Are most Christians deceived?
Warning: if you choose to read what follows, you are in for a roller coaster and I am probably going to upset you in some way. We all have a tendency to align with those who echo our opinions, often based on our own life experiences and axioms we abide by. Perhaps, one sign of maturity is to live serenely with difference, accept that sometimes we are wrong, realise there is much we don’t know and prioritise what matters (“get wisdom, get understanding” and “wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom” Proverbs 4:5,7). Often it is the safer option to align with this or that group because it suits us etc., and the result of not aligning with any is like walking in the middle of the road with the danger of being knocked down by traffic coming in either direction. There is nothing wrong per se about joining to a particular theological stable, especially as sound doctrine matters, noting none are 100% correct. The trick is discernment, knowing / doing what is right and humility, adopting the maxim we can trace back to St. Augustine and serenity, courage and wisdom when praying the prayer of Reinhold Niebuhr.
My own stable for a lot of my life has been the Plymouth Brethren, which some see as a cult and others as those who more than any follow the text in Jude 3 and believe the text in John 3. Twenty years back, I wrote a paper titled: “Who Are The Brethren” and my concluding paragraph reads: “At the risk of being dismissed as a spiritual schizophrenic by my readers or a heretic by my (Plymouth) brothers, I am inclined toward a vision of the church that is Catholic in spirituality, Liberal in social activism, Reformed in doctrine, Charismatic in experience, Evangelical in zeal, Puritan in living, Methodist in organisation and Brethren in ecclesiology, but above all passionate for Jesus. Finally, although an enthusiastic researcher of Brethren history who is keen to “get it right”, I am much more concerned that men and women, and boys and girls, walk the way, trust the truth and live the life of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14v6); and may He be exalted, by whatever instrument He chooses, Brethren or otherwise. And may all God’s people receive a touch from heaven so that they may touch earth in His glorious cause. O Lord grant us grace to lose what is dear, so we may gain Him who is dearest, and may Thy Kingdom come”.
If you were to ask well known atheist, Richard Dawkins, the question this article will attempt to answer, he would probably say any who believe in what he sees as the equivalent to fairies at the bottom of your garden are likely deceived. As for me, when I was aged 15, I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, recognising He died on the cross to redeem me and save me from Hell and, while there have been many hiccups in the 55 years up to now, I have followed and still follow Him and seek truth. Moreover, I have a love for His Church and, in writing as I do, I try to warn and encourage the Church (i.e. believers in Him) as well as them who are not the Church, still mindful of His High Priestly prayer of John 17, calling for His disciples in the future, including today, to be One, as He is with His Father, appears to be a long way from being answered in its entirety. My writings and blogs are evidence of my concerns and perspectives as a (to quote my Facebook strap line) “gospel preaching, community activist, watchman on the wall” – but it has come at a cost of upsetting many a Christian minister, including those who I thought were in my own theological stable. I should add this roller coaster article is also a whistle stop tour of the subject in hand and may not do sufficient justice to all the themes that are touched on, some I discuss in more depth in my other writings.
But what I really want to get to is the subject of deception and all of us have it in us to be deceived as Jesus pointed out in His Mount Olivet discourse (Matthew 24), particularly as we reach the “End Times” which many agree we live in today. When it comes to the End, part of the sequence of events to be expected is the Return to Planet Earth of Jesus, described in Revelation 19. The Apostle Paul elaborates on the theme of deception in the light of this event in 2Thessalonians 2. I wish to focus on one particular example of deception as my ear has been bent in recent days on the subject by Christians of good standing, citing notions like “New Age”, “Gnostic”, “Syncretic”, “Theosophy” and the occult, and linked to this is what is being spoken in a series of events taking place in the USA. Others have expressed concern that I am even going down these rabbit holes as many who do so are those pushing New Age notions of peace and love that are not in accordance with the teachings of the Bible, as well as (rightly) pointing out that the world right now is anything but what it ought to be, and all this can only be a distraction and not good for one’s mental well-being. But we can’t ignore what is going on in increasing plain sight and should ask what if anything we should be doing about it. If I can cite one Bible teacher, J.D.Farag, who other than some of his end time views is likely deemed sound by most, he gives reasons why some of the end of the world stuff, talked about in the Book of Revelation, is coming to pass right now (this video on how the bad guys are looking to control us all through our DNA is especially alarming and any who have seen the latest James Bond movie will know what I mean).
Before I examine further the New Age deception, I would like to refer to another deception that is just as insidious and perhaps even more widespread. Since Satan, the father of lies, is the instigator of all deceptions there is some commonality. When I began my Christian journey 55 years ago, I was made aware of broadly three groups of Christians: Evangelicals, Liberals and Catholics, who joined forces when it suited them and kept their distance and outrightly opposed each other when it didn’t. As for the cults, and non-Christian religions, they could be safely ignored as being too far away from the truth. My Plymouth Brethren mentors, while decidedly Evangelical in their beliefs, often distanced themselves from other Evangelicals, such as the Pentecostals, because of their views on the Holy Spirit and many mainline denominations because of their ecclesiology and eschatology beliefs. The “Christian” landscape has changed much in the period following and my own journey has brought me in contact with many, who if they were around, my PB mentors would likely disapprove of. While I now value alternative perspectives on Christian living and learned a lot from such folk, my beliefs broadly outlined earlier have remained.
Few would disagree we live in interesting times and some will come up with more apt adjectives. Of course, at the same time, we know there is nothing new under the sun; Christians ever since New Testament days have been in contention with other Christians on what Christians should believe etc. But Solomon did not have to contend with issues like the US Presidential Election fraud and the Corona pandemic and would not have had to come to a view on climate change, LBGTQ inclusion and Critical Race Theory. What I have noted, sadly, is many ministers have fallen in line with the ideas of the globalists calling for the Great Reset (it used to be referred to as the New World Order) and have allowed social justice issues to take priority over preaching the gospel and either dismiss or ignore evils such as child sex trafficking, mega financial theft and agendas to depopulate and enslave humanity and the attack on God taking place in our culture, often going unchallenged. It seems to me that many ministers have lost their nerve when it comes to actioning gospel certainties, preferring to be contemporary and relevant, and in doing so have become more awoke than awake. Besides those falling for these deceptions, what bothers me is those opposing those purporting to be Christian, seemingly as they endorse New Age etc. teaching, yet ignoring the important matters they raise. Then there are those who seek to rise above what is going on and choose not to get involved. Cowardice is no excuse and, subtly, is yet another form of deception. When we consider Christians who are taken in by the false narrative promoted by government and endorsed by the media and the elite, when it comes to Covid-19 and how to approach the pan (scam) demic, together with those not taken in, yet are beholden to conspiracy theories, expecting a Great Awakening, along with all other groups discussed so far, the question is begged: who is not deceived? And that includes those Christians who can truly say they have not been taken in by any of the above deceptions yet have indulged in some sin or other, without having truly repented.
At the moment, there is a tour / road show going on in various states of the USA, featuring what I can best describe as “awake, anti-globalist, patriots” who are looked upon as leaders of what some describe as the Truther or Great Awakening (to counter the Great Reset) movement. “Clay Clark’s Reawaken America Tour – San Antonio – Day 3” is a video covering one day’s event – and it lasts 10 hours, 54 minutes! Because two of my anti New Age ear benders took issue with some speakers at this event, I decided to check it out, although I have only watched a fraction as I write. I was aware of these events taking place before hand as I watch the Charlie Ward show and saw him interviewing Clay about the tour. I should state two things: Firstly, I fully support what the tour is trying to achieve and this has been borne out by watching the video. The blurb at the beginning of their TimeToFreeAmerica website reads “Join millions of truth-seekers and receive exclusive uncensored facts about the 2020/2021 COVID-19 chaos and the Great Reset”. Secondly, having listened to Charlie, I have little doubt those involved do not all sing from the same theological hymn sheet and some may indeed have succumbed to New Age etc. teaching. And yes, it does matter, and false teaching must be opposed. What I don’t know is to what extent this is the case and how much it really matters in the light of the egregious wickedness they are seeking to oppose. What does matter, is truth and righteousness and loving my neigbour. While I may take issue with some of the views of the main participants, I have no doubt that many of the concerns that were so well-articulated at the event I referred to are also my own!
Before I wrap up and conclude, I need to say a bit more about the Awaken America tour, two of its participants: Alex Jones and Michael Flynn and plug my book “Prophets of the Bible” (read here). Since I began writing, more fine, upstanding Christians have come out with their thoughts knocking the folk involved with Awaken America, not just because of false doctrine but also inappropriate (for Christians) crassness. My purpose for writing is not to defend anyone and everyone is entitled to their opinions. Alex Jones (who I wrote about five years ago – see here) has his faults including theology and crass related ones. But I love the guy (excuse the gay frog meme but that and Sandy Hook is what you learn about him if MSM is all you follow) – he reminds me of the Hebrew prophets I wrote about in my book, calling out wickedness as an affront to the Almighty (if you detractors did the same, you will have more of my attention and respect). As for General Michael Flynn – notwithstanding dodgy theology, he has been to hell and back defending the precepts America was founded on, now being undermined by the evil cabal, and he more than any deserves a medal. Both appear in the video (Jones 4 hours 36 minutes in and Flynn 28 minutes in). As for my book, which I wrote living under lockdown in 2020 and have updated in 2021 (second edition shortly to be made available on Ingram, Amazon etc., it was really meant as a serious exposition of the Bible in the best traditions of the most holy, learned, and soundest of the sound). “Chapter 6: Balaam and assorted false prophets” is pertinent to this discussion and “Chapter 21: 2020, 2021 and the prophetic” is perhaps the most contentious, as is one subject where good Christians disagree.
I have been aware of different views of how things will turn out. A year ago, I hoped and expected the election fraud issue will be settled and there will be a sensible conclusion to the Corona saga. Neither has happened, but I have been aware of the conflict between light and darkness, good and evil, truth and error as never before and of the Lord’s refining fire. And yes, many at least, Christians are deceived and there is a task to graciously point them to the truth, leading by example. The big question on the lips of some is will there be a good Great Awakening to overturn a bad Great Reset and whether we have the right to know? I have wrestled with this issue, using the Bible as my yardstick and mindful of what conspiracy theorists like Charlie Ward, Alex Jones and David Icke have to say (and I am more inclined to believe them than mainstream media) and will not dismiss the “trust the plan” promptings of the mysterious “Q”, and the prophesying of some modern-day prophets that many choose to ignore, and I find myself back to testing and weighing. My own Bible understanding is things will get worse, although I would love to see a temporary at least respite from the evil that I see in the world and deception that has befallen greater humanity, and even expect a Great Awakening, at least of the spiritual kind (albeit with more deception just as Jesus told us would be the case). While the scene is being set for the coming of the AnitChrist and the Great Tribulation, he has not been revealed and it has not happened yet. As for timings, the Lord alone knows.
Alex Jones may be a conspiracy theorist with questionable theology, using language Christians should not use, but he is correct – the world is run by evil people doing evil things and many either don’t know or don’t care, but Alex and co do care (and, importantly, put their heads over the parapet as their response), knowing that God wins in the end – the Bible tells us so. Personally, I thank God for people like Alex Jones and rejoice that many are waking up to the fact the world is not what we have been led to believe and those appearing to control what is happening are wicked. Many see our only hope is a divine reversal, but sadly that divinity is not the God of the Bible. My sadness is not so much such folk are deceived but that those who know the truth have set such a bad example. Therein lies a great opportunity for the people of God and to get their act together, beginning with the John 17 prayer, and bring people back to the true God, YHWH. The Lord ever works in mysterious ways, but always there is Satan to oppose and do all he can to prevent the glorious church Jesus prayed for, that is so authentic that people believe the truth. In the meantime all Hell is let loose to prevent this. It seems to me there all sorts of deceptions not even mentioned here, for example Christians thinking too highly of themselves or not high enough – the result is the same. As Christians that are awake to Satan’s devices, we do well to encourage those who succumb.
But this is what I believe DOES matter… We should not be putting our hope in man or what we think ought to be happening and neither should we be fearing what man says and does – the only one we should fear is the Lord God Almighty. While following something like Reawaken America can be encouraging, we must be mindful of the human tendency to gravitate to what it wants to hear and reinforce prejudices etc., and be careful this does not replace things like prayer, Bible study and fellowship and become more important than hearing what God is saying. We should be alert to deception (for us and others) – I am presently reading “War on the Saints” by Jessie Penn Lewis (published 1915) and see so many examples of deception and traps that even the most sincere have fallen into that applied then that also apply today. We should humbly accept there is much we don’t know and it is unlikely we will know this side of eternity. We should trust the Lord and search the scriptures. We are called to serve Him (check out the Parable of the Unprofitable Servant, Luke 17:7-10). There is much we don’t know and much we cannot change, including some of those egregious examples of evil raised at the Reawaken America event and some of those folk whose deception we take issue with, but God does and He can. He has given each one of us unique opportunities (often making it very clear if only we have eyes to see etc.) to make a difference and play our part in His great purposes for human kind. Included in this is the need to take seriously the Great Commission. There is more that can be said and more I need to check out, mindful I may have disturbed some and not addressed all their concerns. I affirm the truth of the gospel (see here). “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” Romans 1:16. I proceeded this paragraph with a song that influenced me as a young Christian and I end with another song that was also popular in my youth and pray that these sentiments may bless you too. Shalom!