Do not be drunk with wine in which is dissipation but be filled with the Spirit


by Mike Ratliff

15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. Ephesians 5:15-21 (NKJV) 

In Ephesians 5:18 Paul commands, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit“. At first glance that may read or sound like Paul is saying, “instead of getting drunk, do these religious things,” which he lists in vv19-21. However, as we know, the proper way to interpret Sacred Scripture is by keeping what we are studying in context foremost. Here, the context tells us that the Apostle Paul is making a contrast that the Ephesians would have understood perfectly. Let’s go deeper. Continue reading

Christian Prayer vs Contemplative Prayer


by Mike Ratliff

19 καὶ ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον, ᾧ καλῶς ποιεῖτε προσέχοντες ὡς λύχνῳ φαίνοντι ἐν αὐχμηρῷ τόπῳ, ἕως οὗ ἡμέρα διαυγάσῃ καὶ φωσφόρος ἀνατείλῃ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν, 20 τοῦτο πρῶτον γινώσκοντες ὅτι πᾶσα προφητεία γραφῆς ἰδίας ἐπιλύσεως οὐ γίνεται· 21 οὐ γὰρ θελήματι ἀνθρώπου ἠνέχθη προφητεία ποτέ, ἀλλʼ ὑπὸ πνεύματος ἁγίου φερόμενοι ἐλάλησαν ἀπὸ θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι. (2 Peter 1:19-21 NA28)

19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic Word to which you do well in paying attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing first that every prophecy of scripture is not of one’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever brought by the will of man at any time, but men spoke from God being carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:19-21 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

Back in September 2011 Pete Scazzero tweeted the following, “There is a mysterious attraction to interior silence in the depth of our beings. The attraction is like a magnet… Here is the link. Of course, he was quoting Roman Catholic Monk Thomas Keating, a proponent of Contemplative Prayer. In these days where post-modernist thinking has contaminated nearly everything including deeply into the visible church, we must have a clear understanding of what Contemplative Prayer, or CSM, really is. Some seemly very solid Christian leaders give it a pass as if it is just another form of Christian meditation, but is it? Let’s see.  Continue reading

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh


by Mike Ratliff

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16 NASB)

What is Spiritual Formation and Contemplative Spirituality? Are these just another term for Christian spiritual growth or “the way or method” that God has designed for His people to grow spiritually? Or are they totally different from what the Word of God teaches us? A clear-headed and Biblically-based study of Spiritual Formation and Contemplative Spirituality will actually reveal that they are being introduced into the visible church via deception. The proponents of these non-Christian spiritual systems attempt to validate that they are Christian by taking passages from God’s Word out of context and attempt to force them to support their mystical paradigm. While these people do put a lot of emphasis on Christian Authenticity and what that means as well as becoming Christlike or like Christ and while I write about those things quite a bit, it is quite amazing and a bit surprising to see them take the passages from God’s Word I use to teach believers to deny themselves, take up their crosses daily and follow Jesus to mean something quite different. Continue reading

What is Contemplative Prayer?


by Mike Ratliff

19 καὶ ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον, ᾧ καλῶς ποιεῖτε προσέχοντες ὡς λύχνῳ φαίνοντι ἐν αὐχμηρῷ τόπῳ, ἕως οὗ ἡμέρα διαυγάσῃ καὶ φωσφόρος ἀνατείλῃ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν, 20 τοῦτο πρῶτον γινώσκοντες ὅτι πᾶσα προφητεία γραφῆς ἰδίας ἐπιλύσεως οὐ γίνεται· 21 οὐ γὰρ θελήματι ἀνθρώπου ἠνέχθη προφητεία ποτέ, ἀλλʼ ὑπὸ πνεύματος ἁγίου φερόμενοι ἐλάλησαν ἀπὸ θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι. (2 Peter 1:19-21 NA28)

19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic Word to which you do well in paying attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing first that every prophecy of scripture is not of ones own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever brought by the will of man at any time, but men spoke from God being carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:19-21 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

In these days where post-modernist thinking has contaminated nearly everything including deeply into the visible church, we must have clear understanding of what Contemplative Prayer, or CSM, really is. Some seemly very solid Christian leaders give it a pass as if it is just another form of Christian meditation, but is it? Let’s see.  Continue reading

Are You Being Filled With the Spirit or Something Else?


Last evening my pastor’s Wednesday evening message was an in-depth exposition of Pneumatology or The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit. He did a very good job of differentiating the works of the Holy Spirit that so many professing Christians confuse and look at as the same thing or as something that is completely unbiblical. Not including the works of the Holy Spirit prior to and including Christ’s incarnation he is intimately involved in the salvation and life of believers. For instance, in 2 Peter 1:21 we learn that he inspired all Sacred Scripture. All believers come to Christ because they are first regenerated by the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:12; Titus 3:5; Romans 8:11). All believers are baptized into the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 6:3-4; Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5) and from this we learn of his permanent indwelling of all genuine believers. In the lives of all genuine believers, before they are saved and afterwards as they are drawn into walks of repentance, the Holy Spirit convicts (John 16:8). He sanctifies all believers (2 Thessalonians 2:13). He is the “helper” sent by Christ to all believers (John 14:16; 1 John 2:1; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:1; Romans 8:26). Lastly we come to the filling of the Holy Spirit. All believers are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is not the same thing as being baptized by the Holy Spirit. I wrote the following post August 29, 2010, but I believe it is just as vital for us to grasp now as it was then. – Mike Ratliff

Are You Being Filled With the Spirit or Something Else?

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:15-21 ESV)

In Ephesians 5:18 Paul commands, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit!“ At first glance that may read or sound like Paul is saying, “instead of getting drunk, do these religious things,” which he lists in vv19-21. However, as we know, the proper way to interpret Sacred Scripture is by keeping what we are studying in context foremost. Here, the context tells us that the Apostle Paul is making a contrast that the Ephesians would have understood perfectly. Let’s go deeper. Continue reading

Prayer for Boldness


by Mike Ratliff

18 Διὰ πάσης προσευχῆς καὶ δεήσεως προσευχόμενοι ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ ἐν πνεύματι, καὶ εἰς αὐτὸ ἀγρυπνοῦντες ἐν πάσῃ προσκαρτερήσει καὶ δεήσει περὶ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων 19 καὶ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ, ἵνα μοι δοθῇ λόγος ἐν ἀνοίξει τοῦ στόματός μου, ἐν παρρησίᾳ γνωρίσαι τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, 20 ὑπὲρ οὗ πρεσβεύω ἐν ἁλύσει, ἵνα ἐν αὐτῷ παρρησιάσωμαι ὡς δεῖ με λαλῆσαι. (Ephesians 6:18-20 NA27)

18 By means of all prayer and petition, praying always in the Spirit, and to this end keeping watch with all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints, 19 and for me, that to me may be given utterance in opening my mouth in boldness to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 on behalf of which I am an ambassador in chains, that in it I may be bold as it is necessary for me to speak. (Ephesians 6:18-20 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1) 

In the last couple of posts we have looked at CSM or Contemplative Prayer and one of its most visible proponents in the visible church, Tim Keller. Contemplative Prayer is a cleaned up, “Christianized” name for Transcendental Meditation, which is another name for Eastern Mysticism, which God calls Divination and strictly forbids (Deuteronomy 18:10). God forbids divination as a way to know him and his will. On the other hand, he has given us sanctioned ways, by his grace, through which those who are his can know him and his will. The primary way is through his Word as the Holy Spirit guides us according the will of God by his grace. We pray and ask God and he draws us to him and imparts wisdom, discernment, and through his Word, we gain knowledge of him and his ways. On the other hand, outside of those parameters is what men like Tim Keller calls Contemplative Prayer, but it only a dressed up version of divination and God hates it. Those who practice it are given over to it, are deceived by it, and soon believe the lies they are hearing from those evil spirits are coming from God himself.  Continue reading

Tim Keller and Contemplative Prayer


by Mike Ratliff

19 καὶ ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον, ᾧ καλῶς ποιεῖτε προσέχοντες ὡς λύχνῳ φαίνοντι ἐν αὐχμηρῷ τόπῳ, ἕως οὗ ἡμέρα διαυγάσῃ καὶ φωσφόρος ἀνατείλῃ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν, 20 τοῦτο πρῶτον γινώσκοντες ὅτι πᾶσα προφητεία γραφῆς ἰδίας ἐπιλύσεως οὐ γίνεται· 21 οὐ γὰρ θελήματι ἀνθρώπου ἠνέχθη προφητεία ποτέ, ἀλλὰ ὑπὸ πνεύματος ἁγίου φερόμενοι ἐλάλησαν ἀπὸ θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι. (2 Peter 1:19-21 NA27)

19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic Word to which you do well in paying attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing first that every prophecy of scripture is not of ones own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever brought by the will of man at any time, but men spoke from God being carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:19-21 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

In yesterday’s post, Is Contemplative Prayer Christian?, we nailed down the fact that genuine Christian prayer is not the same thing as Contemplative Prayer. In fact, Contemplative Prayer is just Eastern Mysticism labeled with Christian words to make it more acceptable to people who aren’t doctrinally educated. It is similar to what some post-modern so-called evangelicals do with the word “Gospel.” To us it is the account of Christ’s substitutionary work on the cross to be propitiation for those he came to save. Therefore, it is the “good news” because those who believe in the Lord Jesus as their Lord and Saviour have their sins forgiven before our Holy God. However, to the post-modern so-called evangelical, the word “gospel,” more often than not, takes on a liberal connotation such as transforming a society. In this post we will take a look at one of these post-modern church leaders named Tim Keller who not only practices this sort of neo-liberalism, but is a proponent of Contemplative Prayer and has been for quite some time. Continue reading

Is Contemplative Prayer Christian?


by Mike Ratliff

19 καὶ ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον, ᾧ καλῶς ποιεῖτε προσέχοντες ὡς λύχνῳ φαίνοντι ἐν αὐχμηρῷ τόπῳ, ἕως οὗ ἡμέρα διαυγάσῃ καὶ φωσφόρος ἀνατείλῃ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν, 20 τοῦτο πρῶτον γινώσκοντες ὅτι πᾶσα προφητεία γραφῆς ἰδίας ἐπιλύσεως οὐ γίνεται· 21 οὐ γὰρ θελήματι ἀνθρώπου ἠνέχθη προφητεία ποτέ, ἀλλὰ ὑπὸ πνεύματος ἁγίου φερόμενοι ἐλάλησαν ἀπὸ θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι. (2 Peter 1:19-21 NA27)

19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic Word to which you do well in paying attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing first that every prophecy of scripture is not of ones own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever brought by the will of man at any time, but men spoke from God being carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:19-21 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

I received an email from friends about today’s tweet from Pete Scazzero, which says, “There is a mysterious attraction to interior silence in the depth of our beings. The attraction is like a magnet… Here is the link. Of course, he is quoting Roman Catholic Monk Thomas Keating, a proponent of Contemplative Prayer. In these days where post-modernist thinking has contaminated nearly everything including deeply into the visible church, we must have clear understanding of what Contemplative Prayer, or CSM, really is. Some seemly very solid Christian leaders give it a pass as if it is just another form of Christian meditation, but is it? Let’s see.  Continue reading

An Example of Counterfeit Christian Spirituality


by Mike Ratliff

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3 ESV)

While I was working today I received an email from my friend Ken Silva pertaining to a recent Tweet by Rick Warren in which he quoted Henri Nouwen. He had written a post about it as well. A copy of the Tweet is below. As Ken makes very clear in his post, Henri Nouwen was a Catholic mystic who practiced what is called today “contemplative spirituality” in order to reach some higher spiritual level. This “hiddenness” that Nouwen was talking about in this quote is not the same thing at all that Paul was speaking of as the Christian’s being hidden with Christ in God as we read in Colossians 3:3 (above.). No, this “hiddenness” is what the mystics try to achieve by seeking to find the “inner self” through their “contemplative spirituality.” When I was in High School and College in the 1960’s, this was called transcendental meditation. It is in no way Christian. So how is it that Rick Warren, who is not alone in this by any means, can blatantly go after Eastern mysticism and still be considered a Christian? Continue reading

Are You Being Filled With the Spirit or Something Else?


by Mike Ratliff

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:15-21 ESV)

 

In Ephesians 5:18 Paul commands, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit!“ At first glance that may read or sound like Paul is saying, “instead of getting drunk, do these religious things,” which he lists in vv19-21. However, as we know, the proper way to interpret Sacred Scripture is by keeping what we are studying in context foremost. Here, the context tells us that the Apostle Paul is making a contrast that the Ephesians would have understood perfectly. Let’s go deeper. Continue reading

Puritan Prayers


by Mike Ratliff

This article will be very simple. There are some who claim that the Puritans were Contemplative and Mystical Christians in that the way that they prayed was done in such a way so as to invoke a a higher sense of feeling towards and from God. However, we contend that the Puritans viewed prayer as one of the means of grace. I have been working my way through Dr. John Owen’s Communion With The Truiune God for quite some time. Owen was a Puritan and a Bible Scholar. His teaching of how Christians communed with each person of the Holy Trinity was according to how it is clearly designated in God’s Word. He does not go beyond its boundaries whatsoever into personal experience, which is a form of subjectivism. No, the Puritans viewed their religion, their walk with God, their faith, every part of their journey in this life to the Celestial City objectively in light of the clear teaching from God’s Word. Continue reading

Acts 29 Network and Subjective Religiosity


by Mike Ratliff

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (Romans 16:17-18 ESV)

Our brother in the Lord Ken Silva wrote a very good article this afternoon revealing the rotten spiritual foundation of the Acts 29 Network and its embracing of Contemplative Spirituality. I pray that you follow that link and read it. There was part of that article that really got my attention from a different direction however. Here is the list of the four ways ‘New Calvinism’ is So Powerful and, hence, is becoming such a force in our time.  Continue reading

What Does It Mean to Walk by the Spirit?


by Mike Ratliff

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16 ESV)

In my research yesterday into Spiritual Formation and Contemplative Spirituality I became amazed at the ease with which the Emergent writers would take passages from Sacred Scripture out of context and attempt to force them to support their mystical paradigm. There was a lot of emphasis on Christian Authenticity and what that means as well as becoming Christlike or like Christ. While I write about those things quite a bit I was a bit surprised to see them take the passages from God’s Word I use to teach believers to deny themselves, take up their crosses daily and follow Jesus to mean something quite different. Continue reading

No Other Gospel


by Mike Ratliff

For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:1-4 ESV)

In the recent attacks on John MacArthur and his ministries by some bent on claiming that he is in league with Rick Warren and perhaps isn’t even a Christian, I have learned what it is like to be considered guilty by some using the method of “guilt by association” as sure-proof evidence of one being false. It is very easy to make a case against someone or their ministry if this sort of method of “discernment” is 100% valid in every case. I have seen discussions get started on our discernment blogs that devolve into creating “isms” in which this or that person is categorically assigned by those who have not taken the time to investigate what he or she really teaches or writes about. I doubt that God is pleased with us when we do that. I have received the very same treatment by some who have categorically assigned me to the camp of ‘fundamentalism’ even though I reject much of what that ism stands for and the way they go about doing what they do.  Continue reading