Doctrines of demons

There are lies, dammed lies and doctrines of demons

Pearl of great Price – Part 2

Mark Twain once said, “there are lies, dammed lies, and then there are statistics”. Unfortunately for all us, Mr. Clemens was wrong. When it comes to manipulating truth there is something that is more dangerous than statistics. Doctrines of demons.

Last time, we talked about the pearl of great price. That is what Jesus compared finding the Kingdom of Heaven (Mat 13:46) to. The parable tells us that for the person that finds this pearl would willingly make any trade necessary to own the pearl. The pearl not only represent the Kingdom but also represents Truth. Like the pearl of great price the Truth today is nearly impossible to find. On the other hand, doctrines of demons are readily available anywhere you look.

Versions of the “truth”

One of the difficulties that we encounter today is that there seems to be multiple versions of the facts. Even as I write this there are people out there disagreeing on simple facts. This can range from the current debate on the origins of the Covid-19 virus to whether Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon to the more tragic holocaust deniers. If you ask around you’ll find people that don’t tie the Chinese government to the covid outbreak in any way, don’t believe we landed on the Moon and have never heard of or don’t believe the “official” holocaust story.

Start with distortions

Now, you might think, “people are people and they come in all shades and shapes and sizes and opinions”. If that were the only thing at stake it wouldn’t matter to anyone. However, the truth is much more sinister. The different versions of the “truth” are necessary to the distortion of the Truth; having a binary conversation between up or down, left or right, right or wrong is much more effective for the purposes of distortion when there are many “shades of truth”.

Distortions the easiest ways to get rid of the truth. Simply take the actual truth and run countless different strains of it. With each version having a very miniscule variation in it, everyone will believe that their version is true to the original. However, once these ideas meet in the open “market place”, confusion is the only logical result. With so many versions available, not only will people question the truthfulness of other people’s versions but eventually question their own.

Add gradualism

Nowhere is this more apparent in society than the subject of sexuality. Just 50 years ago, terms like “deviant” were commonplace in sociology literature when discussing homosexual tendencies. It was an insult on the part of the sociologists as much as it was a way to describe the behavior: a deviation from the norm. It’s hard to imagine that it only took less than a generation to get to where we are right now.

Terms like “non-binary”, “fluidity”, and “seeking” are commonplace and it has reached epidemic levels in our schools. Unlike “deviant”, the new terms are neither meant to explain, describe nor inform. Quite the opposite. They are chosen by the demons in charge to create the greatest of gray areas, where the largest possible number of souls can commit themselves to a lost eternity. Such terminology makes it possible for 8 billion people on the planet to have different points of view on something that has been established by our nature for millennia.

Exhibit A

There is no better example of this than television. When HBO first came on the scene, it was mostly a place where you could find movies that had recently been in the theaters that had not yet made their way to “rabbit ear antenna” tv. The same television service is now filled with movies that could quite easily pass off as pornography. The fact that modern homes have multiple televisions where adults and children are not usually watching in the same room makes for the distribution of this material even more prolific among children than ever.

Not subtle enough

As we mentioned before, society didn’t arrive here over night. It was a slow, constant, intentional march in this direction. If you’ve ever read the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, you’ll know what I mean. You may hear people talk about a “swinging pendulum” and how it was worse when they were young. I don’t argue that the wild public orgies of the sexual revolution seem like a thing of the past. However, the spirit of that “godless freedom” remained in society even after the public orgies went back into the closet (for the most part).

When truth can be made distorted so easily and gradually enough to avoid detection, the points of view and perspectives multiply. Soon, the sheer plurality makes the search for truth no longer a sensible goal. In such a situation it is easier to seek consensus and compromise, preferably with a total absence of truth of any kind. As far as doctrines go, relativism is among the preferred by demons.

Relativism

With objective Truth defanged by 8 billion distortions of lesser value and the meaning of Truth buried by the gradual crossbreeding of the Truth, dilution of the Truth the result. But the goal can only be relativism. Since the Truth is so strongly diluted, it must mean that there is no truth. Better yet. It is all true.

Suddenly, everyone with an opinion is a Master of the Universe in the making. Over-confident and under-educated he is civil society’s worst nightmare. You cannot argue with this modern man. He knows it all: “God is dead… and we have killed him”, he’ll chant, thinking it came from some modern rock song.

This homo-modernus has finally met a god he can live with: himself. He is all-knowing. He is also petty, cruel, proud, and a scoffer of things about his paygrade. He’s given to fits of murderous rage, drug-induced psychotic episodes, and a freedom of libido without precedent. This modern man looks more like the ancient Greek gods every day.

Why are you telling me this?

Great question. Because that description can fit just as easily in the church as it does outside. We have let distortions, ever-so-minute, crawl into the Church. We have let these distortions fester and multiply and become a confusing Gordian knot. Since such things are better left untangled, we have decided to look the other way. After all, confronting some of these issues may affect church attendance and the all-important one as well: giving.

Gradually, left unchecked, these ideas and doctrines of demons, take on a life of their own. Well-intentioned churches and pastors and congregations conclude its better to compromise than to deal with the consequences. Don’t believe me? Have a conversation about politics with your pastor. See how long that friendship survives that encounter.

I need more

Still not convinced? Here’s proof. The State of California is home to the most and largest and biggest and wealthiest congregations in the country. Yet, their elected officials seem to take their policy directives directly from doctrines of demons. With abortions and late-term abortions and late-late-term abortions you would have to think that these super-mega-churches have no political clout whatsoever nor do any congregants vote. They had Reagan as governor with no mega churches but Newsom as governor with the mega churches. You see the irony there?

Doctrines of demons?

Ok. So now you’re on board but still think that calling them doctrines of demons is a stretch. After all, we’re all still Christians. Good point. So let’s see what the Word has to say on the subject.

1Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, 2through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. 3They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods that God created to be received with gratitude by those who believe and know the truth. 4For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5since it is sanctified by the word of God and by prayer.

Yup. Doctrines of demons!

At this point it might be worthwhile to make a list of the doctrines of demons that Paul identifies for Timothy. Some are more plain to see than others. The low-lying fruit is probably “legalism”. Don’t touch that, can’t drink this, don’t sit there, say it like that. It reminds me of the scene in Devil’s Advocate: “touch but don’t taste; taste but don’t chew; chew but don’t swallow”. Legalism is at opioid-epidemic crisis levels in our churches. The same people saved by Grace live under the Law. They tithe as foreigners rather than enter the throne-room as sons. With so little understanding of what actually took place on their behalf, they believe the New Testament but practice the Old. Perhaps it’s some kind of insurance policy that I don’t know about.

Forbidding Marriage

Where have I seen this before? Who forbids marriage? It’ll come to me. Not only do these peddlers of demonic doctrines adhere to legalistic practices that no longer apply to Christians, they even invent new ones. Furthermore, marriage is the first institution that God created. Its so important to Him, He set it up in the Garden. In the beginning. So what’s a demonic doctrine to do? Deny, deny, deny! Deny God and His institutions; deny God and the goodness of His Creation.

Fishy Fridays

Forbidding marriage and requiring abstinence from certain foods is only the most apparent of their fruits. If eunuch priests and not eating meat on Fridays were the Church’s greatest physical concerns, we would be in a much better place. No. Their deception goes much deeper than that. In his letter to Timothy, Paul described them as liars, hypocrites and having a seared conscience.

Jesus in fact has some very choice words for those who preach and practice such lies. Jesus calls the Devil the “father of lies”. He also calls those that practice deceit the children of the Devil (John 8:44). Lies are their native language, their nature. The Devil, his demons and those that practice his lifestyle can only teach deceptive doctrines. The Devil was a denier from the Beginning. These preachers of demonic doctrines have all the outside showings of godliness but deny its power.

And so many more

But beyond sex and food, what other doctrines are demonic? It comes down to this: anything that man does to add to the sufficiency of the work that Jesus Christ fully accomplished on the cross is a doctrine of demons. Whether it’s the need to speak in tongues to be saved, to only being allowed to worship on Saturdays, to praying for the salvation of the dead and so much more, demons are and have always been active in adding human work to the finished work of the Cross.

God: fickle,  petty, and weak

The “little foxes” are usually the ones that destroy the grape harvest (Songs of Sol. 2:15-17). When we think of doctrines of demons, we picture some openly unbiblical statement that “anyone” could plainly recognize. Unfortunately, demons have been working on this for a long time and their technique has been refined.  Things like “God will heal you in His own good time”. This distortion of the character of God points people back to legalism where they are looking to check off items from a list of “to-do’s”. Healing that is dependent on you might as well be dependent on your pet. This doctrine teaches that Jesus’ death covered sins only. Your bodily healing is contingent on how well you jump through some hoops.

How many times were you told that if you don’t tithe “you are robbing God” (Malachi 3:8)? Imagine a human that is able to rob God. And yet, we are constantly told that we don’t receive because we don’t give. Somehow, God is keeping track of our finances and He will only give to us when we’ve reached our minimum required. Just like an earthly father, I guess.

God deniers

Further still, there are doctrines that deny the deity of Jesus altogether. There are sects that describe Him as “a son of God”; you know which ones those are. Then there are entire religions based on the belief that Jesus was only a prophet. Islam, by definition, is a doctrine of demons. It denies the virgin birth, the death on the Cross and the resurrection. And this doesn’t just apply to Islam. In fact, any person, group or religion  who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh (2 John 1:7) is a liar. And since, as we said before, the Devil is the father of lies anyone who denies Jesus in the flesh is a child of the Devil.

Let my people think

I know it sounds harsh. We all have those friends out there. So, I would encourage you to take this as your notice. You have been served. Make sure you preach to your friends and family members that do not recognize or deny Jesus “come in the flesh”. No three-point sermon needed. A few words here and there and a life well-lived will do. But should the opportunity present itself, be ready to give the reason for your hope.

Amazing Love

Have you ever been truly loved?

I wrote this devotional a few months ago, the day of my dad’s birthday. It is a very emotional subject for me because my parents live far away: nothing on this Earth teaches you what truly matters like longing. I pray that you are blessed and, as always, I encourage you to share this with as many people as you possibly can in the hopes of reaching someone, anyone for the Kingdom. Here it is…

Amazing Love

Today is my father’s birthday. Today my earthly father turns eighty-one. My father and I have come a long way in our relationship: from when I was a child and being fearful of what he would do or say if I did something wrong, to when I was a teenager and resentful that I was not understood and that, seemingly, my opinion didn’t matter, to now. Now, now that I’ve seen the look in his eyes when I graduated top of my class, to when he watched me get married to Michele, when we welcomed my firstborn Madelyn, my second child Claudia and then our boy Joseph into the world. Now I can finally say with utmost certainty something that was true all along; that man loves me more than his next breath, I am the apple of his eye: there’s no hardship he wouldn’t endure, obstacle he wouldn’t overcome and no price he wouldn’t pay to see me live a long, fruitful, abundant, satisfying, productive, blessed life, pressed-down, shaken together and flowing over! 

The person I just described to you is, again, my father, a human: a mortal man with character flaws, sinful by nature, bound by opposing interests of love towards his children and of self-preservation, confined by an imperfect and incomplete understanding of the world around him and how his decisions shape it and vice versa. In spite of all of this, I stand here and tell you that my father loves me, fully, to the best of his ability, and beyond my wildest expectations. I know that if it was up to my father to design and plan the rest of my life I would be in good hands; it would be full of selfless love and abundance of every kind and long years of good health with my wife and children and their children and their children’s children. I know that if it was up to him, I would never know lack or want, my children would be counted among the wise and powerful, we would lend and not borrow, our tables would overflow with every good thing, we would be a stronghold for the righteous, a safe harbor during the storms, and my descendants could no more easily be counted than the stars in the night sky. Again, this is just simply my father, my earthly father.

And yet, with all of his love and good will and good intentions, as sure as I know that he loves me, I also know that somewhere along the line he has, unknowingly, unexpectedly and unintentionally wronged me somehow. I can say that now not because I know of something in particular that he did; I know it based on what I know him to be: a flawed human with an incomplete knowledge and understanding of himself, of me and the world around us.

But….as Brother Izzy, a deacon in my church, would say…..”but God!” But God, who is Understanding and Wisdom and Perfection, loves me more than my father ever could and more than I could ever fathom.

The love of God is not like the carnality of human affection and its hierarchies. Even the worse of human families “love” each other after a while simply out of pure habit; the best of human families love each, deeply, from the heart, and it’s still cheapened by the biology of it all: they don’t foster those same strong visceral feelings for strangers, do they? No, the love of God is not that of a father, a mother, a child, of a lover, of a friend or any other: it is all of those, none of those and some much more.

God loves a part of me my carnal affections can only say that they love but not understand what it means: God loves my soul. My soul is precious to God; it is the life-spark He created out of the void of space and time and placed it into my very first cell. God loves my soul because He created it; not like a mother nurtures a baby in her womb and her love grows with every movement and every additional awareness she has of the growing baby. No, God loved me fully and completely from the moment He first thought of me and decided to assign me to be born for such a time as this. 

In the fullness of time, God revealed himself. St. Augustine explained that we were given two revelations: Holy Scripture and Creation, and that whenever one seemed to be in disagreement with the other it was due to our imperfect understanding of one of the two. In Scripture, God revealed Himself first as the Creator, then as the Lawgiver and Judge. For too many souls around the world, unfortunately, their voyage through His Revelation stops there. Thanks be to God that we have come to know him as King, Father, Brother, Friend, and Redeemer. Lyrics and verse suddenly spring to mind like “I am a friend of God”, “son, do you know I still love you?”, “I know my Redeemer lives”. The Apostle John wrote “what Love the Father has lavished upon us that we may be called His children!”

God loves us so much that He steadily and progressively, through His Mercy and Grace, kept moving closer and closer to us, even while we were trying to do our very best to run away from Him. The Israelites wanted Laws like the peoples that surrounded them so God gave them the Ten Commandments. Instantly, in their hearts, they pondered “who is my neighbor?” Still not satisfied, He filled in the “gray areas” for them giving them rules for everyday living filling three more Books with rituals and rules and procedures; still they were unsatisfied. Then they asked for a king to be like the peoples around them; they would not listen so He gave them Saul. 

Having watched us break, compromise, detract, subterfuge, lie, cheat, steal, connive, murder and rationalize our way around every single possible Law, Rule, Procedure, and Advice, He came one step closer and gave us one Rule, one Law above all the Laws and the Prophets: Love your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul and with all your strength…and love your neighbor as yourself. 

Having found us physically, emotionally and spiritually unable and/or unwilling to do so and therefore remaining under the weight of the Law and the power of Sin, He took one final step towards us; one final solution. “Ego te absolvo”, “It is Finished”, “Paid in Full”, “Remember no more”, “Father forgive them”. The hymn lyrics tell that “I owed a debt I could not pay; He paid a debt He did not owe” that “whomsoever will” come and accept freely! Can you conceive it; being deservant of Death and Hades and Hell and Torment, God sent His Son, to die for my son, my father’s son and each and every single one of us! What kind of Love is this?! What father would sacrifice his son for hostile, belligerent, arrogant, self-important, self-righteous stranger or even an estranged relative? Adding insult to injury, He now calls me son, Heir and Co-Heir with Jesus!

My father turned eighty-one today, and I know that he loves me; I know he wishes me well and even better than what he wishes for himself. But, there is One, who loves me more than I could ever imagine loving someone or being loved by someone; He loves me more deeply and more fully. I know this because He sent Jesus, the firstborn of many brethren, and instructed Him to leave Heaven to come and stand in the gap, pay our debts, settle our scores, remove our chains, open our eyes, wash us clean, anoint our heads with oil, cover us with His blood, give us news robes for our rags, put a ring on our finger, take us into the Holy of Holies, as honored guests at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and present us to God the Father as a Bride, perfect and without blemish! Amazing Love!