Excuse Me Dr. Piper


by Mike Ratliff

If anyone teaches a different doctrine which neither agrees with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he has become conceited, having understood nothing, but having a morbid craving for controversies and disputes over words, out of which comes envy, strife, evil speaking, evil-suspicions, constant friction among those who are depraved in mind and having become bereft of the truth, thinking godliness is the means of gain. (1 Timothy 6:3-5 translated from the NA27 Greek text)

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a trap and lusts, many foolish and harmful, which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For a root of all evils is the love of money. It is through this craving that some were led away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, meekness. (1 Timothy 6:9-11 translated from the NA27 Greek text)

Excuse me Dr. Piper. I was once a Southern Baptist. I was a Bible teacher and Deacon in local church not far from where I live now. A couple of years before we parted ways, my Sunday school director gave me a Christmas present. It was your book Don’t Waste Your Life. To be honest, that was the first time I had heard of you. I read the book over the next couple of months. I received more of your books as gifts from other people over the next few years.  Continue reading

Unity in the Body of Christ


by Mike Ratliff

9 And so, r from the day we heard, s we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that t you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all u spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as v to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, w fully pleasing to him, x bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:9,10 ESV)

In my last post The Temple of the Living God, we looked at the high standard of walking in a manner worthy of the Lord by being separate from the world and those of the world that are mere pretenders as Christian leaders. We tied this to the recent news that John Piper had invited Rick Warren to speak at the 2010 Desiring God Conference in October. I have been in discussion all day today with friends and fellow laborers in this ministry about this. There is a lot of emotion. There is much sadness and disappointment out there about this, but mostly there is a great deal of anger being expressed. Some of the major questions we are dealing with, of course, is how far do we go in preserving unity in the Body of Christ? What is the criterion or standard that we use to not have fellowship with one while overlooking differences in another?  Continue reading

The Temple of the Living God


by Mike Ratliff

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. (1 Corinthians 10:21 ESV)

With the utter lack of discernment being exhibited within the visible church in our time, it is as if the condition of the Israelites at the time of the Prophet Amos is upon us. These Covenant people had turned their backs on God and His commands. They were sin-sick and idolatrous, which means they were spiritually blind. When Amos traveled from Judah to the Northern Kingdom of Israel to deliver God’s message to them, he simply gave what God told him to say. What a concept! In Amos 3:3-8 the Lord posed a series of rhetorical question to the people to show them that no matter what they thought or did, He was still sovereign. Certain actions have predictable results. God spoke, therefore, Amos was to speak as the people listened and trembled. That is how it should have been. However, as in our time, when God’s Word is exposited and given to those in error, the response is exactly the opposite. Instead of heeding God’s Word, the people attempt to silence the prophet (Amos 2:12; 7:12, 13) and, therefore, silence God.  Continue reading

The Value of Learning History: A Lesson from Jude


by John Piper

The little letter of Jude teaches us something about the value of learning history. This is not the main point of the letter. But it is striking. In this next-to-last book of the Bible, Jude writes to encourage the saints to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (verse 3). Continue reading