How can the blind lead the blind unless they both fall into a pit?


by Mike Ratliff

12 Then the disciples *came and *said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?” 13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Matthew 15:12-14 (NASB) 

What is Sola Scriptura? This is a Latin phrase. Sola has the idea of “alone,” “ground,” or “base” while scriptura means “writings” and refers to Sacred Scripture or what we refer to in the vernacular as The Holy Bible. Sola Scriptura means that Sacred Scripture alone is authoritative for the faith and practice of the Christian. That being true it must also be true that “all Scripture is ‘God breathed’ (given of inspiration of God) and is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness… (2 Timothy 3:16).” Sola Scriptura was the rallying cry of the Protestant Reformation. One of first things the reformers did after breaking from the Roman Catholic Church was to translate the Bible into the common language of their people. This was violently resisted by the Roman Church with many translators, such as William Tyndale, paying with their lives for putting a non-Latin Bible into the hands of the common people. Continue reading

Sola Scriptura and unbelief


by Mike Ratliff

Sola Scriptura       In Sacred scripture alone we find
Sola Gratia            Salvation is by grace alone
Sola Fide               Through faith alone
Solus Christus      In Christ alone
Soli Deo Gloria!    For the glory of God alone!

3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘ Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:3-4 NASB)

Unbelief is the fruit of arrogance. I hear nearly every day from some Emergent/Post-Modern know-it-all that certainty is the product of pride and the only ones who are truly humble are those who view uncertainty in all things as a virtue. What is unbelief in this context? To define it we must first define its opposite, belief.

35 Jesus said to them, “ I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. (John 6:35 NASB)

Those who “believe in Jesus” are those who do what? Those with belief come to Jesus to partake of this promise instead of seeking fulfillment elsewhere. These believe God; therefore, those in unbelief are those who do not believe God. They may believe Him in some things, but they do not do so to the level that causes them to place all their trust in Him and His promises as their Lord. Those in belief live within the context of Jesus Christ being their Lord while those in unbelief do not. Oh, they compensate to be sure. They create their own Jesus who is more to their liking. Since they created him, they have him being “lord” in their context, but most certainly not according to that which we are clearly given in Sacred Scripture. Continue reading

Sola Scriptura vs Unbelief


by Mike Ratliff

3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘ Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:3-4 NASB)

Unbelief is the fruit of arrogance. I hear nearly every day from some New Evangelism/Emergent/Post-Modern know-it-all that certainty is the product of pride and the only ones who are truly humble are those who view uncertainty in all things as a virtue. What is unbelief in this context? To define it we must first define its opposite, belief. In John 6:35 Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” So those who “believe in Jesus” are those who do what? Those with belief come to Jesus to partake of this promise instead of seeking fulfillment elsewhere. These believe God; therefore, those in unbelief are those who do not believe God. They may believe Him in some things, but they do not do so to the level that causes them to place all their trust in Him and His promises as their Lord. Those in belief live within the context of Jesus Christ being their Lord while those in unbelief do not. Oh, they compensate to be sure. They create their own Jesus who is more to their liking. Since they created him, they have him being “lord” in their context, but most certainly not according to that which we are clearly given in Sacred Scripture. Continue reading

Post tenebras lux


by Mike Ratliff

The Doctrine of Justification by Faith alone, or sola fide, was the key of the Protestant Reformation. Its recovery was from the darkness created by the dominance of man-made religiosity, which held that justification was accomplished through faith plus good works. This grew into people being required to do religious acts in order to be considered righteous. The driving force of the Reformation was captured by the Latin phrase Post tenebras lux (After darkness, light). Continue reading

Sola Scriptura – The Word Our Only Rule


I have been in a “discussion” with a Roman Catholic about the doctrine of Justification by Grace alone through Faith alone. His contention was that the epistle of James actually teaches against what Paul taught, but it is canonical as are all of Paul’s epistles. What is he saying? He is saying the tie breaker is Church tradition and the Pope. I used Biblical exegesis to show that there was actually no disparity between what Paul taught and what James taught, but it was like trying to describe an Elephant to a blind man. In response to this I am reposting John Calvin’s excellent article on Sola Scripture. Enjoy and be blessed. – Mike Ratliff

The Word Our Only Rule

by John Calvin

15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed. (Titus 1:15-16 NASB)

St. Paul hath shown us that we must be ruled by the Word of God, and hold the commandments of men as vain and foolish; for holiness and perfection of life belongeth not to them. He condemneth some of their commandments, as when they forbid certain meats, and will not suffer us to use that liberty which God giveth the faithful. Those who troubled the church in St. Paul’s time, by setting forth such traditions, used the commandments of the law as a shield. These were but men’s inventions: because the temple was to be abolished at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Those in the church of Christ, who hold this superstition, to have certain meats forbidden, have not the authority of God, for it was against His mind and purpose that the Christian should be subject to such ceremonies.

Continue reading

Justification and the God-Centered Gospel


by Mike Ratliff

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. (1 John 1:1-4 ESV)

Most, if not all, of the contention that I have experienced in this ministry has to do with people’s demand to be “justified” on their own terms. For instance, one fellow angrily told me that the genuine gospel was to do good works, to feed the hungry and minister to the homeless. Another one insists that all he has to do is love God and love everyone and that is how he experiences “salvation.” Are these valid forms of the Gospel? Continue reading

The Doctrine Of Justification By Faith


by Mike Ratliff

16 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. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17 ESV)

The Protestant Reformation was used by God to restore the lost doctrine of Justification by Faith. Also, all of the reformers were adamant that the Bible be available to all people in a language they could read and understand. The Roman Catholic Church of that era was apostate and taught a corrupt gospel based on works. The Bible was kept locked up and away from non-scholars. It was always read verbally to the people in Latin, which few understood. As the Bible was translated from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek into German, English, French, etc. the doctrine of Justification by Faith became central. Why would our enemy and his seed seek to bury this doctrine within religion?

Continue reading

Scripture Alone


by Michael Kruger

We live in a world filled with competing truth claims. Every day, we are bombarded with declarations that something is true and that something else is false. We are told what to believe and what not to believe. We are asked to behave one way but not another way. In her monthly column “What I Know for Sure,” Oprah Winfrey tells us how to handle our lives and our relationships. The New York Times editorial page regularly tells us what approach we should take to the big moral, legal, or public-policy issues of our day. Richard Dawkins, the British atheist and evolutionist, tells us how to think of our historical origins and our place in this universe. Continue reading

What Is The Effect of the God-Centered Gospel?


by Mike Ratliff

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. (1 John 1:1-4 ESV)

Most, if not all, of the contention that I have experienced in this ministry has to do with people’s demand to be “justified” on their own terms. For instance, one fellow angrily told me that the genuine gospel was to do good works, to feed the hungry and minister to the homeless. Another one insists that all he has to do is love God and love everyone and that is how he experiences “salvation.” There are others who insist that Christians are to live the Gospel rather than being concerned about preaching the message of it. Are these valid forms of the Gospel? Continue reading

Textual Criticism and Sola Scriptura


by Mike Ratliff

12 ζων γαρ ο λογος του θεου και ενεργης και τομωτερος υπερ πασαν μαχαιραν διστομον και διικνουμενος αχρι μερισμου ψυχης τε και πνευματος αρμων τε και μυελων και κριτικος ενθυμησεων και εννοιων καρδιας 13 και ουκ εστιν κτισις αφανης ενωπιον αυτου παντα δε γυμνα και τετραχηλισμενα τοις οφθαλμοις αυτου προς ον ημιν ο λογος. (Hebrews 4:12-13 Textus Receptus)

12 Ζῶν γὰρ ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἐνεργὴς καὶ τομώτερος ὑπὲρ πᾶσαν μάχαιραν δίστομον καὶ διϊκνούμενος ἄχρι μερισμοῦ ψυχῆς καὶ πνεύματος, ἁρμῶν τε καὶ μυελῶν, καὶ κριτικὸς ἐνθυμήσεων καὶ ἐννοιῶν καρδίας· 13 καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν κτίσις ἀφανὴς ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ, πάντα δὲ γυμνὰ καὶ τετραχηλισμένα τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς αὐτοῦ, πρὸς ὃν ἡμῖν ὁ λόγος. (Hebrews 4:12-13 NA28)

12 For the Word of God is living and effective and sharper than every doubled-edged sword and penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, both of joints and marrow, and able to discern the thoughts and insights of the heart. 13 And there is not a creature hidden from before Him, but all things are bare and having been exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13 translated from the NA28 Greek text) 

12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two- edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13 ESV) 

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight:but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:12-13 KJV)

I suppose it is because I am a political conservative and a Christian that I am exposed (by email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other discussion media such as blogs and websites that my friends want me to see) at times to some very distressful and destructive behavior by adults who should really know better. Oh, I am not blaming my friends because what they are showing me are things that are disturbing to them as well. What causes me such grief in these things is what some of these people do and say in the name of Christ and claim they are attacking a fellow brother in Christ as if he is the seed of Satan to do service to God Himself. If they really thought that through I think it would expose their hypocrisy even to their hard hearts, but since they are spiritually blind, I doubt it. You see, we cannot do the work of our Lord using the tools of our enemy. Lying, stealing, killing, innuendo, slander, intimidation… you get the idea. Did Jesus ever do any of those things? Did he ever condone us doing any of those things? Continue reading

Sola Scriptura and Unbelief are Mutually Exclusive


by Mike Ratliff

Sola Scriptura       In Sacred scripture alone we find

Sola Gratia              Salvation is by grace alone

Sola Fide                  Through faith alone

Solus Christus       In Christ alone

Soli Deo Gloria!    For the glory of God alone!

3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:3-4 ESV)

Unbelief is rooted in arrogance. I hear quite often from some Emergent/Post-Modern know-it-all that certainty is the product of pride and the only ones who are truly humble are those who view uncertainty in all things as a virtue. However, what is unbelief in this context? To define it we must first define its opposite, belief. In John 6:35 Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” So those who “believe in Jesus” are those who do what? Those with belief come to Jesus to partake of this promise instead of seeking fulfillment elsewhere. These believe God; therefore, those in unbelief are those who do not believe God. They may believe in Him, but they do not do so to the level that causes them to place all their trust in Him and His promises as their Lord. Those in belief live within the context of Jesus Christ being their Lord while those in unbelief do not. Oh, they compensate to be sure. How? They create their own Jesus who is more to their liking. Since they created him, they have him being “lord” in their context, but most certainly not according to that which we are clearly given in Sacred Scripture.

Continue reading

The Slippery Slope of Death


by Mike Ratliff

14 Μὴ γίνεσθε ἑτεροζυγοῦντες ἀπίστοις· τίς γὰρ μετοχὴ δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ἀνομίᾳ, ἢ τίς κοινωνία φωτὶ πρὸς σκότος; 15 τίς δὲ συμφώνησις Χριστοῦ πρὸς Βελιάρ, ἢ τίς μερὶς πιστῷ μετὰ ἀπίστου; (2 Corinthians 6:14,15 NA27)

14 Do not become unequally yoked with unbelievers for what partnership has righteousness and lawlessness or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 And what harmony has Christ with Beliar or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? (2 Corinthians 6:14,15 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

Today I listened to the September 6th, 2011 episode of Dr. James White’s Dividing Line via podcast. Most of it was dedicated to another Radio broadcast in the U.K. called the Unbelievable Radio Program hosted by Justin Brierley. In that episode there were two guests, Bart Ehrman and Mike Licona who each gave their accounts of the makeup of their faith, et cetera. Dr. White played none of Bart Ehrman’s content saying, “What’s the point since he is an apostate?” I had never heard of Mike Licona. Who is he? He is currently the Apologetics Coordinator at the North American Mission Board (Southern Baptist Convention) and Research Professor of New Testament at Southern Evangelical Seminary. He has a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies (University of Pretoria) which he completed “with distinction” and the highest mark and an M.A. in Religious Studies from Liberty University. Notice the part I put in bold. Why did Dr. White spend so much time going over this man’s “testimony”?  Continue reading

Fool


by Mike Ratliff

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:20-21 ESV)

Over this last week I have been battling some sort of stomach ailment and right now I don’t feel so hot, but at least I can sit up and type now. Also during this time I have listened to Dr. James White do a short analysis of Rob Bell and his book Love Wins. Dr. White did his analysis from the perspective of an interview done by someone else and then analyzed how Rob Bell responded to those direct questions. He promised to do a full review after reading the book. In any case, one of the comments he made about Bell that, I believe, is definitive of the man and his ministry is that he is very smart and well educated, but those things do not make one a true Biblical scholar nor do they even make one a Christian. No, no matter how much knowledge one has of Hebrew and Greek and Theology, if there is no true knowledge of Christ via the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ then all you have is what Dr. White refers to a just another Mainline Protestant Liberal.  Continue reading

God’s Method of Our Spiritual Growth: Oratio Meditatio Tentatio


by Mike Ratliff

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:6 ESV)

The incredible lack of spiritual maturity in the current visible church has resulted in a corresponding lack of spiritual depth, i.e. biblical ignorance. Couple this with post-modern relativistic nonsense and we have the perfect environment for the growth and acceptance of what is biblically unChristian being accepted and declared Christian to the point that men like Brian McLaren can be viewed as very advanced and deep “Christian leaders.” As we listen to the blasphemous remarks by this man we must also understand that his “spiritual acumen” did not come from God. There is a precise process God uses to develop His theologians, spokesmen, prophets, and leaders. This process produces a consistent result. Oh, no genuine Christian will claim to be perfect or to “having arrived” spiritually so these “products” of God’s school of spiritual growth will always be “in process.” Martin Luther understood this very well. Continue reading