Sneak Attacks from Bottom Feeders et cetera

by Mike Ratliff

I’ve been busy all day and will be all night so I am putting together a quick post with two topics that seemed to me to be very important for me to share with you this day. The first is that as I fight the good fight more and more, our enemy seems to change course and attack from strange directions. I have ceased to be puzzled by this and refuse to be distracted by them, for very long that is, to the detriment of what I should be about. We do not have to take on every fight simply because someone dares us to, especially when those fights have already been fought long ago, and won. The new enemy may be lying and accusing us with all sorts of false charges, but it doesn’t matter. God knows the truth and that is all that is really all that counts.  Continue reading

Cause and Effect

by Mike Ratliff

I have been in a fascinating discussion today with members of our discernment team at CRN. It brought back a lot of memories of those early days of this ministry when those wounds and bruises from the battle at our former church over whether it should go Purpose Driven or not were still very evident along with the inherent resentments over how our supposed brothers and sisters in Christ simply brushed us aside not caring that we left since we would not conform to the PDC takeover. From that I learned much. I became determined to find the smoking gun, the mechanisms behind what makes the PDC paradigm and Rick Warren seem so monolithic and impossible to resist while at the same time, so shallow and unbiblical and able to sidestep nearly every very direct and valid doctrinal issue about his theology, ecclesiology, and epistemology. On these issues, he has been like the “Teflon Don,” able to deflect and seem untouchable no matter how well we show what he says and writes is questionable at best when lined up with Christian doctrine.  Continue reading

Missionaries and the Methods of Missions

by Mike Ratliff

21 εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς [ὁ Ἰησοῦς] πάλιν· εἰρήνη ὑμῖν· καθὼς ἀπέσταλκέν με ὁ πατήρ, κἀγὼ πέμπω ὑμᾶς. (John 20:21 NA27)

Therefore, Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you. As the Father has sent me, so I also send you.” (John 20:21 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

I’m sure most of you know what an “inconsistency” is. When it comes to one’s stand and understanding of theology, I have been amazed since I began this ministry with doctrinal inconsistencies revealed clearly in so many. Some are very subtle of course, but some can only be explained by blind spots as large as there can be. Once such “inconsistency” that is indeed puzzling, but very prevalent in these days of spiritual darkness are seen in those who profess to be Reformed in their Theology including a doctrinal stance on the Sovereignty of God while at the same time in their ministries, the message that comes across from them is one of works righteousness, which is little different than the Pelagianism of Rick Warren. We see this in their Missional initiatives that are tied to their Church planting programs. We looked at some of this in last night’s post Christianity and the Hegelian Dialectic RevisitedContinue reading

Christianity and the Hegelian Dialectic Revisited

by Mike Ratliff

32 Ἀκούσαντες δὲ ἀνάστασιν νεκρῶν οἱ μὲν ἐχλεύαζον, οἱ δὲ εἶπαν· ἀκουσόμεθά σου περὶ τούτου καὶ πάλιν. 33 οὕτως ὁ Παῦλος ἐξῆλθεν ἐκ μέσου αὐτῶν. 34 τινὲς δὲ ἄνδρες κολληθέντες αὐτῷ ἐπίστευσαν, ἐν οἷς καὶ Διονύσιος ὁ Ἀρεοπαγίτης καὶ γυνὴ ὀνόματι Δάμαρις καὶ ἕτεροι σὺν αὐτοῖς. (Acts 17:32-34 NA27)

32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some were mocking him, but others said, “We will listen to you about this again.” 33 Thus Paul went out from the midst of them. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom were both Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. (Acts 17:32-34 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

Many reading this may remember my post from June 2010, The Epistemology of Transformative Learning. Before I left to go on a short mini-vacation to visit my son in Washington D.C., I remember being inundated by emails and Tweets, et cetera about all of the stuff going on with Mark Driscoll and his church planting network and the reason he is so “bent” on doing it is that he had a vision or something like that directly from God to do that. However, this church planting is not done in any way like the Apostles did or those who followed them in the early days of the Church. No, the emphasis is not on following the Great Commission to the letter as given by our Lord in Matthew 28:16-20 which is to go into all the world making disciples from every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded them. They were to go with boldness knowing that Jesus would always be with them to the end of the age. (Paraphrase of the Great Commission) That is what we are to be about, which is taking the Gospel to the World, but that is not the same thing these people mean when they talk about “Church Planting” and “Transforming Lives.”  Continue reading


I will be traveling to the East Coast to visit my son, leaving Thursday the 20th and returning Monday the 24th. Please pray that my wife and I have a safe and blessed trip. – Mike Ratliff

Always Ready

by Mike Ratliff

15 κύριον δὲ τὸν Χριστὸν ἁγιάσατε ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν, ἕτοιμοι ἀεὶ πρὸς ἀπολογίαν παντὶ τῷ αἰτοῦντι ὑμᾶς λόγον περὶ τῆς ἐν ὑμῖν ἐλπίδος (1 Peter 3:15 NA27)

15 but reverence Christ in your hearts as Lord always being prepared to make a defense to everyone asking for a reason for the hope in you. (1 Peter 3:15 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1) 

I took a few days off as I had family visiting from Oklahoma. On Saturday we returned from an outing and as I opened the door to get out of the car, I heard someone say, “Hello!” I thought it was one of my neighbors. Everyone else went into the house and I stayed out on the driveway to talk to a fellow holding a sign he wanted to plant in my yard saying that our house was protected by his “Home Protection System.” All I had to do was agree to pay the monthly fee, have the sign put in the yard, and the cost of installation and the equipment was “free.” I do not remember how many times or how many ways I said no and was not interested. I have this extra God given gene that automatically shuts off the part of my brain that says, “Yes” when high-pressure sales techniques are applied. In fact, the more they are applied the angrier I become and when all is said and done the last company I will ever do business with is that company no matter what and I will tell everyone I know not to do business with them, et cetera.  Continue reading

Time for an Apologetics Test

by Mike Ratliff

This whole petty “thing” with ER2 and James MacDonald, et cetera has gotten very old. Today, I received an email that D.A. Carson and Tim Keller, the initial founders of The Gospel Coalition, had “weighed in” with their own response titled Reflections on Confessionalism, Boundaries, and Discipline. Whatever… We also got news that Frank Turk had written an Open Letter to Chris Rosebrough over at PyroManiacs. It was quite interesting in that Frank admitted that Rick Warren’s response to the whole ER2/T.D. Jakes blow up opened his eyes to R.W.’s real character. While Frank and I still have differences on what is required to be truly discerning, I appreciated what he said about that. Continue reading

Answering Fools According to Their Folly

by Mike Ratliff

1 Καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ Σαδδουκαῖοι πειράζοντες ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν σημεῖον ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἐπιδεῖξαι αὐτοῖς. 2 ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· [ὀψίας γενομένης λέγετε· εὐδία, πυρράζει γὰρ ὁ οὐρανός· 3 καὶ πρωΐ· σήμερον χειμών, πυρράζει γὰρ στυγνάζων ὁ οὐρανός. τὸ μὲν πρόσωπον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ γινώσκετε διακρίνειν, τὰ δὲ σημεῖα τῶν καιρῶν οὐ δύνασθε;] 4 γενεὰ πονηρὰ καὶ μοιχαλὶς σημεῖον ἐπιζητεῖ, καὶ σημεῖον οὐ δοθήσεται αὐτῇ εἰ μὴ τὸ σημεῖον Ἰωνᾶ. καὶ καταλιπὼν αὐτοὺς ἀπῆλθεν. (Matthew 16:1-4 NA27)

1 And having approached to test him, the Pharisees and Sadducees asked for him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 But he answered and said to them, “When evening comes you say, ‘Fair weather for the sky is fiery red.’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today stormy weather for the sky being overcast is fiery red.’ The appearance of the sky you know enough to distinguish, but the signs of the times you can’t make out? 4 An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign and a sign will not be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” And having left them, he went away. (Matthew 16:1-4 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

Today, my friends in the CRN discernment group sent me the link below to a tweet by Perry Noble.

Perry Noble tweet:!/perrynoble/status/123786301538451456

RT @jamesmacdonald: Fool! or No Fool? New blog post – //THIS IS A MUST READ!!! #homerun 

Go ahead and follow those links and read James MacDonald’s post on Proverbs 26:4,5, which Perry Noble says is a “must read.” If you don’t think this is reference to the blow up over his invite of T.D. Jakes to his Elephant Room 2 discussion, his failed attempt to defend that decision, his losing Mark Dever from the Forum, et cetera then you haven’t been paying attention. Dr. James White said it best when he commented the other day on this whole sad affair by saying, “…the Elephant Room, whatever that is. Whatever it is, it sounds like a place where people sit around and discuss how to redefine Christianity while refusing to stand on the shoulders of giants who have come before…” Of course, his main comment was about the foolishness of inviting a known Modalist, T.D. Jakes, to a supposed Christian discussion about the Holy Trinity.  Continue reading

Justified Without Charge

by Mike Ratliff

23 πάντες γὰρ ἥμαρτον καὶ ὑστεροῦνται τῆς δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ 24 δικαιούμενοι δωρεὰν τῇ αὐτοῦ χάριτι διὰ τῆς ἀπολυτρώσεως τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ· 25 ὃν προέθετο ὁ θεὸς ἱλαστήριον διὰ [τῆς] πίστεως ἐν τῷ αὐτοῦ αἵματι εἰς ἔνδειξιν τῆς δικαιοσύνης αὐτοῦ διὰ τὴν πάρεσιν τῶν προγεγονότων ἁμαρτημάτων 26 ἐν τῇ ἀνοχῇ τοῦ θεοῦ, πρὸς τὴν ἔνδειξιν τῆς δικαιοσύνης αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ νῦν καιρῷ, εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν δίκαιον καὶ δικαιοῦντα τὸν ἐκ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ. (Romans 3:23-26 NA27)

23 for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption of Christ Jesus, 25 whom God displayed as a propitiation by his blood received through faith. This was in order to display his righteousness because in his divine forbearance, he passed over previously occurred sins. 26 This was to display his righteousness in the present time, for him to be just and the justifier of the one having faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:23-26 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1) 

As I got ready to “attend Church” this morning with my wife, I spent some time in prayer as the coffee brewed. I write down what I pray as this helps me focus. There is nothing legalistic in this. There is nothing mystical about it. This just helps me pray. It is also gives me a record of what I pray, which is pretty cool when God answers one of those requests. Part of my prayer this morning was. “…I pray for your glory in and through me this day. I pray for your kingdom to come into fulfillment soon. I pray for you to be glorified in my worship of you this day in church and in my walk and service. Use me as you will. I pray for wisdom and discernment…” There was more of course, but as the worship service began, there was something different. We noticed that we were going to have Communion today because the “Elements” were on the Communion Table. Also, there was a Cello on the stage. When the pastor, Rick Holland, spoke, he said that we would be led in worship by part of the Christian Worship band “Enfield.” The leader and his wife were in town for a wedding. It turned out that the Cellist was the bride. In any case, the music was all Christ glorifying and incredibly edifying. By the time we took communion, I had tears rolling down my face. Did God answer my prayer? Who can worship God like that? It is only those who are justified without charge, the ones justified freely by his grace through the redemption of Christ Jesus. Continue reading

Presuppositions Unto Darkness

by Mike Ratliff

18 Ἀποκαλύπτεται γὰρ ὀργὴ θεοῦ ἀπ᾽ οὐρανοῦ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν ἀσέβειαν καὶ ἀδικίαν ἀνθρώπων τῶν τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἐν ἀδικίᾳ κατεχόντων, 19 διότι τὸ γνωστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ φανερόν ἐστιν ἐν αὐτοῖς· ὁ θεὸς γὰρ αὐτοῖς ἐφανέρωσεν. (Romans 1:18,19 NA27)

18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness repress the truth. 19 For that which may be known of God is manifest among them because God has manifested it to them. (Romans 1:18,19 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

The circus that visible church has become wears me out. I know that we must continue to oppose the wolves in sheep’s clothing. I know that we must continue to expose the false prophets and false doctrines while, at the same time, continue to teach the truth and point God’s people to the light and away from the darkness. I know this, but it can be tiring at times. However, I have also learned that when that weariness comes, it is also a time of reflection, and most of the time, God uses it to show me a root cause of much of the weeds we are pulling up. Isn’t it better to find the root and kill it then to simply pull up what comes from it?  Continue reading

Christology 101

by Mike Ratliff

The Elephant Room 2 debacle and all the fuss of those coming to James MacDonald’s defense for inviting T.D. Jakes like Mark Driscoll and Rick Warren and our very well-documented opposition to it is still running its course. The determined defense by some of the ecumenical decision should be looked at by us as something important the enemy is seeking to protect as a stronghold of some sort. In any case, when we encounter these things we must be bold in our defense of the truth regardless of how much men like Rick Warren and those like him protest saying we are unloving. They will always sacrifice the truth on the altar of false humility saying it is wrong to offend and we should always seek to build bridges to all even those like T.D. Jakes whose religious views are obviously heretical. The Elephant Room is a forum designed to discuss differences with the intent of breaking down barriers and constructing bridges between those who differ when it comes to doctrine. However, let’s be honest as Bereans. We must continue to check the verity, Biblically, of what is being taught by all who we listen to and who we read. To do otherwise is foolish. We learn from those who speak the truth and we reject those who do not. Period! On the positive side, we must also learn all we can of our Lord’s good doctrines and it doesn’t hurt to know the truth of Church history instead of the misinterpretations of it used by heretics to mislead people. Continue reading

Rick Warren and Contemplative Prayer

by Mike Ratliff

And the LORD said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. (Jeremiah 14:14 ESV)

On September 21st, I posted “Is Contemplative Prayer Christian?”. The rest of the discernment team at CRN have been researching and posting on CSM and Contemplative/Centering Prayer or CCP as well. I was listening to an interview on The White Horse Inn the other day done by Michael Horton with Mark Galli who is the senior managing editor of Christianity Today. Most of the interview went well, but right at the end he started talking about Spiritual Formation as if it was something positive. Of course, as he used examples, it was obvious that his understanding of it was nothing like that of someone like Tim Keller whose version is total CSM. I was a bit nonplused I must say because he was so right on with his decrying moral therapeutic deism and the spiritual monstrosities that mega-churches become. Of course, as I thought through that, I think he may have been using the term with a genuine Christian meaning rather than a pseudo-christian meaning like those wolves in sheep’s clothing who are peddling CSM using Christian terminology within it so the gullible will buy into it. Of course, we shall see won’t we?  Continue reading

What is Vision Casting?

by Mike Ratliff

14 Μακάριοι οἱ πλύνοντες τὰς στολὰς αὐτῶν, ἵνα ἔσται ἡ ἐξουσία αὐτῶν ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον τῆς ζωῆς καὶ τοῖς πυλῶσιν εἰσέλθωσιν εἰς τὴν πόλιν. 15 ἔξω οἱ κύνες καὶ οἱ φάρμακοι καὶ οἱ πόρνοι καὶ οἱ φονεῖς καὶ οἱ εἰδωλολάτραι καὶ πᾶς φιλῶν καὶ ποιῶν ψεῦδος. (Revelation 22:14,15 NA27)

14 Blessed are the ones washing their robes that will be their right to the Tree of Life and they may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the fornicators, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone loving and practicing falsehood. (Revelation 22:14,15 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1) 

After the T.D. Jakes invite to Elephant Room 2 by James MacDonald he made a tactical error by trying to justify with a lot of obfuscation even claiming that Jakes was not a Modalist. Those who defended MacDonald erred as well even when they tried to cover over the lack of discernment by MacDonald to the point of de-cloaking themselves at the end and endorsing the invite. I find it hard to understand how anyone who claims to be a Biblical scholar (Mark Driscoll) and who can actually do some good research and writing, can say all the right things, but then end his statement is total obfuscation by stating that none of it matters and he is looking forward to discussing the doctrine of the Trinity with Jakes.  Continue reading