II Tim.3:13 - But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
On February 4, 1974, Patty Hearst was kidnapped from her Berkeley apartment and immediately underwent a sweeping brainwashing. By April, she had embraced her captors to such a degree she was trusted to help rob a bank for which she was later convicted. Now when someone is kidnapped and subsequently joins their abductors it is called the Stockholm effect named after a famous bank robbery in Sweden in which the captives developed an affection for their captors.
In the year 1517 a young monk nailed the 95 thesis's to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany and the Reformation was born. Now Martin Luther was very flawed as a person who sometimes had a heart for God and sometimes had an appetite for wine. He was a rabid and vitriolic anti-Semite, but just as God uses imperfect people like you and me, God chose to use Martin Luther. Although the Holy Spirit had much work to accomplish in the theology of the church in subsequent generations, the main theme of this mighty move of God was that salvation was by grace through faith alone and that all teaching must be based solely on the revealed and written Word of God. Miraculously, the Lord had revived and reestablished His church and separated her from the apostate Roman Church.
In later years the Holy Spirit weaved fabrics of revival through America, England, Wales, and other places where saints sought the Lord in prayer and a Sovereign God heard their cries and graciously sent a fresh move of His Spirit which initially brought the believers to glorious repentance, and eventually reached lost souls for the glory of God. There were always some doctrinal differences, but for the most part they were non-essentials that did not affect salvation. Christ was preached, the Word of God was held high, and salvation was by grace through faith alone. Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and other denominations strove to advance the kingdom of God.
By the 20th century the Industrial Revolution had matured. With the new technologies, primarily of travel and communication, greed, avarice, competition, and capitalism took a quantum leap in Europe and the western world cultures. As the kingdom of darkness prospered, it cast its eyes on God's bride, only to find that she was gazing back over the wall of God's Word and onto the growing and attractive evil. From that point on it did not take much coaxing to allure the bride out of the protection of the Word and into the excitement of the humanistic culture. One stroll around the devil's dance floor and the bride was mesmerized while not even aware that the evil one was closing the door behind her. She had been abducted and she didn't even know it. As a matter of fact, she was enjoying her new found friends and wonderful freedom, all the while not seeing the shackles that had been placed around her legs. She was in bondage by the one who had promised her freedom.
No longer would the church have any criteria by which to test new converts for their own good. No longer would God's people have to sacrifice anything, on the contrary, they could now lay up for themselves enormous amounts of treasure on this earth and actually teach that it was God's will. Worldly leaders? Yes! Fleshly entertainment? Yes! Millionaire preachers? Yes! Mesh with the culture? Yes! Sanitize the message? Yes! Her dance card was full and she was having the time of her life dancing with Rome, Mormons, liberals, physiologists, politicians, Carnagie, Peal, universalists, and anyone else who at least believed in a god. And to soothe her conscience she changed God's Word to accommodate all her hedonistic ways.
Most egregious of all, as the bride lay in Lucifer's bed, she turned and asked if they could have a membership drive designed to attract as many sinners as possible. Lucifer not only agreed, he said that he had many great and effective ways to reach people. But most importantly he insisted that God's Word must be thoroughly camouflaged since that was what turned people away to begin with. The bride agreed. Lucifer said that there were some principles that could be used as they kicked off their campaign. What do people want; What do people like; What do people need; What makes people happy; and what parts of the Bible do people most strenuously object to - cut them out. The bride wasn't completely convinced, but Lucifer said it all was to reach as many people as possible, "After all wasn't that what God wanted?". That made sense to the bride and she quickly acquiesced and the planning began. Upon these new tactics Lucifer would hang a few token Scriptures and pronounce his theological work of art a "masterpiece". And by and large the church has entirely bought this "masterpiece" and hung it in the gallery of thousands of pulpits for all to admire.
Now this little metaphorical narrative is either the musings of a Spiritual paranoiac, or it is an accurate representation of the subtle deception that continues today throughout the church. And against the backdrop of the August Word of God it appears much, much worse than we can imagine. And like a gigantic and multi-pronged python, the deceptive tentacles of the spirits of anti-christ have wrapped themselves around the hearts of the pulpits of most evangelical churches today and have crept down into the pews and are now squeezing the truth out of the hearts of God's people. And anyone who "cries aloud" with a warning against this obvious departure are rejected as trouble makers and divisive. But in the example of Luther, even though the bride has fallen in love with her captor, should we not still attempt to rescue her? Just because her captor is upbeat and friendly should that absolve us from speaking the truth? Just because her kidnapper offers us a peace treaty, should we sign it? Just because her abductor has a much more fleshly and attractive message, should we change ours to compete?
Some of us know first hand what we are talking about. Some of us have danced on the purpose driven dance floor and being fully deceived we sincerely thought we were helping God out with our creative strategies. And by some gracious miracle, we were rescued by the Spirit of God and mercifully debriefed. So do not think we hate those still trapped in the "cotton candy" ballroom of humanism with a thin layer of "lip synched" Christianity. No, we love them and we will continue to raise the bullhorn to our mouths and loudly exhort them to "come out from among them and be ye separate, says the Lord". The only hate we have is for the one that kidnapped her in the first place. His works are evil, his message is death, his gospel is counterfeit, his words are lies, his plan is deception,
but his time is short.
Lord Jesus, send us your power to destroy the works that the Deceiver has wrought. Let your powerful Word begin unraveling this humanistic avalanche and set the captives free. Fill us with your love, make our words strong and clear, keep us ever humble, and in ALL things...