Preaching the Gospel vs being Missional


by Mike Ratliff

2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. Galatians 3:2-7 (NKJV) 

When we study and teach on Justification by God of His people, shouldn’t the clutter be removed and the rubbish swept away? All aspects of our salvation should be clarified and those things that are only meant to cause confusion or misdirection (showing those with discernment their true source) should be shown for what they really are and cast aside. Then, with a sharp focus, we must look at the truth, which means we go to the source; i.e. The Word of God not some emergent or missional guru. Therefore, in this post we will look at part of Romans 10, in which the Apostle Paul, showing that God has provided a way to justification in His eyes to both Jews and Gentiles, further nails down from where salvation comes, who possesses it, and how they got it. What could be more important than that?

Continue reading

The deception of the “Missional Call”


by Mike Ratliff

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”
37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “ Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “ Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” (Acts 2:36-39 NASB)

When I was a new Christian, through many interlocking circumstances, I moved my family back to the same town in Oklahoma in which I had grown up. We joined a very traditional Southern Baptist Church just a block or so from our house. We remained there about 13 years. When we first joined, the emphasis there was evangelism. We supported missions through the SBC. We had annual mission trips to Mexico and Central America. We had a very well run Evangelism Explosion program that was tightly integrated into our weekly prayer and visitation programs. I went from a trainee to a trainer after a year or so. That emphasis on evangelism was always outward. We went into areas outside of the Church and evangelized. God blessed this sometimes by using us to bring people into the Kingdom. However, in the early 1990’s we lost our pastors and the man who replaced them changed our church drastically. The emphasis was no longer an outward facing evangelism. Instead, it was on reshaping the church to be more attractive to those outside. The emphasis on the Gospel was muted.  Continue reading

Wisdom from above vs man’s wisdom


by Mike Ratliff

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (James 1:16-17 NASB)

With Brian McLaren and his followers showing their true colors proclaiming that they are working to recreate the Church, to bring in a new form of Christianity, we must go back to the root of the matter. We must show what truth is and what it is not. Yes, we are in a post-modern culture that is relativistic, but that does not mean that we have to succumb to that fatal disease. If we are in Christ then we are new creations.

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)

This means we are not destined to the spiritual ignorance and blindness with which we were born, but have been changed through the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5) being resurrected from spiritual death unto reconciliation and renewal of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we have the freedom in Christ to know the truth, hold the truth, believe the truth, and stand firmly within it in His power as He sustains us and keeps us from succumbing to the lies and spiritual mediocrity of this lost and dying world and the charlatans who profess to be Christian theologians, but who are ignorant of God’s wisdom from above knowing only human wisdom.  Continue reading

From where does faith come and to whom does it belong?


by Mike Ratliff

2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain— if indeed it was in vain? 5 So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? (Galatians 3:2-5 NASB)

When it comes to Justification by God of His people, shouldn’t the clutter be removed and the rubbish swept away? All aspects of our salvation should be clarified and those things that are only meant to cause confusion or misdirection (showing those with discernment their true source) should be shown for what they really are and cast aside. Then, with a sharp focus, we must look at the truth, which means we go to the source; i.e. The Word of God not some emergent or missional guru. Therefore, in this post we will look at part of Romans 10, in which the Apostle Paul, showing that God has provided a way to justification in His eyes to both Jews and Gentiles, further nails down from where salvation comes, who possesses it, and how they got it. What could be more important than that? Continue reading

Missionaries and the Methods of Missions


by Mike Ratliff

21 εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς [ὁ Ἰησοῦς] πάλιν· εἰρήνη ὑμῖν· καθὼς ἀπέσταλκέν με ὁ πατήρ, κἀγὼ πέμπω ὑμᾶς. (John 20:21 NA27)

Therefore, Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you. As the Father has sent me, so I also send you.” (John 20:21 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

I’m sure most of you know what an “inconsistency” is. When it comes to one’s stand and understanding of theology, I have been amazed since I began this ministry with doctrinal inconsistencies revealed clearly in so many. Some are very subtle of course, but some can only be explained by blind spots as large as there can be. Once such “inconsistency” that is indeed puzzling, but very prevalent in these days of spiritual darkness are seen in those who profess to be Reformed in their Theology including a doctrinal stance on the Sovereignty of God while at the same time in their ministries, the message that comes across from them is one of works righteousness, which is little different than the Pelagianism of Rick Warren. We see this in their Missional initiatives that are tied to their Church planting programs. We looked at some of this in last night’s post Christianity and the Hegelian Dialectic RevisitedContinue reading

Christianity and the Hegelian Dialectic Revisited


by Mike Ratliff

32 Ἀκούσαντες δὲ ἀνάστασιν νεκρῶν οἱ μὲν ἐχλεύαζον, οἱ δὲ εἶπαν· ἀκουσόμεθά σου περὶ τούτου καὶ πάλιν. 33 οὕτως ὁ Παῦλος ἐξῆλθεν ἐκ μέσου αὐτῶν. 34 τινὲς δὲ ἄνδρες κολληθέντες αὐτῷ ἐπίστευσαν, ἐν οἷς καὶ Διονύσιος ὁ Ἀρεοπαγίτης καὶ γυνὴ ὀνόματι Δάμαρις καὶ ἕτεροι σὺν αὐτοῖς. (Acts 17:32-34 NA27)

32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some were mocking him, but others said, “We will listen to you about this again.” 33 Thus Paul went out from the midst of them. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom were both Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. (Acts 17:32-34 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

Many reading this may remember my post from June 2010, The Epistemology of Transformative Learning. Before I left to go on a short mini-vacation to visit my son in Washington D.C., I remember being inundated by emails and Tweets, et cetera about all of the stuff going on with Mark Driscoll and his church planting network and the reason he is so “bent” on doing it is that he had a vision or something like that directly from God to do that. However, this church planting is not done in any way like the Apostles did or those who followed them in the early days of the Church. No, the emphasis is not on following the Great Commission to the letter as given by our Lord in Matthew 28:16-20 which is to go into all the world making disciples from every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded them. They were to go with boldness knowing that Jesus would always be with them to the end of the age. (Paraphrase of the Great Commission) That is what we are to be about, which is taking the Gospel to the World, but that is not the same thing these people mean when they talk about “Church Planting” and “Transforming Lives.”  Continue reading

The Wisdom From Above


by Mike Ratliff

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:16-17 ESV)

With Brian McLaren and his followers showing their true colors recently proclaiming that they are working to recreate the Church, to bring in a new form of Christianity, we must go back to the root of the matter. We must show what truth is and what it is not. Yes, we are in a post-modern culture that is relativistic, but that does not mean that we have to succumb to that fatal disease. If we are in Christ then we are new creations–Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)—This means we are not destined to the spiritual ignorance and blindness that we were born with, but have been changed through the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5) being resurrected from spiritual death unto reconciliation and renewal of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we have the freedom in Christ to know the truth, hold the truth, believe the truth, and stand firmly within it in His power as He sustains us and keeps us from succumbing to the lies and spiritual mediocrity of this lost and dying world and the charlatans who profess to be Christian theologians, but who know only human wisdom.  Continue reading

The Scandal of Sin


by Mike Ratliff

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” (Revelation 14:9-11 ESV)

During my recent trip I have been rereading and studying a book by John MacArthur titled The Vanishing Conscience. Along with this, I have been listening to a series of teachings by R.C. Sproul on the human conscience, all men’s guilt before God because of their sin, and the utter uselessness of man-made religiosity or human psychology teachings about self-esteem in maintaining a healthy conscience that leads the believer into growing in humility and Christlikeness. As part of my study, I have also been praying for guidance in how I should or even if I should address this. The direction I have received is that we must address this since the apostate emergent forms of the visible church have recently shown their true colors of adherence to liberal theology. Also, the missional focus of so many of those who call themselves the  “New” Evangelism or “New” Calvinism or “New” ‘put your favorite religious flavor here’ are redefining the true “Mission” of the Church into a works-righteousness with a nebulous concept of sin, repentance, justification, et cetera.  Continue reading

The Heart of the Gospel and Deceitful Arguments


by Mike Ratliff

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24 ESV)

Despite what the emergent or “missional” focused folks attempt to say, the biblical definition of the Gospel is not “sufficiently broad” to accommodate their non-biblical focus along with our specifically biblical focus according to what they call a “balance point.” There is the biblical gospel and then all else is either apostate or pagan.  Continue reading

Whereof Faith Cometh and to Whome it Belongeth


by Mike Ratliff

This only would I learne of you, Receiued ye the Spirit by the workes of the Lawe, or by the hearing of faith preached? Are ye so foolish, that after ye haue begun in the Spirit, ye would now be made perfect by the flesh? Haue ye suffered so many things in vaine? If so be it be euen in vaine. He therefore that ministreth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it through the workes of the Law, or by the hearing of faith preached? (Galatians 3:2-5 Geneva)

In our recent discussion of all things “missional,” we did achieve much of what I intended. We did reach a point of clarification, which is the point isn’t it? When it comes to Justification by God of His people, shouldn’t the clutter be removed and the rubbish swept away? All aspects of our salvation should be clarified and those things that are only meant to cause confusion or misdirection (showing those with discernment their true source) should be shown for what they really are and cast aside. Then, with a sharp focus, we must look at the truth, which means we go to the source; i.e. The Word of God not some emergent or missional guru. Therefore, in this post we will look at part of Romans 10, in which the Apostle Paul, showing that God has provided a way to justification in His eyes to both Jews and Gentiles, further nails down from where salvation comes, who possesses it, and how they got it. What could be more important than that?  Continue reading

The Seductive Deception of the Call to be Missional


by Mike Ratliff

“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” (Acts 2:36-39 ESV)

When I was a new Christian, through many interlocking circumstances, I moved my family back to the same town in Oklahoma in which I had grown up. We joined a very traditional Southern Baptist Church just a block or so from our house. We remained there about 13 years. When we first joined, the emphasis there was evangelism. We supported missions through the SBC. We had annual mission trips to Mexico and Central America. We had a very well run Evangelism Explosion program that was tightly integrated into our weekly prayer and visitation programs. I went from a trainee to a trainer after a year or so. That emphasis on evangelism was always outward. We went into areas outside of the Church and evangelized. God blessed this sometimes by using us to bring people into the Kingdom. However, in the early 1990’s, as I have shared in this post, we lost our pastors and the man who replaced them changed our church drastically. The emphasis was no longer an outward facing evangelism. Instead, it was on reshaping the church to be more attractive to those outside. The emphasis on the Gospel was muted.  Continue reading