[Written about 1990, Posted on this site about 1998, updated 12/20/08]
Revelation 12:9 speaks of,
“… that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.”
The Lord put that and similar verses in his Word to warn us of a reality of world history: Global deception. And even those who profess to be Evangelical Christians are susceptible to the Serpent’s lie.
“In the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”
1 Timothy 4:1.
Four ways that Christians are being deceived in our day are:
The Repackaged Lie
The Repackaged Lie
Satan is brilliantly clever at taking age-old lies, disguising them in subtlety, and gradually introducing them to even those who insist that they believe in the infallible authority of the Bible. Examples of lies the Enemy has deceived us with are all the various ways we are obsessed with “Self”; the numerous techniques of “Christianized” sorcery and divination within the Church; and the many issues and fads designed to give us a “Tower of Babel” vision for global unity.
Not only is Satan the “Father of lies”, but he is also the “Author of confusion”. It is getting harder and harder to tell the difference between neo-paganism and the liberal church; or between the liberal church and Evangelical Christianity. The message and the priorities of the Church are becoming indistinguishable from the World. Books by M. Scott Peck, for example, are found in both Christian bookstores and New Age/Occult bookstores. These books teach that humans are evolving to godhood; that we must become “mystics” and use Eastern meditation; and they advocate a one-world government.
Christian leaders and Christian organizations are more and more yoking themselves with unbiblical, pagan groups and movements which set the followers up for synthesis, syncretism and compromise of doctrine and priorities. What fellowship does light have with darkness? These unholy alliances are often taking place in the name of “traditional family values” and involve relationships between Evangelicals, Roman Catholicism, Mormons, and Moonies; or, the alliances involve solving the problems of “Mother Earth” in association with various utopian movements.
The final way in which Christians are being deceived is very much related to the first three. We are much more likely, these days, to not refer to our Bible for our convictions and world- view, but instead to follow the opinions of leaders we look up to. In these days of “Christian Mass Media”, Celebrity Ministers are likely to draw our attention and our allegiance. It is a dangerous thing to set up Gurus within the Body of Christ who are beyond criticism. “Touch not the Lord’s anointed!” we are told when the Guru’s doctrine or behavior is questioned, which is a reference to 1 Samuel 24 and 26. In those references, David was referring to not KILLING Saul. He was not forbidding CRITICISM of Saul. In fact, David himself rebukes Saul publicly. In these last days we cannot afford to follow human leaders as if they were Gurus; whether they be Rick Warren, Dr. Dobson, Bill Gothard, Pat Robertson, or Billy Graham, or leaders who jump on a media bandwagon, or musicians, or Emergent Church leaders, or politicians. We are to be disciples of Jesus, and him alone.
Our only hope to not be deceived in these last days is to “abide in the vine”; to surrender our hearts moment by moment to the Holy Spirit; to be Acts 17 “Bereans” and filter everything through the written Word of God; and to be lovers of the Truth.
“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12