Throwing Arthur Pink Under the Bus


by Mike Ratliff

Back on January 17 Dan Philips over at Pyromanics posted an article that resembled, to me, a character assassination of Dr. Arthur Pink who died in 1952. Here is the link to the post. I was busy at the time and, to be honest, I really have lost the desire to waste my valuable time over there at TeamPyro since their format changed. When this post came out I was notified of it in our CRN discussion forum, but no one really wanted to tackle it. I mean, who wanted to go defend Arthur Pink? It’s not like Dan Phillips was attacking the Gospel or being postmodern or anything like that. I let it go. However, I have a couple of Pink’s books and one of them was very important to me in the early stages of my understanding of Reformed Theology. It was his book The Sovereignty of GodContinue reading

A New Reformation?


by Mike Ratliff

In a careful reading of the Apostles as they explain the gospel, the workings of the Church, the way to know God, doctrine, et cetera, it is amazing that their appeal is never to their position as Apostles to be believed because of their authoritative position. Yes, they used that to be heard, but the appeal to belief was never unto that, but unto the Word of God and the completed work of Christ. It was always for the glory of God, not their glory. Paul’s suffering for the gospel was legendary, but he knew that God used that to both humble him and prepare him for even greater service (Acts 9:16). In our day, the appeal to truth should be no different, but in reality in the visible church; we see the exact opposite nearly everywhere we look. We are told to believe what we are told because of subjective reasoning. The person speaking claims that what he is saying is the truth because he or she experienced something that is in no way verifiable nor is it in any way a biblical standard. What this sort of thing does is point people to focus on their leaders rather than Christ and His Word. Christ gave us His doctrine in His Word and we are told in Matthew 28:20 to teach only that which he has given us to teach to those we disciple; nothing more, nothing less.  Continue reading

The Proper Focus: Christ and the Life Above


by Mike Ratliff

13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained. (Philippians 3:13-16 ESV)

I am sure many of you reading this can identify with what I am about to say. The more we attempt to point the visible church away from the time wasting, world-focused, nonsense of this present evil-age, the more popular it seems to become in its hearts, minds, and eyes. I have seen some behind the scene plans by many so-called pastors to even bring their ministries into tighter focus with the secular to be even more involved with every aspect of government, entertainment, you name it, in the world. Of course, Emergence Christianity, which is simply a cult that is just another form of Christian Liberalism from the 19th Century, has no issues with this since it sees the ekklisia as containing the entire world anyway as per Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola in their new book Jesus Manifesto due to hit the stands June 1st of this year. Their publisher gave me an advanced copy of Jesus Manifesto last month in order to prepare a review for Possessing the Treasure. Continue reading

Ashamed Of The Gospel


by Mike Ratliff

I completed reading John MacArthur’s book Ashamed Of The Gospel over the weekend. This fine book has the following subtitle, “When The Church Becomes Like The World.” There are several editions of this book. The one I have was marketed in 1993 as the Expanded Edition for it contains several Appendix sections. While this is not a “new” book, I still found it very up-to-date for MacArthur paralleled the trend in our time of “church marketing,” “seeker-sensitivity,” and “soft-selling the Gospel” with the Down-Grade Controversy that consumed the last several years of the ministry of C.H. Spurgeon in the 19th Century. Our enemy may enlist his followers because of their supposed innovations in ministry, but honestly, there is nothing new under the Sun. The very same error being made by seeker-sensitive ministers such as Rick Warren and emergents like Doug Pagitt is simply a repeat of the very same errors made by the liberals in Spurgeon’s day, which is to attempt to minister pragmatically rather than by faith.

 

 

 

 

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The Truth War


by Mike Ratliff

I have had John MacArthur’s book The Truth War on my reading list ever since it was first published a couple of years ago. In fact, I bought it as soon as it was available. However, I have only recently had the opportunity to actually read it. I am very glad I did. While I was reading The Jesus You Can’t Ignore a couple of weeks ago, I kept berating myself for putting it ahead of The Truth War. Of course, I had it in my head that there would be a great deal of continuity between the two books. I envisioned that they would be bookends to the issue of the growing apostasy in the visible church. In a way, that assumption was correct.

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The Jesus You Can’t Ignore


by Mike Ratliff

While I was on my Christmas break, I bought and began reading John MacArthur’s 2008 book The Jesus You Can’t Ignore. As I stated in another post, I was in the process of rereading the biography of William Tyndale by David Daniell when I bought and began reading this book. It was as if God was showing me through the persecuted life of William Tyndale that he “got it” about the life of Jesus Christ and recognized that, no matter the cost, he had to obey Him in all things. He took on the entrenched religious system of the Roman Catholic Church and the state church of Henry VIII contemporaneous with the Reformation begun with Martin Luther. Then, as I began reading The Jesus You Can’t Ignore, God showed me that our example is indeed Christ and if we are ministering according to the seeker sensitive, politically correct, Church growth methods then we are actually being friends of this world and not obedient to our true calling to walk and serve according to our Lord’s perfect example.

John MacArthur states in the Prologue:

The way Jesus dealt with His adversaries is in fact a serious rebuke to the church of our generation. We need to pay more careful attention to how Jesus dealt with false teachers, what He thought of religious error, how He defended the truth, whom He commended and whom He condemned—and how little He actually fit the gentle stereotype that is so often imposed on Him today.

Furthermore, His attitude toward false doctrine should also be ours. We cannot be men-pleasers and servants of Christ at the same time.

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The Enemy Within


by Mike Ratliff

For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:22-24 ESV)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8 ESV)

Both passages above were written by the Apostle Paul. The former was written early in his ministry while the latter was written as he prepared to be executed by the Romans. This spiritual maturity should be our goal as Christians. To mature this radically requires a lifelong process of knowing and defeating the enemy each of has within. As many of you know, I am a big fan of Puritan John Owen and his works Indwelling Sin and The Mortification of Sin. I have recommended these works to many of those reading this right now. However, there is a problem. John Owen, unlike John Bunyan of the same era, wrote in a form of Seventeenth Century English that could best be described as ponderous. However, God is good to His people. In 1998 Kris Lundgaard was given the task of writing a comparable teaching volume to these great works, but in modern day English. That work is titled The Enemy Within. It has a subtitle of “Straight Talk About The Power And Defeat of Sin.”

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