The Lure of This Fleeting Age


by Mike Ratliff

Do not love the world nor what makes up the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; (a personal translation of 1 John 2:15 from the Greek text.)

There is a certain type of love that God hates. We find that in John 15:18-20)

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were from out of the world , the world would love you as its own; but because you are not from out of the world , but I myself selected you from out of the world, through this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you’ the slave is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecuted you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. (a personal translation of John 15:18-20 from the Greek text)

God has no love for “love of the world system that is opposed to God.” Jesus made it clear in the passage from John 15:18-20 that those who are “of the world” are not of God nor are those whom He has selected from out of the world part of the world. This is why those who are still “of the world” hates them. I want to reinitiate here that there are plenty of apostate, “so-called christians” in our time who exhibit that very same hatred toward those of us who refuse to back away from Orthodox Christianity and God’s Word and being infallible and complete. In any case, John is telling us in 1 John 2:15-17 two important truths about genuine Christianity. First, the Christian loves God and fellow Christians and an absence of love of the world must habitually characterize the love life of those to be considered genuinely born again.  Continue reading

Heresy and Apostasy


by Mike Ratliff

As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. (Titus 3:10-11 ESV)

True Biblical discernment is crucial for the spiritual health of the Body of Christ because there has and always will be a plague of false teaching and teachers upon it until our Lord’s return. I am sure most of you have noticed the recent outrage over the increased security measures by the TSA in the USA that involve full body scans and “pat down” searches at our airports. One of the articles I read today compared what the TSA does with what is done is Israel at their airports, which is, instead of relying on “technology” based systems, passengers are interviewed by experts trained in what specifically to look for. They know their enemy and they know how to flush him or her out via their own interview process. Notice that since they have gone to this system that they have had no breakdown in their security. My point is that they know their enemy. They know their enemy’s tactics. They know this enemy’s goal. They do not waste time and resources with those who are no threat. In the Truth War that is upon us in the Church, we have many enemies trying to come in “unawares.” They try to infiltrate, appearing as “Orthodox” but their teaching is deceitful, degrading, and damnable (2 Peter 2:1). Those of us who have been gifted by God with spiritual discernment are, therefore, also given the job of flushing these people out. Part of this job is  knowing who our enemies really are. Are they apostates or are they simply holding to some heresy that doesn’t fall into the range of “deceitful, degrading, or damnable?”  Continue reading

Thanksgiving


I will be out of town through November 28th to be with family and to express our thanks to our Lord for all that He has provided for  us. None of it is earned or deserved. I pray that you spend time this Thanksgiving in prayer and worship of awesome God from a truly grateful heart – Mike Ratliff.

Two Ways


by Mike Ratliff

Go in through the narrow gate; because wide is the gate and broad is the way leading to destruction and many are those going in through it. How narrow the gate and how hard is the way that leads to life and few are the ones finding it! (a personal translation of Matthew 7:13,14 from the Greek text)

Εἰσέλθετε διὰ τῆς στενῆς πύλης· ὅτι πλατεῖα ἡ πύλη καὶ εὐρύχωρος ἡ ὁδὸς ἡ ἀπάγουσα εἰς τὴν ἀπώλειαν, καὶ πολλοί εἰσιν οἱ εἰσερχόμενοι δι᾿ αὐτῆς. ὅτι στενὴ ἡ πύλη καὶ τεθλιμμένη ἡ ὁδὸς ἡ ἀπάγουσα εἰς τὴν ζωήν, καὶ ὀλίγοι εἰσὶν οἱ εὑρίσκοντες αὐτήν. (Matthew 7:13,14 GNT)

It has been said that no prophet preached about Hell as much as our Lord Jesus Christ. It is also true that His preaching would be considered “divisive” and “offensive” in today’s politically correct culture. However, I seriously doubt that if preaching the truth or hurting someone’s feelings or offending someone’s “sensibilities” were the issue with our Lord it would make any difference. He would not hesitate to preach the truth because in God’s truth is life. In man-made truth is only death. Consider the passage at the top of this post. The lie that has taken over our society is that it is a sin to be narrow-minded. We must be as broad and as accepting as possible. We must be all-inclusive in all things to the point of madness. From this our enemy has sown the lies such as “There are many roads to heaven,” and since God is a good God He must also me a “fair God” so “eventually everyone will be saved.” The problems with this are that this “god” is a creation of these people’s wishful thinking not The God, our God, the Creator of all things. Also, in His Word, our Lord Jesus taught exactly the opposite of this as the passage above clearly says.  Continue reading

Born Again or Born from Above?


by Mike Ratliff

Jesus answered and said to him, amen amen I say to you, except one is born again, he is not able to see the Kingdom of God. (a personal translation from the Greek Text of John 3:3)

ἀπεκρίθη ᾿Ιησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω σοι, ἐὰν μή τις γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν, οὐ δύναται ἰδεῖν τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ. (John 3:3 GNT)

In John 3:3 (above) is a term that is unique to Christianity and is not well understood even by those have been γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν. The word translated above as “again” is  ἄνωθεν or anōthen, which is comprised of ἄνω or anō, “above, upwards,” and the suffix θεν or then, which denotes “from.”  Continue reading

Christian Maturity and How it Relates to Discernment


by Mike Ratliff

Not that I have already received or have been completed, I press on that, if possible, to apprehend it because Christ Jesus has apprehended me. (a personal translation of Philippians 3:12)

There is no small ruckus going on right now online within the “discernment” ministries because of Dan Kimball’s reaction to the interview done with him by our brother Chris Rosebrough followed up by many comments by other members of the CRN team. Kimball has suggested that those of us who minister in these areas to turn our discernment inward for a change. His charge is, of course, that he does not consider what we do of any value to the Kingdom of God. Of course, I have seen some who claim to do what we do who really shouldn’t and in that I agree with him, but then again, that is no different than those apostates whom we expose almost daily by comparing what they do, say, write, preach, and teach against the only standard that counts, the Word of God. You see, that is why not everyone should attempt to do this. I have seen so many with good intentions get gobbled up as soon as they have gone head to head with some determined apostate who knew how to manipulate the English language and intimidate people. Sigh… In any case, I digress… Let’s look at a short passage from the book of Philippians not usually associated with “discernment,” but more with growing in Christian maturity.  Continue reading

Saved But Only As Through Fire


by Mike Ratliff

And I, brothers, was not able to speak to you as spiritual but as of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not food, for you were not yet able. But, you are still not able, for you are still fleshly. For while there is jealousy and strife in you, are you not of the flesh and according to the ways of man? When one says “I indeed am of Paul,” and another, “but I am of Apollos,” are you not being mere men? (a personal translation of 1 Corinthians 3:1-4)

I received a private request from a friend to compare 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 with the life and ministries of men like Charles Finney and Rick Warren. The concern was if these two men were examples of those who built upon the foundation of Christ with wood, hay, and stubble, and would, in the end, see all their works be consumed in the fire of judgment, suffering eternal loss, but themselves being saved, “but only as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). As I studied this passage I did what I always do, I put it into context. The immediate context of vv10-15 would be 1 Corinthians 3:1-23 in which Paul addressed the issues and the cause of divisions in the Corinthian church. However, we must remember, that this must also be put into the larger context of Paul’s entire message of this Epistle. A good break down of 1 Corinthians would place chapter 3 right in the middle of a section that runs from 1:10 through 4:21 in which Paul specifically addressed Disunity in the Church. In fact, chapter 3 would be contained in the subsection of that breakdown that would probably best be titled something like “The Need for Unity.” Therefore, with that in mind, we will focus in this post on 1 Corinthians 3:1-15 alone which focuses specifically on divisions in the Church. Within this, we will also address my friend’s question very well about vv10-15 and any questionable “Christian leader.”  Continue reading

What is a True Jesus Follower?


by Mike Ratliff

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. (Matthew 4:18-22 ESV)

It seems just like the other day, but I suppose it was a few years ago that the old Slice of Laodicea blog was going full tilt, Ken Silva and Ingrid were taking it as well as giving it from those who hated to hear the truth that there actually is a dividing line between Orthodox Christianity and everything else that calls itself Christian, but isn’t, that is, apostasy in one form or another. I came into the battle seeking the truth. I was desperate because my church was being sucked into the Purpose Driven paradigm and no one there would listen to my warnings. Ken was a great help to me. In any case, it was during all of that that we witnessed a group of individuals declare war on the Orthodox Christianity we defended, refusing to be called “Christians” any longer, preferring to be called “Christ followers.” I always looked at that with humor because that seemed so “self-righteous” and “pretentious” and if we look carefully at what these people were trying to say by that, they were driving themselves even further into a “works righteousness” religion. Let’s look at our Lord’s own words in his calling people to follow Him.  Continue reading

Every Tongue Shall Confess


by Mike Ratliff

23κατ εμαυτου ομνυω η μην εξελευσεται εκ του στοματος μου δικαιοσυνη οι λογοι μου ουκ αποστραφησονται οτι εμοι καμψει παν γονυ και εξομολογησεται πασα γλωσσα τω θεω  24λεγων δικαιοσυνη και δοξα προς αυτον ηξουσιν και αισχυνθησονται παντες οι αφοριζοντες εαυτους (Isaiah 45:23-24 LXX)

By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’ “Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him. (Isaiah 45-23-24 ESV)

When I got back from trip to Oklahoma yesterday I had an email waiting for me from a fellow contributor to CRN, Christine Pack. Continue reading

Jot and Tittle


by Mike Ratliff

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20 KJV)

Some have used the passage above to teach that Christians must still keep the whole Law, but a careful reading of the passage clearly shows that it is conditional. Did Jesus come to to destroy the law or the prophets? No, He came to fulfill them. What does that mean? This speaks of fulfillment in the same sense that prophecy is fulfilled. Our Lord Jesus indicates the He fulfills the Law in all its aspects. He fulfills the moral law by keeping it perfectly. He fulfills the ceremonial law by being the embodiment of everything to which the Law’s types and symbols pointed. Our Lord fulfills the Judicial Law by personifying God’s perfect justice (Matthew 12:18, 20). In any case, the emphasis here is not that all who are true Christians must also perfectly keep the Law. Aren’t you glad? If you doubt that then read the book of Galatians carefully. Actually, our Lord is emphasizing His high view of Scripture and its authority as the inspired Word of God in this passage. Those who reject it as such are those whose righteousness does not exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees and they shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Think of the apostates who are walking into heresy even teaching and embracing heretical doctrines because they have rejected God’s Word as the authoritative, inspired Word of God.  Continue reading

Moved


by Mike Ratliff

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:21 KJV)

For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21 ESV)

For not by will of man was borne at some or other prophecy but by spirit holy being borne spoke the holy of God men. (2 Peter 1:21 The Apostolic Bible Polyglot)

Not for will of man was brought forth prophecy then, but by spirit holy being brought spoke from God men.  (2 Peter 1:21 a personal translation from the Greek text to English)

It is vital that we “get it” that without the foundation of the inspiration of Scripture, all we have is human subjectivity as the basis for truth and that opens the door to the mindset of “anything goes.” We see this with heretics. We see this in liberal churches and denominations. As soon as they drop the Bible as the authoritative Word of God then all sorts of heresies creep in and it isn’t long before all these people stand for has about as much substance as malformed jello. Today I listened to part of Chris Rosebrough’s debate with Doug Pagitt on the doctrine of Hell which took place several days ago. What I marveled at most was the patience of our brother Chris in dealing with the absolute indefiniteness of Pagitt on all topics pertaining to how we know what is truth. It was a bit like trying to nail that malformed jello to a tree in a stiff breeze. In any case, what did we expect? I mean, Pagitt is a heretic. He isn’t a Christian. He may claim to be, but if you try to get him to line up with what really defines what a Christian is Biblically, he will refuse to do it because, to him, that is just too precise. Also, the digging we do here into the original language of the Bible, he would scoff at because, in his own words, human language is not adequate enough to know God’s truth so this is all a waste of time. Well, God is our creator and he communicates to us through the languages He gave us and He has also given those who belong to the Son the Holy Spirit so that they may know His truth through the Word of God. Doug Pagitt may deny these things, but by his own words he proves that he is an unbeliever and so he cannot know these truths unless God opens his heart to them and gives him the Holy Spirit to enable him to know. Yes, it does work that way.  Continue reading

Private Interpretation


by Mike Ratliff

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (2 Peter 1:20 KJV)

knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. (2 Peter 1:20 ESV)

This first knowing, that every prophecy of scripture by private explanation does not take place. (2 Peter 1:20 The Apostolic Bible Polyglot)

This first knowing that all prophecy of scripture of any personal interpretation does not happen. (2 Peter 1:20 a personal translation from the Greek text into English)

I remember the conversation like it was yesterday. The young man was so excited that he could barely contain it. He could not stop talking about his experience at his new church in Tulsa under a very well known Word Faith pastor. He went on and on and on. I had been a Christian about 10 years by then and had not yet entered into that long period of dryness that God put me through that ended just a few years ago so this must have been in the early 1990’s. In any case, neither the young man nor his wife would engage me personally in conversation nor would they look at me directly. They only talked to those around me. However, with each emphatic point he made that I knew was unbiblical I would try to interject something, but was ignored. Finally, there was a point in the conversation when he made one of those points and everyone became quiet and I simply said, “But that is not Biblical and what you are describing is subjectivism, not anything that can proved by Scripture.” His answer was simply this, “God still speaks to His people and not all of His truth is found in the Bible.” I then asked, “Will He then say things to these prophets that are contrary to what the Bible says or will He say things that these people prophesy that does not take place? If so, what then?” He then pooh-poohed me away and would not let me engage him in any more conversation. The“religion” he was involved in has its foundation in men’s private interpretation of the Bible along with God speaking prophecy directly to them thereby “confirming” there false interpretation of the Word of God. I never could find out from them how one could know how one could really know if that word from God was really from God or if it was just their over active imagination.  Continue reading

The Five Benefits of the Inspiration of Sacred Scripture


by Mike Ratliff

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

If you pay close attention to the enemies of the truth, apostates, heretics, and pagans, they all attack the doctrine of the Inspiration of Scripture. In yesterdays post, The Inspiration of Scripture, we looked closely at this. In this post we will take a closer look at the five things that, since Scripture is Inspired, for which it is profitable or useful or helpful. Of course, the enemies of God’s truth reject all of this because they insist on things being man-centered while the deeper we dig into these truths there is no way we can come away from what we find without the understanding that God is Sovereign and those who belong to Him do so for His glory not theirs.  Continue reading

The Inspiration of Scripture


by Mike Ratliff

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

I receive numerous comments on the posts on this blog from people that never see the light of day because those who post them either do not bother to follow the rules clearly posted, which are assiduously enforced, or they have failed to read them. Their error is that they they attack what is posted here from Sacred Scripture as truth, in context, clearly exposited and exegeted with innuendo, human philosophy, but never, I repeat, never do they go to God’s Word and make any attempt to show me where I have erred in my exegesis of the text. In fact, I can’t remember anyone ever doing that since this blog has been online, but I have had more attempts than I can remember to protest and derail the truth from God’s Word from the humanistic platform of outrage that God is Sovereign and they are not. One hot topic has always been the fact that Sacred Scripture is the inspired Word of God and that makes it infallible and inerrant, but what makes it so abhorrent to those who insist on protesting, it also means that the truths it presents are God’s truths and that our Sovereign God is going to hold all outside of the Body of Christ accountable to His Law and are, therefore, liable to His wrath. They, therefore, hate God’s truth and resist it as such hoping, I suppose, that this will somehow remove their liability.  Continue reading