Archive for the 'Mike Ratliff' Category

Made of fail!

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One C?N writer posted this article yesterday, entitled

The Marks of Such as Believe in Christ – Part6

Do Not Pass Judgement on One Another

‘nough said.  The mark of a true believe is that they do not pass jusdgement on one another.  There is enough irony there for you to ponder over all day long. 

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Remember what I wrote that to watchdoggies agreement is everything? Well in the wake of the language dust-up Mike Ratliff writes:

Those of the religion of Human Reason debate deceitfully. They focus on words and logic, but since faith is outside of Human Reason and totally not understandable by an unregenerate mind, they cannot see it nor grasp it. When we reason with them using words of faith, they hear an unintelligible language and reject it as nonsense. What we see as our Spirit-filled walk unto personal holiness, they see as hypocrisy and us being judgmental because we point out that they are mired in their flesh instead of being led by the Spirit. We become frustrated because it appears they are just being hard headed. However, they really cannot grasp the truth because their hearts are hard and God has not given them the ability to understand it by His Grace. Tragically, their religion of Human Reason also gives them false assurance they are right and we are wrong because, after all, to them we are speaking nonsense. They have a religion, but it is one of their own making and it is not Genuine Christianity. Because of that, they also use the tactics of the world. That should be no surprise to us since they are conformed to the world, they will be like it. Here is an example of these tactics exposed by my friend Ken Silva.

Get that? If you don’t agree with Mike on the language issue its because you’re not really a Christian and you’re going to hell. The more I read the watchdoggies the more Roman Catholic they become as Pope Mike speaks ex cathedra and ex communicates everyone but the people on his blogroll. I just hope the watchdoggies are as corrupt as their Roman Catholic forefathers and let my son pay an indulgence to spring me out of eternal damnation.

Is anyone else shocked that Mike Ratliff would make the issue of particular words as central to Christianity as something like the resurrection?

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While arrogance and ignorance is a watchdoggie trademark, this display by Mike Ratliff is an absolute clinic. In it he references this post which sparked a discussion on the use of language.  Ratliff commented several times using the exact same arguments he uses in his post, and was answered several times.  He either ran out of time to read the response, or simply had no desire to actually process and respond to the comments he received because no where in his post does he address these counter-arguments.  But first on to the arrogance:

What are the motives for using coarse or vulgar language? There are many, but not one of them will cause a believer to edify others or glorify God.

Apparently Mike knows, not only every single instance of  the use of coarse or vulgar language, but also the motive for using coarse or vulgar language.  Of course, the actual post in question actually linked to an example of coarse or vulgar language being used to edify others and glorify God. I posted the back story on the song itself and this little bit of information was brought forth:

a few sent me private messages of appreciation

And here was the motive in writing the song in the first place:

Even though that song is supposed to be funny, I really would like to discuss seriously with someone why it is that we tend to be severe with those with whom Jesus was gentle and indulging of those with whom Jesus was severe.

There’s the arrogance, now onto the ignorance.  Mike writes:

In fact, in the Bible, in every mention of coarse language, it is cast as part of sin or sinful itself.

Its hard for me to come up with the words to describe this level of Biblical ignorance.  To give an example, you’ve got Paul’s use of skubalon in Philippians (which is often deliberately mistranslated as "rubbish" and should be at the very least translated as crap).  Then you’ve got Isaiah’s use of the "filthy rags" which is also deliberately mistranslated and could be more accurately translated as "menstrual rags", or rendered perhaps as "used tampons".  Jesus’ use of the word "woe" in Matthew 24 (not to mention phrases like "sons of Hell) all fall into this category.  John the Baptist calling the Pharisees "brood of vipers" wasn’t just a turn of phrase it was a nasty, religious insult, far stronger than anything in the song I posted.  Unfortunately, because of the easily offended nature of Christians in general and especially watchdoggies in particular.  the Bible has been softened and distorted to avoid dealing with offensive passages in it.

Now check out the other side of the issue.  Look what Jesus has to say about speech in Matthew 6 that is socially acceptable, but insubstantial:

5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

But the thing that really gets to me on this issue is this: all those passages from Ephesians, and James and in other places that deal with the sins of the mouth have been ultimately taught to mean "don’t say this list of naughty words".  Just look at the way the watchdoggies conduct themselves.  They have no problem shredding their brothers and sisters in Christ with lies, exaggerations, assumptions and just plain nastiness.  Yet, they maintain they are obeying admonitions to avoid sins of the mouth because they’ve avoided the culture’s no-no words. 

This has even bigger implications, though.  Recently, with the references to what is worldly, the way the watchdoggies look at language, dress, and just generally the outside of the cup they’ve missed the Kingdom completely.  They’re so busy policing worship styles, FCC banned words, and other things that just don’t matter that they’ve bought into the power of the world, and put off the kingdom completely.  In Matthew 20 Jesus says:

Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Instead of trying to dominate our fellow citizens politically, and our fellow brothers and sisters via brow beating and the abuse of scripture, a little bit of servanthood would go a long way to embracing the kingdom and rejecting the world.

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In the wake of Rick’s post about the error of the doctrine of limited atonement Mike Ratliff responds. The most interesting thing about his response is that, rather than exegete scripture, he posts a Spurgeon sermon.

Chris’ article about the failures of systematic theology are evident here. At some point the system takes over as authoritative. Every bit of scriptures is hammered until it fits the system, and individuals are measured against the system. The result is that if the systematic theology is flawed there’s no way to reform it as scripture is twisted to fit it, and individuals who disagree are labeled apostates, heretics, and hell bound.

Check out the comment by Paul on that post:

BTW, we read the sermon by Spurgeon and it is GREAT! There are a few that commented that need to read it word for word,slowly,and let it soak in.

He might as well have said, “turn in your Bibles to the 1st book of Spurgeon, 2nd chapter, 3rd verse.”

Every few generations there’s a “back to the Bible” movement. Calvinism, Lutheranism, Methodism, the Restoration Movement and many others started that way, then at some point tradition takes over as authoritative and in the next generation we start all over again. Today many of the independent evangelical churches that have started, as well as the e/e movements are breaking away from churches that have made their systematic theology authoritative. The real irony is that in the modern day reformation playing out the watchdoggies are playing the role of the Catholic church, and the people they despise are playing the role of Calvin, and Luther. Sort of makes you wonder if C?N was around in 1546 what names they would have called Luther (the odds seem to favor “Hollow man of the reformation”).

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Even if you dress a dog as a pig, it is still a dogWhile I don’t have much time to write/respond today, and I will be leading music for the Great Banquet at my church starting this afternoon through Sunday evening (I’m sure the writers here can easily hold the fort without me), an article from CR?N that popped up on my RSS feed was an excellent reminder of the reasons for failure of systematic theologies:

1) They are man-made systems to explain God, and by their very definition, flawed
2) As with Mike and his TULIP, they are elevated to the level of scripture
3) They are used as means to divide the wheat from the tares, which (at least if we are to believe scripture) is not our job.
4) While they may be helpful in understanding a particular scripture or set of scriptures, they, in and of their very nature, become tools of eisogesis, rather than exegesis.

To the article in question, Mike Ratliff attempts to show that Unconditional Election is the only biblical possibility.  He states that “Unconditional Election is not for sissies”, though I would probably add a correlary that it isn’t for Christians, either.  Rather, it is a series of eisogetical rationales which blend gnostic philosophy, Greek fatalism and determinism into something that was not even in the ballpark of belief in the early church, but is now raised to a dividing line between the ins and the outs, the saved and the unsaved.

If you don’t believe that this man-made doctrine has been raised to the level of scripture, you don’t have to go past the first couple of paragraphs in the article:

Of course, none of their arguments hold any water because they are derived either from man-centered philosophy or from Bible verses taken out of context (eisegesis). On the other hand, the Doctrines of Grace are all completely Biblical and are based entirely in Holy Scripture expositions done exegetically.

And it only goes downhill from there.  The entire article is basically a primer on how to eisogete scripture.  But hey, who needs Jesus when we have Calvin, Spurgeon and Johnnie Mac to set us straight…

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“[They] never preach the whole gospel because it is offensive to people.”

This is a quote from Mike Ratliff’s latest blog on CRN entitled The Promise of the Holy Spirit.  I hear this accusation so much from the discernment watchblogs.  It is used as often as emergent and cult.  But, just like those labels, the accusation is never backed up with any type of examples or proof.  They simply say that the purpose driven and emergent movement is afraid of the gospel and not preaching the whole truth.  What exactly do they feel is being left out.

A quick glance at Saddleback’s website on biblical truths should set this accusation straight.  They address everything from abortion, homosexuality, evolution, salvation… even infant salvation!  And all this from the grand pooh-Bah of the PD Ministry.  I just don’t understand how Mike can say that purpose driven ministries are afraid of preaching the whole gospel.  I can hardly find any other church that has such a thorough public forum on the doctrines they subscribe to.  In fact, on Mike’s own website, there is a very sparse section on doctrine, most of which is dedicated to the theological system known as Calvinism.

The bigger more underlying problem was addressed by Chris L in an earlier post.  There are way to many unsupported accusations made at CRN/Apprising.  Terms and threats are thrown around with little thought or proof behind them.  It usually boils down to “my theological nuances are different then your theological nuances.”  With that, these men and women feel it appropriate to attack others as heretics and cult leaders.  What they fail to understand, in my opinion, is the gravity of these terms.  Calling someone apostate is a serious offense, and should not be thrown around as a light insult.

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If we are going to post here about the not so accurate posts on the watchdoggie’s blogs, we need to respect them when they post accurate information or clarify a point.  Mike Ratcliff recently did a second part on his blog about obedience and conflict.  It is a much more biblical view than  his previous statement of

“If you are being obedient to God and you are actually drawing closer to the majority of professing Christians then you only THINK you are being obedient to God.”

His latest blog opens with this line:

While Christians must pursue peace and unity with all whenever possible, that does not mean that they should ever be at peace with false teaching, false teachers, false preachers, or false leaders. The conflict that arises when we obediently confront error, as Jesus did and as Paul did, is most disagreeable. I, for one, do not like it. I have a deep desire to be at peace with everyone, but when those who disagree with the truth from God’s Word descend upon me simply for stating it, refusing to be sucked into unfruitful debate about it, or for rebuking those who refuse to repent then I must remain obedient and ready to continue in that obedience.

Kudos from me Mike.  We may disagree over what a “false teacher” is, but I think we can agree that we should not be at peace with them.  Keep up the good work.

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Mike’s response to our article “Being Offensive is Being Odedient?”

Friends sent me warnings about what was going in the emergent camp about this.

No one here (to my knowledge) is part of the emergent camp

At first I was a bit confused, because I could not recall saying anything that would offensive to anyone who sought to obey God in all things. Then as the day went on I began to see that the focus of their outrage was the fact that Christians are called, by Jesus, by God, by the Holy Spirit, to be obedient in all things. Why would that invoke such rage.

That would have never invoked “such rage”.  We all agree that obedience to the Word and God is the highest priority in our lives.  What invoked the response was that you said if we are being obedient, we would naturally offend people.  You basically suggested that if we are not at odds with the majority of Christians in our churches, we are not being completely obedient.  I believe that your exact quote was

If you are being obedient to God and you are actually drawing closer to the majority of professing Christians then you only THINK you are being obedient to God.

Our beef was not with the fact that we need to grow closer to God.  Our beef was the fact that many of us are in community with godly people.  That many of us hold dear our fellowship with other believers and fathers in the faith.  To suggest that one should not draw closer to the family of God as they grow closer to God is not only unbiblical, but almost heretical.  It is your martyrs complex that concerns us the most, not your call for obedience.  The gospel should not always offend.  In fact, I believe that it should be the exception.  If you look through history, the only ones who really were offended by the gospel were the pious religious leaders.  They, in turn, set the government and culture against the Christian community.  The gospel, at it’s best (in its entirety) is attractive to a lost and dying world.

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Mike Ratliff’s recent post on CRN reveals and unfortunate mistake that so many in the discernment camp have made. In his blog entitled What My Obedience to God Costs Other People, he writes the following

When God turned me around and put me on the right track with Him back in 2004 I naively assumed that all of the Christians I knew would automatically see the truths God was revealing to my heart and rejoice in their own revival. However, that was not the case. In fact, most of them quit talking with me. I found myself isolated and separate. The more I obeyed God the more separate I became.

I have heard this now from Mike Ratliff, Ken Silva, Mike Corley and countless others who feel it their duty to inform the world of the heretics in the church. It is the belief that the godlier you become, the more people will reject you. And, if you are not experiencing some degree of persecution, you are doing something wrong. They capitalize on the few verses that say the gospel will offend and fail to look at the whole picture. Could it be that it is not the message that Mike and others are offending people with? Could it be their method of sharing the gospel offends? What was it again you were hoping for in a recent blog Ken? Oh yes… “Hell-fire and brimstone preachers”

What about the times where 3,000 came to Christ in one sermon? Apparently the gospel was not so offensive there. I am sure that Peter would be named a man-pleasing, seeker-sensitive fool on the Christian Research Network for that event. What about the countless times where “many were added to their number that day” in the book of Acts? You see, the gospel actually brings life, not offense. And, while there are those that are offended by the message because of their pride and arrogance, it should not be expected and definitely not desired and cherished as a check mark on the road to one’s own superior spirituality. It’s as if when you become offensive, you are doing something right.

When I read through the blogs and essays on Apprising, CRN, The Expositor, and other watch dog blogs, it seems that they actually want to make the way much narrower that it is. They want less people to be evangelized (after all, the elect is such a small number). Anyone who is actively doing mass evangelism is obviously doing something wrong. And, when that many people are coming to Christ, there is no way they could understand or experience what is happening at a deeper level. This simply is not true. And quite frankly, it grieves me.  It is also worth noting that those who were offended in the New Testament were the religiously pious.  These were the people who thought that their theology was from God, and anyone who thought otherwise should be punished.  Ring any bells?
I leave you with this haunting response from Mike when I questioned him about my experience of growing closer to a Christian community when I am growing closer to God. He actually goes as far as distinguishing between “Christians” and those who are obedient to God. This should at a very minimum raise some questions.

If you are being obedient to God and you are actually drawing closer to the majority of professing Christians then you only THINK you are being obedient to God.

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