What Is A Reprobate Mind?


by Mike Ratliff<

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32 ESV)

28 Καὶ καθὼς οὐκ ἐδοκίμασαν τὸν θεὸν ἔχειν ἐν ἐπιγνώσει, παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς εἰς ἀδόκιμον νοῦν, ποιεῖν τὰ μὴ καθήκοντα, 29 πεπληρωμένους πάσῃ ἀδικίᾳ πονηρίᾳ πλεονεξίᾳ κακίᾳ, μεστοὺς φθόνου φόνου ἔριδος δόλου κακοηθείας, ψιθυριστὰς 30 καταλάλους θεοστυγεῖς ὑβριστὰς ὑπερηφάνους ἀλαζόνας, ἐφευρετὰς κακῶν, γονεῦσιν ἀπειθεῖς, 31 ἀσυνέτους ἀσυνθέτους ἀστόργους ἀνελεήμονας· 32 οἵτινες τὸ δικαίωμα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπιγνόντες ὅτι οἱ τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντες ἄξιοι θανάτου εἰσίν, οὐ μόνον αὐτὰ ποιοῦσιν ἀλλὰ καὶ συνευδοκοῦσιν τοῖς πράσσουσιν. (Romans 1:28-32 NA28)

The word translated as “debased” in the ESV rendering of Romans 1:28 is the Greek word ἀδόκιμον. This anarthrous adjective means, “unapproved, unworthy, spurious, or worthless.” In the context of Romans 1:28 it is speaking of those who do not have a sense of pending judgment. They have a reprobate, abominable mind that is abhorred by God and men who do know God’s truth. The word “mind” here is νοῦν. This anarthrous noun is the intellectual faculty of the natural man, applicable to God or Christ (Romans 11:34; 1 Corinthians 2:16), employed in practical judgment, capable of being good or evil, and of being regenerated, the mind, the reason, the reasoning faculty. Continue reading

The Cost and Benefits of Obediently Standing in the Gap


by Mike Ratliff

I was involved in a discussion the other day with someone who claimed that it was impossible for a person to be both a Baptist and Reformed in their Theology. I got involved because I saw no sense to what he was saying in the discussion group. When I assured him that I was a Baptist, but not Dispensational he said that was a contradiction in terms. It was then that I went after his presuppositions. His presuppositions was that only those in the Covenant and given a mark of that Covenant, which was reference to their infant baptism, and no one else could be a member of the New Covenant. I then challenged his understanding of believer’s baptism throughout the book of Acts of Jewish and Gentile believers. He then said they were believers not disciples. His theology stated that a person could be a disciple and not be a genuine believer. I disagreed saying that a genuine disciple was a genuine believer while all false disciples were also false believers. This is where we came to the crux of the disagreement. I went to the Greek in The Great Commission and our Lord’s statement about the true cost of Discipleship in Luke 14:25-33. It was then that he claimed that using the Greek meant nothing and I then accused him of playing word games insisting that just because of false disciples such as Judas meant that the term “disciple” was nearly meaningless. That ended the discussion. I doubt if there will be another.

However, we do know that believers are called to role of reconciliation, forgiveness, loving our enemies, and turning the other cheek by being Spirit-filled. Also, the genuinely humble believer will not be timid, but bold.

Part of being bold because of the moving of the Holy Spirit within us is to proclaim the truth even if it takes the form of a rebuke. We are told to love our enemies, but we must not have unity with professing believers who are mired in heresy. On the other hand, those in apostasy must be rebuked in love with the goal of restoring them to fellowship and unity within God’s truth.

Much of the Bible is prophetic in nature. A large part of those prophecies take the form of God rebuking His people for their apostasy as well as declaring His coming judgment upon the world for their rebellion against Him and His ways.

One such prophet was Ezekiel. His book opens with him witnessing the glory of God in a magnificent vision. His account of it in Ezekiel 1 is utterly amazing. It is obvious that when he wrote it that he was struggling to describe the indescribable. In v26-28 Ezekiel describes his reaction to seeing this. Continue reading

A Case of Spiritual Blindness


by Mike Ratliff

1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. (Ephesians 2:1-3 NASB)

I watched a murder mystery on PBS’s Masterpiece Theater several months ago which was situated in Sweden. The story revolved around a murdered police detective who was homosexual. He lived a secret and depraved lifestyle, but the writer of the story and his characters refused to talk about that except when it involved the interview of suspects who were also in that lifestyle. In the end, they show his funeral, which takes place in a Lutheran church. They cover his casket with the blue and gold Swedish flag. The pastor of the church is a woman. They bury the man in the church cemetery, which is full of crosses. It is very interesting to watch these vignettes of what has happened to the morals in Europe as the Church there has lost its way because this very thing is happening in the United States at an astonishing rate. The Church is apostatizing and it seems that many within those local churches which are standing firm against it are some who are attempting to cause division with attacks rooted in self-righteousness fueled by conspiracy theories such as King James Onlyism. Continue reading

Qualifications for Elders


by Mike Ratliff

holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. (Titus 1:9 NASB) 

In one of our discernment group discussions today the topic came up about Mark Driscoll’s replacement at ACTS29 actually being a promotion as per this article. From that it naturally followed that basically the same thing was going on with John Piper at Bethlehem Baptist. In each case, these men were moving on to positions of more influence and more power. Also, the man who is replacing John Piper taught “Spiritual Formation” at the College level. Who is replacing Mark Driscoll? Isn’t it Matt Chandler? Isn’t he the one who claims to hear commands directly and audibly from God just like Driscoll?  Continue reading

The Eyes of the Heart


by Mike Ratliff

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:15-23 ESV)

I have used the term “Spiritual Blindness” quite a bit here in my posts and I have done so assuming that you all know what I am talking about. There are times, however, when I am utterly amazed at the depth of spiritual blindness in some professing Christians. I am not God. I am not omniscient so I do not know if some of these people are false believers or if they are simply very immature. If I knew them more personally perhaps I would know, but, in any case, when someone professes to be a Christian, but holds the view that “we are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14), therefore, we need not bother with the law at all. We may do whatever we please even if it is condemned in Scripture. This is the error of antinomianism. That term, antinomianism, means lawlessness – being against law. Those who are afflicted with this disease are so because God has not enlightened the eyes of their hearts with His truth.  Continue reading

Therefore They Could Not Believe


by Mike Ratliff

[35] So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. [36] While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. [37] Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, [38] so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,

and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

[39] Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

[40] “He has blinded their eyes

and hardened their heart,

lest they see with their eyes,

and understand with their heart, and turn,

and I would heal them.”  (John 12:35-40 ESV)

Where I work, we are having a great deal of turmoil with the merger and many projects coming due and a lot of turnover with people departing et cetera. My wife asked me why I have been so short tempered lately and not so happy to head off to the office as I used to be. I thought about that and then I summarized it like this, ‘I have tons of stuff to get done and I can’t work on any of it because I am waiting on other people do what they are supposed to do, but they will not listen to me when I tell them what they are supposed to do. Many people are now “in authority” who have no business being there and they sort of resent it when someone like me tells them what they are supposed to do even though it is very clear that I am right and am backed up with a chorus of others who agree with me.’ I was so frustrated today that I did not realize that one of my friends had walked up behind be in my office as I just sat there shaking my head. He asked me what was going on. I was startled at first then said, “I am so tired of no one listening to me, but then expecting me to solve all their problems while they get all the credit for me doing all their work.” It just slipped out. That part about telling the truth and no one listening is especially frustrating and I have been asking God if He has allowed this for His own sovereign purposes. In any case, God does control all things. If you doubt it, read the following passage from Isaiah.  Continue reading

The Emerging Church — Warning I’m Not Listening


by Mike Ratliff

4 And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. 5 And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.6 And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. (Luke 9:4-6 ESV)

My friend Ken Silva sent me a link today to this article. I thought the graphic was especially fitting to what we are dealing with as we attempt to speak the truth to those in the spiritual darkness of the Emerging Church. As I contemplated that, I looked back on my own “discussions” with not only the emergents, but those in the Purpose Driven paradigm, those in the New Evangelism, and those in the various cults that have attempted to either hijack this ministry or silence us. There is one commonality in all of them. They do not listen. The rules for commenting that I have in place on this blog are there to force those with this mindset to have to deal with the text I have posted and those who are commenting there by something other than drive-by snarkiness and profanity from the depths of a dark heart.  Continue reading

To Be Light in a Dark World


by Mike Ratliff

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 ESV)

Probably the quickest way for a Christian to discover the truth of the incredible depth and breadth of spiritual darkness in this present world is to stand firm on God’s Truth, and within that firm stand, tell that truth boldly to professing Christians. It will not take very long for those who hold to a version of Christianity that is apostate to make the reality of their spiritual darkness known in ways accompanied by fiery darts from our enemy. However, we are commanded by our Saviour to let our ‘light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.’ The believer who cowers from this or backs away from the firm stand to be that light, φως, is revealing the reality that they are ashamed of the Gospel. So how are we to be this φως in this present σκοτια (darkness)?  Continue reading

Spiritual Blindness


by Mike Ratliff

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV)

I watched a murder mystery on PBS’s Masterpiece Theater the other day. I like to solve whodunits before the detective or the police in these things. The one I watched was situated in Sweden. The story revolved around a murdered police detective who was homosexual. He lived a secret and depraved lifestyle, but the writer of the story and his characters refused to talk about that except when it involved the interview of suspects who were also in that lifestyle. In the end, they show his funeral, which takes place in a Lutheran church. They cover his casket with the blue and gold Swedish flag. The pastor of the church is a woman. They bury the man in the church cemetery, which is full of crosses. It is very interesting to watch these vignettes of what has happened to the morals in Europe as the Church there has lost its way because this very thing is happening in the United States at an accelerating rate. The Church is apostatizing and it seems that many within those who are standing firm against it are some who are attempting to cause division with attacks rooted in self-righteousness fueled by conspiracy theories such as King James Onlyism. Continue reading

What is Sweet as Honey yet Causes Bitterness in the Heat of the Spirit?


by Mike Ratliff

We have been looking at genuine Humility in the last few posts. We have seen within these studies that believers are called to role of reconciliation, forgiveness, loving our enemies, and turning the other cheek by being Spirit-filled. Also, the genuinely humble believer will not be timid, but bold.

Part of being bold because of the moving of the Holy Spirit within us is to proclaim the truth even if it takes the form of a rebuke. We are told to love our enemies, but we must not have unity with professing believers who are mired in heresy. On the other hand, those in apostasy must be rebuked in love with the goal of restoring them to fellowship and unity within God’s truth.

Much of the Bible is prophetic in nature. A large part of those prophecies take the form of God rebuking His people for their apostasy as well as declaring His coming judgment upon the world for their rebellion against Him and His ways.

One such prophet was Ezekiel. His book opens with him witnessing the glory of God in a magnificent vision. His account of it in Ezekiel 1 is utterly amazing. It is obvious that when he wrote it that he was struggling to describe the indescribable. In v26-28 Ezekiel describes his reaction to seeing this. Continue reading

Gathering: But Not For The Better!


by Chip Brogden

“Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that you come
together not for the better, but for the worse” (I Corinthians 11:17)

Jesus made it clear that “where two or three are gathered together in My
Name, there I am in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Just two or three!

I thank and praise God that Jesus did not say, “Where two or three
THOUSAND are gathered together, there I am.” He did not say, “Where two or
three HUNDRED are gathered together, there I am.” And He did not say,
“Where two or three DOZEN are gathered together, there I am.”

Jesus also did not say where the two or three had to be gathered together.
He did not specify a church building or a living room meeting. And He did
not say how many times a week they had to be gathered, or if the
gatherings had to be structured or unstructured, open or closed, inside or
outside. Continue reading