(This post is based upon one first put up September 9, 2008, called "IS THERE A LINK?:" YOU BET THERE IS!" The Obama presidency is nearing its end, but the incredible activities that have been going on since Donald J. Trump was elected are mind-boggling. IT seems deception is not in hyperdrive which is why I am republishing this.)
We are awash in political deception these days. Some of the things I have heard boggle any intelligent mind. As an evangelist, I often see spiritual deception. Sometimes it is extremely obvious, other times subtle. Among Christians, I definitely see a link. Let's look at spiritual deception first.
A proponent of the Shem Tov Hebrew Matthew kept emailing me and denigrating me because I did not accept this version of Matthew's gospel which many have found to be hopelessly flawed. Shem Tov was a Jew who lived about a half-millenium ago who happened to be very anti-Christian. He leaves out the Trinitarian "formula" for baptism and indicates there is none born to a woman greater than John the Baptist INCLUDING Jesus. Shem Tov's version is used by some Oneness folks who say there is no Trinity and everyone but them is wrong. I have also heard much from the Dean Burgon Society who follows only the DEFINED KING JAMES BIBLE. All other versions are hopeless according to them. There are folks who call the person of the Holy Spirit an "it", and there are those who persist in talking about "coming into the presence of the Lord" despite the fact the veil of the temple was torn asunder so we could live in the presence of God. There are those who say that you aren't saved unless you are baptized and speak in tongues, while others maintain that you are a heretic if you DO speak in tongues.
Actually, determining spiritual deception is fairly easy IF you accept the word of God at face value. Here are the main areas of spiritual deception that I see as commonplace:
1) A belief that Jesus is the way FOR US, but that there are other ways to God. (Bible: No man cometh to the Father, but by me).
2) A belief that those who die outside of Christ will not suffer eternal torment. (Bible references to an everlasting hell are clear and abundant).
3) The Bible is true, but not literally, and must be critically viewed. (Bible: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. God wrote on stone WITH HIS OWN HAND the Ten Commandments which included a reference to six-day creation).
4) Commands in the Bible are to be culturally defined. (Bible: Paul refers to ALL the Churches of God in terms of order in the church and in the home, qualifications for leaders, etc. Women are disobeying their husbands and usurping authority claiming God told them. People are engaging in improper behavior of all kinds. Our God is one, and the Father and Son always agree with the Holy Spirit, the author of all scripture).
5) New doctrines are being revealed and are needed for this victorious church that is emerging. (Bible: It is a curse to add to the words of this Book. Half verses are taken out of context and concepts such as healing and prosperity being part of the atonement are causing people to be focused on money, success, and themselves rather than God).
6) It is important to stand for my truth no matter what. (Bible: Pursue unity and do not be divisive. People are campaigning in church for candidates, demonizing other Christians, cutting off fellowship with other believers, ignoring those of different ethnicity, economics, education, or age, and often reject truths that are critical to their success in Christ).
Now, political deception - that is the whole concept of this blog - how to avoid it. As a blogger I see and hear a whole lot. I get communications from both sides. I post on blogs in the tank for one side or another. I go on MSM, Huffington Post, conservative, Christian, the whole gamut. You may see my Newshound777 moniker in any number of places. So many political proponents present only ONE side of the arguments, often from highly prejudiced if not outright dishonest sources. They tend to hate those who disagree with them and engage in ad honimem personal attacks. Both sides cannot be right on everything.
Determining political deception is fairly easy IF you accept objective truth and have a sense of fair play. Here are the main areas of political deception that I see as commonplace:
1) A belief that one's party is right and the other's is wrong (Truth: No political party is perfect. All individuals have sinned and all parties have sinned and come short of the glory of God. If a person thinks their party or their country is always right, they are deceived. If a person thinks they have all the answers and cannot be touched by something good coming from others, they are DEEPLY deceived).
2) A belief that it doesn't matter who is in power. This belief is that everyone is corrupt and nothing will change until Jesus comes. (Truth: It greatly matters. Without Winston Churchill, it is likely the Brits would be speaking German. Without the strong-willed George W. Bush. it is almost certain that if there was a war to liberate Iraq at all, it would have been abandoned in defeat because of the polls, and looky here - his weak-kneed successor did just that).
3) Our constitution must be reinterpreted by each generation. The rules change as we go along. If a political action such as scorning is done by one party, it isn't all of a sudden OK for the other party to do it. If politicians are advocating things that are not right, and we support them uncritically, we are deceived.
4) The ends justify the means. We can do anything we want to destroy another person. If we slander the integrity of someone who disagrees with us, we are in deception. We should be forceful with political truth just as we are with spiritual truth, but civility is the order of the day. God does not FORCE himself on us. He is a gentleman.
Back in 2008, I heard someone who believes they are above deception categorically maintain that Mr. Obama is a man who will bring peace. There has been war his entire presidency. The truth is that only JESUS is the Prince of Peace. The Bible explicitly warns that people will TALK peace, but there will be none til Christ returns. With this type of warning, PLUS the very deep baggage and anti-morality beliefs of this specific man, it is stunning that any Christian made and spread this claim. A MAN of peace is indeed prophesied to come, but that is the ANTI-CHRIST. While I would be shocked if Obama were the anti-Christ, I think this is a bit of a dry run on how easily people uncritically accept political spin and ignore the reality. If you present simple verifiable truths to people who have this Messianic take, they refuse to check it out. It reminds me of how the Pharisees rejected Jesus without doing their homework. When you look at the corruption behind any political candidate, and the deeply flawed politics that are the order of the day, it is absurd to attribute to any God-like qualities to anyone save the one (Jesus Christ) who specifically fulfilled all Biblical prophecies concerning the Messiah. Rev. Jeremiah Wright spoke in a church in New Jersey comparing Obama to the Virgin Mary. The media went orgasmic after Obama's farewell address saying no one could ever be so great again. I don't think I need to elaborate in order for you to understand that deception.
I was in a church PRAYER MEETING where people were actively campaigning for a candidate. Not only did they slander, but they lied. They were obviously in deception. (ADDENDUM: One or more Obama fanatics interrupted several meetings I was in this campaign season. From issuing false positives for Mr. Obama not based on his own platform to vicious slander of Sarah Palin, it is indicative of the Spirit of Deception that is loose in the land.) Interestingly, all are also deceived in one or more ways spiritually. They ARE linked. You see, truth is not compartmentalized with God. Truth invades every area of life. You cannot be totally free of deception even if you are "saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost". If you give room for lies in your life, you are deceived. Many otherwise fine people LIVE in deception. They accept things that aren't true. We know that the truth shall set us free. If we do not live in the truth, we are not truly free.
I met a man who preached a far more comprehensive gospel than most. He tried to overcome the man-made limits we often have when relating to God. Yet he failed to obey the Bible in the key areas of Baptism, Communion, and freedom from partiality. He thought he was on the way to perfection. He was far off the course despite his many victories.
SO MANY in the church are right about some key things, but SO WRONG about other equally important things. This ought not so to be. Let us study to show ourselves approved by God, and may we truly listen to him so we will not operate in deception of ANY sort, political or spiritual. That's the way Jesus lived - he had a firm handle on it all. Let's do likewise.