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Section 10A .. The Contemporary Church
Why Christians Are Deceived

 

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Why Christians Are Deceived

Carol Brooks

ALSO SEE

The Four Most Dangerous Mistakes Any Christian Can Make
1) Believe that we, or our pastor/denomination/spiritual leader cannot be fooled, 2) Attribute every personal testimony and “sign” as being of or from God, 3) Take Bible verses out of context and 4) believe that we, as Christians, are not to judge anything or any one. Not necessarily in that order.

 Fraternizing With The Enemy
Few seem to realize that the Christians are commanded to separate themselves from those who teach and practice false doctrine

True and False Unity
Although doctrine has often been allowed to divide people in disgraceful ways, division is not something that can be avoided. You could scour the Scriptures for the next ten years without finding a single word about being united at the expense of truth. Ignoring important areas in which we differ is simply a papering over of the rot in the walls

Theology and Doctrine
Perhaps the words "theology" and "doctrine" gets Christians on the defensive, because they have been taught to believe that their faith must be based in the heart, therefore all that is important will be "experienced". Or perhaps they want no challenges to their shallow 'easy Christianity', which requires no intellectual effort, and allows people to coast along, never being stretched, or using their God given brains. The fact is that both theology and doctrine are crucial to authentic Christian faith
 

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ON THIS PAGE

The Major Reasons Christians Are So Deceived
Biblical Illiteracy
'Bumper Sticker' Theology
The Reluctance To Believe We Could Be Wrong
Trusting Everything The Leadership Says
Being More Conditioned by The Culture Than By the Bible.

Additionally, Christians Do Not Want
 To Be Labeled "Heresy Hunters"
Accused of Quenching The Spirit,
Or Found Guilty of 'Touching' the Lord's Anointed.

They Believe That
They Should be "United"
And Are Commanded to "Love"

Finally, Many Christians Are Addicts


There are numerous reasons so many modern day Christians are deceived. Too many of them believe they should be "united", and that they have been commanded to "love". Most do not want to be accused of quenching the spirit, labeled "heresy hunters" or found guilty of 'touching' the Lord's anointed etc. etc. Besides which, Christians seem to be very addicted to 'spiritual highs'. However, the reason deception is so rampant in the church can be primarily attributed to just one underlying fact ... The vast majority of Christians today are Biblically illiterate.

Biblical Illiteracy...
For the most part, entertainment oriented, anti-intellectual and superficial contemporary American culture is geared towards dissuading us from using our minds.

Tragically, this trend has carried over into the church that is giving less and less heed to in-depth Biblical study that leads to right doctrine, but prefers their religion in pre-digested, convenient little packages. Our theology is often confined to catch phrases, and cutesy little daily devotions preferably well sprinkled with inspirational stories and jokes. We have substituted entertainment and emotions for solid Bible study.

It is no wonder that books like "Experiencing God" are so much more popular than books that bear titles like "Knowing God". 

This shallow understanding of our religion renders us extremely vulnerable to every deviation from Biblical truth. Even many evangelical Christians who maintain certain doctrines to be true, only go so far and no further, paying little attention to doctrine beyond a bare minimum. They coast along, never maturing in their faith, never digging any deeper than they absolutely have to.  As said by William Lane Craig, in his book Reasonable Faith

    "Our churches are filled with Christians who are idling in intellectual neutral. As Christians, their minds are going to waste. One result of this is an immature, superficial faith. People who simply ride the roller coaster of emotional experience are cheating themselves out of a deeper and richer Christian faith by neglecting the intellectual side of that faith. They know little of the riches of deep understanding of Christian truth, of the confidence inspired by the discovery that one's faith is objectively true" [01].

The more Biblically illiterate a Christian is, the easier it is for him or her to be influenced or even brainwashed by the plethora of anti-Biblical beliefs prevalent in the church today.


'Bumper Sticker' Theology,
All too many church-goer's theology is limited to a few Biblical sounding, neat and catchy little catch-phrases such as

  • 'What would Jesus do?'
  • 'Let go and let God!'
  • 'Say yes to Jesus'
  • 'Do your best and God will do the rest'
  • 'Know God, know peace'
  • God has a great plan for your life

Even worse, although salvation is the warp and weft of the Bible, the topic around which the entire book rotates, well meaning Christians who, in answer to the life and death question of what a person must do to be saved, will pull out yet another cliché from their collection and tell them that they have to ask Jesus into their heart.  In fact, you will find this phrase liberally sprinkled through the Christian world... found in Christian tracts, preached from pulpits, and taught by evangelists.

However, if you had never read any Christian material, talked to another Christian, or attended a Christian service or evangelistic crusade, but had simply read the Bible from cover to cover a dozen or so times, you would never have known that you had to ask Jesus into your heart to be saved.... Why?

Quite simply because it isn't there.

God directed believers to proclaim the Gospel to others but one can be reasonably sure that doing so in a vague, non-Biblical way that not only obscures, but actually alters the message, is not exactly what He had in mind. Anyone, be they young or old, can ask Jesus into their hearts without having the faintest idea of what it is they are saved from, that repentance is an absolute requirements for forgiveness, and the fact that salvations actually demands something from them.

How exactly then can this popular phrase be construed as the Gospel?

[See Why NOT To Ask Jesus Into Your Heart And Sin, Repentance and Salvation on THIS page]


The Reluctance To Believe We Could Be Wrong
The problem is that for many people, the longer they are involved in deceptive teachings and practices, the harder it seems to be to walk away. At the very least they have probably invested considerable time and, possibly, large sums of money, into a false system. Some may have gotten to the point where they are unable to remove the blinders, and only "see" whatever it is they want to "see". Others may also be too proud, or even too stubborn, to admit they were duped. HERE


Trusting Everything The Leadership Says
I am afraid that I fail to understand why so many gloss over Paul's warning

    "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. "Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. (Acts 20:28-31 NASB)

Although Paul was very clear that the wolves would arise from among the flock, it seems that all too many believers seem to be very disinclined to accept that the author of a Christian book, magazine, article, blog etc. may be one of the wolves that he spoke about. That so many 'wonderful' ministries are rotten at their core, that slick magazines like Charisma could be peddling deception, and that Christian bookstores sell an enormous amount of material that can be termed anything but Christian, including books which stem from the occult.

See For Example A Course in Miracles and Contemplative Spirituality

In some cases, people's judgment are clouded by emotion... they cannot believe that such a "nice man" could possibly be leading others astray, or that such wonderful, 'sincere' people could be deceived. In fact, one of the four most dangerous mistakes any Christian can make is to believe that we, or our pastor or spiritual leader cannot be fooled. That our entire denomination cannot be wrong. Blindly believing everything someone says, regardless of who they are, how much they are generally thought of, or what their credentials happen to be, is the height of folly. We have to be Bereans (Acts 17:11) and test all messages against Scripture. (See The Four Most Dangerous Mistakes Any Christian Can Make)

Remember what Jude said in reference to contending earnestly for the faith, which was once for all handed down to the saints (Jude 1:3) He warned about those who had crept in unnoticed and were

    "... hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever. (Jude 1:12-13 NASB)

If false teachers crept in unnoticed In Judes day, many more have done so now. The Scriptures have already warned us that in later times there would be a departure from the faith because people would pay attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. They would not endure sound doctrine, but would opt for myths that tickled their ears, and find teachers that would teach according to what they, themselves, wanted to hear. (See The Signs of The Times)

    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, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, (1 Timothy 4:1-2 NASB)

    I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:1-4 NASB)

Considering the astronomical stakes, it is not without very good reason that the New Testament directs all Christians to exercise discernment ..

    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  (1 John 4:1 NASB)

Being More Conditioned by The Culture Than By the Bible.
Not only are our senses so dangerously jaded by the endless parade of immorality, violence, and materialism, that little shocks or even causes us to blush, but we imitate the world in its adulation of celebrities.

Well-known evangelicals and so-called "Christian" musicians are treated like rock stars and given total allegiance. We hang on to every word that comes out of their mouths, buy their books, and pay to hear them speak or go to their concerts.

We are a community without a smidgen of Biblical discernment, to say nothing of a total lack of common sense.


Additionally, Christians Do Not Want

 To Be Labeled "Heresy Hunters"
Or any of the other derogatory terms given Christians who insist on checking everything by the Scriptures.

Many liberals believe we must accept every belief out there, and regularly throw the 'who are you to judge' question at Christians who, not knowing how to answer them, often do little but squirm under their unrelenting gaze. Christians who question any doctrine or practice are often labeled "Heresy Hunters", and accused of having a "Jezebel spirit". This is a topic in itself and I highly recommend the reader very carefully read the article...

Thou Shalt Not Judge! ... 11th Commandment Or Politically Correct Liberal View?
One of the four most dangerous things any Christian can do is believe the politically correct, liberal view that we, as Christians, are not to judge anything, or anyone. "Judge Not" is the one Bible verse that most people love to quote however, few seem to realize that this is not a stand alone statement that Jesus pulled out of thin air, then went off to try his hand at fishing for his lunch on the Sea of Tiberias, saying no more on the matter. In fact it has been terribly wrested from it's context. (Also See Context is Crucial).


Accused of Quenching The Spirit,
Worse, many who have some doubts about some movement or practice are cowed by the possibility of "quenching" the Holy Spirit, which comes from the last chapter of Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians. In closing, Paul gave the Thessalonians a number of instructions, which included things like living in peace with one another, admonishing the unruly, encouraging the fainthearted, helping the weak, and being patient with everyone (( Thessalonians 5:11-22).

In verse 19 he tells them not to quench the Spirit, an instruction which has been taken completely out of context by false teachers, who use it to dissuade Christians from questioning what they preach and teach. However, when Paul's instruction not to quench the Spirit is read in context, he was actually telling his readers to develop Biblical discernment.

One has to remember that chapter and verse numbers were not in the original writings, but added later for convenience. Therefore, verses 19 through 21 are related. In other words, Paul was telling the Thessalonians it was not wise to suppress the Spirit's ministry by rejecting all prophecy. They were neither to believe everything they heard, nor to throw the baby out with the bath water. Instead they were to test everything carefully, and hold on the good. Read it for yourself...

      (18) in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (19) Do not quench the Spirit; (20) do not despise prophetic utterances. (21) But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; (22) abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:18-22 NASB)

Remember that it was these same people that Paul unfavorably compared to the Bereans who checked everything by the Scriptures

    Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. (Acts 17:11-12 NASB)


Or Found Guilty of 'Touching' the Lord's Anointed.
It would be difficult to find a charismatic/evangelical service/program/tract/book that is not liberally sprinkled with the word 'Anointed', which has arguably become the most overused, overworked, misunderstood, and misinterpreted, term in the Pentecostal and Charismatic arenas. The warning not to 'touch the Lord's anointed' is part of the arsenal of numerous Charismatic celebrities today. It is a stern warning directed at anyone who opposes their unscriptural doctrines and practices. And, sadly these warnings are heeded by their devotees unwilling to risk God's displeasure by 'touching' one of His favoured.

However, an examination of what or whom the Scriptures call "anointed" reveals a very different picture that, once again, underscores the necessity of studying the Scriptures for oneself. (See Touch Not Mine Anointed)


They Believe That

They Should be "United"
One concern many Christians have with those who insist on adherence to doctrine, is that it tends to divide Christians. And, of course, this is seen as the ultimate sin by a pluralistic society that bends over backward to accommodate every belief, regardless of how illogical, false, or simply stupid, it may be. 

Although doctrine has often been allowed to divide people in disgraceful ways, and we should not segregate ourselves from other Christians over non-essential beliefs, division is not something that can be avoided. you could scour the Scriptures for the next ten years without finding a single word about being united at the expense of truth. Much to the the contrary, what passes for "unity" is all too often nothing but compromise. It is far better to be divided by truth than united in error. See True and False Unity

Besides which, the Bible commands Christians to separate themselves from those that believe and teach false doctrine. They are to refuse to have fellowship with those who cross over the line.  For example, the Bible tells us to

    And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. (Ephesians 5:11)

    If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2 John 1:10-11)

    If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish (noutheteo) him as a brother. (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 NASB)

Paul told the Thessalonians that they were to admonish the "unruly", to the point that they were not to be associated with anyone who would not obey the instructions in his letter..

We urge you, brethren, admonish (noutheteo) the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. (1 Thessalonians 5:14 NASB)

And there is more - plenty more. See Fraternizing With The Enemy.

And Are Commanded to "Love". The problem is that love is often confused with sentimentalism and feelings. But Biblical love, which cannot be divorced from truth, looks for the highest good of the other person. This cannot be accomplished by agreeing with false teachings which, in the end, will destroy those who believe and follow these teachings.

True love is committed to the truth, and no one can claim to love if they are not concerned about truth.


Finally, Many Christians Are Addicts
 While their counterparts outside the church are focused on raising their level of consciousness and attaining enlightenment and self-actualization through an assortments of spiritual practices, modern Christians are trying to 'find God' or enhance their experience of Jesus by highly questionable means  like contemplative prayer, meditation, labyrinths, yoga etc. 

Christians can be as addicted to a 'high' as any drug addict. However our 'high' does not come from a needle, or something we stick up our noses, but from a variety of even more deadly other sources such as

    Experiencing Altered States of Consciousness: This happens happens during contemplative prayer and walking labyrinths, www

    The Physical Manifestations Of A Kundalini Awakening: For thousands of years Hindu gurus have connected with a cosmic power which, though demonic in origin, is very real. As devotees reach a certain spiritual elevation they begin to shake, jerk, or hop or squirm uncontrollably, sometimes breaking into uncontrolled animal noises or laughter as they reach an ecstatic high.

    In Hinduism these manifestations are called 'Kriyas', but are referred to as "Slain in the Spirit" in Christian circles. Christian "gurus" think they are hot stuff running around screaming "Bam" and "Fire", little realizing that they are literally building sand castles in the devil's playground.

    The Sanskrit word Shaktipat, is derived from two separate words.. Shakti (above) and Paat (to descend, fall, tumble, to cause to fall down, to cast down etc.). It refers to the ancient practice wherein a Hindu "holy man", guru, or spiritual teacher confers a form of spiritual 'power' or awakening on a disciple/student, which is called raising Kundalini. Although not exclusively, this is often accomplished by a touch to the ajna chakra, or the disciple's third eye... said to be located in the middle of the forehead.

    Sound familiar?? See Slain in The Spirit - Part IV

    The "Second Blessing": Much of the senseless babble that passes for the New Testament gift of tongues is commonly held by some to be the litmus test for Spirit baptism. (This in total disregard of the fact that 'tongues' is known to people of pagan religions and has been heard among Shamans, Voodoo practitioners, and heretical Christian sects like the Montanists, the Shakers, and the Mormons. Tongues was known among some Catholic "saints", and is very widely practiced in modern Charismatic Catholicism. (See Tongues.. and The Second "Blessing)

We are so addicted to the emotional highs, that we return again and again to experience more "anointing". The more frenzied, even maniacal, it is, the more spiritual we think we are. (See How Not to Become Spiritually Weird)

But for the few who are willing to let the facts confuse their beliefs, See the occult takeover of the once Christian church - borrowing from Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and The New Age HERE


End Notes

[01] William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith. 2008 Crossway Books Edition. Pgs. 20-21

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