God is Love

by Mike Ratliff

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4:16 ESV)

As the elect draw closer and closer to Christ in obedience and fellowship the more and more they will be seen to be identified with Him and will, therefore, be hated by the world, just as He was and just as He said would happen (John 15:18-25). If the visible church has invited the world in and has become so conformed to it that there is no difference, what will happen within these “churches” when the elect within become conformed to Christ as I shared above? It will be the same result. They will be seen as outsiders and troublemakers. They will be seen as people needing “sensitivity training” or as intolerable and close-minded. They will be seen uncompromising and will, therefore, have to be driven out or, at least, ostracized. Not every church is in this sad shape, thank the Lord, but the number is growing, and intolerance for true Christian exclusivity and doctrinal purity in our countries are starting to contaminate our churches.  Continue reading

A New Reformation?

by Mike Ratliff

In a careful reading of the Apostles as they explain the gospel, the workings of the Church, the way to know God, doctrine, et cetera, it is amazing that their appeal is never to their position as Apostles to be believed because of their authoritative position. Yes, they used that to be heard, but the appeal to belief was never unto that, but unto the Word of God and the completed work of Christ. It was always for the glory of God, not their glory. Paul’s suffering for the gospel was legendary, but he knew that God used that to both humble him and prepare him for even greater service (Acts 9:16). In our day, the appeal to truth should be no different, but in reality in the visible church; we see the exact opposite nearly everywhere we look. We are told to believe what we are told because of subjective reasoning. The person speaking claims that what he is saying is the truth because he or she experienced something that is in no way verifiable nor is it in any way a biblical standard. What this sort of thing does is point people to focus on their leaders rather than Christ and His Word. Christ gave us His doctrine in His Word and we are told in Matthew 28:20 to teach only that which he has given us to teach to those we disciple; nothing more, nothing less.  Continue reading

A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ

by Mike Ratliff

This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. (1 Timothy 1:18-20 ESV)

We have been looking at examples in the last several posts of a confused mess within the visible church. There are most definitely those who remain faithful in their orthodoxy while there are those who most definitely are “out there” in their apostasy. The confusion comes into play when we witness those with a very positive witness theologically making very unwise decisions with whom they fellowship or endorse. We also have some who have the right theology, but also embrace elements of the Emergent Christianity, which is heretical on many levels because of its unbiblical nature and its ecumenical inclusion of elements from other religions. This intermixing of things is where the confusion comes to bear. I attended a “mega-church” this last Sunday that has a fine pastor. He is theologically very sound. The church has many fine, biblically sound practices. However, it is amazing how conformed it also is on many levels to the very same new age nonsense that I have to put up with at the Catholic Healthcare System that employs me to manage their databases. They have banners hanging in their lobby that are nearly identical to the ones that appear on our newsletters at work as we are being called to “come together” more as a team, to engage, et cetera.  Continue reading

Really Abiding in Christ

by Mike Ratliff

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:1-6 ESV)

My friend Ken Silva was attacked today by someone claiming that he has no discernment. This was in reference to his stand against the new age, emergent Leonard Sweet attempting to pass off his theology as orthodox. Some of Mr. Sweet’s friends and allies have taken it upon themselves to claim that Ken is simply a bully and only a lowly “ODM” so he must be just looking for someone to kick around and there really is not anything to these charges anyway, blah, blah, blah… Well, I have read Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola. I have also been right there with Ken as he showed me the evidence of Sweet’s total lack of orthodoxy, his push to separate Christians from the Word of God to pursue his version of Jesus, et cetera. I am not surprised that many have come to the aide of Leonard Sweet and this book. Why? We live in a time of spiritual blindness. Those claiming that Ken has no discernment are doing so from their own base of zero spiritual discernment and prove it by their blind acceptance of this book and Leonard Sweet’s ministry as orthodox Christianity. God’s Truth, His Word, is what indicts them in this. I read some of the comments on the blog where most of the complaints were. I think a debate with some of those folks would be fun…  Continue reading