Preaching the Gospel of light into the darkness


Pby Mike Ratliff

1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 4:1-2 (NASB) 

In 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 Paul speaks of a veil that lies over the hearts of those who reject the genuine Gospel. Paul used the Jews as his example of those who, with hearts hardened against the Gospel, believe they are serving God in their rejection of it. In the 21st Century Church, we have a parallel of this in much of the visible Church. Before I took my time off I received several emails from many of you about an escalation of attacks on what we refer to as Reformation Theology from those who are convinced that Christians are saved by exercising their will with absolutely no help from God. In fact, they view this as sacred and if God were to interfere, He would be in violation somehow and this would nullify the veracity of their salvation. This is part of the struggle for the truth with which we must deal, but we also have outright heretics preaching in some pulpits teaching Eastern Mysticism as if it is part of the Gospel. We also have those who are seemingly desperate to be seen as separate from anything “Orthodox” so they reject what the Bible clearly teaches about Homosexuality being a sin. It is as if these who are consistently attacking God’s truth and rejecting His Sovereignty are doing the very same thing the Jews of Paul’s day did. They insist that the focus of Christianity must be all about people, while we teach that it is all about God and His glory. Continue reading

Deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons


by Mike Ratliff

1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, (1 Timothy 4:1 NASB)

The “Emergence phenomenon” (or whatever they are calling it nowadays) is not Christian. Oh, many of these self-styled “emergents” insist that their “conversation” is the epitome of what Christianity is supposed to be, but the “movement” is undergoing even more drastic transformations, which now include its members celebrating Ramadan or having Buddhist monks instruct them on meditation techniques. This “phenomenon” is nothing more than deceived people who have been seduced by evil spirits to believe the doctrines of demons. We live in a time of deep spiritual deception. I have encountered this spirit of deception working through some people who attempted to cause me to stumble through their deceitful tactics. What we must never forget my brethren is that our enemy is a master salesman and he uses unwitting people to deliver his message to those who are serving the Lord Jesus in order to distract them in an attempt to nullify them in the truth war. Continue reading

Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might


by Mike Ratliff

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-17 NASB)

This ministry began primarily to bring Christians from the darkness of dead religiosity into the light of an obedient, vibrant, growing, daily walk by faith as a living sacrifice. However, it soon became apparent that a huge number of those who God sent this way were refugees from churches that had been taken over by the Purpose Driven paradigm. They had stood against the takeover and had been asked to leave or told to leave. They were no longer welcome in churches in which they had served for years. In many cases, generations of their family had served there. Now, that local church had become a local Purpose Driven franchise that only welcomed the world and cared nothing for real Christians. In our analysis of this and our ministering to those who were dealing with this we soon found ourselves also dealing with the PDC apologists who were allied with another group. That group was a loosely defined bunch of people we called the “emergent village.” We had other names for them, but that name will work for now.

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What is the Light of the Gospel?


by Mike Ratliff

1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.  (2 Corinthians 4:1-2 ESV)

In our church we have been studying the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament for the last several weeks and our teaching pastors have done a fine job of relating God’s truth there to the Gospel and the New Covenant truths from the New Testament. As always, we have been looking at why it is vital to know what we believe and why we believe it. In light of that we have also looked at the disturbing truths from God’s Word that show us clearly that his Truth is not knowable by those to whom it is not given.

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The Pillar and Support of the Truth


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 NA27)

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 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

When Paul wrote his first epistle to Timothy that 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

The Light of the Gospel


by Mike Ratliff

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  (2 Corinthians 4:1-6 ESV)

Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post (1 Corinthians 4:1-6). What is the Apostle Paul saying here? The Gospel that he preached, the other Apostles preached, which was passed on to them from Christ himself, is understood and obeyed only by those whose hearts have received the light which God has shone into the darkness in their hearts to give light to the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Continue reading

Are We Picking Fruit or Pulling Roots


by Mike Ratliff

During the latest escalation in the Truth War, it has been noticed by many of my good friends who watch these things that as we have brought into focus many of the things pertaining to outright heresy and the blending of pagan with Christian practices within the Emergents’ “ministries” as well as all those who are attempting to minister pragmatically, certain incriminating book references and articles on their blogs and websites have been taken down. Also, in discussion with other comrades in arms in the trenches it has come to the fore that even though it is good that we shine the truth from God’s Word in the dark corners of this movement, there are still hidden things that are actually the roots of all of the apostasy and heresy against which we contend. As we deal with the present evil, the even deeper evil behind it remains.  Continue reading

Seducing Spirits and the Doctrines of Demons


by Mike Ratliff

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (1 Timothy 4:1 KJV)

The “Emergence phenomenon” is not Christian. Oh, many of these self-styled “emergents” insist that their “conversation” is the epitome of what Christianity is supposed to be, but the “movement” is undergoing even more drastic transformations, which now include its members celebrating Ramadan or having Buddhist monks instruct them on meditation techniques. This “phenomenon” is nothing more than deceived people who have been seduced by evil spirits to believe the doctrines of demons. We live in a time of deep spiritual deception. I have encountered this spirit of deception working through some people who attempted to cause me to stumble through their deceitful tactics. What we must never forget my brethren is that our enemy is a master salesman and he uses unwitting people to deliver his message to those who are serving the Lord Jesus in order to distract them in an attempt to nullify them in the truth war. Continue reading

The Light of the Gospel


by Mike Ratliff

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 4:1-2 ESV)

All this week I have had my son who I get to see only a few times a year and my daughter and grandson who also live in another state visiting my wife and I in our home. During this time, I deliberately did not spend any time online with the purpose of keeping up with what is going on the ongoing battle for the truth and of what the real Gospel consists. After we took my son to the airport this afternoon one of the first things I did was open up the Christian Research Network website. It was as if that insulation that my rest had built around me during my “vacation” was immediately blown away. As I read those articles from the last few days, I kept asking God to show me what He wanted me to do; what should I address? Ken Silva and Chris Rosebrough both did a fine job of addressing the apostasy and outright heresy coming from Rob Bell’s church and Jay Bakker among many others. I knew that I could not add anything to what they said, but I could address the truth and how the genuine Gospel is known by those to whom it is given by God and how it is unknowable by those to whom it is not given.  Continue reading

Valiant For Truth


by Mike Ratliff

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, (Ephesians 6:10-17 ESV)

A dear friend sent me Roger Oakland’s book Faith Undone, which is a very good exposition of the “emerging church.” I have quoted from it since I received it, but I have not had the time to simply sit and devour it. I began that process today. I highly recommend this book to all desiring to know the truth of what some have called “a new reformation.” The “movement” is not biblically based at all. Instead, it has its roots in the existential philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard repackaged by business guru Peter Drucker. Oakland gives us the names of the “Christian” leaders who have bought into this deception. Some are those we know well such as Brian McLaren and Leonard Sweet, but there are others that we don’t normally think of being in the “emergent movement” such as Rick Warren and Bill Hybels. In any case, what we must determine is what we are to do when those whose agenda is nothing more than the destruction and replacement of our Orthodox faith attack it at every level. Continue reading

The Internet Front of the Truth War is an Ugly Place


by Mike Ratliff

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. (John 8:44-45 ESV)

deceive: to be false; implies imposing a false idea or belief that causes ignorance, bewilderment, or helplessness

mislead: implies a leading astray that may or may not be intentional

delude: implies deceiving so thoroughly as to obscure the truth

No one but God is perfect. We all make mistakes. We all sin. Likewise, none of us, of ourselves, can stand the full judging light into our thoughts, actions, and motives. However, God is none of these things. His Word is perfect. Those in Christ are regenerate and have the Holy Spirit. Even with this, they are not perfect and still sin and make mistakes. However, it is vital for us understand this, God has given His truth to man and He has raised up some to stand in the gap before what is false. Continue reading