Most students entering college today believe that truth is relative, that what is true for you may not be true for me. In this message from the No Compromise: 2013 National Conference, Dr. Steven Lawson looks at the influence relativism has had on our culture and explores the consequences. He will explain the absurd and self-defeating nature of relativism and remind us of God’s call to stand for the unchanging absolute truth of His Word.
by Mike Ratliff
2 καὶ ἐζήτουν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς τὸ πῶς ἀνέλωσιν αὐτόν, ἐφοβοῦντο γὰρ τὸν λαόν. (Luke 22:2 NA27)
2And the Chief Priests and the Scribes were seeking how they might destroy him for they were afraid of the people. (Luke 22:2 a personal translation from the NA27 Greek text)
Even though it is not exactly new, we live in a day when the concept of truth is seen as something that is “relative.” I was listening to Dr. Al Mohler’s ‘The Briefing’ Podcast a couple of days ago in which he read part of an editorial from a major newspaper that was written to defend the intellectual concept of ‘Abortion on demand’ as being right if the mother considered it in her best interest to exercise her ‘right to choose.’ Her “rights’ outweighed those of the unborn baby she was carrying in her womb. On the other hand, the writer of the editorial, a woman, celebrated with her friends who had babies and wept with others who had miscarriages. What was the difference? It was the value placed by the parents and those around them on the “fetus” that gave it “rights” that demanded sacrifice on the part of the woman. If the woman felt like the pregnancy was a burden in any way then an abortion should be the next step. That was her “truth.” Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
14 Ταῦτά σοι γράφω ἐλπίζων ἐλθεῖν πρὸς σὲ ἐν τάχει· 15 ἐὰν δὲ βραδύνω, ἵνα εἰδῇς πῶς δεῖ ἐν οἴκῳ θεοῦ ἀναστρέφεσθαι, ἥτις ἐστὶν ἐκκλησία θεοῦ ζῶντος, στῦλος καὶ ἑδραίωμα τῆς ἀληθείας. (1 Timothy 3:14-15 NA27)
14 These I write to you hoping to come to you quickly; 15 but if I delay, that you may know how one ought to conduct oneself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:14-15 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)
When Paul wrote his first epistle to Timothy that we call “1 Timothy,” Timothy was the pastor of the Ephesian church. Ephesus was home to the pagan temple to the goddess Diana or Artemis, which is considered on of the seven wonders of the ancient world. One of its features was it pillars. It contained 127 pillars, every one of them the gift of a king. All were made of marble and some were studded with jewels and overlaid with gold. Not only did each pillar (στῦλος) act as a tribute to the king who donated it, all of them together, obviously, had the function of holding up the immense structure of the roof. Therefore, Timothy and his flock at Ephesus would have certainly grasped Paul’s analogy. What exactly was he telling the church about its true mission? Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
3 Ἀγαπητοί, πᾶσαν σπουδὴν ποιούμενος γράφειν ὑμῖν περὶ τῆς κοινῆς ἡμῶν σωτηρίας ἀνάγκην ἔσχον γράψαι ὑμῖν παρακαλῶν ἐπαγωνίζεσθαι τῇ ἅπαξ παραδοθείσῃ τοῖς ἁγίοις πίστει. (Jude 3 NA27)
3 Beloved, being extremely eager to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you encouraging you to contend for the faith delivered once for all to the saints. (Jude 3 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)
Last week, on December 20th, as I was preparing to leave for Oklahoma to visit family over the weekend, I received an “odd” comment on my post Evil Personified. I approved it, but made no reply as I pondered what that person was trying to say. Then I received an email from that very same person later asking me to remove that comment. Here is part of that email:
…if you can, please remove my comments – i don’t want to get involved – was involved in another site and they mentioned reformed theology as you do. i agree with the article you wrote but i have not studied anything other than HIS word and HIS teaching – i have never studied doctrine – please, no hard feelings – HIS word has kept me and sustained me. i took HIM at His word that He would be my Teacher and He has fulfilled that promise. i still agree with the article…
Here was the basis of my reply:
…I’ll remove your comment, but you must understand that Reformed Theology and what our Lord taught are the very same thing. It is the exegesis of his word that is basis for Reformed Theology and it is Doctrine that is what the Apostles and Prophets taught us the is the foundation of the Church with Christ being the Chief Cornerstone holding that foundation together. You cannot say you believe his word and be a fence sitter when it comes to Doctrine….
That person replied:
…thank you for removing my blog – i am not a fence sitter, mike – i am a true believer who takes HIS word for what it says – we could argue what the early church taught – i am interested in what Yeshua taught and i take it just as HE states it. there is no go between in what i have been taught. i know it is pure and that it is TRUTH – why put doctrine into the mix?…
There were a few more “back and forth” comments, but I could not get this person to understand that truth and the doctrines given to us by the Lord and his apostles are one and the same. Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
18 Οἴδαμεν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει, ἀλλ᾽ ὁ γεννηθεὶς ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ τηρεῖ αὐτὸν καὶ ὁ πονηρὸς οὐχ ἅπτεται αὐτοῦ. (1 John 5:18 NA27)
18 We know that everyone having been born of God does not continually sin, but the one having been born of God, he keeps him and the evil one does not touch him. (1 John 5:18 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)
In the 1 John 5:18 (above), in the best manuscripts, the word I translated as “him” after the word “keep” is the Greek noun αὐτὸν or auton, a personal pronoun, which is the Accusative, Singular, Masculine case of αὐτός or autos, “he, she, it, self, same.”
However, in the Textus Receptus, 1 John 5:18 reads as follows:
Οἴδαμεν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει ἀλλ᾽ ὁ γεννηθεὶς ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ τηρεῖ ἐαυτὸν, καὶ ὁ πονηρὸς οὐχ ἅπτεται αὐτοῦ
The King James Bible translates this as. “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.”
The best Greek manuscripts do not render v18 as the TR does. Did you see the difference between the two texts? The TR has the Greek reflexive pronoun ἐαυτὸν, “himself, herself, itself,” in place of αὐτὸν. This confuses the reading of the text. Is God protecting or keeping the Christian or is the Christian doing it ”himself?” No, God is keeping or protecting those born of Christ, to keep them from the evil one, that he may not touch them, what can we do? Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:3-6 ESV)
always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7 ESV)
Carefully read both passages above (1 Timothy 2:3-6 and 2 Timothy 3:7). Notice that the Apostle Paul used the exact same phrase “knowledge of the truth” in both. This a translation of the Greek words ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας in both passages. Notice also that in 1 Timothy 2:4 that Paul clearly is referring to believers coming to an understanding of God’s saving truth in Jesus Christ, however, in 2 Timothy 3:7 he is describing people are are unable to do so. What has truth to do with salvation anyway? I read some articles and emails today from some of these Emergent types and they are of the opinion that there is no such thing. However, here we must do two things. We must stand firm and tell it like it is. Continue reading
“Satan hindered us.”-1 Thessalonians 2:18
Since the first hour in which goodness came into conflict with evil, it has never ceased to be true in spiritual experience, that Satan hinders us. From all points of the compass, all along the line of battle, in the vanguard and in the rear, at the dawn of day and in the midnight hour, Satan hinders us. If we toil in the field, he seeks to break the ploughshare; if we build the wall, he labours to cast down the stones; if we would serve God in suffering or in conflict-everywhere Satan hinders us. He hinders us when we are first coming to Jesus Christ. Fierce conflicts we had with Satan when we first looked to the cross and lived. Now that we are saved, he endeavours to hinder the completeness of our personal character. You may be congratulating yourself, “I have hitherto walked consistently; no man can challenge my integrity.” Beware of boasting, for your virtue will yet be tried; Satan will direct his engines against that very virtue for which you are the most famous. If you have been hitherto a firm believer, your faith will ere long be attacked; if you have been meek as Moses, expect to be tempted to speak unadvisedly with your lips. The birds will peck at your ripest fruit, and the wild boar will dash his tusks at your choicest vines. Satan is sure to hinder us when we are earnest in prayer. He checks our importunity, and weakens our faith in order that, if possible, we may miss the blessing. Nor is Satan less vigilant in obstructing Christian effort. There was never a revival of religion without a revival of his opposition. As soon as Ezra and Nehemiah begin to labour, Sanballat and Tobiah are stirred up to hinder them. What then? We are not alarmed because Satan hindereth us, for it is a proof that we are on the Lord’s side, and are doing the Lord’s work, and in His strength we shall win the victory, and triumph over our adversary. – C.H. Spurgeon from Spurgeon’s Evening by Evening devotional.
by John Piper
The love of Christ for us in his dying was as conscious as his suffering was intentional. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16). If he was intentional in laying down his life, it was for us. It was love. “When Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1). Every step on the Calvary road meant, “I love you.” Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:5-6 ESV)
A few years ago I had a fellow with whom I work, when he found out that I was a Christian, demand that I listen to his “reasoning” why “everything is relative.” I told him I would listen to him if he could refute the following statement, “Aren’t you making an ‘absolute statement’ when you say, ‘there are no absolutes’?” He chuckled nervously and left my cubicle. I still pray that God will save him. My brethren, the scourge of relativism is a blight within the visible Church. It causes people to flee from the absolute. When truth is seen as relative then in what or whom can anyone have faith and trust? Do we read the words of our Lord in Sacred Scripture ever saying, “Well, it depends?” Continue reading
by Burk Parsons
One could perhaps make the argument that the history of the church consists of one division after another. Nevertheless, while history is replete with ecclesiastical divisions, there is a unity that transcends all the worldly clamor and devilish confusion surrounding the history of God’s people. This unity is not the result of ecumenical doctrinal compromise. It is just the opposite. It is a unity that transcends all heresies on account of the fact that it is a unity established in God Himself. Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the LORD. Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the LORD. “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’ “Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when they shall no longer say, ‘As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the LORD lives who brought up and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ Then they shall dwell in their own land.” Concerning the prophets: My heart is broken within me; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome by wine, because of the LORD and because of his holy words. For the land is full of adulterers; because of the curse the land mourns, and the pastures of the wilderness are dried up. Their course is evil, and their might is not right. “Both prophet and priest are ungodly; even in my house I have found their evil, declares the LORD. Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery paths in the darkness, into which they shall be driven and fall, for I will bring disaster upon them in the year of their punishment, declares the LORD. In the prophets of Samaria I saw an unsavory thing: they prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray. But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his evil; all of them have become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.” Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets: “Behold, I will feed them with bitter food and give them poisoned water to drink, for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has gone out into all the land.” Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’” For who among them has stood in the council of the LORD to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened? Behold, the storm of the LORD! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest; it will burst upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his heart. In the latter days you will understand it clearly. “I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds. “Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD. I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’ How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal? Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the LORD. Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who steal my words from one another. Behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who use their tongues and declare, ‘declares the LORD.’ Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the LORD, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the LORD. “When one of this people, or a prophet or a priest asks you, ‘What is the burden of the LORD?’ you shall say to them, ‘You are the burden, and I will cast you off, declares the LORD.’ And as for the prophet, priest, or one of the people who says, ‘The burden of the LORD,’ I will punish that man and his household. Thus shall you say, every one to his neighbor and every one to his brother, ‘What has the LORD answered?’ or ‘What has the LORD spoken?’ But ‘the burden of the LORD’ you shall mention no more, for the burden is every man’s own word, and you pervert the words of the living God, the LORD of hosts, our God. Thus you shall say to the prophet, ‘What has the LORD answered you?’ or ‘What has the LORD spoken?’ But if you say, ‘The burden of the LORD,’ thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have said these words, “The burden of the LORD,” when I sent to you, saying, “You shall not say, ‘The burden of the LORD,’” therefore, behold, I will surely lift you up and cast you away from my presence, you and the city that I gave to you and your fathers. And I will bring upon you everlasting reproach and perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.’” (Jeremiah 23:1-40)
I hope you took the time to read the passage I placed above this post in its entirety. This series of articles on the Compromised Church has been very painful for me to put together and write. There is no joy in delivering this type of message to people who consider themselves to be the religious leaders of their day, but who are deceived into a form of Christianity that is man-focused and non-Biblical. Why? This message is not just a rebuke, but it is a proclamation of coming judgment upon those who have perverted what is Holy and used their influence and ambition to confuse, harm and scatter the flock. Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” Revelation 3:14-22)
The number one disturbing attribute of the leaders of Compromised Church is their rock-hard “conviction” that they are doing what God wants them to do in spite of overwhelming Biblical evidence that they are not. The measure of success or failure in business is profitability. It is that bottom line in the company ledger that reveals whether a company is on the right path or not. Unfortunatly, the Compromised Church leaders have taken the ways of the world and integrated them into their method of “doing church.” Church leader success is now measured in how well the church is managed. Is the church growing? If not, there must be something wrong. That church up the street started meeting in the library just a couple of years ago and now they are three times the size of our church. Their new building looks like a cathedral! What have they done right that we have not? We need to find out what their formula is and make it work for us. Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”– these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:1-16)
One of the most subtle aspects of the Compromised Church is its friendship with the world. All through the Bible we are told that we are not to love the things of this world, nor are we to be conformed to this world, nor are we to see this world as our home, but we are to have our treasure in Heaven rather in the world. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We are to live this life with eternity in mind. Continue reading
by John Piper
Think with me for a moment about education and relationships. Some of you care deeply that education not ignore or marginalize relationships of love. They are essential in real, lasting, life-changing education. Amen.
So I turn to the Bible. I find in place of the words, “education” and “relationship,” the words, “truth” and “love.” So what does the Bible say about how truth and love relate to each other? There are at least four ways of talking about this relationship. Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
We have been looking at genuine Humility in the last few posts. We have seen within these studies that believers are called to role of reconciliation, forgiveness, loving our enemies, and turning the other cheek by being Spirit-filled. Also, the genuinely humble believer will not be timid, but bold.
Part of being bold because of the moving of the Holy Spirit within us is to proclaim the truth even if it takes the form of a rebuke. We are told to love our enemies, but we must not have unity with professing believers who are mired in heresy. On the other hand, those in apostasy must be rebuked in love with the goal of restoring them to fellowship and unity within God’s truth.
Much of the Bible is prophetic in nature. A large part of those prophecies take the form of God rebuking His people for their apostasy as well as declaring His coming judgment upon the world for their rebellion against Him and His ways.
One such prophet was Ezekiel. His book opens with him witnessing the glory of God in a magnificent vision. His account of it in Ezekiel 1 is utterly amazing. It is obvious that when he wrote it that he was struggling to describe the indescribable. In v26-28 Ezekiel describes his reaction to seeing this. Continue reading
Several days ago I wrote a piece called Call to Repentance. With that call in mind please consider the following. The American Christian Church is at a crossroads. Satan has so blinded the eyes of the fence sitters amongst us that any call by those with godly discernment that shines the light of truth into the darkness of compromise and easy-believism will be met by a wall of resistance that is intended to discourage and defeat. What is most disturbing is that much of this comes from people who profess to love the Lord and to obey Him. The lie from Satan that they are believing to be the truth is that it is wrong and foolish to take stands for the truth as the absolute truth. We do have absolute truth. It is found in God’s Word. It is the only source we have. The lie says that we cannot know the truth. The Word says we can as the Holy Spirit reveals it to our hearts. The lie says that we must always acknowledge that our doctrinal positions such as the doctrines of grace may be wrong. Is this standing in the Gap? Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)
In this day in which the truth is said to be unknowable, Christians must rely on the only source of pure truth we have. There is no truth that we can say is the complete truth unless we take it from God’s Word. The Bible is pure truth and it is the authority we rely on in order to have a firm foundation in this lost and dying world that is consuming itself in rebellion against God.
What can we learn from Hebrews 4:12 about this?