Indeed, has God said?


by Mike Ratliff

1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 (NASB) 

Sola Scriptura is under heavy attack in the visible Church. Some of those who are leading this battle against it are already predicting victory. The central theme of Phyllis Tickle’s book The Great Emergence is, “Where is our authority?” This question is asked in order to stress the need to do away with Sola Scriptura in order to make way for “the step and subsequent journey out of traditional church expressions and into new ones.” She also said that there are forty-four specific events that underline the move away from Sola Scriptura and that it’s not if Sola Scriptura ends, but when…  Continue reading

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

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

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

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

It’s All About Me


by Mike Ratliff

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “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 5:3-16 ESV)

I have often written on this blog and elsewhere about the spiritual awakening that God took me through in 2004. I remember vividly, however, being very confused about some things as I went through that. Several years earlier, I had been deeply involved in several men’s studies at a former church that were built around the teachings of Henry Blackaby. I had been through once and led several times the study called “Experiencing God.” One thing that always puzzled me in that study was how cool it was and how “deep” it was in the beginning and then so wrapped up in spiritual or mystical disciplines toward the end because to progress past the initial seeking where God is working then get involved stage, which was always quite exciting for everyone, it got into those parts of self-discipline that most of the men simply shrugged off and didn’t come back. In any case, I used the context of those studies to evaluate or try to understand what God was doing in my life in August 2004. Things just did not jibe together as I thought they should.  Continue reading

Unbelief and Sola Scriptura


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!

Then came to him the tempter, and said, If thou be the Sonne of God, commande that these stones be made bread. But he answering said, It is written, Man shall not liue by bread onely, but by euery worde that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:3-4 Geneva)

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. 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

The Obamination of Notre Dame


by Dr. James White

You can’t help but think about the constant drum-beat of Roman Catholic apologists in attacking sola scripturaas you consider the speech given by Barak Obama at Notre Dame. Why? It’s fairly obvious. We are told that Rome has this God-given unity found in “tradition,” and a living head who can interpret doctrine and safeguard the faith. Yet, the fact is that a majority of US Catholics don’t seem to be benefitting from this source of “unity,” in that they voted for a man who stands inalterably opposed to key elements of their church’s teaching, particularly in reference to the murder of unborn children. It seems a majority of elected Roman Catholics likewise care little about what the Pope says, or the Church teaches. But, at the same time, the Church of Rome does nothing about these things, allowing pro-abortion Catholics to remain in communion with her. Sure, a few maverick bishops have spoken out, but what about all the ones who don’t, and who continue to allow these politicians who mock Rome’s teachings to remain in their “care”? Continue reading