Therefore God Sends Them A Strong Delusion

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!

44 thoughts on “Therefore God Sends Them A Strong Delusion

  1. Mike, it seems to be necessary, these days, to serve The Lord “On your lonesome” in order to get anything done the way He reveals in Scripture.

  2. You are dead on brother. We are very much in that time where ppl will not endure sound doctrine and appear to gleefully exchange the truth of God for the lie. I thank you for continued diligence in staying true to our Lord and the perspicuity of His holy word.

  3. Mike,
    That was a great article…it’s amazing to me how so many “reformed” churches are contextualizing the Word and yet argue they are strong doctrinally. If they feel they must do all these other “things” in order to reach the “unchurched”(by the way..that word annoys me…there are many “churched” that need to be regenrated as well) …I would argue they are in essence saying that God is not powerful and His Word isn’t effective and He needs our help in order to “save” sinners. While I absolutely beilieve we are to speak the TRUTH in love…it is HIS gospel and we are to teach HIS word…not our own. We have no liberty to change it in order to make it more appealing. Our duty is not to “save”…manipulate..others…whatever you want to call it…..it is just to be the mouthpiece of His great mercy and grace through Christ. In an attempt to go “deeper” in their relationship with the Lord they are drowning out the gospel. Ultimately the Lord does all things for His glory..so I take heart and have confidence that His will, will be done..and I praise Him for that!

  4. Dear Mike,
    The wide road is the appeal to man. The narrow road is the appeal to God. The foundation of this world is shifting sand – 1 John 5:19 “We know that we are of God, and that the WHOLE WORLD lies in the power of the evil one.” Rev. 12:9 “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the WHOLE WORLD; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” Rev. 13:3 “I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the WHOLE EARTH was amazed and followed after the beast;” Zephaniah 1:18 “Neither their silver nor their gold Will be able to deliver them On the day of the Lord’s wrath; And all the earth will be devoured In the fire of His jealousy, For He will make a complete end, Indeed a terrifying one, Of all the inhabitants of the earth.”

    This is absolutely sobering………………….. This WORLD is fatally tainted with sin and WILL perish. Jesus is the only foundation. Isaiah 28:16 “Therefore thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly conerstone for the foundation, firmly placed, He who believes in it will not be disturbed.'” God has graciously given us His unchangable, inerrant truth through the Scriptures that cannot be altered, twisted and molded like the “extra- biblical experiental spirituality”.

    Like it or not this WORLD is going to come to a definite END. Those who by grace have accepted by faith Jesus Christ as their personal Savior for the remission of their sins will enter with joy into the eternal kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the earth by their loving Father. Grace and peace in Christ Jesus

  5. I watched the “global” push from John Piper. He is nothing more than trying to talk up a new experience for his disciples. Now they can talk about all the new ‘global’ people they need funds to reach, then they can tell everyone what ‘missionvacation’ they have just went on or will be going to.
    I guess Paul was not thinking ‘global’ for the Body of Christ in Thessalonica when you wrote this to them:

    1 Thessalonians 4:11 (English Standard Version)
    11and to aspire(A) to live quietly, and(B) to mind your own affairs, and(C) to work with your hands, as we instructed you,

    That would just be boring for the ‘missional glob trotter’ christian today, why what would we tell people that we are doing for ‘God” if we were to respond to the question with,
    “I’m minding my own business, aspiring to live quietly, working with my hands as I was instructed to do.”
    That would puzzle most ‘agenda washed’ christians today.
    I guess the Body of Christ where just going to be everyday beleivers and enjoy His salvation and proclaim the good news of it to thier neighbors and not really be used by God?
    This ‘missioncation’ to far away places is a sad joke to me… blinded by thier own desire to ‘double dip’ in pleasure and so-called godliness they ruin both.
    A real messenger of the Lord Jesus Christ will be persecuted and only recieved by the Elect of God and hated by the world. These superstar ‘christian’ leaders will undergo a severe judgement as did the Pharasees of Jesus’ day.
    Matthew 23:15
    Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

    Matthew 23:25 (English Standard Version)

    25(A) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For(B) you clean the outside of(C) the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of(D) greed and self-indulgence.

    ‘Self-Indulgence’ is the core of today’s missional / global travel stars.
    They will write books of thier latest ministry and fulfil the ‘greed’ aspect of the verse soon enough, most already have.
    There names are mentioned more than Jesus by thier disciples. (Rick Warren, etc) They are simply ‘making merchandise’ of the Body and how the so-called ‘body loves it so.

  6. I’m so glad that you pointed this out, Mike. The Emergents and the New Calvinists are pretty much alike. The dividing line is disappearing. I thank the Lord for men like you who are willing to continue to preach the Truth and expose the false!

    God bless you, my brother!

  7. Very timely, pertinent and sobering article.
    Be prepared for much persecution from your
    “brothers/sisters” (so called) in Christ.
    Most do not like names to be named.
    They would rather generalize issues, and
    be tongue-tickers about this and that in the
    church, without ever dealing with the heart of
    the matter. The watchman must sound a clear
    warning!
    On the other hand, be prepared for much blessing
    and peace from the Lord Jesus Christ for being
    obedient.
    His coming is soon!
    Stand firm.

  8. SO TRUE!!! what a “strong delusion” it is. Isn’t it amazing in this scriptture pasage the true prophet of the Lord tells them all what the Lord said and did and what the end result was going to be, yet they refused to accept the truth. I have been taught about the “strong delusion”……BUT as I see it all unfold, I am STIll amazed at the intensity of it, the scope of it, and all the people who are being swept up in it. What a glorious God we serve, what a mighty hand he has, mighty in salvation and ultimate judgement.

    The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Proverbs 16:4

    Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand . E#phesians 6:13

    May the Lord Jesus Christ, through the work of his Holy Spirit cause us to stand in this “evil day”.

  9. Mike:

    I too am concerned about some of the things recently happening with John Piper’s ministry, but I just looked through the book store at his Desiring God website and didn’t see anything remotely connected to mysticism. I’m very concerned about NOT reading books that contain mysticism, so would appreciate it if you could say which books might be promoting this doctrine.

    Thanks!

  10. Mike:

    Thanks for the name. I did a search at the Desiring God website and did not come up with any books in the book store for Wagner. However, there are a handful of sermons from the late 80’s and early 90’s that mention C. Peter Wagner. These comments are in relation to church growth methodologies (in the 80’s) and territorial spiritual warfare (in the 90’s).

    Regarding the spiritual warfare, I did not see that Piper was promoting anything Wagner said, but indicated that these were new ideas that he had not heard before (from a couple of conferences he had attended). Piper then discussed what the Bible said about spiritual warfare (specifically in Daniel) and what that meant for believers in their prayer life.

    I do know that Wagner currently promotes the doctrine of dominionism and the reinstatement of the biblical positions of apostle and prophet along with accompanying signs and wonders. Much of his influence is currently in Charismatic and Pentecostal circles, though it is beginning to show up in more mainline denominations. I know because I recently came out of a Pentecostal church that was beginning to embrace these ideas and doctrines. Icky, icky stuff! In my following of John Piper this past couple of years, I haven’t seen any of these influences showing up in his ministry and I assure you that I am totally gun-shy of anything that remotely smacks of this crazy stuff.

    But, as you have indicated, we all are fallible and can be deceived, even the best Bible preacher. We must keep our eyes on Christ and the cross, and evaluate everything we are told against the Bible. So, thank God that He has given us His Word and His Spirit to reveal His truth.

  11. I’m sorry Marny, I should have given you the link for your search. Go here then search for “C. Peter Wagner” and yes, Dominionism will be the main topic of this, but, you see, Dominionism and Mysticism go hand-in-hand.

  12. Well, that is really interesting! Thanks for the link Mike. I never would have thought to check the church library for the books. Thanks!

  13. I’m blown away you’ve mentioned Pastor Piper here. That’s a huge shock to me as I have listened to many of his sermons. Glad of the warning and thank you.

  14. Mike,
    After thinking about your article throughout the day I was wondering “What do these new Calivinists consider being missional?” I have only recently heard about this “new-calvinism stuff”. I have always loved Piper and his ministry but after watching that clip I was a little confused. As a mom of five young kids (4 boys and a girl) I feel more strongly than ever that I live 24/7 in my own little mission field. Are we to be more concerned with seeing others in the world saved than even our own family..children? Not that I don’t want others in the world to be saved as well…I thank the Lord for what he is doing in bringing His elect to Himself all over the world. I guess what I’m saying is…there are people all around me without the Lord..even some of those I love most…and while I want to see others come to Christ…..my burden is for those who live right around me. Are we to be content with where the Lord has us?
    As a mom, I feel a great responsibility in bringing them up in the admonition of the Lord…and I pray God would transform their hearts. But I also know the Lord does the work. I am to be obedient to the Lord in proclaiming who He is whether they are saved or not. Is this missional stuff a backlash against those who are considered “hyper-calvinists?” Also….is not the church and the preaching of God’s Word…..supposed to be geared towards the believers…not unbelievers?
    Sorry for the ramblings and questions..just a few thoughts!

  15. Thanks for that illuminating perspective, Brother Mike.

    Since I wrote my article “What is Missional?” over three years ago, I’m starting to come to grips with the term, at least as far as many people mean by it today. Yet, the answer in my discovery brings me back to the simple truth:

    Salvation of souls, missions to unreached peoples, ministry of any and every kind, & etc., though extrememly important and will flow from true faith, is never, never, NEVER equal or superior to the gospel– Christ, and Him crucified. Because the gospel, who Christ is and what He has done, is our joy, salvation of souls, missions to unreached peoples, and various ministries will spring forth; yet, we must be en garde to keep them from rising to equality or superiority with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Love you, brother. Praying for your health.

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  18. Yes, the time of the strong delusion. It is absolutely insane–but, of course, Bible believers are the ones who are seen as out of our minds.

    Our God is Holy…sooner or later, this will be evident to all, one way or another.

  19. Great questions Kerri! When some say “Missional” they are using it the same way that you and I would in referring to the right mission of the Church which is the Great Commission. We minister where God puts us. We make disciples where God puts us. We plant churches where we can and help spread the Gospel everywhere we can. We make disciples from all nations teaching them the correct doctrines taught to us by the Lord Himself. There is nothing wrong with that. However, so many have taken the term “Missional” and said that we must take what I just shared and add to it an overwhelming passion for the lost all over the world and that passion should include a redeeming of the whole planet for Christ including all governments, et cetera. Nope, sorry, that is out of bounds. That is called Dominionism and is not Biblical.

    Church should be geared towards believers, to disciple and heal, et cetera. This is what is so wrong with the Purpose Driven model for churches. It makes everything geared towards the unchurched. Sorry, but that is also unbiblical and tears up and tears down the local church.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  20. Wow Mike. I say the U.S.A. is our ‘missional’ field. We have enough to ‘do’ here to last us the rest of our lives! Good post and yes its part of ‘the lie’.

  21. Hi Mike,
    This has been an encouragement to me—reading all the comments. I agree with Paul and Luann and will continue to concentrate on my mission(al) field: my family members, the parents of my son’s friends, women in the bible study at my old church, those I meet in our new church, friends, neighbors and anyone else that will listen.
    This was great, Mike. God bless you.

  22. Thanks for answering Mike! Your post has been an encouragement to me to know and study the truth!

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  25. This passage is a clear illustration of where following false prophets leads. Death! Truth is a delusion to those who trust in untruth.

  26. Amen Steve! I think of the Shepherds talking to Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress. He asks them if it is far to the Celestial City. They tell him it is too far for some, but not far for those who really want to go there. The way is safe for those for whom it is intended, but death for those for whom it is not.

    Let us gird up our loins, seek the Lord and obey Him in the days left to us brother.

  27. Mike:

    You asked: “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.”

    No, I would say your discernment is correct. And I would warn every Christian to be very, very wary of Piper.

    Thank you for this article.

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