Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
“See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many’” (Matthew 24:4). Deception is defined as acts to propagate beliefs that are not true, or not the whole truth (as in half-truths or omission). Deception can involve dissimulation, propaganda, and sleight of hand, as well as distraction, camouflage, or concealment. There is also self-deception, as in bad faith. In the context of Scripture, bad faith is understood as taking a position that is either known to be false or is false but believed to be true. In either case, the one holding the position is self-deceived. It is interesting to me that Jesus, when speaking of the time period just prior to His return to this earth, said more about deception than He did anything else. In Matthew 24, He warns against being deceived three different times (Matt. 24:4-5, 11, 23-24). There are at least 25 instances in the New Testament where the biblical writers warn against being deceived. This is why it is crucial for us to understand not everyone who claims to speak for Christ actually does. In fact, I would venture to say no one speaks for Christ as He has already spoken for Himself in His Word given through His Prophets and Apostles. The warning is clear: Don’t be misled.
One such false teacher who is clearly vying for the title of apostate extraordinaire is Rob Bell. Bell is not new to Evangelical circles. In 2011, he released his book, Love Wins, where he basically concluded there is no hell, and in the end, everyone goes to heaven. The book led to “a fall out”—and rightly so—“with [his] congregation and forced him on a ‘search for a more forgiving faith.’” Recently, he has come out in support of so-called same-sex marriage. I say, “so-called,” because God recognizes no such marital arrangement. Speaking at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral—which knows nothing of biblical grace—asserted, “I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it's a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs -- I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.” So there you have it folks, we need to “affirm” people in their sin. I must be honest in that I have searched the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation and cannot find a single passage that says we are to affirm people in their sin. Rather, we are to preach the gospel and call people to repentance. Interestingly, when one of the attendees tried to get Bell to take a firm position as to whether Christians can know the truth, he proceeded in a different direction. I guess it’s too hard to know the truth when you don’t believe the truth or are self-deceived, as Bell appears to be.
Paul wrote to young Timothy, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). Peter, when speaking of these false prophets and teachers wrote, “Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned” (2 Pet. 2:2). Although the Bible says we can expect this kind of stuff in the last days leading up to Christ’s return, I never actually thought I’d witness it in my day. But it is here, and if the Bible is to be believed, it’s only going to get worse. Bell went on to suggest we are witnessing the death of an Evangelical subculture that doesn’t work. I disagree. I think what we are witnessing is God allowing the world to force into a corner what the Bible would describe as the remnant or all true followers of Jesus Christ. In other words, He’s separating true followers from false ones. Those who know and believe the truth will ultimately not be misled. After all, the Bible teaches true faith perseveres. Pray that God would protect you and your loved ones from deception. The best way to do that is by reading and studying the truth—the Bible and believing and adhering to what it says. The admonition is clear, “See to it that no one misleads you” (Matt. 24:4).
You are welcome to leave comments and you don't have to necessarily agree with me. However, I expect a civil tone and charitable spirit. We can disagree with one another without being disagreeable. "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt." (Colossians 4:6)
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