Not anymore, but in our younger family days while pastoring out in the eastern U.S., we would take our vacations on Cape Hatteras off the coast of North Carolina. Such a strong allurement that long strip of land fronted and backed by water had for us and for thousands of other families just like us. Truly an amazing place! The Kitty Hawk Wright Brothers would agree!
As sensational as body surfing was in the Atlantic Ocean, I now look back on it with a measure of uncomfortableness and even nervousness post facto. It really made no difference to the children or to my wife and me that we burned our feet on the hot sand, and cut them on sharp seashells and fragments on the ocean floor. And what fun gulping salted sea water when the surf at times cartwheeled us in the crashing waves. And our four children loved it every year being burned by the sun, bitten by flies, and slammed by ocean breakers. Not even mentioning getting sand embedded in body fissures we never dreamed even existed. What a blast! Just too much hoot and holler to worry about heat and fried flesh. So much for dismissing the uncomfortableness!
But then, what about my nervousness? There were greater dangers than all of inconveniences put together. Riptides that could take me and my kids under and out to sea in the blink of an eye. Extra big waves that tried to knock us out on the ocean bottom and drown us. Fifteen foot sharks that were occasionally spotted resulting in the raising of the red flag indicating that swimming was for now not allowed. Then again, who really cares about all of that when the seduction of sand and surf is so irresistible? And furthermore, the last one in is a chicken! When you’re having such extreme fun, one is blind to the dangers.
All of that to ask this, which is, “I have often wondered why do people just love to go swimming in the seas of untruth in spite of the grave and deadly dangers to themselves and others who they swim with? What is there about untruth that man finds so pleasurable and even irresistible that he gladly gives himself to it in spite of its terminal and fatal consequences? I think I can more easily understand what makes beach and surf bums what they are, but I have for a long time wondered about what makes error enthusiasts tick. Those of whom the Holy Spirit says in Romans 1:25,
“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie….”
Really now when you think about, what a dimwitted exchange! You talk about shafting yourself. If you will:
“EXCHANGING THE TRUTH FOR UNTRUTH, WHAT AN INCREDIBLE RIP
OFF IN THE RIPTIDE OF ERROR AND UNTRUTH.”
IMMERSED IN FALSEHOOD
The question remains, “But why? Why this amazing attraction of and to untruth which many people today, even in the modern church, embrace like a long lost brother?” Of course, Jesus said it would be that way in the last days, as we remember his words in Matthew 24:11,
“And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many.”
We are no longer walking on history’s beach at the low tide of heresies while we collect shells and run on the wet sands being chased by breakers. No, no, we are no longer living in an age of innocent theological sand-and-surf idyll. Rather, we are immersed today in false teachers and false teachings, and we have to jump just to stay above the swells. We are in a churning mix of false teachers and false teachings that knock the religious masses down and sweep them away as if powerless to stand against them.
I have been reminded of this again as recently as now, as if we need reminding, in the case of Rob Bell who is the pastor of the multi-thousand Mars Hill Church in Grandville, MI. Rob Bell, author of Love Wins, teaches that Hell is not an eternal place of suffering, but rather, what people go through in this world here and now. Says Rob Bell:
“I BEGIN WITH THE REALITY THAT HEAVEN AND HELL ARE
HERE AND NOW…WE CAN CREATE ALL SORTS OF
HELLS RIGHT HERE IF WE WANT TO…WE SEE
PEOPLE CHOOSING HELL AROUND US
ALL THE TIME.” ****
**** (Good Morning America, March 15, 2011)
Now then, what he states is total heresy and completely contrary to Biblical givens in more ways than I can deal with here. (See my article entitled Universalism in the Table of Contents) But what is germane to this article are the ten thousand people in Bell’s congregation who espouse everything that he teaches, and thereby play high stakes poker with peoples’ eternal souls. The Bell Scenario is only a microscopic example of a worldwide phenomenon. Why does obvious untruth draw its tens of thousands and obvious truth its hundreds? Why “Untruth’s Fatal Attraction” as its enthusiasts’ faces and lips willingly turn blue for lack of truth’s oxygen, only to never surface again?
Harold Camping of Family Radio recently predicted that the rapture of the church and judgement day would take place on May 21, 2011. Of course, nothing happened and Camping, who predicted similar falsehood in 1994, is now 0 for 2. He has reset the date for October 21, 2011. Three strikes and your out!
Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason Ministries states, “One man personally spent $140,000 of his life savings on billboards in the Boston area (advertising Camping’s May 21 production). Wil anyone see their money refunded by Family Radio for following the false advertisement of Camping’s false calculation? Can he sue Camping for false advertising and manipulation? If he had been taught the Bible in truth he would not have listened to the cultist Camping. He and others would not have entertained a date because the Bible has this much to say on the date – NOTHING.”
What’s the deal McNeal? It is a stunning sight, as least it is for me, to see these leaders of cults, espousers of falsehood, and theological imposters, as it were, wear their abused proselytes like so many trophies of deceptive and deceiving untruth, while they literally stump upon the heads of their deluded disciples. Yet those same followers keep on coming back for more to drink again and again of Jim Jones’ purple Kool Aid. Until next time, bottoms up! It blows me away!
A BIZARRE CHRISTMAS
When you really allow yourself to think about it, it is indeed mind-blowing. After all, there is nothing more humiliating and degrading than to have your head and heart possessed and totally governed by delusions and lies. This is the bummer of all bummers! All slavery is worse than bad, and it was so right that the Civil War was fought to set our enslaved black brothers and sisters free. However, it is the worst of slaveries to have one’s mind enslaved to untruth, which was and still is at the bottom of all slavery.
If as John 8:32 states:
“It is the truth which sets us free,”
“It is untruth that makes us slaves.”
Of course, this could never happen to you and me! It is sort of like growing old and dying, which as a child I thought only happened to weird, wrinkled people. The trouble being that it is happening to our own blood brothers and sisters who now have that strange distant look on their faces and who we can no longer approach. This is not a situation where we can use the wornout phrase, “Thank God that no one was hurt.” It has come too close to home and to our home church now. And we say about them, as I heard a dear sister in Christ say to me just a few days ago, “How can they be so blind?”
It was only a few Christmases ago that we experienced the most bizarre family Christmas that we ever lived through. After a huge Christmas feast, it has always been my rule that nothing deep, thought- provoking, or controversial should be allowed in the conversation until at least an hour after eating. Sort of like the no-swimming rule for at least an hour after dinner. Just give me time to belch and snooze before launching out into any real cranial depths of discussion.
Wouldn’t you know it, within a few minutes one of my near and dear relatives blurted out of nowhere, “I believe in soul sleep!” (The theory that people go into a sleep after they die while waiting for the resurrection.) ANESTHETIZED RELIGION! Very appealing these days! Shoot! I suddenly had an attack of theological cramps while everyone in the room around the Christmas tree had blank looks on their faces as if they were living in sort of a post-Christmas dinner twilight zone. So I simply said in order to relieve myself of doctrinal gas pains, “Jesus Christ did not say to the thief on the cross, ‘Today you shall be with me in a long winter’s nap!’ Rather He said, ‘Today you shall be with me in Paradise.’” (Luke 23:43) Well then, that seemed to end that, and I thought that yuletide peace had now returned to our family nativity scene.
I was wrong! Within seconds, another relative piped up, “I don’t think we will know each other in Heaven.” NEBULOUS GENERIC RELIGION WITHOUT DISTINCTIONS! Very common these days! Cramps returned! Where was all of this suddenly coming from? It was as if a theological dense fog had moved into the room, and we could no longer even see the Christmas tree lights. So I blew my foghorn and said, “You don’t think do you that we will all be walking around Heaven shouting to each other, ‘Hey you.’ The Bible tells us that we will know even as God knows us. (I Corinthians 13:12) And furthermore the Lord tells us that we will recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 8:11), and we surely must know who they are to be able to sit with them and not somebody else.” Now then, leave me alone and go sing some Christmas carols.
Nope! Out of the fog I heard another voice say, “You know, it has been proven that homosexuality is due to queer genes.” All of sudden someone else was espousing the gay agenda as part of the good news of Christmas, implying that the homosexuals and lesbians are okay after all. You know, we are okay and they are okay. ALL INCLUSIVE RELIGION! Very popular these days! At which point, I admit, I got ticked off, and said with a now somewhat irritated tone in my voice, “And I suppose that God fried the homosexuals in Sodom because they had unusual gay genes.” (Genesis 19) Stop it already! A Christmas to forget, but apparently, I can’t.
Why does untruth have such a seductive power, that it gives us A VERY UNMERRY CHRISTMAS? What in the world is going on?
YAHWEY AND ALLAH
Speaking of ALL-INCLUSIVE RELIGION in another vein, Joe Schimmel, senior pastor of Blessed Hope Chapel in Southern California and chief of the Good Fight Ministries, openly has questioned whether church leaders are affirming Allah.
Schimmel, who is best known for “They Sold Their Souls for Rock n Roll,” which exposes satanic influences behind much of yesterday and today’s popular music and how it negatively influences youth, suggested in a World Net Daily column, “Could it be that we are witnessing the formation of the prophesied one-world religion under the Antichrist?” (Revelation 13:1-18) “
He cited Brian McLaren of the emerging church movement, who planned for an Islamic Ramadan celebration. And he mentioned Rick Warren’s agreement to address the Islamic Society of North America, which “The Department of Justice categorized two years ago as a co-conspirator in financing a foreign terrorist group!“
Another church leader, Tony Campolo, a proponent of the so-called “evangelical left” claimed that, “Even if Muslims don’t convert, they are God’s people,'” Schimmel wrote.
Even more chilling is the fact that over 300 prominent Christian leaders signed a letter issued by the Yale Center for Faith and Culture claiming that world peace is dependent on Muslims and Christians recognizing ‘Allah’ and ‘Yahweh’ as the same God. This letter, titled ‘Loving God and Neighbor Together,’ was written in response to a signed document by 138 Muslim leaders titled ‘A Common Word Between Us and You.’ McLaren, Warren, Robert Schuller and Bill Hybels were just several of the signatories to this outright betrayal of Christ!” he said. (By Bob Unrue, “Van Impe Ministry Abandons TBN In Clash Over Islam,” World Net Daily, June 16, 2011.)
What is going on around here? Whatever it is, it has to be something really powerful to be able to bring the human mind and heart into the misery and captivity of error and have it feel like the marvel of the truest freedom ever. Dear Lord, how comes this fondness for falsehood rather than for the truth. If you will:
“HOW COMES THIS GREATER AFFECTION FOR A BASTARD
RATHER THAN FOR ONE’S OWN SON?”
Please, somebody help me to understand! Why I ask:
“DO PEOPLE PREFER TO BE ABUSED BY ERROR
THAN TO BLESSED BY TRUTH?”
UNTRUTH’S ATTRACTIVE POWERS
Let’s face it:
“NO MAN EMBRACES FALSEHOOD UNLESS HE IS
TOTALLY ENAMORED WITH IT.”
And I choose my words carefully, especially the “BEING ENAMORED” part!
I was approached by a precious young man a few days ago who was asking for help for his troubled marriage. My heart melted when he told me the story and then my heart cringed when he said to me, “Now I know that you are a black and white preacher and counselor. But I would ask of you that if my estranged wife agrees to be counseled by you that you round off the sharp edges of your counseling and soften the truth.” Sorry, wrong number!
But here is exactly the solving of our mystery. This is exactly where being enamored with untruth begins – its rounded off edges and its soft flexibility. Bam! This is why error always has the advantage over truth, and so much more easily and smoothly slides into the deceived mind and heart. TRUTH ON THE OTHER NEVER BENDS!
Here it is then in a nutshell:
“FALSEHOOD IS ALWAYS WELL OILED WITH
FAWNING WORDS THAT MAKE FRIENDS.”
You know, words like “I’m Okay, You’re Okay,” “Needless Guilt Complex,” “Toleration and Acceptance,” “Live and Let Live,” “Nobody’s Perfect,” “To Err is Human, to Forgive is Divine,”
All Relativism, Situationism, non-Absolutism” etc. etc.
“TRUTH IS ALWAYS WELL SHARPENED WITH CUTTING
FORCE WORDS THAT MAKE ENEMIES.”
You know, words like “Heaven and Hell,” “Righteousness and Sin,” “Truth and Falsehood,” “Sheep and Goats,” “Saved and Unsaved,” “Christians and Pagans,” “Light and Darkness,” “Justified and Dammed,” “Absolutism and non-Exceptionism,” etc. etc.
If you will, here is the GREAT SEDUCTIVE POWER OF UNTRUTH – untruth will always cut, trim, daub, paint, decorate, dress down, and dress up as truth, in order to better set itself off more pleasingly to the human mind and heart. This is the seductive power of untruth. Untruth is SEEKER FRIENDLY. Truth cannot do this and still be truth. It cannot cut, trim, daub, paint, decorate, dress down, or redress itself. It must be what it is, even if the truth hurts. This is why more and more we find in the world and in the church that:
“THE BADGE OF TRUTH IS ITS DESPISED NAKEDNESS AND
THE BADGE OF UNTRUTH IS ITS APPRECIATED
Untruth is designed to look good and feel good until you go for it, and then it hurts you real bad. Here is the advantage of untruth over truth;
“TRUTH CANNOT DRESS ITSELF DOWN AS MORE PALATABLE UNTRUTH,
BUT UNTRUTH CAN DRESSS ITSELF UP AS MORE
Wild, isn’t it? Yes, untruth’s dressing itself up as truth, sort of like we read about Satan who according to II Corinthians 11:14,
“…for even Satan disguises (dresses himself up) as an
angel of light.”
I mean, let’s face it, even Satan knows that there is nothing so inviting and refreshing to man as light. If Satan was pressed to present himself as he really is – the blackest of darkness – he also knows that he would not refresh but instead depress and dispirit the carnal human mind. Satan is a smart cookie, so he presents himself somehow to us as light, and when we fall for it, what happens is that what we now think is light within us is really darkness. And of course, then the warning of Jesus applies when He warns us in Matthew 6:23,
“If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how
great is the darkness.”
Let me show you just one example among many how this is done. Katharine Jefferts Schori is the Primate Bishop of the Presbyterian Church USA. She sanctions homosexuality and gay marriage.
On a different subject, namely the true Mission of the Church, we read this statement by Head Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori: “WE ARE BLESSED WITH LEADERS, LAY AND ORDAINED, WHO ARE INCREASINGLY AWARE OF THEIR GOD–GIVEN MINISTRIES TO LEAD THIS PEOPLE INTO FULLER PARTICIPATION IN GOD’S MISSION OF HEALING THE WORLD.” (Bishop Kathariine Jefferts Schori, “New LIfe Out of Death: A Message for Easter,” Episcopal New Service, April 8, 2007) It all sounds so kind and compassionate and bright and even Christian. Daub! Paint! Redress! It is a complete redefinition and a devastating distortion of Christ’s purpose for coming to earth.
The Bible tells us this: “JESUS DID NOT COME TO HEAL A SICK WORLD.” Au Contraire! Rather: “JESUS CAME TO SAVE A SINFUL WORLD.” Jesus’ name means “Savior,” not “Healer.” At face value, Bishop Schori’s definition of the Divine mission for the world is false. The Apostle Paul defined Christ’s mission to Timothy in I Timothy 1:15,
“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came
into the world to SAVE sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.”
What is meant by the phrase, “Healing the World?” It becomes tricky at this point. First, we have to be acutely aware of the power of words, and the mind-manipulation that can be achieved through misapplied words. When many religious leaders today talk about healing the world and not saving the world, it is because they have dropped the word “Sin” from their theological vocabulary. “Sin” has now become “Weakness,” and “Iniquity” has become “Infirmity.” “Healing of Relationships” both personal, national, and international, then becomes Christ’s mission, not “Saving Sinners.”
Second, “Theology” has become “Psychology” in much of the modern church, for what really is needed, we are being told by many modern religionists, is the healing of man’s mental and emotional disorders and imbalances. You know, man is mentally and emotionally maladjusted, not malevolent. Man is disoriented, not depraved. Man is misguided by his environment, not malicious by nature. He needs his mental and emotional nuts and bolts tightened and tweaked, and then society can be healed one man at a time and brought into harmony and order. Preachers become psychologists and sociologists in their communities, not the agents of the reconciliation of lost sinners to God through the blood of Jesus Christ. That is exactly what Satan wants, and through this crafty distortion of the Gospel he can damn sinners to Hell.
But in absolute contradiction, truth allows no dressing down or dressing up of itself, and rejects all cosmetic surgery and ornamentation. Truth is what it is, resulting in the following stark and contrary principles:
“NAKED TRUTH COMMANDS SUBMISSION WITHOUT
ANY COMPROMISE OR FLATTERY TO
ENABLE ACCEPTANCE OF IT.”
“UNTRUTH BEGS ACCEPTANCE AND WILL CAMOUFLAGE
ITSELF AND DRESS ITSELF UP AS TRUTH
TO GAIN ACCEPTANCE.”
In summary, now we are getting it. We must understand this about truth:
“TRUTH CANNOT MELLOW OR SOFTEN ITSELF INTO
PARTIAL AND MORE PALATABLE HALF-TRUTH.”
“PARTIAL TRUTH IS COMPLETE UNTRUTH AND IS THEREFORE A COMPLETE
LIE BECAUSE TRUTH CANNOT HAVE EVEN A SPECK OF
INCOMPLETE TRUTH AND STILL BE THE TRUTH.”
Truth must be:
“THE TRUTH, TO BE TRUTH, MUST BE THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH, AND
NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH SO HELP US GOD.”
Why? Because it is the nature of truth that it cannot be half-truth or half-lie, not even a little white one. That is the very nature of truth, because truth is the very nature of God, and as God cannot be half-God, neither can He therefore be half-truth.
We read those awesome words in Titus 1:2,
“…which God, Who cannot lie….”
Satan according to John 8:44,
“…is a liar and the father of lies.”
How would you like to be the sole father of such offspring? My, my, that is like being the father of Lee Harvey Oswald and Ted Bunde. Satan can present himself as an angel of spiritual light, but God cannot present himself as an angel of spiritual darkness. His truth is too overwhelmingly pure true and His light it too overwhelmingly pure light.
But untruth is so pervasive in Satan that he must even lie about his lies – make lies appear to be truth. You see now that this is the subtle and powerful advantage of untruth in that it can twist and turn itself into what appears to be truth. And we can now understand and be assured of this:
“IF A LIE IS BELIEVED AS TRUTH, IT IS BECAUSE IT
HAS SKILLFULLY BEEN MADE TO
APPEAR AS TRUTH.”
Therefore, it goes without saying that we must be daily bathed in the truth of God’s Word. Or as Jesus prayed for us in John 17:17,
“Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.”
Why? Because even though Satan cannot speak the truth but has to lie, he can still lie about his lies and thereby present them as truth. Advantageto Satan unless we literally immersed in the Word of God.