The Temple of the Living God


by Mike Ratliff

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. (1 Corinthians 10:21 ESV)

With the utter lack of discernment being exhibited within the visible church in our time, it is as if the condition of the Israelites at the time of the Prophet Amos is upon us. These Covenant people had turned their backs on God and His commands. They were sin-sick and idolatrous, which means they were spiritually blind. When Amos traveled from Judah to the Northern Kingdom of Israel to deliver God’s message to them, he simply gave what God told him to say. What a concept! In Amos 3:3-8 the Lord posed a series of rhetorical question to the people to show them that no matter what they thought or did, He was still sovereign. Certain actions have predictable results. God spoke, therefore, Amos was to speak as the people listened and trembled. That is how it should have been. However, as in our time, when God’s Word is exposited and given to those in error, the response is exactly the opposite. Instead of heeding God’s Word, the people attempt to silence the prophet (Amos 2:12; 7:12, 13) and, therefore, silence God.  Continue reading

Our Propitiation


by Mike Ratliff

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

I had a good friend stop by my office today to offer his condolences and comfort me with the loss of my dad. It was much appreciated. However, he walked in just as I was reading a comment I had just received on last night’s post The Atonement of Christ. WordPress had automatically flagged the comment as spam and it was by chance that I saw that there was a comment in that queue. He asked why the inscrutable look on my face when he had first came in. I let him read the comment. He shuddered and looked puzzled for about 30 seconds or so. I asked, “Does your brain hurt yet?” His response nailed it. He said, “Well, that is certainly a different spirit…” He then asked how often I get “comments” or “emails” like that (I will deal with it below). I told him that I usually get at least one like that a day when I teach things about the Atonement or the Gospel, but there are times when they just flood it. I find it interesting that they often are especially virulent when I am dealing with things in the midst of the fiery trials God has me in at that time. I will never forget Steve Lawson’s statement during his sermon at the Shepherd’s Conference this year that the closer we get to the front lines in our obedience in ministry the more we will find ourselves in the crosshairs of our enemy in the battle for the truth. God will allow him to attack us in order to humble us so that we can be usable clay vessels in the hands of our Lord (paraphrase).  Continue reading

The Apostate Church


by Mike Ratliff

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.” (Revelation 3:1-2 ESV)

We had my dad’s funeral on Thursday the 25th. He died on Saturday the 20th. The funeral was more of a celebration of my dad’s life than anything else. My dad had 13 siblings all older than him. All but one of them preceded him in death. Some of them were adults with children of their own when my dad was born in 1924. My grandfather was a remarkable man. He was born in 1877 and became a preacher of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in the 1890’s in Indian Territory, which is now Oklahoma. My mother allowed me to take some of the things stored in her house that had belonged to my dad. One prized possession I have with me now is my grandfather’s bible from which he preached well into the 1950’s. It is full of notes and his own cross-references. However, there is one thing in the bible that no one, apparently, knew was there. It is a letter written to him from one of his sisters, Lucy. It had to have been written to him either in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s since she died around that time. Below is a quote from it that I found especially fitting in light of the present condition of the visible church.  Continue reading

The Death of my Dad


I got a phone call early this morning from my sister. She told me that my Dad had died in his sleep last night. He was 86 years old and as the Scottish say, “A well saved man!” I will be offline for a few days at least while my brother and sister and our families take care what has to be done. Your prayers will be much appreciated. – Mike Ratliff

The Parousia of the Lord


by Mike Ratliff

For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy. (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 ESV)

I have been dealing with some Universalist “teachings” over the last few days hence the article on The Doctrine of Hell. In my biblical research in order to answer the claims of Universalists, I have found that much of their “doctrine” comes from a mishandling of Sacred Scripture, especially those passages dealing with the state of the dead in Christ and who makes up those who meet the Lord in the air at his παρουσια or parousia or arrival or coming or presence. In this post we will look at 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and attempt to unpack Paul’s statement about our Lord’s παρουσια.  Continue reading

The Doctrine of Hell


by Mike Ratliff

One component of the Spiritual Labyrinth of lies intended to deceive is a persistent attack on the doctrine of Hell. Of course, this means that those servants of our enemy who participate in or believe these lies take on some form of Universalism as they reject true Christian Orthodoxy. Motives for doing this vary, but in every case, the focus of those who both teach and embrace these lies is that they are man-centered in their theology rather than God-centered.  Continue reading

The Dangers of Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Disciplines


by Mike Ratliff

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations– “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)–according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. (Colossians 2:20-23 ESV)

As we have been seeing, in the attacks on the Church by what is now called “Progressive Christianity,” what the enemies of God’s Truth are actually constructing is a Spiritual Labyrinth whose complexity is designed to confuse and deceive. At the core of these attacks and replacement of genuine Christianity with “Progressive Christianity” or “A New Type of Christianity” is an emphasis on Spiritual Formation. What is this? I contacted Bob DeWaay at Twin Cities Fellowship for any help he could provide in direction and information so I could get a better handle on this and so present this to you that we may all know better what is really happening in our churches and what God would have us do in response.  Continue reading

Jesus is Coming


by Mike Ratliff

Many of you have contacted me and expressed your frustration and weariness with the battle. Our enemy is relentless and if we look too long and hard at what apostasy and outright heresies are being embraced by the visible church, we can become quite discouraged. Never forget my brethren, our enemy could do nothing without the permission of God. Therefore, let us not be discouraged with the battle. Instead, we must resolve to continue to fight the good fight, never giving in to those who are attempting to change Christianity into something else. Yes, God may allow them to appear to succeed, but be assured that what awaits them is anything but what they have been deceived into believing. I believe it is time for a bit of encouragement for those of you who so desperately need some.  Continue reading

The Spiritual Labyrinth


by Mike Ratliff

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4 ESV)

Back in 2005-2006 as I attempted to understand the Purpose Driven paradigm as my old church became devoured by it, I did so that I could clearly show the leadership there that they were being deceived. What I ran up against, however, was a leadership of mostly very new believers who had their minds completely made up and would not listen. I struggled for many years since that time with coming to terms with this many-headed monster. Over the last year or so the picture has become much more clear as the corrupt roots of Purpose Driven/Seeker Sensitivity are the very same ones from which Emergence Christianity has sprung, which is the Leadership Network. The visible church in our time has a “timid tolerance” for everything that calls itself “Christian.” Once solid looking “leaders” are still accepted and protected by their sycophants even as they reveal the corrupt roots of apostasy in how they handle the the Word of God. In all of this, many others and I have been trying to filter through the maze of paradoxes and relationships in all of this so we could address it as one or even just a few basic errors. However, this deception is actually one very complex spiritual labyrinth as Ken Silva shows us here.

Continue reading

The Certainty of Answered Prayer


by Mike Ratliff

And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. (1 John 2:28-29 ESV)

I do not receive Tweets from Mark Driscoll, but I have friends who do. I received the following from one of those friends today: “Done preaching in Africa & managed to not punch the guy who was sleeping w/5 women & claiming to be a XN as a competition for him but bewildered why I was in his face with my finger in his chest. Unreal.” Was what is “unreal” the fact that Mark was able to restrain himself or that this fellow was sleeping with 5 women and claiming to be an XN (tweet shorthand for Christian) as a competition for him or that the fellow was bewildered why Mark, “was in his face with my finger in his chest”? I meditated and prayed about how or even if I should respond to this. My initial response was to view both Mark and “the guy” from a pastoral perspective. However, this post-modern world is clueless about morality and personal holiness. In fact, its mindset is against all who attempt to point out sin or error in anyone. Their first response seems to be something along the lines of, “nobody is perfect!” I have even been condemned for doing this and the reason “I was being straightened out” was that everyone could be wrong so how can any of us judge anyone else?  Continue reading

O, Church Arise


Prior to Steve Lawson’s message at this year’s Shepherd’s Conference, Keith and Kristyn Getty led the worship. Steve was clearly moved in the Spirit when he took the stage. His message was titled: The Invisible War and was based on the book of Job as applied to the sanctifying work done by our Sovereign Lord in our lives to prepare us for eternity and, of course, for His glory. I have downloaded that message and have watched it again and again. Continue reading

Saving Faith vs. False Faith


by Mike Ratliff

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge– even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you– so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:4-9 ESV)

Being a refugee from the SBC, I began this ministry with a great deal of spiritual baggage that stubbornly clung to me until God subjected me to the cleansing fires of His truth through dealing with tribulation, crises of dealing with bad doctrine within supposed brethren, and outright persecution from people I thought were friends. It was through these fires of tribulation that, even though very painful, I got my focus off of self and onto the Lord. His will became paramount in my heart. His glory became my focus. I am nothing; He is everything. He is my κύριος (Lord); I am His δοῦλος (slave, bondservant). I had a test today and I was not only surprised by my reaction to it, but I also rejoiced when it was over as I looked back on the journey God has thus far taken me as He has peeled away the heretical, self-focused, bad theology, and me-ism that was standard fare in the SBC churches from which I came. Continue reading

Efficacious Faith vs. Man-made Faith


by Mike Ratliff

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14 ESV)

Efficacious adj. producing the desired effect – from The Oxford New Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus Third Edition.

Christian faith has appeared to many an easy thing; nay, not a few even reckon it among the social virtues, as it were; and this they do because they have not made proof of it experimentally, and have never tasted of what efficacy it is. For it is not possible for any man to write well about it, or to understand well what is rightly written, who has not at some time tasted of its spirit, under the pressure of tribulation; while he who has tasted of it, even to a very small extent, can never write, speak, think, or hear about it sufficiently. For it is a living fountain, springing up into eternal life, as Christ calls it in John iv.1

Saving or efficacious faith is not the same thing as the best faith man can muster through the exercise of the will. According to our Lord Jesus in John 4:13-14 (above), efficacious faith is that which is given to the believer by God and this same faith will become in the believer a spring of water welling up to eternal life. This is not belief that is the product of reason or intellectual assent. It is not a belief that the believer must generate and desperately hold onto lest it be diminished and be lost. In the excerpt from Martin Luther’s letter to Pope Leo X, Concerning Christian Liberty, we read that those who conceive of faith as something done by the believer count it as simply a social virtue and that is an easy thing. Luther says that those with this concept of faith believe as they do because they have not experienced efficacious faith and have never tasted the great strength there is in it. I contend that the purveyors of the Seeker-Sensitive, Emergent, and Missional forms of “Christianity” are of the same sort of faith Luther is contrasting in this letter with genuine believers who are so because they have drunk of the water given to them by the Lord that has become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. These of the New Type of Christianity have a faith consisting of works-righteousness. This is a man-made faith not the efficacious faith that is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:1-10).  Continue reading