. The problem is that he does not really want to debate, he wants to dialogue. These are two different things. John Ashbrook said it well, “A debate is a conflict which clarifies a position. A dialogue is a conversation which compromises a position.” 1 I did attempt to debate the man, but when he kept going back to a position that I addressed completely as if I had not done so, I ended it. You see he wanted to “dialogue” with me not “debate” me. Why? It was an attempt to compromise the position I took in that piece. I honestly do not enjoy conflict, but God uses it to clarify the truth. We err if we attempt to find peace with those in conflict with God’s truth by compromising, which is the point of dialogue. Instead, we debate until it becomes apparent that we are casting pearls before swine and that which is holy to dogs. At that point, we must be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves as we end it. Continue reading

The Genuine Life


By Scotty Smith

With three decades plus change in the pastoral ministry, the gospel seems to be getting bigger and Jesus is appearing more gracious than ever. Maybe that’s because I’ve never been more aware of my brokenness and more disrupted by longings for the day when the already of the kingdom capitulates to the not yet of shalom. Can it really be that we’re destined to be as lovely and as loving as Jesus? (1 John 3:1-3). That promise has singular sustaining power when the inward groans of spiritual childbirth feel more like a tumor than a treasure (Romans 8:22-25). Continue reading

Spiritual Blindness


by Mike Ratliff

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV)

I watched a murder mystery on PBS’s Masterpiece Theater the other day. I like to solve whodunits before the detective or the police in these things. The one I watched was situated in Sweden. The story revolved around a murdered police detective who was homosexual. He lived a secret and depraved lifestyle, but the writer of the story and his characters refused to talk about that except when it involved the interview of suspects who were also in that lifestyle. In the end, they show his funeral, which takes place in a Lutheran church. They cover his casket with the blue and gold Swedish flag. The pastor of the church is a woman. They bury the man in the church cemetery, which is full of crosses. It is very interesting to watch these vignettes of what has happened to the morals in Europe as the Church there has lost its way because this very thing is happening in the United States at an accelerating rate. The Church is apostatizing and it seems that many within those who are standing firm against it are some who are attempting to cause division with attacks rooted in self-righteousness fueled by conspiracy theories such as King James Onlyism. Continue reading

Why I Do Not Think the King James Bible Is the Best Translation Available Today


The following article by Dr. Daniel Wallace expresses much better than I could ever do the reason that I reject the KJV onlyism conspiracy theory. It plays on the insecurity and fears of Christians who are not theologically trained. Also, please understand that I love and use the KJV in most of Bible research, however, I also use the ESV, NET, NASB, and NKJV translations as well. I have never found any differences in these versions that take away from the veracity of the Gospel, God’s Grace, the New Covenant, et cetera. There are many modern translations, however, that I reject completely. These are mostly para-phrases of Scripture such as The Message or they are texts that have actually changed the underlying text in order to please the unrenewed mind such as the TNIV and the like. I pray that you all will carefully read this article my brethren. Enjoy and be blessed. – Mike Ratliff

Why I Do Not Think the King James Bible Is the Best Translation Available Today

by Daniel B. Wallace, Ph.D.

revised 6-28-04

First, I want to affirm with all evangelical Christians that the Bible is the Word of God, inerrant, inspired, and our final authority for faith and life. However, nowhere in the Bible am I told that only one translation of it is the correct one. Nowhere am I told that the King James Bible is the best or only ‘holy’ Bible. There is no verse that tells me how God will preserve his word, so I can have no scriptural warrant for arguing that the King James has exclusive rights to the throne. The arguments must proceed on other bases. Continue reading

It Has Been Given to You


By Mike Ratliff 

But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. (Deuteronomy 29:4 ESV) 

God is Sovereign. He is on the throne in Heaven. He is high and lifted up. The seraphim around the throne of God cry to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” The arrogant and the proud have no portion with Him for all who encounter Him will immediately see their sin and cry, “Woe is me for I am ruined!” These may fall on their face before the throne, but they do so because “It has been given” to them to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven. They have been given a heart to understand and eyes to see and ears to hear the truth, grasp it, know it, believe it, submit to it, and be changed forever by it.  Continue reading

Who is the Greatest?


by Mike Ratliff 

1εν εκεινη τη ωρα προσηλθον οι μαθηται τω ιησου λεγοντες τις αρα μειζων εστιν εν τη βασιλεια των ουρανων  2και προσκαλεσαμενος παιδιον εστησεν αυτο εν μεσω αυτων  3και ειπεν αμην λεγω υμιν εαν μη στραφητε και γενησθε ως τα παιδια ου μη εισελθητε εις την βασιλειαν των ουρανων  4οστις ουν ταπεινωσει εαυτον ως το παιδιον τουτο ουτος εστιν ο μειζων εν τη βασιλεια των ουρανων  5και ος εαν δεξηται εν παιδιον τοιουτο επι τω ονοματι μου εμε δεχεται  6ος δ αν σκανδαλιση ενα των μικρων τουτων των πιστευοντων εις εμε συμφερει αυτω ινα κρεμασθη μυλος ονικος περι τον τραχηλον αυτου και καταποντισθη εν τω πελαγει της θαλασσης (Matthew 18:1-6) 

The Bible is the Word of God. It is inerrant, inspired, and our final authority for faith and life. The Bibles we have in our day are translations of Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. These translations are rendered into most languages of the earth in our time. When we study the Bible, dig into God’s Word to know Him and His ways then He will bless us with knowledge as He gives us wisdom, discernment, and direction. As our minds are renewed through this as well as through the hearing of godly preaching, teaching, and coming to terms with the extent of God’s grace permeating our lives, we do not become prideful, arrogant, or self-focused for very long. Why? As we become more mature in Christ, we also acquire more and more of His character. That means we will have the proper perspective of our place in God’s Kingdom. This place is not at the head. Instead, it is in total submission to the will of God. It is a humble place to be. Continue reading

Termites


by Mike Ratliff 

10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess [2] to God.”

12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother (Romans 14:10-13 ESV) 

Without a doubt, there is a growing apostasy in the Church. One of the main reasons this is taking place is that the majority of professing Christians have adopted the pervasive attitude in modern Western culture that says authority to determine right and wrong resides in the individual. Combine this with a critical spirit in one person and we have one who not only believes that truth is whatever he or she determines it is, but they also seem to take great pleasure in hypocritically judging others just as our Lord commanded us not to do (Matthew 7:1-6).  Continue reading

Perils Facing the Evangelical Church


by R.C. Sproul 

When we consider the predicament that the evangelical church of the twenty-first century faces in America, the first thing we need to understand is the very designation “evangelical church” is itself a redundancy. If a church is not evangelical, it is not an authentic church. The redundancy is similar to the language that we hear by which people are described as “born-again Christians.” If a person is born again of the Spirit of God, that person is, to be sure, a Christian. If a person is not regenerated by the Holy Spirit, he may profess to be a Christian, but he is not an authentic Christian. There are many groups that claim to be churches that long ago repudiated the evangel, that is, the gospel. Without the gospel, a gathering of people, though they claim otherwise, cannot be an authentic church. Continue reading

The Obamination of Notre Dame


by Dr. James White

You can’t help but think about the constant drum-beat of Roman Catholic apologists in attacking sola scripturaas you consider the speech given by Barak Obama at Notre Dame. Why? It’s fairly obvious. We are told that Rome has this God-given unity found in “tradition,” and a living head who can interpret doctrine and safeguard the faith. Yet, the fact is that a majority of US Catholics don’t seem to be benefitting from this source of “unity,” in that they voted for a man who stands inalterably opposed to key elements of their church’s teaching, particularly in reference to the murder of unborn children. It seems a majority of elected Roman Catholics likewise care little about what the Pope says, or the Church teaches. But, at the same time, the Church of Rome does nothing about these things, allowing pro-abortion Catholics to remain in communion with her. Sure, a few maverick bishops have spoken out, but what about all the ones who don’t, and who continue to allow these politicians who mock Rome’s teachings to remain in their “care”? Continue reading