Deception is sneaky. Especially because our culture has focused on man's reasoning ability since the Age of Enlightenment. Unfortunately, our human reasoning is often flawed. Thankfully, for anyone who believes that the Bible is the Word of God and that we as believers don't have a right to pick and choose the passages we want to believe, we have a pretty good foundation on which to base doctrine.
Before giving some examples of modern-day deception, it is important to remember that God attaches Himself to people, not theology. He attaches Himself to humility, repentance, hunger and holiness. A simple study of the leaders of previous revivals reveals that they often had some incredible differences in theology. While doctrine is good, it is not what saves us. Our salvation is wholly and completely found in believing, trusting, clinging to and relying on Jesus as God and as our Savior. That said, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof (a sharp command), for correction, for instruction (training) in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16 Link this verse up with 1 Timothy 4:1-2 which says, "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron. For this reason, we always need to ask, "What does the Bible say?"
EXAMPLES OF CURRENT DECEPTIVE TEACHING AND/OR PRACTICE
1 John 5:14-15 says, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” This is such an incredible, wonderful promise; it is one of my favorite verses. When it first touched my heart, I was immediately drawn to the word “if.” The promise is good only IF we ask according to His will. From that point on, I’ve searched scripture diligently to find out what His will is for each situation.
Another, related verse is Jesus' promise in John 14:13-14 – “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” Wow! The next verse, however, is key and links up with the 1 John passage. John 14:15 says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
These two passages seem very clear to me. Yet I have watched with wonder as wonderful Christian leaders, pastors, intercessors and lay people have either compromised their belief in the Word of God, ignored these verses, or simply don’t believe them. What am I talking about? OK, here it is. . . .
Everyone agrees that we are to pray to the Lord. And, most agree that we are like the first disciples, we need Jesus to teach us how to pray. But are we following His instructions? We’re specifically told to ask Father God in the name of Jesus. Yet increasingly, I hear public and private prayers addressed to the Father that close with, “In Your name we pray, amen.” What?! We’re not told to ask in the Name of the Father! Jesus specifically told us to ask in His name if we want our prayers answered.
Is this slight to Jesus done out of ignorance? Rebellion? Political correctness? Is the person praying ashamed of the Name of Jesus? Especially in public? Or do they simply not care if their prayer is answered or not? Yes, we have a lot of grace with God. But Satan is a legalist and I believe he not only knows the difference between a prayer prayed in faith or not. He knows the difference between prayers prayed in the power of the Name of Jesus and those that aren’t. I believe he is behind this move to remove the name of Jesus. For example, a prayer partner was going to take the training to become a hospital chaplain. She declined because one of the first things she was told was that on duty, she could not pray in the Name of Jesus. She could direct her prayers to the Father, but she had to end them with, "In Your Name." Does that tell you something?
GOD IS NOT SOVEREIGN
What scripture says:
· I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 21:6).
· For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist (Colossians 1:16-17).
· The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all (Psalm 103:19).
Being sovereign means being the ultimate source of all power, authority, and everything that exists. Only God can make those claims; therefore, it’s God’s sovereignty that makes Him superior to all other gods and makes Him, and Him alone, worthy of worship. God's sovereignty is the reason my favorite name for Him is Ancient of Days 'cuz that's a name that Satan can't copy.
SELF-INDUCED SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES
While the Lord does grant many types of spiritual experiences and gifts of the Spirit, when we try to make such experiences happen, we've slipped into witchcraft. Examples are:
· Third Heaven experiences at will – this is taught by visualizing yourself there.
· Going to Heaven at will to get your gifts – gifts are given by the Holy Spirit to people right here on earth (1 Corinthians 12:10 - 11).
· Traveling in time at will.
· Transporting physically at will like Philip in Acts 8:40.
· Going into trances at will. This is what Balaam espoused in Numbers 24:4,16. He described it as "falling down with eyes wide open." The Greek word for trance is, "a displacement of the mind." This is what Peter had in Acts 10 but he certainly didn't make it happen. In fact, he was surprised when it did.
I recently read the instructions of a prominent witch on how to have the kind of spiritual power she wanted her followers to exercise over Washington, DC that included how to have such experiences at will. Anyone who teaches others how to have spiritual experiences is not abiding by the Word of Truth. True, biblical, spiritual experiences are granted at the will of God and happen most often to those living a life of humility, repentance and obedience. We must not seek the gifts more than the Giver.
GOING TO HELL TO DISCERN EVIL SPIRITS
Why would anyone want to go to hell? Especially when Holy Spirit is willing to give us the gift of discernment of spirits? (I Corinthians 12:10)
This doctrine teaches that Christians do not need to repent of sin and is in direct contradiction to scripture.
· If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
· He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy (Proverbs 28:13).
· Jesus taught repentance (Matthew 4:17; 11:20; Luke 13:5).
· The disciples taught repentance (Mark 6:12; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 26:20).
The argument is made that both Jesus and the disciples taught repentance to people as a first act of receiving Jesus as Messiah. After receiving Him, there is no more need for confession and repentence. However, in each case, they were talking to Bible-believing people. Furthermore, 1 John 1:9 is talking to Christians. And finally, Jesus told the churches in Ephesus and Laodicea to repent. Revelation 2:5; 3:19 Since the heart is truly "deceitfully wicked, who can know it?" a life of repentance based on humility is necessary.
QUICK RESTORATION OF FALLEN CHURCH LEADERS
· Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil (1 Timothy 3:7).
· But let these also first be tested then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless (1 Timothy 3:10).
DIVORCE AMONG CHRISTIANS WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES
There are consequences for everything we do, good or bad and certainly about something God hates (Malachi 2:16)and was one of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:14). Divorce is not the "unforgiveable sin" but there are consequences nevertheless.
THE BIBLE CONTAINS CULTURAL AND GENDER BIASES
God acknowledged the cultural norms under the law but with lots of grace. That part was fully fulfilled as we can see from the Holy Spirit teaching in the following verses.
· For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-28).
· Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew; circumcised nor uncircumcised; barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all (Colossians 3:9-11).
· For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments, contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself ONE NEW MAN from the two, thus making peace, and that He might RECONCILE them both to God in ONE body through the cross, thereby PUTTING TO DEATH THE ENMITY (Ephesians 2:14-16).
IT IS POSSIBLE TO KNOW GOD AND NOT JESUS CHRIST
· I and My Father are one (John 10:30).
· Believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him (John 10:38).
· You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also (John 8:19).
· If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God, nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me (John 8:42).
· You are of your father the devil (John 8:44).
· He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God (John 8:47).
· You search the Scriptures for in them, you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me John 5:39).
ALL JEWS WILL AUTOMATICALL BE SAVED
This doctrine is taken out of context from Romans 11:26 which says, "And so all Israel will be saved (delivered, protect, heal, preserve, do well, be made whole) as it is written." In context, it is clearly talking about the calling of the Jews as God's people and that "IF THEY DO NOT CONTINUE IN UNBELIEF, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again" (Verse 23). The entire chapter sheds even more light on verse 26.
· If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).
· For whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).
GOD CANNOT DO ANYTHING WITHOUT PRAYER
If this doctrine is correct, then how was God able to create the world and mankind in it? Was there someone praying for Him to pick a man in a heathen society and make a nation of him? The following scripture clearly shows Him acting without any intercessor.
So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him (Isaiah 59:15-16).
ALL GENTILE BELIEVERS ARE JEWS
This belief is based on Romans 2:28-29 and is partially true – For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward to the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.
This verse is obviously talking about a heart condition that makes any true believer a "called out" child of God even as the descendents of Abraham were/are. However, being adopted into the family of God does not change our physical DNA or destroy the fact that there is an ethnic group called Jews.
OUR ONLY STANCE AGAINST THE ENEMY IS DEFENSIVE IN NATURE
This doctrine teaches that the weapons for spiritual warfare are defensive only. In truth, the armor of God is for defensive protection. But the sword of the Spirit is offensive. So is what we shod our feet with that takes us into warfare (Ephesians 6:14-15). And how about the name and the blood of Jesus? Jesus said to Peter when he confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, "On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18 That's an offensive position. The Great Commission also alludes to an offense. Jesus said we are to "Go into all the world" (Mark 16:15). He didn't say we're to wait until we're attacked by the enemy first.
To bring this short list of deceptive concepts or doctrines to a conclusion, I want to take the liberty to share what I believe is a deception I believe even though there is no direct scriptural basis for it. The fear of God and a reverence for His name causes religious and Messianic Jews to use an abbreviated spelling of His name. They spell God, G-d in response to a plethora of times when the Lord told them to honor His name as well as the command not to take His name in vain. Following this same mindset, early English-speaking people made it a rule that all pronouns referring to deity were to be capitalized. It used to be taught in our public school English classes. However, in recent years, as the fear of God, the honoring of His existence and the secularization of society has grown, this is no longer the case. Unfortunately, many Christian writers have adopted the same habit. I believe doing so is yet another compromise leading to deception. I believe we honor Him when we acknowledge Him even in the use of pronouns referring to Him. In fact, I believe doing so is an act of worship.