Unbelief is rooted in neutralist thinking


by Mike Ratliff

17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; Ephesians 4:17-18 (NASB) 

Genuine Christianity is that which is within the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Christians are commanded to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12) within that Lordship. We are to obey our Lord as branches abiding in the True Vine (John 15). How do we practically do this? We must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling presuppositionally, that is, with every thought, intent, and action taken captive to the will of God. We do this by approaching and living life with God at the center of all things instead of ourselves. In the passage above, (Ephesians 4:17-18) we see the opposite way to walk and the outcome of that. Unfortunately, that is how most professing believers approach this life, that is, in functional unbelief. Continue reading

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature


by Mike Ratliff

17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NASB) 

All forms of Liberal (so-called) Christianity are another religion, not True Christianity. Why? They are rooted in worldly, humanistic, and non-Christian presuppositions.  On the other hand, the Word of God clearly directs believers to avoid these philosophies and, instead, their presuppositions must be the precepts and doctrines of Christ, not the futile traditions of men (Colossians 2:3, 4, 22; 3:1-2). Based upon this clear division, believers are precluded from any form of neutrality or even seeking after it. Why? As we have seen in earlier posts, neutrality is in actuality veiled agnosticism or unbelief—a failure to walk in Christ, an obscuring of Christian commitment and distinctives, and a suppression of truth (cf. Romans 1:21, 25).  Continue reading

Christ’s sacrifice and the New Covenant


by Mike Ratliff

10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” 11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “ The righteous man shall live by faith.” Galatians 3:10-11 (NASB) 

As has been clearly shown, the easy-believism “gospel” as well as any version of it that either calls for more works (i.e. piety) on the part of the believer over and above believing the Gospel and receiving Christ as Lord and Saviour or suggests that the saving work of Christ on the Cross was not “sufficient enough” to cover the sins of those He came to save, therefore they must somehow achieve perfection on their own or enter into some form of purgatory after death to make up for that, are perversions of what is clearly taught in God’s Word. They are based on the presupposition that God has created salvation in a man-centered, law-based, works-righteousness oriented way that is found nowhere in Sacred Scripture. The correct presupposition, being Biblically based, we will explore in this post and will focus primarily on Hebrews 10:1-18.  Continue reading

Come and see


by Mike Ratliff

45 Philip *found Nathanael and *said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip *said to him, “Come and see.” (John 1:45-46 NASB)

In the passage above, John 1:45-46, we see two of our Lord’s future Apostles, Philip and Nathanael, conversing. Philip finds his friend Nathanael and tells him that he and other friends have found “Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote.” This is, of course, the Messiah. Then he tells him who he is, “Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” What was Nathanael’s response? He asked a rhetorical question, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” What was Philip’s answer? It was the one we must all take to heart and make the foundation of how we approach both evangelism and apologetics. He said, “Come and see.”  Continue reading

The rebellious ways of an unbelieving mind-set


by Mike Ratliff

17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; (Ephesians 4:17-18 NASB)

Genuine Christianity is that which is within the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Christians are commanded to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12) within that Lordship obeying our Lord as branches abiding in the True Vine (John 15). How do we practically do this? We must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling presuppositionally, that is, with every thought, intent, and action taken captive to the will of God. We do this by approaching and living life with God at the center of all things instead of ourselves. In the passage above, (Ephesians 4:17-18) we see the opposite way to walk and the outcome of that. Unfortunately, that is how most professing believers approach this life, that is, in functional unbelief.

Continue reading

Είμαι απλά ένας δούλος του Κυρίου Ιησού Χριστού


by Mike Ratliff

5 Listen, my beloved brethren:did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him. (James 2:5 NASB)

During His earthly ministry, as our Lord walked through Roman occupied Galilee, Samaria, and Judea and other parts of what we call the Middle East in our time, the “so-called educated experts” criticized Him with respect to His education credentials (John 7:14-15). What was His response? Did He back down? Did He buy into the authority of these men as carrying any weight that He must take into account in regards to the truth He taught and preached? No! He countered by challenging their competence as He spoke the truth from the Father. Think of the outrage today if someone like me who has no letters after his name like Doctor of Theology or whatever were to do as our Lord did and directly challenged one of these high placed religious leaders whose fruit of apostasy is continually being revealed as they refuse to follow the will of God. However, that is the very basis our Lord used to disqualify those who challenged Him (John 7:17, 19).  Continue reading

Faith, belief, understanding, and virtue


by Mike Ratliff

1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3 NASB)

There is such a thing as Biblical unity and then there is false unity.  True Biblical unity is, of course, rooted in the Word of God, while false unity is rooted in the world’s wisdom applied to Christianized thinking. Those professing Christians seeking unity with Islam and other religions, for instance, make their cause sound very noble, but true Biblical unity can only be based on one truth, “the unanimous agreement concerning the unique revelation of God through Jesus Christ” not human reason, or experience. In fact, professing Christians pursuing this “false unity” is a perfect case of where presuppositional thinking comes to bear. When our presuppositions are lined up as God would have them then we will be unified only with those Christians who are also in Christ as we are. On the other hand, those who do the opposite, seeking unity with all forms of religions and beliefs regardless of doctrinal differences, shows that their presuppositions are based outside of the bounds of belief.

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John 15 the Vine and the Branches


1 Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ἄμπελος ἡ ἀληθινὴ καὶ ὁ πατήρ μου ὁ γεωργός ἐστιν. 2 πᾶν κλῆμα ἐν ἐμοὶ μὴ φέρον καρπὸν αἴρει αὐτό, καὶ πᾶν τὸ καρπὸν φέρον καθαίρει αὐτὸ ἵνα καρπὸν πλείονα φέρῃ. 3 ἤδη ὑμεῖς καθαροί ἐστε διὰ τὸν λόγον ὃν λελάληκα ὑμῖν· 4 μείνατε ἐν ἐμοί, κἀγὼ ἐν ὑμῖν. καθὼς τὸ κλῆμα οὐ δύναται καρπὸν φέρειν ἀφ᾽ ἑαυτοῦ ἐὰν μὴ μένῃ ἐν τῇ ἀμπέλῳ, οὕτως οὐδὲ ὑμεῖς ἐὰν μὴ ἐν ἐμοὶ μένητε. 5 ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ἄμπελος, ὑμεῖς τὰ κλήματα. ὁ μένων ἐν ἐμοὶ κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ οὗτος φέρει καρπὸν πολύν, ὅτι χωρὶς ἐμοῦ οὐ δύνασθε ποιεῖν οὐδέν. 6 ἐὰν μή τις μένῃ ἐν ἐμοί, ἐβλήθη ἔξω ὡς τὸ κλῆμα καὶ ἐξηράνθη καὶ συνάγουσιν αὐτὰ καὶ εἰς τὸ πῦρ βάλλουσιν καὶ καίεται. 7 ἐὰν μείνητε ἐν ἐμοὶ καὶ τὰ ῥήματά μου ἐν ὑμῖν μείνῃ, ὃ ἐὰν θέλητε αἰτήσασθε, καὶ γενήσεται ὑμῖν. 8 ἐν τούτῳ ἐδοξάσθη ὁ πατήρ μου, ἵνα καρπὸν πολὺν φέρητε καὶ γένησθε ἐμοὶ μαθηταί.(John 15:1-8 NA27)

1 I am the True Vine and my Father is the Vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me not bearing fruit he take away and every branch bearing fruit he prunes it that it may bear much fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me and I in you as the branch is not able to bear fruit from itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither you unless you abide in me. 5 I am the Vine you are the branches. The on abiding in me and I in him, this one bears much fruit because apart from me you are not able to do anything. 6 Unless one abides in me, he is cast as branch that dries up and they are gathered and thrown into the fire and they are burned. 7 If you abide in me and my words abide in you, whatever you want, ask, and it will be done for you. 8 By this is my Father glorified that you bear much fruit and you be my disciples. (John 15:1-8 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

This last Sunday my Pastor, Rick Holland, preached through these very verses. I find it interesting how often I have been pulled back into theological discussions or research that has taken me right back here many times since. With the “deeds not creeds” group ignoring the truth as their groups seemingly continue to swell each and every day, we must not become discouraged, but remain fixed never wavering as we abide in Christ as his words abide in us. These people who decry the need for sound doctrine are open to deception from every source and there are plenty of wolves out there ready to lead them right down the center of the broad way to hell. The following post by Dr. James White is lengthy and technical, but I pray that you take the time to work your way through it. – Enjoy and be blessed – Mike Ratliff Continue reading

Ethnic Gnosticism


by Mike Ratliff

I just finished listening to today’s (February 2, 2012) The Dividing Line in which Dr. James White interviewd Dr. Voddie Baucham. The interview centered mostly on or about the fallout pertaining to ER2, especially the discussions afterwards in which certain Black Pastors and James MacDonald insinuated that charges of heresy against T.D. Jakes were actually racist and that Black Reformed Pastors and Theologians who also raised into question the theological soundness of T.D. Jakes were doing that to ingratiate themselves in with the White Middle Class Reformed leaders in order to be accepted into their circles, et cetera. Dr. White mentioned in the interview that some had even charged that he had no right to question the theology of T.D. Jakes because he no ability to understand his “Black” experience. Dr. Baucham is a Black Southern Baptist Pastor from the Houston, TX area and is Reformed in his Theology. He has lectured in Seminaries and has pastored several churches. During the discussion it was made clear that Dr. Baucham considered what went on in ER2 and the discussions that followed to be a trap and many fell into that trap. Those who set the trap are assured that they will succeed in capturing the hearts of most professing Christians through the emotional response based in what he called “Ethnic Gnosticism.” This form of Gnosticism states that those of a certain ethnicity can claim to have an experience within it that those of another ethnicity cannot understand or have. However, the human group “experience” we can all have, but no one can share across ethnic boundaries. That is the lie from the enemy and when it is applied to Religion, and man-centered Christianity is not immune, it can be deadly. I suggest you listen to that episode of The Dividing Line if you can. Dr. Baucham is our brother in Christ and he made it clear and Dr. White agreed that the Gospel cannot be divided up into ethnicity nor is there room for Ethnic Gnosticism in the Church.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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