How should we deal with apostates?


by Mike Ratliff

3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. 4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 1:3-4 (NASB) 

Carefully read the passage above my brethren. The writer of the Epistle of Jude is the brother of James, the well-known leader of the Jerusalem church (Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21;18; Galatians 2:9) and, therefore, the half-brother of our Lord Jesus Christ. In v3 we read that Jude had intended to write a letter on salvation as the common blessing enjoyed by all true believers. This intent was probably to emphasize unity and fellowship among believers as he reminded them that God is no respecter of persons, however, his plans were changed. He doesn’t say why he “found it necessary” to write something else, but what we have in this letter is actually a call to battle for the truth in light of the appearance and infiltration into the Church of apostate teachers.  Continue reading

Spiritual Darkness Unbelief and Unrighteousness


by Mike Ratliff

4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” 5 And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He wondered at their unbelief.
And He was going around the villages teaching. Mark 6:4-6 (NASB) 

The joy of the Lord is a tremendous gift to God’s people from him. Without it we would be left to deal with far more evil, disappointment, tragedy, distress, and despair than we could ever do on our own. We have prayer and the promise that we can always come boldly to the Throne of Grace.

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16 (NASB) 

I watched some videos today while at lunch that showed the reaction of many of the spokespersons from the Main Stream Media and other politically leaning left groups as they reacted to the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election. These reactions were from the immediate two days after the 3rd of November. Some of the people from CNN for example could not even make complete sentences they were so overcome with emotion. The one that really got my attention though was a spokesperson for a Social Justice group. He said that the attempts by the Trump Campaign and his supporters to force recounts and expose corruption in the election process were “Racist.” Yes, that is what he said.

During and after the 2016 election I lost a boatload of Facebook friends. During the 2020 election I lost a lot of friends on Facebook as well, but these were different. These were people I had been reaching out to with the light of the Gospel. I had been giving them the truth yet as it became clear that I was not participating the ‘you must live in fear tyranny’ coming from certain government institutions as they proclaimed that the Covid-19 outbreak had become a “Pandemic” when it was really far less lethal than the seasonal flu and I refused to allow anyone to bash our President with all sorts of outlandish accusations then I ended up having to sever a lot more Facebook relationships.

However, what is most disturbing to me during all this is when professing Christians fall into that pit of hate and lies I just described. They have become part of that “darkness” and because of that, they will no longer listen to reason. They will no longer listen to clear Biblical evidence that “the way” they are on only leads to destruction. Isn’t it interesting that those professing Christians doing that are also on the Social Justice, Critical Race Theory, and Intersectionality way?

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An Examination of the Word-Faith Movement Part 2


by Mike Ratliff

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB)

I have debated Pelagians. I have debated Atheists. I have debated Agnostics. I have debated Campbellites. I have debated Semi-Pelagians and Arminians. I have debated Antinomians. I have debated Hyper-Calvinists. In every case I must say that I would much rather debate believers who have the same respect for the Word of God that I have. The hardest to debate are those whose Bible knowledge is superficial at best. What little they have has been spoon-fed to them from their favorite teacher of whatever Biblical error they hold. Instead of searching the scripture to see if what I say is so, they quote Brother So and So or read some commentary or book that supports their doctrine. Continue reading

An Examination of the Word-Faith Movement Part 1


by Mike Ratliff

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB) 

I used to work at a Computer Store back in the mid 1980’s. I became a Christian just six months or so before I went to work there. One of my coworkers was a fellow who claimed to be a bi-vocational preacher. He was one of the most difficult people I have ever had to work with, but that is not the reason I am using this example for this article. He was also deeply into the Word-Faith movement.

I had two small children at that time and the youngest was constantly passing his infectious microbes to me. Therefore, it seemed as if I was also constantly fighting off colds and such. One day I was sitting at my desk trying to stop sneezing and coughing when my Word-Faith co-worker showed up. He said, “Hi, what’s going on?” I told him what was going on then lightheartedly mentioned that I was fighting a cold. What he said next really surprised me. He said, “You are sick because that is what you claimed.” I must have looked perplexed because he then said, “You are sick because you made a negative confession that you are sick.” That surprised me because I was pretty sure that I had the same cold my son had. Continue reading

What Happens When the Word of God’s Authority is Ignored?


by Mike Ratliff

12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:12-17 (NASB) 

The Great Down Grade Controversy was between Charles Spurgeon and a few orthodox ministers who stood against the trend towards modernism that was sweeping through England in the last years of his ministry. That conflict had many similarities with the battle we are in the midst of right now with the movement into “relevance” and “the new evangelism.” Just as in Spurgeon’s day, there seems to be only a remnant that is standing against this onslaught against the truth for the sake of being man pleasers. Continue reading

The Judgment of Deception


by Mike Ratliff

1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5 (NASB) 

Idolatry, as I have been teaching you for these last many years, always produces spiritual blindness. It also brings God’s judgment. As we see in Romans 1:26, God “gave over,” or παρέδωκεν the unrighteous to the their own lusts as an act of judgment. Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post from 2 Timothy. This accumulating for themselves of teachers to suit their own passions by those who will not endure sound teaching, but have itching ears is the very same thing. God has given them over to their false gods, to their idols. Their deception is willing. Think of all those people lining up to to become Social Justice warriors in the big push of Critical Race Theory by these false prophets with their false gospel of works righteousness which preys upon the post modern’s inability to think critically about anything. Continue reading

Are You Guilty Of Idolatry?


by Mike Ratliff

1 Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments; 3 and let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” Genesis 35:1-3 (NASB) 

idolatry 1: the worship of a physical object as a god 2: immoderate attachment or devotion to something (from Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary)

I’m sure that most Christians’ conception of idolatry is one in which people fall down and worship some statue or image or a facsimile of something that appears to resemble a “god.” While that is an example of idolatry there is a more subtle form of idolatry that all people are neck deep in outside of the grace of God. If we look closely at the dictionary definition I placed near the top of this post, we will see that the first definition is our conception while the second is the reality of which we must all agree that we are guilty. The last word in that definition could easily be change from “something” to “someone.” Then all we have to do is look in a mirror to see who that someone is. We are all guilty of idolatry to some level. Continue reading

Apprehended By God


by Mike Ratliff

12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12 (NASB) 

The Apostle Paul often used the analogy of a runner to describe our spiritual growth. Unlike a race that has an ending with one runner reaching the goal and attaining the prize of victory, our spiritual race will continue as long as we live. We will never reach the goal of Christlikeness, but like the runner in a race we must continue to pursue that goal.

Even though the current crop of evangelicals disdain discipleship, Bible study, and spiritual growth calling them unnecessary since their sole goal is numerical growth through their evangelical ministries, we must not give in to this lie. Paul tells us that God’s will for each of His children is their sanctification. (1 Thessalonians 4:3) That means His desire for each of us is that we be holy. Continue reading

Profile of an Apostate


by Mike Ratliff

20 The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Matthew 13:20-22 (NASB)

The Bible very clearly teaches that Christians should examine themselves quite often in order to see what their spiritual condition is. Genuine Christians are not perfect people. Neither are they always full of happiness, in perfect health while having plenty of money in the bank. No, the fact that all believers are called to be humble, poor in spirit, meek, pure in heart and many other things that are growing in their character means that they will spend much of their time in the fires of sanctification. It is during these times of pruning that believers are in the greatest danger of becoming despondent, discouraged, and even depressed if they have not learned to view their circumstances correctly.

Despite what many in the Easy-believism or Universalism camp teach, there are people who profess Christ who are not genuine. They are not regenerate nor do they have the Holy Spirit. They are not in Christ. Genuine Christians abide in Christ. They remain. They may go through the worst tribulation imaginable, yet they remain attached to the Vine. However, when tribulation descends on the disingenuous professing Christians they do not endure because they have no root in themselves. The world and the deceitfulness of riches cause others to fall away. These are not genuine believers. Continue reading

Cast Your Burden on the Lord


by Mike Ratliff

12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me,
Then I could bear it;
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me,
Then I could hide myself from him.
13 But it is you, a man my equal,
My companion and my familiar friend;
14 We who had sweet fellowship together
Walked in the house of God in the throng. Psalms 55:12-14 (NASB) 

As the great Apostasy of the Church deepens and widens it seems that even those we once looked up to as solid and faithful servants of the Most High are slipping into unbelief. It is these failures that seem to strike the hardest at our hearts. We even begin to wonder, “Who’s next?” However, we must not become consumed with discouragement because of this. Yes, it should make us sorrowful, but we must not allow the lack of faithfulness by people to affect our walk with the Lord. Our role model is Jesus Christ. We should look to Him alone as our rock and firm foundation, not other people. Men will always let us down eventually.

We are fooling ourselves if we believe that persecution is not coming upon the Western Church. In every other part of the world Christians lose status in their society when they are saved. Their lives do not automatically become better when they profess Christ. Instead, they are seen as second-class citizens because of their faith. Here in the West, we exist in a climate of spiritual bankruptcy and easy-believism that is the product of decades of man-loving semi-pelagianism that has sucked the spiritual life out of the Church.

Our Lord said that to follow Him is costly, but in the West, it requires hardly any commitment at all. Christianity is seen as an add-on to ones life instead of what actually defines it. However, those in our culture who do take a stand for truth and attempt to live as Christ directs will find that they are no longer seen as “normal.” In fact, even in their churches, they will find there is a great deal of resistance to that level of commitment. Those who stand against this will soon be excluded and shunned. Why? The Western Church acts like the world because the world is in it. The world cannot tolerate true, genuine Christianity. It has no problem with empty religion, but Christ’s disciples who live out their faith as led by the Lord, will be at odds with the worldly.

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True and False Christians


In these last days it seems that what is up is down and what is down is up. The dynamic, forward moving evangelical part of the visible Church is quickly moving into a form of Christianity that seems oh so right to people. It seeks to offend no one. Many “evangelicals” have openly embraced union with the Roman Catholic church implying that the Protestant Reformation was a mistake. The focus of this form of Christianity is never on the Gospel. Instead it is on feeding the poor or world peace and always seeking to be friends of the world. Then there is the Social Justice Movement with its roots in Marxism and is often called “WOKE.” This form of Christianity is an attempt to divide Christians up into groups of victims who are seeking justice with those in Orthodoxy as the culprits behind all their problems. However, even though what we see seems to be many different apostate movements in the Church, the fact is, there is really only two groups of people calling themselves Christians. There are True Christians and False Christians. – Mike Ratliff

The following devotional by Martin Luther is from Faith Alone.

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” John 1:47

The Lord Christ does not want us to brag about being a Christian or, as in the case of Nathanael, being an Isrealite. It’s not enough to say, “I am baptized,” or even to say, “I am a bishop,” “I am a cardinal,” or “I am a preacher.” You must believe in Christ and live like a Christian. You must be righteous both on the inside and on the outside. You must not be embarrassed of the Lord Christ and the Christian faith. If you are, then you are a false Christian. If you don’t believe in your heart, your entire life is a lie and you remain in darkness. You aren’t righteous, and you only appear to be a Christian. Your actions don’t reflect your Christian faith.

If we could separate Christians from one another and divide them into true and false Christians, how many true Christians would we find? The world is crazy, foolish, and wild. It’s filled with all kinds of evil—adultery, drunkenness, vindictiveness, and other sins. Some people no longer consider it a sin for people to cheat each other. Yet these same people want to be considered good Christians.

Believe me, you’re not fooling anyone but yourself. God isn’t fooled or mocked. He will know what you are really like in an instant, just as he knew that Nathanael was a true Israelite who believed in he prophets. He will look at you and say, “Yes, here is a true Christian!”

Soli Deo Gloria!

Repent or Perish


by Mike Ratliff

1 Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? 3 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:1-5 (NASB) 

Those who were massacred at the Federal Center in Oklahoma City, the World Trade Center, in the temple by Pilate, and those killed when the tower in Siloam fell were no more evil than any other person then or now. Jesus tells those with Him and us that those who survive tragedies are not morally superior to those who do not survive. Instead, He calls everyone to repent because sudden death could happen to any of us at any time. God does not guarantee that we will have time to prepare for death, so now is the time for repentance. Continue reading

Warning Against Apostasy


by Mike Ratliff

11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Hebrews 5:11-14 (NASB) 

Apostasy: [Middle English apostasie, from Old French, from Late Latin apostasia, defection, from Late Greek apostasi, from Greek apostasis, revolt, from aphistanai, aposta-, to revolt : apo-, apo- + histanai, to stand, place; see st- in Indo-European roots.]

Noun pl -sies abandonment of one’s religious faith, political party, or cause [Greek apostasis desertion] from: Collins Essential English Dictionary 2nd Edition 2006 © HarperCollins Publishers 2004, 2006

I am convinced that a good way to understand apostasy and what causes one to abandon his or her religious faith is to think of it in the verb form of “to forget.” In the history of civilization, the battle between intellectual honesty and intellectual barbarity is one that has cycled back a forth for millennia. When intellectual honesty is on top, truth is seen as succinct and knowable and authoritative. When intellectual barbarity is on top, truth is seen as relative and completely unknowable.  In case you weren’t sure, we are now in an intellectual barbarian stage in the 21st Century. Continue reading

God’s Wrath of Abandonment


by Mike Ratliff

7 Ephraim is joined to idols;
Let him alone. Hosea 4:17 (NASB) 

Idolatry is the natural state of man. Left to themselves, people will worship or idolize someone or something. On the top of the list of those things we place on pedestals of idolatry is self. Professing Christians are not immune. They idolize Christian leaders, their churches, their doctrine, their liberty, their self-righteousness, their denomination, their particular translation of the Bible, and anything else they can view as something that gives them a sense of religious identity. Tragically, most see nothing wrong with this. Genuine Christianity has been supplanted by religiosity and there are only a few left who see the difference. We lament over the growing apostasy in the Church, but should we be surprised?

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