Everyone Did What was Right in His Own Eyes

by Mike Ratliff

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25 ESV)

We live in an evil time. There are large numbers of “Christian” leaders who claim to be ministers of God, but prove by their words and actions to have thrown off the authority of God. They do what is right in their own eyes while claiming that they are only following the leading of the Holy Spirit. The fact that what they say or do is unbiblical seems to trouble very few. When some point out the truth to them, they claim that God has lead them to do what they do so it must be okay and those who protest are just legalistic.

The following is the introduction to the book of Judges from the 1560 Edition of the Geneva Bible.

The Argument

Albeit there is nothing that more provoketh God’s wrath, than man’s ingratitude, yet is there nothing so displeasant and heinous that can turn back God’s love from his Church. For now when the Israelites were entered into the land of Canaan, and saw the truth of God’s promise performed, instead of acknowledging his great benefits and giving thanks for the same, they fell to most horrible oblivion of God’s graces, contrary to their solemn promise made unto Joshua, and so provoked his vengeance (as much as in them stood) to their utter destruction. Whereof as they had most evident signs by the mutability of their state: (for he suffered them to be most cruelly vexed and tormented by tyrants: he pulled them from liberty, and cast them into slavery, to the intent they might feel their own miseries, and so call unto him, and be delivered.) So to show that his mercies endure forever, he raised up from time to time such as should deliver them, and assure them of his favor and grace, if they would turn to him by true repentance. And these deliverers the Scripture calleth Judges, because they were executers of God’s judgments, not chosen of the people nor by succession, but raised up as it seemed best to God, for the governance of his people. They were fourteen in number beside Joshua, and governed from Joshua unto Saul the first King of Israel. Joshua and these unto the time of Saul, ruled 377 years. In this book are many notable points declared, but woe especially: first, the battle that the Church of God hath for the maintenance of true Religion against idolatry and superstition: next, what great danger that commonwealth is in, when as God giveth not a Magistrate to retain his people in the pureness of Religion and his true service.

My brethren, much of what is called Christian these days is not. Even though compromise with the World is preached against throughout the Bible, the pragmatic “Christian,” motivated by relativism and holding a world-view of Man at the center and holding a concept of a remote and nearly irrelevant God, sees nothing wrong with integrating the teachings of the Buddha and Mohammed with those of Jesus.

Undoubtedly, many Christians see nothing wrong with sort of thing, but Christians whose lives are centered in the Word of God sees the evil in compromise. Why? Life in the Word is how Christians become Christlike, obedient, and Spirit-filled.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 ESV)

The Christian who is a living sacrifice is one who does not do what is right in his or her own eyes. Instead, they give up their rights to themselves by taking up their crosses and following Jesus.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. (Luke 9:23-24 ESV)

Christians who are living sacrifices live lives that are holy and acceptable to God. They live their lives as acts of worship. They do this by being transformed by the renewal of their minds. This is saturating their lives with the Word of God. They worship and pray and meditate on God’s Word as a way of life. Those who do this will not do what is right in their own eyes, but will walk through each day as the Spirit leads. At each moment of decision or judgment they seek to line up with God and His will.

Consider this little blurb from this website:

Highland Baptist Church, 1101 Cherokee Road, will begin an eight-week study of Brian McLaren’s book “Everything Must Change” at 5 p.m. tomorrow. Studies will be two hours each week through May 18, including a meal. Books are available for purchase at the church for $20. Information: 451-3735.

Why would a “church” spend time studying Brian McLaren’s book Everything Must Change instead of the Bible? Those doing this are not seeking to be conformed to Christ. Instead, they are seeking to conform the “Church” to the ways of Man and the World. This is no different than what the ancient Israelites did during the period of the Judges.

The first chapter in the book of Judges describes what happens to the Israelites as those died who had seen the mighty of works of God in the Exodus. The younger generations compromised by intermarrying with the Canaanites and corrupted their religion by serving the Baals and the Asthoreths. They were in unbelief. They did not have the evidence before their eyes of God’s Sovereignty so they adopted the false religion of those around them. Did Jesus address this?

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:19-29 ESV)

Where did the understanding come from to believe the Lord? Did it not come unto those who had received the Holy Spirit? Thomas was not there that day. When told of Jesus’ resurrection he refused to believe. Jesus appeared to him and addressed his unbelief. When he had him see the evidence he believed. However Jesus made a statement here that we need to understand. He said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Believers today have not seen Jesus bodily. Those who believe do so because the Holy Spirit, by God’s Grace, has accorded with their faith so they can believe. (Ephesians 2:1-10) What does this say about all of those professing Christians who are pursuing compromise with false religions even to the point of proclaiming that there are many ways to God?

My brethren, let us draw near unto God and pursue Him and His ways. Let us shun those who compromise. Let us preach the truth to everyone. Here is an example of this from the book of Acts.

Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed. Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”–because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” So Paul went out from their midst. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. (Acts 17:15-34 ESV)

Paul did not compromise the Gospel to reach these pagans. He preached Jesus and the resurrection. If he had merged the Gospel with the mythology of the Greek religion then he would probably had huge numbers of these philosophers following after him. But look closely at what Paul preached in the Areopagus. He preached repentance in light of the coming judgment of God. He preached the veracity of repentance unto salvation in Jesus because of His resurrection. How many followed Paul from this group. How many clamored to hear more? Only a few believed. This is how the real Gospel works when it is preached correctly. Some believe and repent and the majority reject it. There is no compromise with the ways of the world. There is no relativism. There is no pragmatism. Why? It is not needed and those things only corrupt the Gospel.

Who does what is right in their own eyes? Those who have not the Spirit of God do this. Those who do must deny themselves and take up their crosses and follow Jesus. Consider this; in the analogy of our call to be Christ’s disciples, we must die to self. Everyone knew in Jesus’ day that when a person was seen carrying their cross out of the city gates, they weren’t coming back. This is how the genuine Christian must be to the world and its ways. This includes all false religions. Yes, preach the truth to them, but never try to merge God’s truth with their lies.


47 thoughts on “Everyone Did What was Right in His Own Eyes

  1. Pingback: VOX POPULI NEWS and OPINION - Everyone Did What was Right in His Own Eyes

  2. Why would a “church” spend time studying Brian McLaren’s book Everything Must Change instead of the Bible?

    Not instead of the Bible, but in addition to the Bible. Should we also not read Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Edwards, Sproul? Because that takes time away from Bible study?

    Besides, McLaren’s book is based upon the Bible, Jesus as well as the prophets. Don’t knock it unless you’ve read it. (Have you read it?)


  3. In what respect is it heretical? Because it goes against the traditional interpretation of scripture that we have inherited? Interpretations of biblical verses that are, well…subject to interpretation.

    So, then you do think that all we should read is the Bible? Anything else is a compromise? Then what about those who read your blog? 😉


  4. And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. (Luke 9:23-24 ESV)

    In terms of frequency, this is Jesus’ most common teaching. It is found in every Gospel, and in two of them twice. No other teaching is so emphasized in the Gospels. If Jesus gives it such emphasis, shouldn’t we?

    As far as being conformed to the world, it is an ever-present danger. It seems that I am constantly being made aware of how culturally based I am, rather than biblically based. I still catch myself sometimes thinking, “But everyone else (including in the church) does it” instead of “What does the Bible say?” It is pure? Is it righteous? It it holy? Is it above reproach? Those are the questions I should be asking, and I praise God that He prompts me with them.

    Thanks for the blessing that this post was Mike!
    -Col 3:1-2


  5. Mike,

    I agree with your stance on Scripture. Preach it.

    Some of your statements seem to indicate you are advocating that you don’t read anything other than the Bible. For example: “Why would a “church” spend time studying Brian McLaren’s book Everything Must Change instead of the Bible? Those doing this are not seeking to be conformed to Christ. Instead, they are seeking to conform the “Church” to the ways of Man and the World. This is no different than what the ancient Israelites did during the period of the Judges.”

    Given the abundance of theological categories on this blog and the fact that you think writing for others to read it is a good exercise, I would think this is not what you are trying to communicate. Certainly, man can contribute to the Christian body of thought. It will always tend to be a little misguided, but that doesn’t mean it is altogether invaluable.

    I think Christian is right, we shouldn’t ignore the writings of other Christians both past and present…though I’d give more weight to Augustine, Aquinas, Luther and Calvin than McLaren (by a long shot). I don’t think we should wholesale ignore everything he says or not read what he says. The fact is, he’s a major contributer to the post-modern mindset. Like it or not it is here for at least a generation. It is no better or worse than modernism or pre-modernism (or any other -ism in history) in terms of the damage they’ve caused the understanding of the Word of God. If we don’t read what he says, then we won’t understand where a lot of professed Christians are coming from. I think he is honestly trying to make sense of Christianity from a post-modern mindset…as misguided as his theology might be at times. He may have come to some seriously wrong conclusion more than once (as evidenced by your citations), but he’s come to some right conclusions as well.

    Again, I’m not going to advocate everything that McLaren says. Truth be told, I haven’t read a lot of what he’s written (only “More Ready than You Realize”), but every Christian can learn from things that he says in that book. Granted, his theology is misguided at times, but so is yours and so is mine. None of us are perfect.

    We just need to filter what is said through God’s Word…which is hopefully the point you are ultimately making. This is always the case. As Christians we are constantly confronted with teachings that have correct aspects mixed with incorrect ones. May God give us the wisdom to discern which is which and live rightly in this world that is sure to produce many trials to be endured faithfully (James 1:5).


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  7. “Besides, McLaren’s book is based upon the Bible”

    So is Mike Ratliff’s post.

    However, despite the fact that both are basing their arguments upon scripture, one of them is wrong.

    You must be open to the fact that BM is twisting scripture and trying to change everything that the church has taught for the past 2000 years, hence his book, “everything must change”

    Think about it.

    Either Mike (and every other Christian that has existed for the past 2000 years) are perverting the scriptures, or Brian McLaren is twisting and perverting the scriptures.


  8. Mike, You say Eph. 2:1-10 says saving faith is a gift of GOD. I do not see it there, Could you give me a couple of other references that say saving faith is a gift from GOD. All the Bible teachers I love and trust say the same as you do. I don’t know why I have a blind spot here, could you please help me? Captured by HIS grace, Gene


  9. Mike, how dangerous is the lukewarm self-professing Christian’? They are unaware of their spiritual lostness; they think they’re ‘in’, they cannot see the forest for the trees. The Holy Spirit teaches us all things pertaining to God and Christ, and discernment is a gift of God. You cannot be taught if you have not been baptized with the Holy Spirit. 2 Corinthians 7:10 is a much overlooked passage, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of; but the sorrow of the world worketh death.’ Most could not recall when they were truly ‘broken’ over their heinous condition and cried out to God, repenting of their wickedness, they believe because they said a prayer, walked an aisle, confessed with their mouth. They do not understand the key role the heart plays in salvation, the renewing of the mind, which only comes with the reading of the word. When you mix truth with error, you have tainted the message, and it becomes ineffective.
    Here are two truthful statements from J.C. Ryle, “Every heresy began at one time with some little departure from the truth”, and this, “We are not to believe except it be proved to us by Holy Scripture”. Thanks Mike for bringing this to light, and God bless!


  10. Christian, you said, “Because it goes against the traditional interpretation of scripture that we have inherited? Interpretations of biblical verses that are, well…subject to interpretation.”

    Yes, that is what makes it heretical. No, they are not open to interpretation. That is the other aspect of this post. When you have multiple interpretations of a passage then you have people not listening to the Holy Spirit. There is only one interpretation of the Bible that is right and that is the one by the author. That is why we must pray and meditate and obey the Word, not twist it to make some point that BM wants to make.

    My point was not that we should not study other books, but that we should not EVER study the writings of heretics.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  11. repititions,

    Thanks and I agree that we should not become too narrow, however, McClaren has proven to me, at least, that he is one NOT to read. Why? He may indeed say a few wise things, but then he makes totally irrational and heretical statements like, “No where in the Bible does it mention the Second Coming of Christ.” Well, excuse me but that is one of the major themes in the book of Revelation. No, he has disqualified himself from being a Bible teacher.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  12. Gene, here is the entire passage.

    Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV
    (1) And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
    (2) 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–
    (3) 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.
    (4) But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
    (5) even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–
    (6) and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
    (7) so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
    (8) For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
    (9) not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
    (10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

    What does v1 say? It says that believers were once DEAD in their trespasses and sins. Dead people cannot do anything positive in the spiritual realm. Why? Their faith is dead. Unless God does something to change this then no one can respond to the call of the Gospel. In vv2-3 we have the description of this DEAD way of life. Then in vv4-7 we see what God does about it. To be saved, God must first make us alive. In v8 Paul tells us that we are saved by grace through the conduit of faith and that is the gift of God. Paul says right there in v8 that this IS NOT YOUR OWN DOING. In v9 we see that our salvation is not a result of works. No, our salvation is the result of God quickening our faith by His grace. Until this happens, as a gift from God, we will never believe.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  13. Is it not simultaneously painful to see people “study” MaCLaren and others see nothing wrong with it? Once someone embraces MaCLaren or even the principle of “expansive” reading then only God’s Spirit can change his heart. I could imagine me falling for it decades ago if God had not protected me, after all, it’s part of the spiritual journey, right?

    Wrong, but I surely could have been deceived. Thank you, Mike, not just for speaking the truth in an uncompromising way, but in a calm and non-vitriolic way while still writing in uncomfortable terms. I also have noticed how graceful you are in engaging commenters who come with the very perspective about which you write, you project Christ without giving any truth ground.

    I appreciate you, my brother, I will continue to pray for you and your ministry. I try and be a beacon as well.
    This is a post called “The Kidnapping of the Bride”.


    From your free will flank – Rick


  14. Should we then throw out the body of Martin Luther’s work since he had no problem with the doctrine of indulgences as evidenced by his 95 theses (http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/history/95theses.htm)? Such a doctrine leads directly to a salvation by works…clearly contrary to the Bible, yet I will not disregard everything he says simply because he is dead wrong on that subject. He has clearly influenced Christianity in a positive way in spite of his imperfect doctrine.

    I will still grant you that McLaren’s position on the 2nd coming is dead wrong, but he has much to say on the matter of living out our faith…something that many a theologically correct scholar is lacking. As is the case with Martin Luther, we need to consider what positive things he has contributed in light of his obedience to Christ’s commands to be concerned about the dis-enfranchised of our world (and actually help them).

    Again, I’m not a McLaren fan (thought it may seem that way), but Christians could learn from his desire to take Christ’s commands seriously. Just as the case with Martin Luther’s heretical belief in the doctrine of indulgences (read: salvation by works), we should not throw out everything McLaren or similar writers say simply because of an incorrect doctrine. Much damage would have been done to our Christian heritage if we ignored everything Martin Luther said simply because he was very incorrect about a certain matter of important doctrine. I think the same quite possibly would be true if we ignore everything McLaren says.

    McLaren is redeemable just like you and me. We likely hold to incorrect doctrine as well, but Christ can still save us from our error.


  15. repetitions.

    Luther’s 95 Thesis was AGAINST indulgences. I have Luther’s book The Bondage of the Will. The man knew that salvation is by grace through faith ALONE. He preached Sola Fide.

    McLaren is a man and is therefore redeemable. However, until he repents of preaching and teaching heresy then I will continue to shout from the rooftops that he is a heretic and must be shunned and avoided and excluded. That means I refuse to listen to one thing the man says. That is the Biblical position sir. There are no gray areas. Therefore, I work continually to conform myself to God’s Truth and that is what we must do. McLaren does the opposite. Again, he has disqualified himself from being a Bible teacher/preacher. Until and unless he repents of his heresies then we must conclude that he is a deceived deceiver.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  16. Hello Gene Lewis,

    I’m sure Mike will respond later (he’s good about that), but Eph 2:8 ESV says:

    For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

    “This” , as in “This is not your own doing”, in Greek can actually point back to grace and to faith as being gifts…we translated this passage last semester in Greek 3 and my professor was good to point this out to us. So grace and faith are both gifts.

    Another verse that shows that our faith is a gift from God that He grants to us:

    Phi 1:29 ESV For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,

    I hope this helps!


  17. Monotony – Luther of course had residual vestiges from the Roman Church and he had limited spiritual vision, but God used him in a MIGHTY way, even putting his life on the line, to resurrect the true gospel – justification by faith. Luther was a step forward.

    MacLaren is many steps backward. He is a universalist that believes Christ can be found in other religions and even has a revuslion for the atoning aspect of the cross. This is MacLaren speaking:

    “At the end God get’s his way thru coercion and violence and intimidation and uh domination just like every other kingdom does. The Cross isn’t the center then, the Cross is almost a distraction and false advertising for God.”

    MacLaren believes the theology about God’s wrath being poured out on His Son is “child abuse” which is blasphemy. I do not know his standing before God, but I do know he is a heretic. I make a personal distinction btween heresy and being a “heretic”.

    Any error is heresy and in that we all teach some heresy hoefully unknowingly, but a heretic is a false teacher who has demonic influence and in some cases possession. A heretics error changes with the Bible, the Incarnation, the gospel, or all of the above.


  18. Mike, I thought this was an interesting statement from Pastor Paul Washer, and it seems fitting. He said,”We have a bunch of little boys running around with head knowledge, but where is the power of the Holy Spirit?” That probably isn’t exactly word for word, but it is very close. This MacLaren gentleman obviously has what he calls ‘head knowledge’, but his heart is unregenerate, he lacks the baptism of the Holy Spirit which only God gives. Why do people find it so offensive when we say, ‘study the scriptures?’ Could it be because we all want easy believism? We want a shorter way, a quicker way, an easier way. Following Christ requires denying self, what we want to do, where we want to go, etc. It’s like swimming upstream, going against gale-force winds, climbing a mountain during a blizzard. Where are the true followers who are faced with trials? Where are the blood-bought brothers and sisters who have either just come out of a storm, are about to enter into one, or are in the very midst of a storm, and are praising God? Where are the testimonies of the power of Christ in their lives? I have been unemployed for seven months, and just got a job a few days ago. It only pays half of what I made before, and I will lose my car; and guess what? In spite of all this, I praise my awesome God! He is so rich in mercy and grace, He has given me strength to get through this ‘storm’, isn’t that amazing?
    Following Christ requires allowing HIM to teach us, and that ONLY comes through studying and meditating upon His Holy Word. When we follow man’s version of who Jesus is, what He has done, and all the bible speaks of, then we risk error, especially if the teachings do not line up with scripture. If we spend more time reading other books than we do reading God’s word, again, we are leaving ourselves open to error. To equate God’s wrath at sin and His anger poured out on Christ as child abuse is insane, it is proof this man does not have a clear understanding of scripture. This is another deceptive tool of Satan, if he can get preachers to avoid terms such as ‘repent’, ‘wrath’, ‘judgment’, ‘sin’, and keep it all nice and neat, filled with sugar coated half truths, then he can fill the broad road with unsuspecting souls, just like a pied piper. It is a ‘feel good’ gospel and it is NOT the gospel of the bible. I read material from John MacArthur, J.C. Ryle, Charles Spurgeon, and others, but I keep in mind they are men, and if their teachings are not in accordance with exactly as scripture teaches, then I would discontinue reading their material. A good read is ‘The Truth War’ by Dr. John MacArthur, it is fitting with this very topic. Discernment comes from God, and is seriously lacking with many today who profess Christ. I pray God will move in hearts and bring genuine salvation, discernment, and understanding and wisdom to those who truly desire such.


  19. “Luther’s 95 Thesis was AGAINST indulgences.”

    No. They were against the abuse of indulgences. Luther had no problem with the doctrine itself. A brief reading of the 95 theses makes this VERY evident.

    “The man knew that salvation is by grace through faith ALONE.”

    Agreed. That is why we should not ignore everything he has to say in spite of the fact that he was okay with indulgences.

    I can tell you are a very black and white type of individual. Seldom is anything as black and white as you want it to be when it involves sinners saved by grace.


  20. Christian,

    If you will read Rick’s post, you will see that you are lacking judgment. Call a false teacher a false teacher. Jesus is not a compromiser, nor is he someone who passively watches on the side lines existing at men’s beck and call. Jesus calls his own to judge right from wrong, expose these heretics (ones like MacLaren, Osteen, Warren, and many others), and to stand firm. Unfortunately, you welcome a popular golden calf which the Lord abhors. We call this idolatry a form of relativism. Relativism offers an idol which costs absolutely nothing, but results in God’s wrath. Your golden calf will be received by the masses and they will love you for it. Relativism is cozy and convenient, much different than an old wooden cross. Your calf doesn’t require you to rock the boat, offend anyone, nor does it deal with man’s carnal nature. If it is the praise of men or the glory in the flesh that you seek, then you keep on following your man made idol. Perhaps adding a little more brasso to it will make it shine some more. And after all that you have only labored in vain. You still have an idol known as a ‘golden calf.’ Will you then make it come to life by adding more gold to it?…… I doubt it.

    Judge right from wrong by being critical of what you read. Don’t jump to conclusions in order to justify your philosophical assumptions. Sin kills.


  21. Monotony,

    NO, he was against the abuses of the Popacy when he wrote that. As he matured he rejected all of the Popacy including indulgences.

    I am 100% against all false teaching. There is no room for compromise in the life seeking to be in the center of God’s will. Go read Jesus’ words in the the four Gospels and you will see that He had no room for it either. Compromise is of the Devil and of the World and its ways. We are told to not be conformed to the this world and that means we NEVER compromise on God’s truth.

    You are confusing immature Christians with apostates and heretics. Not the same thing at all. McLaren is a heretic sir and there is no room here for His evil influence.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  22. Mike – how can anyone read just the few sentences I provided from MacLaren and not believe he is a heretic? I hold no hatred for the man, in fact from all I’ve heard he is a humble and engaging person. But that cannot cloud the issue of truth.

    People have no idea the power of grace that was present in Luther’s life in order to use him like God did, but to point out his shortcomings as proof of anything is being blind to the circumstance. To be born, raised, and trained in the Roman Church cannot be overlooked when it comes to Luther. His life was a gracious miracle.

    MacLaren and Pagitt and others are step by step dismantling the very foundations of Biblical Chistianity. These are not discussions of eschatology or predestination or even modes of baptisms, no, these are grevious wolves who have been deceived themselves and have come to spread their deception.

    To use Luther as an excuse for heretics exhibits an obviousd lack of both Luther’s circumstance and the seriousness of what someone like MacLaren teaches.


  23. Thanks Josh for pointing out that I lack judgement. I hadn’t realized until….hey wait a minute! Maybe it’s YOU who are lacking judgment and not me.

    As someone pointed out earlier, it could very well be that for the past 2000 years church leaders have been twisting scriptures to meet their own agendas. I think someone on this site likes to use the word “popacy” to make this point. And if we look at some of the anti-semitic rhetoric of Luther and Calvin’s acceptance of the execution of his opponents we might have problems accepting the idea that they were blessed with sound judgement as well.

    I envy your certainty. No, on second thought I don’t. It is a house made of cards. Trusting in God requires fewer props.


  24. “christian”

    The person you are quoting about the church missing the point for the last 2000 years is the one lacking judgment. These are very old arguments, not new cool ones. My faith is not based upon a house of cards. However, yours is because it is based upon your self. We believe that God saves His people and holds them. Also, our theology is nothing to do with MEN or what they do or say or don’t do. It is based on what the Bible clearly teaches.

    Lastly, you can comment here because I allow it. You are getting very close to losing that privilege. Look at the rules for comments. Its on the masthead.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  25. Luther and Calvin’s teachings must be based upon Scripture and not the deficiencies or inconsistencies of their lives. Paul withstood Peter to the face because he was showing unscriptural preference, does that mean that Peter’s epistles are suspect because he sinned?

    This entire conversation revolves around one major disconnect. Some of us believe that Scripture is the only standard for divine truth, everything else is just man’s opinion which as we know, everyone has one.

    MacLaren’s statements are not wrong because I disagree with them, they are wrong because they disagree with Scripture. Without that as a concrete reference point the discussion, as usual in these cases, goes in circles.

    How can people be so CERTAIN about being UNCERTAIN??


  26. “christian”

    Double standard? Since when is it wrong to adhere to the clear teaching of scripture? I assume you are “going away” because I won’t allow personal invective on this site. If that is the case then I wonder at your “maturity.”

    I pray that you will be with the sheep and not the goats at that judgment son.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  27. Thanks Mike
    Thanks Clay

    To be honest I’ve got to read my Bible and think about this, I don’t like to change my mind or think I’ve been wrong all this time and missed the clear teaching of scripture. I hope you will believe me when I say I have no hidden agenda. I thought that when the Bible said choose or come it meant we had the ability to choose or come. If being spiritually dead means we have no ability to respond to the gospel that changes everything and puts many questions in my mind about many passages in the Bible. I don’t understand what they mean when they say come or choose or what Jesus meant when HE said Israel would not. I have much to think about. Captured by HIS grace, Gene


  28. Mike,

    “NO, he was against the abuses of the Popacy when he wrote that. As he matured he rejected all of the Popacy including indulgences.”

    I don’t see how this is different than “abuse of indulgences” as it was the Pope was abusing them. In any case my point still remains. It is clear that Luther held to an unbiblical doctrine that leads straight to salvation by works. I am well aware that he rejected all such teachings later. That is kind of my point. He was both write and wrong at the time he wrote this. If no one listened to him at the time, we’d be in a world of hurt right now.

    I’m really not trying to start an argument with you. I think you fail to realize I agree with almost everything you say. You are preaching to the choir in terms of doctrine. I hold to the 2nd coming of Christ. I agree that if McLaren doesn’t, he’s a heretic. I don’t like to be divisive and since we agree on core doctrine I’m going to leave the discussion alone on the basis of unity at this point.

    “Luther and Calvin’s teachings must be based upon Scripture and not the deficiencies or inconsistencies of their lives.” – The same holds true for McLaren. I’m not ready to give up hope on him yet. Hey may yet change his mind on important matters of doctrine as did Luther. Again, I’ll have to read more of his work myself as I’m not yet convinced he isn’t being taken out of context. Right now I’m simply going on reports of his writing such as this blog post and the one book of his that I’ve already read.


  29. Mike,

    p.s. sorry for typo(s) in previous post(s). I am aware that I used “write” where “right” should have been used. There are probably others. I rely too heavily on Word to correct such mistakes for me.


  30. Monotony,

    Yeah, Luther was a monk and totally R.C. It too him quite a while to get his theology straightened out, but he did. However, he was continually moving forward towards Sola Fide. That move began when he read Romans and understood that we are saved by faith not works.

    On the other hand, BM is trying to lead the church into Neo Pagansim or New Age cultism. That means I have no use for him and I warn others not to as well.


  31. Monotnoy – you might have chosen some other emergent types and would have had at least something to go on. But you have chosen one of the fathers of the movement and the further you explore the less you will like.

    MacLaren’s heretical credentials are well documented, google his name and read some Biblical reviews of his writings, if you are orthodox in your beliefs you will be shocked. Sure there is a chance he will repent, but until then he is a false teacher.


  32. Christian’s comment, ‘Adios folks, see you at the last judgment’ is evidence he lacks wisdom from God. The last judgment is the great white throne judgment, this judgment is NOT for believers. I say that not to belittle him, but in hopes the Lord will use this for His glory, and truly save him. How relevant is this from Acts 17:11, ‘they received the word with all readiness, and searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so’. These are life-saving words for all who belong to Christ.
    “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength” – Jeremiah 17:5. This is the end of those who trust in man.
    Romans chapter nine reveals God’s sovereign choice. Verse 16 especially stands out, ‘So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.’
    The falling away is all around us, deception is ever-growing. This is a very exciting time for all who belong to the Lamb!! Let us be sober, watchful, and pray for our Lord’s return.


  33. Mike,

    I think I will bow out of this discussion at this point. I will say I am encouraged by the tough stand you take on scripture. Even if we disagree a bit (or a lot) on who and what to read, you’ve encouraged me nonetheless. It is good to know there are people out there who take no nonsense when it comes to God’s Word.

    I guess one of the reasons I have something of a soft spot for McLaren is that in spite of his alleged heresy, he has encouraged me in my Christian walk to live out my faith. This is something I find lacking in even the most solid biblical teachers. McLaren has a genuine concern (so far as I can tell and have read) to take seriously the commands of Christ and his teachings to love your neighbor and the disenfranchised of society.

    In any case, know that your blog has encouraged me.


    I actually have googled McLaren’s name and have read much of the haters’ material out there. I’ve also read his own claims in doctrine. I find little to disagree with concerning what he says. Although, the church he founded (Cedar Ridge Community Church in D.C.) has a conspicuous absence in their belief sections on the 2nd coming of Christ (I went back and checked today). Otherwise I can agree with what is actually stated.

    My uncle and I have had a similar discussion already. He claims McLaren denies the power of the cross as well and has quoted a snippet out of one of his books as evidence. These are very serious accusations and I will investigate them seriously. I promise I will not recommend him as reading if through investigating his own words in their context that he denies these foundational doctrines.

    I still have a soft spot for him though because he has had a positive impact on my Christianity in spite of his loose doctrine.

    Thanks for the good discussion guys and for holding a hard line on scripture. A very important stance indeed.

    Grace and Peace,


  34. Rick, excellent point, it goes along with a ‘flippant’ attitude towards God’s word. The bible is Holy from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, and should always be treated as such. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, fools despise wisdom and instruction” – Proverbs 1:7. The lack of fear and reverence for Almighty God is what keeps apostates from knowing His truth and being able to understand all that lies in the word. I enjoy your posts, as well as Josh’s and Clay’s, God bless you my brothers in the Lord. Grace and peace be with you all.


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