Submitting To The Authority Of Sacred Scripture

by Mike Ratliff

[16] For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. [17] For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” [18] we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. [19] And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, [20] knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. [21] For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:16-21 ESV)

Several years ago one of the leaders of a cult attacked a friend using the comment section of her blog. He and other members of that cult attempted to shut her down by overwhelming her comment section. She asked me to help. I wasn’t much help, but I confronted the one doing the dirty work with some straightforward Biblical truth that directly contradicted what he and the leader of that cult were teaching and trying to force all Christians to follow. When I did that, they left her blog and attacked mine. Since I moderate comments it did not take very long to ascertain what was going on and to block them from doing the same thing to me that they had done to my friend’s blog. However, before I got that under control the leader of the cult had someone, probably several of his followers, go through the comments on my blog and get the email addresses of everyone who had commented against what they had been saying. They then began a very hateful email attack against me and those faithful friends who had done the very same thing I had done, which is respond to doctrinal error with Biblical Truth. 

By the time the dust had settled, which was about a week if I remember correctly, I had been placed on the cult’s list of “False Prophets” along with Charles Spurgeon, John Owen, John Bunyan, John MacArthur, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Dr. James White, R.C. Sproul, Al Mohler, and many others. What was our crime?  Why were we singled out as “False Prophets?” All of us have one thing in common, we teach or did teach that God is Sovereign and his Word is completely inerrant, sufficient, and authoritative. What was the cult leader’s issue with that? He held that he had been given special revelation from God and had more authority than Sacred Scripture and when I used passages from the Word of God against his false doctrines his response was that I did not have the authority to use those passages like that, only people at his level had the authority to interpret scripture like that. Do we find anywhere in Sacred Scripture where this is even remotely possible? No! The answer to that is found in the passage I placed at the top of this post.

Now let us fast forward to this present time. God has allowed or has given over those who have rejected his truth to what they have idolized. Spiritual darkness is everywhere. I grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s in Oklahoma in a society that held a predominantly Christian worldview, which even included those who were not Christians. At least they were in many ways submitted to that worldview at some level. There were Societal Mores in place that kept complete moral degradation in our culture from being the norm. However, that is no longer the case.

The culture in which we find ourselves is rapidly chucking any adherence to what we call a “Christian Worldview.” Instead, that is being replaced with secularization or a “Secular Worldview” in more and more of our culture. There are still genuine Christians of course. The Church is still alive and well because Christ is still building his Church, but the “visible church” is rapidly being overwhelmed by the secularization of our culture. By-the-way, Cultural Christianity is not genuine Christianity so when I refer to the Genuine Church, I am not referring to those people who call themselves Christians, but who are disqualified by their failure to adhere to what the Bible, God’s Authoritative Word, tells us marks genuine disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In our culture in the United States, we have had a Christian Worldview in place since we have been a country. Being a Genuine Christian in this culture is quite different than what awaits us in a fully secular culture. What is the difference? In the secularized society the world is as our Lord described in John 15:18-25. It is one that is hostile to the message of the Gospel and how they will hate and persecute all who preach it to them.

[18] “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. [19] If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. [20] Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. [21] But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. [22] If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. [23] Whoever hates me hates my Father also. [24] If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. [25] But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ (John 15:18-25 ESV)

However, even in our culture that did adhere to a Christian Worldview the persecution may not be there, but the hatred and rejection of the Gospel is still in place. In any case, with the rapid move of our culture into secularization, every aspect of our society, especially government will be hostile to the exclusivity of the Christian Gospel message. While other religions will be tolerated, we will be viewed as intolerant and preaching a message of hate because we point out people’s sins and call for their repentance. I listened to a Muslim speak in a debate last week saying that Christians and Muslims can coexist in a society with no problem if the Christians will give up that offensive, exclusive Gospel message.

Now, that is what awaits us in these spiritually darkening times. Compromise is what will be demanded. However, we cannot do that and be the genuine disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our number one allegiance is to God and our Saviour, Christ Jesus. We are to be good citizens, but not at the expense of disobeying God. Where is our authority to be this way, and to speak the truth in the face of the enemy’s lies?

[12] Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, [13] while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. [14] But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it [15] and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. [16] All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:12-17 ESV) 

In vv12-13 we see the truth of the reality that is going on all around us and is only going to become “more real” unless God grants us with a great revival. In any case, the command is in v14. We are to continue in God’s Truth, that is, the Word of God. We are to know it and live having firmly believed it. In v16 we see why Sacred Scripture is Inerrant, Sufficient, and Authoritative. What is it? It is God-breathed. Because of this, it is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. God has given this to us so that all of us may be complete in Christ and equipped for every good work.

My brethren, I am not a prophet. I am not like that fellow who thought he was like the Lord Jesus and had authority over Scripture and could force all professing Christians to follow him. That is actually evil as I am sure you surmised. No, I am simply a Bible teacher who prays daily for wisdom and discernment and that God will use him to help the Body of Christ as he wills. However, I do know that God desires for all of us to live under the Lordship of Christ by the authority of his Word.

Soli Deo Gloria!

7 thoughts on “Submitting To The Authority Of Sacred Scripture

  1. really good encouragement, Mike. You are so right. I have lost contact with several family members already because either they just cannot stomach my beliefs or they don’t want to be seen as associating with someone with my beliefs since that may implicate them as well. I’ve had two family members and one family friend confront me and tell me emphatically that they do not believe as I do, and that if I know what is good for me I will give up my beliefs. Lately I have been praying some of Paul’s prayers in the epistles, for the church. Especially that we Christians would know the love of God, we would love God with all our hearts, and love our brethren in Christ. That God would cause our love to grow and abound in knowledge and depth of insight. I believe that it is this love for God, and His love for us and our love for one another that will be one of the things that will help us to stand strong for the Lord. There is something so strengthening, calming and reassuring in God’s love for us. We can face the world’s hatred with the knowledge that God’s love far, far outweighs their puny acceptance. The world cannot really love, it is only a façade. God’s love for those in Christ however is eternal, holy, lavish, and redemptive. Praise the Lord!


  2. Thanks Julie. I think there is most definitely an element of fear as you mentioned there. I was talking with some of the men in our Bible Study group at Church yesterday about this (which is where this post came from) and we all agreed that once the pressure does come to bear, and it will, that is when we will see that dividing line for real. Those who are genuine, spirit-led believers will adhere, will obey, and will not compromise no matter the cost, but the rest will for all sorts of reasons, but primarily fear that overrides their man-centered religious convictions. That is the difference, which is so hard to explain to some people right now. How do you explain to other believers that your faith isn’t in a denomination or a preacher or a religious system or political party or whatever. No, my faith is centered in Christ alone and it is supernatural and when the time comes for the pressure to come to bear, I know that the Holy Spirit will give me the words to speak (he already has in several pressure cooker situations) and it is never for my glory, but for the glory of God alone and for the edification of those who hear and I am usually left there in the background, which is how it should be.


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  4. I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws. — Psalm 119:30
    it is tim that the church start committing to psalm 119: 30 and choose the way of truth, the church as we know it is watring down the gospel. BROTHER I THANK YOU FOR YOUR WORD TODAY, AMEN


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