The Compromised Church and Humanism


by Mike Ratliff

13 “But He is unique and who can turn Him?
And what His soul desires, that He does. Job 23:13 (NASB) 

2 “I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. Job 42:2 (NASB) 

5 For I know that the Lord is great
And that our Lord is above all gods.
6 Whatever the Lord pleases, He does,
In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps. Psalms 135:5-6 (NASB) 

9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; 10 as it is written,
“There is none righteous, not even one;
11 There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave,
With their tongues they keep deceiving,”
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”;
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood,
16 Destruction and misery are in their paths,
17 And the path of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:9-18 (NASB) 

8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 (NASB) 

12 There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12 (NASB) 

Humanism: A system of thought that centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth; the doctrine emphasizing a person’s capacity for self-realization through reason

Reformed Theology – the theological system which emphasizes the omnipotence of God and salvation by grace alone

If you haven’t done so already, please prayerfully read the scripture I have placed at the beginning of this chapter as well as the definitions for “Humanism” and “Reformed Theology.”

God is sovereign. He is omnipotent. He is perfect. He is Holy. He is Just. He is immutable. That means He does not change. He spoke His truth at the beginning of creation and that truth is still the truth now and will be for all eternity. God said in Isaiah 55:8-9 that His thoughts and ways are not as ours are. In fact His thoughts and ways are infinitely higher than ours. When I say “ours” I am speaking of all mankind. There are no exceptions. God said this to Isaiah and Isaiah wrote it down. It is given to us in the Bible which is the perfect Word of God. Continue reading

Does salvation happen because of making a decision for Christ?


by Mike Ratliff

13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:13-17 ESV)

Are people saved when they decide for Christ or make some sort of decision or when they receive saving faith? I contend that the majority of the preaching nowadays is of the former variety while the latter is very misunderstood and not preached much at all. In fact, there is much hatred to the latter by many who call themselves “Christians.” Let’s look at what the Bible says.

Continue reading

The Compromised Church Part 1 – Humanism


by Mike Ratliff

But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. (Job 23:13)

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2)

For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.
Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. (Psalm 135:5-6)

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:9-18)

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (Proverbs 14:12)

Humanism: A system of thought that centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth; the doctrine emphasizing a person’s capacity for self-realization through reason

Reformed Theology – the theological system which emphasizes the omnipotence of God and salvation by grace alone

If you haven’t done so already, please prayerfully read the scripture I have placed at the beginning of this chapter as well as the definitions for “Humanism” and “Reformed Theology.”

God is sovereign. He is omnipotent. He is perfect. He is Holy. He is Just. He is immutable. That means He does not change. He spoke His truth at the beginning of creation and that truth is still the truth now and will be for all eternity. God said in Isaiah 55:8-9 that His thoughts and ways are not as ours are. In fact His thoughts and ways are infinitely higher than ours. When I say “ours” I am speaking of all mankind. There are no exceptions. God said this to Isaiah and Isaiah wrote it down. It is given to us in the Bible which is the perfect Word of God. Continue reading

Are Christians Saved by Making Decisions for Christ?


by Mike Ratliff

13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:13-17 ESV)

I have been in an email conversation with a believer over the last few days. The conversation has to do with “conversion” with emphasis on two views. The first view is that people are saved when they decide for Christ or make some sort of decision. The other view is that people are saved when the receive saving faith. I contend that the majority of the preaching nowadays is of the former variety while the latter is very misunderstood and not preached much at all.

Continue reading

The Compromised Church Part 1 – Humanism


by Mike Ratliff

But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. (Job 23:13)

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2)

For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.
Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. (Psalm 135:5-6)

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:9-18)

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (Proverbs 14:12)

Humanism: A system of thought that centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth; the doctrine emphasizing a person’s capacity for self-realization through reason

Reformed Theology – the theological system which emphasizes the omnipotence of God and salvation by grace alone

If you haven’t done so already, please prayerfully read the scripture I have placed at the beginning of this chapter as well as the definitions for “Humanism” and “Reformed Theology.”

God is sovereign. He is omnipotent. He is perfect. He is Holy. He is Just. He is immutable. That means He does not change. He spoke His truth at the beginning of creation and that truth is still the truth now and will be for all eternity. God said in Isaiah 55:8-9 that His thoughts and ways are not as ours are. In fact His thoughts and ways are infinitely higher than ours. When I say “ours” I am speaking of all mankind. There are no exceptions. God said this to Isaiah and Isaiah wrote it down. It is given to us in the Bible which is the perfect Word of God. Continue reading

Let Us Reason Together Part 28 – The Righteous Shall Live by Faith


by Mike Ratliff

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (Romans 1:16-18)

In the spring of 2004, I was in the midst of my spiritual renewal that God was taking me through. In August of that year, it culminated in a wonderful spiritual awakening that came by God circumcising my heart. However, that spring, I was still struggling mightily with self-focus and many inconsistencies in my walk. I had been nominated as a deacon candidate in our church. One Sunday in May, I had to give my testimony in both of our morning worship services, as did the other deacon candidates. I have no problem teaching or even preaching now and then, but this is different. I had to develop a very short 5-minute testimony to present quickly then get off the stage. I struggled with my message. Finally, I prayed. What a concept! God led me to simply share what He had been taking me through over the last several months as well as my commitment to learning how to walk by faith. I did it in both services and was very surprised when I was elected. Continue reading

Let Us Reason Together Part 27 – The Curse of Mediocrity


by Mike Ratliff

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:28-39)

Relativism has enslaved this post-modern 21st Century. The push to equalize everything continues unabated even though it has become apparent to continue down this path is bordering on insanity. Unfortunately, evangelical Christianity has succumbed to the madness as well. Continue reading

Let Us Reason Together Part 24 – Selective Rationalization


by Mike Ratliff

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. (John 6:37)

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. (John 6:39)

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44)

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." (John 6:63-65)

Humankind is plagued with selective rationalization. It seems we are all suffering under varying levels of self-deception. The Bible clearly shows that the fall of Man into the original sin corrupted our race resulting in all descendants of Adam being born with a depraved nature. This nature is completely self-oriented. All decisions made by an unregenerate heart are for self-gratification. Each person is a god. That means each person is an autonomous judge of what is right and wrong in every circumstance that touches him or her. There is no inclination to seek salvation from God. (Romans 3) There is no interest in seeking His grace. However, being desperate for fulfillment, each person must worship someone or something in a vain attempt to attain fulfillment from glory. Since the glory of anyone or anything other than God is next to nothing this pursuit does not really fulfill. Therefore, people have to pursue more and more attempts at fulfillment that do not really fulfill at all. Continue reading

Let Us Reason Together Part 22 – God Glorifies All whom He Matures


by Mike Ratliff

Sin and Shin. Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of your words. I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil. I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law. Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules. Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. I hope for your salvation, O LORD, and I do your commandments. My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly. I keep your precepts and testimonies, for all my ways are before you. (Psalms 119:161-168)

History is my forte. I love it. God gave me an insatiable appetite for it. When I watch the TV game show "Jeopardy," I can usually answer all of the questions that relate to history. This hunger helps when I read books written centuries ago in a form of English that many modern readers refuse to read. I love it. I am learning how to pattern my reading to match the way they wrote. Continue reading

Let Us Reason Together Part 21 – God Matures All whom He Adopts


by Mike Ratliff

Resh. Look on my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget your law. Plead my cause and redeem me; give me life according to your promise! Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes. Great is your mercy, O LORD; give me life according to your rules. Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, but I do not swerve from your testimonies. I look at the faithless with disgust, because they do not keep your commands. Consider how I love your precepts! Give me life according to your steadfast love. The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever. (Psalms 119:153-160)

Even though the most hated and despised form of evangelical Christianity is Historic Calvinism we should not shy away from living it, breathing it and telling any who will listen all about it. The mature in Christ are those who live entirely for the glory of God. God has upgraded their value system to match His. These beloved of God understand that the Kingdom of God is not a democracy. God's children, all true believers, have no vote in what doctrines are valid and which are not. We err when we measure the veracity of a doctrine by the number of adherents it does or does not have. The Bible clearly teaches the opposite. Throughout the Bible, we see case after case where the makeup of the Kingdom of God is the few when compared to those outside. Some prophets, such as Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel stood virtually alone against the masses of apostate Israel and Judah. Continue reading

Let Us Reason Together Part 20 – God Adopts All whom He Justifies


by Mike Ratliff

Qoph. With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD! I will keep your statutes. I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies. I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise. Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O LORD, according to your justice give me life. They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose; they are far from your law. But you are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are true. Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever. (Psalms 119:145-152)

One of the precious facts about adoption is the endearing act of choosing or selecting the child who is brought into a family and given the same rights and inheritance as a natural offspring. As this adopted son or daughter matures the adopting parents should share this with them because it speaks of an act of choosing them as an object of their love. Good parents love their natural offspring, but the act of adoption adds the element of specifically choosing the child. God's election of His chosen is also an act of adoption. He foreknew those whom He chose by setting His heart upon them as He set into motion the processes of their adoption into His family. Continue reading

Let Us Reason Together Part 19 – God Justifies all whom He Calls and Saves


by Mike Ratliff

Tsadhe. Righteous are you, O LORD, and right are your rules. You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness. My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words. Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it. I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts. Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true. Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight. Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live. (Psalms 119:137-144)

It was 1998 or 1999. Ina and I were at church on Wednesday night in Yukon, Oklahoma participating in a Q&A class lead by our pastor. He was a very brave man. He would field questions from anyone in the class and attempt to answer them. Over time, it came to be a challenge for one or more of us to come up with questions that perhaps could stump him. We were never able to do it. That Wednesday night in the late 1990s stands out vividly in my memory because someone (not me) asked him to explain the doctrine of justification. I had heard from several of our church leaders, as they taught, say something like, "The best way to understand justification is to say, 'Just as if I had never sinned.'" That night I expected him to reply in like manner, but he surprised me. He gave a very detailed answer that satisfied everyone. Continue reading

Let Us Reason Together Part 18 – God Sanctifies all whom He Justifies


by Mike Ratliff

Pe. Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments. Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name. Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. Redeem me from man's oppression, that I may keep your precepts. Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes. My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law. (Psalms 119:129-136)

Many "evangelists" in our Western culture preach a gospel of Easy-Believism. Their "gospel" is one of temporal focus. This "Easy-Believism gospel" draws those who want to claim salvation, but do not intend to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ except in lip service only. This "cheap grace gospel" does not preach the need to repent because sin is never an issue. The pastors and teachers of this "cheap grace gospel" advise those who suffer from a guilty conscience to ignore it because guilt is nothing more than a holdover from listening to too many hell-fire and brimstone preachers. Since sin is not a problem, there is little, if any, emphasis on sanctification. Why bother since all who believe in Jesus are going to Heaven? The message coming from the pulpit is God loves us just the way we are so enjoy life. Do not worry about that repentance stuff. That will just make you feel guilty again. All that justification and sanctification stuff is for theologians. Just remember to tithe as God makes you rich. Continue reading