by Mike Ratliff
And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?” And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; and the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has declared disaster for you.” (1 Kings 22:18-23 ESV)
There is not a day during the week that goes by without me becoming involved in a discussion with friends about this or that very well known “Christian” figure saying or doing something that reveals fruit of apostasy in their lives and ministries. It used to be a surprise and we all marveled, but not anymore. Oh, we mourn, and we wonder at who will be next, but we have learned that our rock is Christ not any man. We cling to the Cross and the Gospel of the Lord Jesus, not the life and ministry of any man. I grew up a Southern Baptist and was a Deacon and Bible teacher in multiple SBC churches from the late 1980’s until we left our old church in 2006 when it was preparing to go Purpose Driven. During that time, I was quite acquainted with the SBC way of making celebrities of its superstar preachers and evangelists. This same thing is also found in other denominations and church groups I am sure. These superstars have become idols and have taken a place in these churches that should only be held in a place in the hearts of the people reserved for our Lord.
Some of the apostasy we are seeing more and more is the compromise that many very visible Christian leaders are making by attempting to change the focus of their ministries to Missional or Dominionism thinking instead of their churches adhering to its true mission which is the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20). The more I discuss this with my friends the more this keeps coming up. If the ministry is not “Reformed” then the focus is being moved into an “Emergence Christianity” mode and focus of redeeming the world to make it a better place as the church’s primary mission. On the other hand, if the ministry is “Reformed” then the focus is being moved into an “Acts 29 Network/New Calvinistic/Doministic” focus that is pretty much the same thing, but with the twist that the theology is reformed in focus. At the same time, there is the Church growth “stream” which is becoming more and more involved in the mysticism that has been the hallmark of the Emergence Christianity for some time. We are also seeing these very same emphases with mysticism becoming more and more prevalent within the Acts 29 Network/New Calvinistic folks. In other words, it really does not matter. If you are into the name it, claim it, Word of Faith, World Revival Church stuff with the faith healing, et cetera, then you will find the very same emphasis on Contemplative prayer et cetera.
It does not matter. The delusion that there is a higher and more spiritual way to worship and know God through contemplative prayer (Eastern Mysticism) then along with that will come the baggage of the evil spirituality that comes from association with familiar spirits. God Himself strictly forbids this for His people for good reason.
I am convinced that what we are seeing is the fruit of a strong delusion sent from God. God has done this in the past to accomplish His will as in the passage I placed at the top of this post. He will do it again and I think we are in the midst of one right now.
The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 ESV)
So many from every side are falling into this deception. So many who do so we believe should know better, but there they are shoulder to shoulder with heretics and blasphemers saying stupid “Missional” garbage that isn’t even Biblical, ranting and raving like madmen trying to make everyone who hears them feel guilty for not having the same passion for being “Missional” that they have. Watch this video and please tell me if I am wrong in being perplexed as to where John Piper got this message from God’s Word. I do know that some of my friends did some heavy research on the bookstore at Piper’s Church website and discovered that they are selling books on mysticism just like the ones you can get from the bookstore at Rick Warren’s Church and Rob Bell’s Church et cetera. Well, if God has sent the delusion and they have believed it then what can we do other than warn everyone?
I am attacking no one. I am pointing out what I believe God is showing me as I prayed and studied His Word on the topic of deception today as I asked Him to show me how to address what we are seeing. Is it possible for these men to repent? I pray that that is so. I think we should pray that they do hear the truth and are drawn from these evil things in repentance. However, if that is not the case, we must stay the course. We must cling to the Cross and the truth and never give up on the Gospel and the offense of the Cross condemning all attempts to contextualize the Gospel into uselessness and ineffectiveness. We must pray for God to lead us in this and for our Lord to return soon. His will be done.
Soli Deo Gloria!