The Murder of a Murderer


by Mike Ratliff

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

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

The Lord of the Church


by John MacArthur

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

Build Your House on the Rock


by Mike Ratliff

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

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

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

Praise the Lord


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Praise the Lord (click here to listen)

Gold Silver Precious Stones Wood Hay Straw


by Mike Ratliff

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

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

The Genuine Life


By Scotty Smith

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

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


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

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

by Daniel B. Wallace, Ph.D.

revised 6-28-04

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

It Has Been Given to You


By Mike Ratliff 

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

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

Who is the Greatest?


by Mike Ratliff 

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

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

Perils Facing the Evangelical Church


by R.C. Sproul 

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

The Obamination of Notre Dame


by Dr. James White

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

Counterfeit Christianity


by Mike Ratliff 

1This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3:1-7 ESV) 

The Word of God is filled with references to testing and proving. During our Lord’s ministry his enemies asked him tough questions in order to “test” him. Jesus ordered lepers whom He had healed to show themselves to the Priests to “prove” that they were no longer unclean. God puts our Lord’s disciples through fiery trials in order to “test” their faith and “prove” their authenticity. God does not change. He is immutable. His ways do not change either. He still puts those who profess to be Christians to the test. This proving is not for his knowledge however. He knows all already. The proving is for our sake. Continue reading

Understanding The Word of God


by Mike Ratliff 

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. (Psalms 119:9-16 ESV) 

I expected some backlash when I posted Homosexuality is Sin the other day. One of the most vociferous responses came from an atheist. He quoted passages from Leviticus and tried to use human reasoning to show that it made no sense. I attempted to tell him, after explaining the point of the post, that an unregenerate person cannot read and understand God’s Word correctly. One thing that struck me though was how similar his reasoning concerning God’s Word was to the folks here, here, and here. The main difference of course was that this fellow does not believe in God and could not understand that Christians are New Creations by the Grace of God. However, that same rejection of God’s Word as being authoritative as well as absolute truth was very apparent, just more pronounced.  Continue reading

Biblical Discernment Will Always be Politically Incorrect


by Mike Ratliff

There is a myth in our time that has deceived untold numbers of professing Christians. The deceived have believed the lie that Christians are not to confront and rebuke false teachers nor preach or teach anything that has the potential to cause division within the visible Church. The visible Church contains the churches we see all across this globe. This would include denominations and local churches and ministries that we can see visually and of which we can partake. The invisible Church is made up of the elect. This is the true Church of genuine believers. It is within the visible Church. Therefore, the visible Church contains both genuine believers and professing believers who are not genuine.  Continue reading