But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation


by Mike Ratliff

20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (2 Peter 1:20 KJV)

20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. (2 Peter 1:20 ESV)

20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, (2 Peter 1:20 NASB)

20 τοῦτο πρῶτον γινώσκοντες ὅτι πᾶσα προφητεία γραφῆς ἰδίας ἐπιλύσεως οὐ γίνεται· (2 Peter 1:20 NA28)

20 Know this first, that every prophecy of scripture is not of one’s own interpretation. (2 Peter 1:20 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

I remember the conversation like it was yesterday. The young man was so excited that he could barely contain it. He could not stop talking about his experience at his new church in Tulsa under a very well known Word Faith pastor. He went on and on and on. I had been a Christian about 10 years by then and had not yet entered into that long period of dryness that God put me through that ended in 2004 so this must have been in the early 1990’s. In any case, neither the young man nor his wife would engage me personally in conversation nor would they look at me directly. They only talked to those around me. However, with each emphatic point he made that I knew was unbiblical I would try to interject something, but was ignored. Finally, there was a point in the conversation when he made one of those points and everyone became quiet and I simply said, “But that is not Biblical and what you are describing is subjectivism, not anything that can proved by Scripture.” His answer was simply this, “God still speaks to His people and not all of His truth is found in the Bible.” I then asked, “Will He then say things to these prophets that are contrary to what the Bible says or will He say things that these people prophesy that does not take place? If so, what then?” He then pooh-poohed me away and would not let me engage him in any more conversation. The“religion” he was involved in has its foundation in men’s private interpretation of the Bible along with God supposedly speaking prophecy directly to them thereby “confirming” there false interpretation of the Word of God. I never could find out from them how one could know how one could really know if that word from God was really from God or if it was just their over active imagination.

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And he said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”


by Mike Ratliff

48 εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῇ· ἀφέωνταί σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι. 49 καὶ ἤρξαντο οἱ συνανακείμενοι λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς· τίς οὗτός ἐστιν ὃς καὶ ἁμαρτίας ἀφίησιν; (Luke 7:48-49 NA28)

48 And he said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” 49 And the ones reclining with him began saying among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” (Luke 7:48-49 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

I went to “Easter” services at our church with my family last night. Yes, we still call it that, but I assure you there was nothing pagan, or worldly about what went on there. I heard the Gospel preached clearly and succinctly. I heard how vital our Lord’s resurrection is to not only our faith, but also to our entire orthodox belief system. Jesus was raised from the dead and 40 days later he was taken up into Heaven to sit at right had of God the Father. However, we are told in the Word that in like manner, our Lord will return. (Acts 1:9-11) As I heard the Gospel preached I rejoiced and worshipped God and thanked Him for saving me. I know that I most certainly am unworthy of being one of the elect, but that is the nature of grace and I as I think back on how God the Father drew me to the Son even though I was not even thinking about going that way myself, I am amazed that He would have mercy on a wretch like me. In Luke 7:36-50 we are given the circumstances of our Lord saving a woman who most of us could most certainly relate to if we are honest.

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Standing firm against hypocrites speaking lies from a seared conscience


by Mike Ratliff

1 Τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα ῥητῶς λέγει ὅτι ἐν ὑστέροις καιροῖς ἀποστήσονταί τινες τῆς πίστεως προσέχοντες πνεύμασιν πλάνοις καὶ διδασκαλίαις δαιμονίων, 2 ἐν ὑποκρίσει ψευδολόγων, κεκαυστηριασμένων τὴν ἰδίαν συνείδησιν, (1 Timothy 4:1-2 NA28)

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times  some will depart from the faith,  giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 in hypocrisy of ones speaking lies, having been seared in their own conscience, (1 Timothy 4:1-2 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

I have made clear what all Christians’ stance should be on homosexuality here. That stance is biblical and any attempt to soften, change, or redirect it has as its source the father of all lies and enemy of our souls. I am sure all reading this here in April of 2015 are aware of the “human rights” crisis that was “manufactured” around the Indiana state government passing a bill that is nearly identical to that which exists in 21 other states and is also on record in the Federal Government which became law during the Clinton administration. Yes, this law simply says that a person’s religious convictions cannot become subject to that of the state or another group, etc. In other words it simply supports the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Notice the part in bold. That being said, we live in a time in which Liberal activists demand tolerance for everyone, that is, everyone except Christians who have a conscience bound to the Word of God, who refuse to violate that conscience simply because society or the government demands “tolerance” for that which the Word of God says is evil. These Liberal activists demanding tolerance reveal their real selves when they become totally intolerant of those who are not going to violate their consciences bound to the Word God even if it costs them everything, even death. History is replete with examples of this.

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Remove the evil from among you


by Mike Ratliff

9 Ἔγραψα ὑμῖν ἐν τῇ ἐπιστολῇ μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι πόρνοις, 10 οὐ πάντως τοῖς πόρνοις τοῦ κόσμου τούτου ἢ τοῖς πλεονέκταις καὶ ἅρπαξιν ἢ εἰδωλολάτραις, ἐπεὶ ὠφείλετε ἄρα ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου ἐξελθεῖν. 11 νῦν δὲ ἔγραψα ὑμῖν μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι ἐάν τις ἀδελφὸς ὀνομαζόμενος ᾖ πόρνος ἢ πλεονέκτης ἢ εἰδωλολάτρης ἢ λοίδορος ἢ μέθυσος ἢ ἅρπαξ, τῷ τοιούτῳ μηδὲ συνεσθίειν. 12 τί γάρ μοι τοὺς ἔξω κρίνειν; οὐχὶ τοὺς ἔσω ὑμεῖς κρίνετε; 13 τοὺς δὲ ἔξω ὁ θεὸς κρινεῖ. ἐξάρατε τὸν πονηρὸν ἐξ ὑμῶν αὐτῶν. (1 Corinthians 5:9-13 NA28)

9 I wrote to you in the epistle not to mix with fornicators, 10 not meaning complete dissociation from the fornicators of this world or greedy and swindlers or idolaters, since you would have to then go out from the world. 11 But now I wrote to you not to mix with anyone who is called a brother if he is a fornicator or a greedy man or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or a swindler. Do not eat with such a man. 12 For what do I have to do with the judging of outsiders? Is it not the ones within you are to judge? 13 But the ones outside God judges. Remove the evil man from among yourselves. (1 Corinthians 5:9-13 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

As the true Gospel is proclaimed with power it is always accompanied by the Law which is used by the Holy Spirit to reveal to the lost their utter need for a Saviour and the complete helplessness to save themselves from the coming wrath of God upon all sin that has not been covered by blood of Christ through his atoning work on the Cross. Those who have not been justified by faith alone through grace alone through believing the Gospel and receiving Christ as Lord and Saviour are those mentioned in the passage above that are “outsiders.” He also makes it clear that many are “called a brother,” but their actions of an unrepentant lifestyle reveal that they are subject to being judged according to “Church Discipline” and cast out of the local body of believers.  Continue reading

Division and factions in churches serve God’s purposes


by Mike Ratliff

19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. (1 John 2:19 NASB)

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like:of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 KJV)

In the passage from Galatians, which I placed above, at the end of v20 is the word “heresies.” The NASB translates this same word as “factions.” It is a form of the word αἵρεσις or hairesis, which is only theoretical in that one can hold different views than the majority and remain in the same body but he is a heretic. Heresy is theoretical and does not become practical until the heretic tears himself away, σχίζω or schizō. Then he is schismatic and is the source of σχίσμα or schisma. In that, schismaticalness is practical heresy. Continue reading

The testing of our faith


by Mike Ratliff

2 Πᾶσαν χαρὰν ἡγήσασθε, ἀδελφοί μου, ὅταν πειρασμοῖς περιπέσητε ποικίλοις, 3 γινώσκοντες ὅτι τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως κατεργάζεται ὑπομονήν. 4 ἡ δὲ ὑπομονὴ ἔργον τέλειον ἐχέτω, ἵνα ἦτε τέλειοι καὶ ὁλόκληροι ἐν μηδενὶ λειπόμενοι. (James 1:2-4 NA28)

2 Consider it all joy my brothers whenever you fall into various trials 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its full effect that you may be mature and complete lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 translated from the NA28 Greek text) 

The man-centered religions that claim to be “Christian” in our time could never take James 1:2-4 literally. No, instead, they must demand from their own man-made Jesus that they have their best life now and that the Sun stand still so that they can fulfill the vision that they claim to have received from him. This whole idea of a faith that is self-renouncing while submitting to Christ as Lord in all things, taking up our crosses, bearing his reproach outside the gates because he bore our reproach to pay the price to atone for our sins is totally alien to those “so-called Christians” in those “religions.” Add to that the fiery trials of sanctification and they claim that we are taking the Bible too literally and that since God is love, he would never do that to anyone.  Continue reading

Who are genuine Christ followers?


by Mike Ratliff

18 Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 And He *said to them, “ Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 21 Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him. (Matthew 4:18-22 NASB)

It seems like just the other day, but I actually it was in late 2004 through 2005 and into 2006 that the old Slice of Laodicea blog was going full tilt, Jim Bublitz, Ken Silva and Ingrid were taking it as well as giving it from those who hated to hear the truth that there actually is a dividing line between Orthodox Christianity and everything else that calls itself Christian, but isn’t, that is, apostasy in one form or another. I came into the battle seeking the truth. I was desperate because my church was being sucked into the Purpose Driven paradigm and no one there would listen to my warnings. Both Jim and Ken were a great help to me. In any case, it was during all of that that we witnessed a group of individuals declare war on the Orthodox Christianity we defended, refusing to be called “Christians” any longer, preferring to be called “Christ followers.” I always looked at that with humor because that seemed so “self-righteous” and “pretentious” and if we look carefully at what these people were trying to say by that, they were driving themselves even further into a “works righteousness” religion. Let’s look at our Lord’s own words in his calling people to follow Him.

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But we have the mind of Christ


by Mike Ratliff

13 Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,
Or as His counselor has informed Him? (Isaiah 40:13 NASB)

When we observe Christian leaders operate according to the world’s standards and methods with pastors taking on roles other than shepherd of the sheep then responding to righteous criticism with further deception, what we are actually witnessing are professing Christians not walking within the wisdom that is available to all true believers via the Mind of Christ. This same situation is seen in all who have been deceived by and drawn into the “Innovation Cult” as well. That would include those proponents of easy-believism in all its forms. We see it in “church organizations” that are built around a personality rather than following a shepherd of the sheep who is obediently following the Lord as he should. When a Christian leader becomes the focus rather than Christ in a ministry then we see this idolatry begin to take shape. How often do we see one of these personalities build up a large church then when he moves on to the next church the one he built just falls apart? This should not be and this is indicative of a form of Christianity that is built around this personality cultic focus rather than around following Christ. Continue reading

Rulers of the darkness of this world


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. (Ephesians 6:10-12 NASB)

As we study Ephesians 6:10-20, which in most New Testaments is labeled as “The Armor of God” or something similar, we need to pay close attention the reason God has given us this armor and, therefore, why it is necessary for us to put it on and keep it on at all time. The Church and God’s truth are continually under attack by our enemy. We take up this whole armor in order to stand firm in the evil day. Well, this is most definitely an evil day when truth is seen as something to be bargained away or shunned while lies and that which is only appears to be the truth is elevated as if it is the truth. Because of this, we must become discerning and wise, therefore, we must consistently wear this armor.

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He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions


by Mike Ratliff

9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. (Colossians 2:9-15 NASB)

The mark of one who has been truly made alive together with Christ is not sinless perfection, but rather one who is actually fighting the “good fight” of being a living sacrifice and walking in repentance. That being said, let’s look at two passages in which is found the only New Testament occurrences of the Greek Word συζωοποιέω or suzōopoieō, “to make alive together with another; to make a sharer of the quickening of another.

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Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “ Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord


by Mike Ratliff

19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “ Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 “ But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him A drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19-21 NASB)

It is the duty of all believers to serve the Lord by being good soldiers, ready for battle to stand and contend for His Truth no matter the cost, however, there is are right and wrong ways this is done. It is vital for the apologist to know the truth and that is found only in God’s Word. Yes, some godly Christians speak and write truth from God’s Word, but the primary source for us is the Word of God. This is why it is vital that believers sit at the feet of good and godly teachers of God’s truth that they may know and love His pure doctrines. I have seen so many good Christians attempt to stand up to apologists for some man-centered version of our faith, but they are not prepared. This usually ends badly. The reason this happens is that these good people use tactics born in the flesh rather than from the humble, and wise heart that is submitted totally to the will of God. The enemy is an expert at inciting people to react emotionally to what they perceive as wrong and this can lead to snippy arguments that produce only bad fruit.

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The regenerate believer’s incompatibility with sin


by Mike Ratliff

1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1 John 3:1-3 NASB)

It is imperative that Christians have a correct and viable theology of suffering. These health, wealth, and prosperity preachers in our time will disagree of course, but let them. We have God’s Truth, His Word, held in objective context held up against their subjective, ear-tickling smoke and mirrors false religion. Oh, there may indeed be some “spirituality” going on in there, but to proclaim, “God is here!” or “God is in this!” or “We are having a Revival, come and join us!” is the very act of man elevating himself above God, telling Him what to do and when. However, I digress. God has always used suffering in the lives of His people to sanctify them, to draw them to prayer, to purify them, to grow them spiritually, and to direct their paths. Paul called some of his suffering a thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan (2 Corinthians 12), but allowed by God to keep him from exalting himself because of his great knowledge. When we learn to view the seriousness of our sin as Paul did and God’s glory as imperative then we will begin to understand that sin in the life of a Christian is an anathema in a realistic, daily sense rather than in some sort of abstract give and take.

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