by Mike Ratliff
14 Ταῦτά σοι γράφω ἐλπίζων ἐλθεῖν πρὸς σὲ ἐν τάχει· 15 ἐὰν δὲ βραδύνω, ἵνα εἰδῇς πῶς δεῖ ἐν οἴκῳ θεοῦ ἀναστρέφεσθαι, ἥτις ἐστὶν ἐκκλησία θεοῦ ζῶντος, στῦλος καὶ ἑδραίωμα τῆς ἀληθείας. 1 Timothy 3:14-15 (NA28)
14 These I write to you hoping to come to you quickly; 15 but if I delay, that you may know how one ought to conduct oneself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. 1 Timothy 3:14-15 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)
When Paul wrote his first epistle to Timothy which we call “1 Timothy,” Timothy was the pastor of the Ephesian church. Ephesus was home to the pagan temple to the goddess Diana or Artemis, which is considered on of the seven wonders of the ancient world. One of its features was it pillars. It contained 127 pillars, every one of them the gift of a king. All were made of marble and some were studded with jewels and overlaid with gold. Not only did each pillar (στῦλος) act as a tribute to the king who donated it, all of them together, obviously, had the function of holding up the immense structure of the roof. Therefore, Timothy and his flock at Ephesus would have certainly grasped Paul’s analogy. What exactly was he telling the church about its true mission? Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
4 μοιχαλίδες, οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ἡ φιλία τοῦ κόσμου ἔχθρα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν; ὃς ἐὰν οὖν βουληθῇ φίλος εἶναι τοῦ κόσμου, ἐχθρὸς τοῦ θεοῦ καθίσταται. James 4:4 (NA28)
4 Adulteresses, do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever chooses to be a friend of the world, is made an enemy of God. James 4:4 (translated from the NA28 Greek Text)
The Seeker-Sensitive and Purpose-Driven paradigms are rooted in a form of Pelagianism. Of course, the theology I grew up with as a Southern Baptist in the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s, et cetera was somewhere between semi-Pelagianism and Arminianism. The Social Justice paradigm that is causing so much division in the visible church in our time as “Woke Theology” is actually based in Cultural Marxism not the Word of God. In each of these forms of theology, man is at the center. God has done all he can do to create the possibility of salvation, but it is up to man to exercise his autonomous free will in order to be saved. Even in this, after salvation there is a time of working to please God, to become perfected, to become moral, et cetera. Again, the focus is on man, not God. The reason I brought this up is to reflect on how far I have come in my understanding of these things since God revealed to me the veracity of His Sovereignty over all things. From that, I rapidly rebuilt my theological understanding of justification and sanctification. It was probably not as dramatic as Luther’s awakening when he discovered the doctrine of Justification by grace through faith, but, for me, it was. I was utterly amazed and spent days and hours in prayer of gratitude and praise before the throne of grace expressing it the best way I could of how utterly unworthy I was that I was totally justified before God with the Righteousness of Christ and His perfect obedience imputed to my account. My righteousness, in God’s eyes, actually did exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees because it was the imputed righteousness of Christ. Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
Not long after Donald Trump took office a stranger began posting hateful messages on my Facebook page in reference to some of my posts. However, most of those messages were pointed towards a friend who was commenting on those posts, not me. It began with me trying to peacefully end the hostility, but then graduated into one of those long, drawn-out sessions I hate with a passion where this fellow kept building straw-men about nearly everything I believe and write about as he gleefully burned them as if to say he was the “real christian” because he was a “social justice warrior” while we were mired in our self-focused religiosity. I got angry (that’s not good). I then decided to pray about it (that’s good). It was then I realized that I could solve this very easily. I simply asked the fellow to show me from scripture where it backed up what he was saying we were to do what he claimed the Church had been doing wrong for over 2000 years. That made him angry. It was then I blocked him because his real personality came out and his pretensions about being a “real christian” were greatly over-shadowed by some very ugly comments. 🙂 Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
Several months ago I was in a discussion group on Facebook that I am fond of when I ran head-on into a “minister/pastor” who claimed to be an authority on something I confess I knew very a little about at that time. That subject was the Social Justice Gospel. He proclaimed that he and all those in his “church” were “Social Justice Warriors.” I tried very hard to rebuke much of what he and his friends were saying by using what the Word of God says the Gospel is and what it isn’t. Most of his friends disappeared from the discussion, but he was stubborn. He tried to tell me that my interpretation of the Gospel was a misunderstanding. I needed to be “awoken” to “wake up” to be “educated” and realize that as a white person I was inherently guilty of all the crimes suffered by his race, et cetera. I never told him that I was a mixed race person who actually viewed people as either Christian or not. When I wouldn’t budge, he got tired and left. I was baffled by the whole thing. What is going on?
by Mike Ratliff
1 “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts. 2 And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the Lord’s release. Deuteronomy 15:1-2 (NKJV)
I was contacted by a friend right after Christmas about writing a post comparing what the Bible says about “justice” and how it is used by many today who call themselves “Social Justice Warriors.” I looked up the Hebrew and Greek words. I studied the context. It was very difficult to see how anyone could take those passages and come up with the Progressive political context called Social Justice from that. I did more research. I then found a very well grounded and well written article by E. Calvin Beisner that nailed it. If you read the entire article I assure you that you will not be confused by what is going on by this topic any longer. The article is called Biblical Justice vs. Social Justice.