Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Process of Deception

The Process of Deception

Lasting and significant deception is a process. It does not achieve its goals with one obvious attack. It is subtle, planned, and relentless. And even in the face of reversals it still proceeds with a relentless strategy. And so it thrives within the church.

Even after a revival, demonic deception regroups and reorganizes. It actually learns from its mistakes and recalibrates its messages. And these messages are aimed at slowly diluting THE message. By a consistent series of minor compromises, just like a three cord rope, these compromises gain more and more strength by the sheer weight of the accumulated and interconnected compromises, and little foxes eventually make way for larger ones.

It is a very sophisticated system that uses reason, human logic, human compassion, and the understanding that truth evolves over time. There are many more ingredients as well. And who is susceptible? All of us. Every one of us to one extent or another has succumbed to some deception. Hopefully it has not become a full blown compromise of the gospel, or even apostasy, but we all have been affected by demonic deception.

II Tim.3:13-14 - But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

We live in a day that Satan realizes has all the earmarkings of the last days. The Scripture reminds us that when he knows his days are numbered, his demonic activity will increase. I have heard people point to the Dark Ages and the plague, and they suggest that these modern days are not the worst days ever. In the natural, they are perhaps correct. But millions still die and many millions suffer in the flesh. These days, even in the natural, are no picnic for most of the world.

But according to the Scriptures, and when we assess these days in the Spirit, we must contend that the demonic hordes have been unleashed upon the world with an unusual energy and spiritual violence. And part of the deception is when western believers compare themselves with Muslims and Jews and Buddhists and pagans in general around the world. The evil forces whisper in our ear how fortunate we are because we live in abundance, and how blessed we are to be “Christians”. And much of the strength in that word “Christian” is derived from the comparison with others and not the purity of our own Christian faith.

Now that is a very sophisticated and sly form of deception. It leverages the error and shortcomings in others in order to deceive us concerning our own spiritual situation. And let us take a journey to an even deeper and more insidious deception that operates with vigor among us. Even if we begin to see our complacency, and even if we recognize our spiritual stagnation, the evil one refuses to admit defeat. His deception now uses the allurement of false teachers and new theologies with which to fulfill that recognized thirst.

So instead of repentance and a deepening of our prayer life and other core elements of being a disciple, the deceiver convinces us that what we believe needs a facelift. He tells us that some of what we have believed needs to be updated and made relevant to these technologically sophisticated times. And that kind of deception does not come by means of the Wicked Witch of the West, or some doctrinal ogre, or even some Frankenstein monster.

Oh no, that delicate and deadly deception comes through affable voices with great and appealing words of reason and human logic. It comes most effectively by alluring media events with glossy handouts and impressive statistics and a casual atmosphere that is designed to make the speakers seem extremely intelligent and in tune with the modern spiritual needs. And this kind of deception does not openly depart from what most would consider “orthodox”. No, that would expose the deception and its overall objective.

This deception remains either silent or nebulous about its view of Biblical truth so that its net can draw in many more ears. And since ears are the gates to the heart, more ears are its immediate objective. Effective communication replaces Biblical truth; enlightenment replaces repentance; and anything new and exciting replaces old and proven. And many times a seemingly orthodox statement of faith become nothing more than a diversion. It provides a disingenuous cover for a sinister plot to uproot the very written tenants in that statement of faith. Talk about a master of deception!

But again, it begins with an elementary system. Just a more “open” view of certain truths. Nothing revolutionary, but a little more palatable to the intellect and the modern understanding of things. When Rob Bell asked if your faith was strong enough to withstand some new evidence that Jesus was not born of a virgin, that was not by mistake. And even though he claims to believe in the virgin birth, his point was magnificently made. The pillars of the faith are not necessarily non-negotiable. You see, in one broad stroke of human genius which didn’t change your statement of faith nor demand people to change their beliefs at that moment, the way was prepared for future and more substantive alterations of the truth. And those that were already attached to Bell's person gave him the benefit of the doubt.

The entire ongoing process is most ingenious and seems to become more and more effective as it achieves different levels of success in the hearts and minds of people. Men like Rick Warren and Joel Osteen are so affable and such great communicators that their brand of deception attracts millions upon millions of people. In general, people want to hear good things; things that encourage them without correcting them. And that ambiance is a mainstay of the modern deceptive process.

The links of deception go something like this in the process.

God loves the world. (true)
God loves all people. (true)
God died for all people. (true)
God wants to save all people. (true)
God uses many different way to draw people to Himself. (partially true)
God will save sincere people. (partially true)
God will save all sincere monotheistic people. (false)


Jesus is the only way to eternal life. (true)
Jesus is compassionate. (true)
Jesus created everything. (true)
Jesus can be found through His creation. (partially true)
Jesus uses conduits when people have not heard of Him. (false)

Of course these are just structural examples, the real deceptions are so much more elaborate and with many more mini-steps in the process. But the strategy is evident and the goal is the same. The ultimate goal is to attack, tarnish, minimize, dilute, compromise, and even deny the person and mission of the Lord Jesus Christ. And that deception employs all sorts of reasonable tools.

II Pet.3:17-18 - Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

These are not the days to entertain new and exciting avenues of faith and redemption. We cannot be moved away from truth just because we see our need of revival and reawakening to those truths. Just because the western church is caught in lethargy and a wave of deception, that is no reason to reject that which He has taught us. These are the days to look to Christ and His Word, and to see them afresh for what they are and what they have always said. These are the days to beseech the Spirit of God to do a mighty work within our own hearts so that our lives will once again radiate the Master we serve through outward manifestations of the Master's Eternal Word.

Be very wary when personalities overwhelm the message. Watch for the enticing words of men’s wisdom. Resist the words that make you feel content where you are in your journey. Be concerned when men and messages become very popular without repentance and revival. Remain spiritually suspect when all meetings end with applause and an uplifting feeling and never with tears and repentance.

Do not be deceived. And do not be consumed with discovering and monitoring deceivers. There is a place for all that, but when we become obsessed with deception it can lead to a blindness to our own spiritual needs which is another form of deception in and of itself. We are in the midst of a spiritual war on a scale which cannot be known by the limited resources of the human mind. The enemy has some limited power in scope and time, but Christ has all power.

Look to Him. Listen to Him. Meditate upon Him. Worship Him. Remove not the ancient landmarks which are cemented in Him.

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

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