by Mike Ratliff
13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. John 16:13-14 (NASB)
Even though it is discounted by many today, the Protestant Reformation was a wonderful work by God in that the Gospel was freed from the captivity of the apostate Roman Catholic Church. Over the centuries the Gospel had become obscured as the Bishop of Rome was declared perfect with authority over Scripture. Any resistance to his authority was dealt with through excommunication followed by being burned at the stake. The Reformation not only recovered the Gospel and Justification by Faith, the Bible became available to the common people whereas before this, no one was allowed to read it by the edicts of the Pope.
At Luther’s trial at the Diet of Worms when pressed to recant of His teachings he proclaimed, “Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason–I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other–my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.” Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
1 Παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς ἐγὼ ὁ δέσμιος ἐν κυρίῳ ἀξίως περιπατῆσαι τῆς κλήσεως ἧς ἐκλήθητε, 2 μετὰ πάσης ταπεινοφροσύνης καὶ πραΰτητος, μετὰ μακροθυμίας, ἀνεχόμενοι ἀλλήλων ἐν ἀγάπῃ, 3 σπουδάζοντες τηρεῖν τὴν ἑνότητα τοῦ πνεύματος ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρήνης· (Ephesians 4:1-3 NA28)
1 Therefore, I, the prisoner of the Lord, encourage you to walk worthy of the calling by which you were called, 2 with all humility of mind and meekness with long-suffering forbearing one another in love, 3 being eager to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3 translated from the NA28 Greek text)
The requests I receive from readers of these posts concerning discernment issues in their own churches seem to be on the upswing. It is as if we have moved from the trauma of the Purpose Driven/Seeker Sensitive devastation of so much of Evangelicalism to something even more insidious. The seeker movement was blunt force trauma. Now what I am hearing about more and more resembles covert operations deep from within the leadership of churches. One or two of the Elders of a church are solid while others are actively promoting the teachings of men (and women) that are ecumenical, man-focused instead of God-focused, centered around mysticism such as Spiritual Formation or Prayer Circles, or taking the Church’s focus away from the Great Commission and changing it to “social justice” or even “Dominionism.” The “solid Elders” profess to know nothing about what is going on. The requests I receive about these things are nearly always centered around the concern about maintaining “unity.” The concern is that if they address their concerns they will be looked as “divisive” or even as a “hater.” Yes, I get emails and contacts about all that. My reply here is based within my own journey through those choppy waters.
by Mike Ratliff
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (2 Peter 1:20 KJV)
knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. (2 Peter 1:20 ESV)
This first knowing, that every prophecy of scripture by private explanation does not take place. (2 Peter 1:20 The Apostolic Bible Polyglot)
This first knowing that all prophecy of scripture of any personal interpretation does not happen. (2 Peter 1:20 a personal translation from the Greek text into English)
I remember the conversation like it was yesterday. The young man was so excited that he could barely contain it. He could not stop talking about his experience at his new church in Tulsa under a very well known Word Faith pastor. He went on and on and on. I had been a Christian about 10 years by then and had not yet entered into that long period of dryness that God put me through that ended just a few years ago so this must have been in the early 1990’s. In any case, neither the young man nor his wife would engage me personally in conversation nor would they look at me directly. They only talked to those around me. However, with each emphatic point he made that I knew was unbiblical I would try to interject something, but was ignored. Finally, there was a point in the conversation when he made one of those points and everyone became quiet and I simply said, “But that is not Biblical and what you are describing is subjectivism, not anything that can proved by Scripture.” His answer was simply this, “God still speaks to His people and not all of His truth is found in the Bible.” I then asked, “Will He then say things to these prophets that are contrary to what the Bible says or will He say things that these people prophesy that does not take place? If so, what then?” He then pooh-poohed me away and would not let me engage him in any more conversation. The“religion” he was involved in has its foundation in men’s private interpretation of the Bible along with God speaking prophecy directly to them thereby “confirming” there false interpretation of the Word of God. I never could find out from them how one could know how one could really know if that word from God was really from God or if it was just their over active imagination. Continue reading