Truth Seldom Goes Without A Scratched Face

by Mike Ratliff

[16] But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. [17] For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. [18] But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:16-18 ESV)

Even though I have been in a forced sabbatical from writing and posting since September due to relocating from Kansas to Oklahoma, that has not kept me from following what has been going on at CRN and with the continuing growing apostasy in the visible church. I still got to follow the discussion with the rest of the CRN discernment team. It has been very frustrating over the last several weeks not being able to “draw the sword,” so to speak. However, on the positive side, not being actively involved in the fight has enabled me to view what is going on from a unique perspective. 

Not only did I keep up with those discussions, I also kept up with  Dr. James White’s debates on his The Dividing Line podcasts as well as listening to Dr. Albert Mohler’s “The Briefing” each morning. Now, while I do not agree with Dr. Mohler on everything pertaining to “cultural Christianity” nor would I listen to what the liberal media have to say like he does, his analysis of all that is quite insightful to those with discernment.

What is the difference between apostasy and heresy? We need to know this since the visible church is rife with both in our time. The Greek root word that is translated as “heresy” in the New Testament is αἵρεσις or hairesis, “religious party, false teaching, division.” The ESV translates it as “party” in Acts 5:17 referring to the Sadducees. Heresy is a choice, a deliberate decision to “seize” upon a particular teaching that is not orthodox. The Sadducees, for example, denied the doctrine of resurrection. In Acts 15:5 we have the sect or party of the Judaizers. What did they teach? They taught salvation by works. God used this “heresy” to prompt the Jerusalem Council to define the true principle of salvation by grace alone through faith alone.

There has always been the plague of false teaching and teachers. This will only grow worse until our Lord returns. From 2 Peter 2:1 we learn that…[ false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.] These false teachers operate according to three principles. They are deceitful, that is, they smuggle in their false teachings so that those with discernment are not aware of what they are doing. Their teaching is degrading, that is, they deny the Lord and his work in one way or another. This blasphemes him. Their false teaching is destructive. It is damnable in that it destroys right doctrine and the lives of its victims. It also causes the destruction of it s propagators.

Apostasy is different. When you think of apostasy, think of the cults. They profess to be Christian, but their doctrines actually deny the faith.  For example, I have not seen a cult yet that does not in one way or another attack the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Any denial of the deity of Christ or salvation by grace, et cetera, would also mark a group as a cult. What am I saying? These are apostates and apostates are not Christians.

On the other hand, heresy is somewhat broader and can be committed by a true Christian. It occurs while holding to the foundational doctrines of Scripture, but then he or she deviates on a particular doctrine. One historical example would be the Christian Crusades, which were based on the heretical teaching that Christians can use force against unbelievers. Others teach that God demands poverty from Christians while still others teach the opposite “prosperity teaching,” that God returns our “investment” and makes us rich.

The “seeker-sensitive” movement appeals to people’s “felt-needs” to lure them into the church. This is heresy because the New Testament nowhere teaches us to do this. The spirit of “tolerance” in the church today is heretical because, as God’s word clearly says, God commands that we discern truth from error and strongly condemn false teaching in no uncertain terms.

The title of this post comes from a quote of from Puritan John Trapp who said, “Truth seldom goes without a scratched face.” My brethren, as I have said earlier, I have been listening to debates on The Dividing Line and such and many of those who apostatize then turn around and attack Christianity from the platform of their cultic or new apostate religion say that one of the main reasons they abandoned Orthodox Christianity was that, “In their view” God would never put forth his truth (the authoritative Word of God, which if infallible, et cetera) the way it is, that is, with a scratched face.

However, we who belong to the Lord, bought by him, must understand that we do have his truth, but in this life, we are in a battle to stand firm against the enemy and his seed who seek to destroy us and it. It is through this fight that God perfects us and builds our faith. This world is not our home. We are just passing through.

Soli Deo Gloria!



23 thoughts on “Truth Seldom Goes Without A Scratched Face

  1. Thanks Mike

    I learned something today. Never really considered the difference between heresy and apostasy. I can use that in my witnessing. Thanks again.


  2. It is a blessing to have you writing again. You are much appreciated as our brother in Christ.
    Thank you for this informative article, Mike. ‘very important to distinguish the difference between heresy and apostasy.


  3. I have learn a lot from reading your posts. My walk with the Lord has become stronger. I am stronger in my faith and my depression is gone. I only want to serve the Lord and do his will. Your post has been a God sent to me. Thank You. I pray for you and your family daily.


  4. Pingback: Truth Seldom Goes Without a Scratched Face « Truth2Freedom's Blog

  5. …And to think I almost sent you an email the other day welomming you back! LOL How’s that for a cp-incidence. Wish I would have now!
    Nice to see your mugshot too! Welcome back brother! Don’t you just love moving all your stuff and making the new house a home? The fellas at Home Depot know you by name I imagine.


  6. Thanks Mickey. We are still “in-flux” since we “down-sized” and have a lot of stuff we are trying to find a place for and we got rid of rooms of furniture that we now need to replace, et cetera. However, overall I love it here and I am able to work quite well and am just minutes from family so that is quite nice. However, most importantly, we are also part of a very good church that we actually were part of back in the late 1980’s when we lived here back then. It’s good to be back home. We also still have a house in Kansas to sell…


  7. As they used to say back in Kansas “There’s no place like home.” (While clicking their red Converse All Stars together:)


  8. 🙂 Mickey 🙂 Actually we lived in that house in Gardner, Kansas for a bit over 11 years. That was the longest I have ever lived in one house my whole life and I turned 61 in October. I lived in a house in Purcell, Oklahoma from the age of 3 until we moved to Yukon, OK just before I turned 14 so it was I guess that was about the same number of years, but even though my wife and I were both very ready to make this move, when the moving van pulled away and we did our final walk through of that big empty house to make load up our cars and make that 5 hour drive to our new house it was a bit heart-rending. There are some things about that home that I already miss. It had 4 full bedrooms and a 1000 sq ft finished basement, which contained my office. We had 4 bathrooms and the basement was like a separate living area. We had tons of storage. All of that was on three floors and now we have a one story house with two full baths, three bedrooms and a Study (my office). It’s not the same. Our garage is full of stuff we have no place for (yet). We also have a rented storage unit that is packed out. Downsizing is not so fun, but from this I also learned that “stuff” is just stuff and it certainly isn’t eternal and it can really become an idol.


  9. Great to have you back on line, my brother. Ken Silva told me a little of what you have been going through.

    We are downsizing, bit by bit, as we plan to move to our Oklahoma property in a few years, Lord willing.

    May our God continue to use you to bring glory to His name and edify His people.


  10. Thank you for explaining the difference. I had struggled with understanding fully which was which.

    Glad you are back, brother! I’ve been checking this blog almost daily and had wondered where you went. May God bless you and your wife in your new home.


  11. Ahhh Mike,
    I was getting a bit worried, that something had happened to you. So glad to see you back. I missed your insights and am looking forward to more of your “revelations” about the ongoing battle with which we are involved. Welcome back brother!!!


  12. Yer back! I’ve missed you –Mike and was quite worried….Praise Jesus that you’re okay!

    About your post, I’m still a bit confused. I’ll need to ruminate on it for awhile since it’s quite late and my brain is shutting down to sleep.

    Interestingly though I was just thinking about heresy and when does one consider a person a heretic? It’s so rife with all the false teachings and teachers that as of late I’ve been reticent and withdrawn since it’s so overwhelming.


  13. Hi, Mike I just read this…Haven’t come to your blog or CRN for the last few days. Have often been praying for you.. Am delighted to have you back! This is a great post, really helpful! Going to share it with my sisters…Truly grateful to the Lord for helping you with your move, and for having you back on the blog!


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