This Steadily Growing Darkness
Globalism - Ecumenism
Friday, March 20, 2015
As most people do, I often think about friends and acquaintances from my past. I wonder about people I've lost track of. Every now and then I'll reconnect by sending an email, or make a phone call, or Skype - just to catch up.
For me, books are like old friends. I revisit them long after they've been read. Over the last few weeks I've been drawn to visit Randy Alcorn (Lord Foulgrin's Letters) and Frank Peretti (This Present Darkness), once again.
Both authors wrote fictional accounts of spiritual warfare. They're not considered to be great literary pieces, and no doubt Peretti's books would be relegated to the fringe category. I'm sure many proper theologians would also roll their eyes. But I like them.
I first came across Peretti as a New Age explorer. Leaving aside literary and theological criticism, it would have profited me to have read his books. Instead, I looked down my nose at them. Had I not done so, I might have seen some astute parallels between fiction and reality.
Alcorn and Peretti developed characters who were "Christian" ministers yet outright heretics. Peretti's Oliver Young was a New Age Universalist and, ultimately, a Satanist stooge who ended up telling the central character that: "We are God!"
Alcorn's Reverend Braun was also a Cross-less Universalist. The demon Lord Foulgrin sums him up well as he tells his underling:
"Braun is our spy in the ranks, an infiltrator, a traitor to the enemy's cause...Reverend Braun quotes less from the forbidden book [the Bible] than the newspaper, current events, popular songs, and soul-stirring poetry. He loves all that's new, while living in horror of the same old thing. 'Truth is progressive,' he says, 'always evolving.'"
As a seeking teenager I saw "Braun" in the priests and ministers I sought out. I wanted my faith to be affirmed and received vacuous platitudes instead. Their mission was to engage and celebrate the culture of that day. Christ's work on the cross and the inerrancy of the Bible were embarrassing headaches which interfered with cultural engagement.
It wasn't a new phenomenon. Apostasy and Christian liberalism have dogged the church from the beginning. That's why Paul admonished Timothy to "Preach the Word" (2 Tim 4:2). Paul was preparing Timothy for the spiritual warfare he would encounter (Acts 20:29; Ephesians 6:12).
Apostasy has raised its head and has been beaten back throughout the centuries. But something has changed today. Something is different. The momentum has picked up. The devil appears to be freely using churches as his playground and changing them.
We may not have outright Satanists running around disguised as ministers; however there are a growing number of Rev. Brauns leading churches. They are not slaves to God - they bow to the mounting demands of modern culture. They may not see themselves as Satanists yet they are serving Satan, whether they realize it or not.
Society wants Christians to embrace the idea that practicing homosexuality is fine with their God. Tolerance isn't good enough. You must be completely on board, or you are a hater.
So now, professing Christian leaders are campaigning for same-sex marriage. One popular Christian singer publicly stated that she is on board with same-sex marriage. It's no coincidence that her pastor recently advocated the same thing.
One very large local Church organization states on its website:
"Today, under one collective identity, we can enthusiastically lift up that the ___ is a welcoming, justice-minded Christian community. At a time when religion is too often portrayed as narrow-minded and exclusive, many are raising their VOICES for an alternate vision." (Emphasis theirs)
In case one hasn't figured it out, the organization pointedly affirms the LGBT movement. There are many other examples like this.
Another popular Christian singer has stated that, while he still believes in God, his beliefs are now "more based on life and research" rather than what he's been told. He no longer believes there is only one way to God. On his Facebook page he once noted that religion is a personal thing and that:
"...societies around the world are becoming more aware, educated and open-minded, and are evolving as I am also evolving to embrace a deeper spiritual understanding about life and relationships with others rather than mere submission to rigid rules."
His post received 9,500 likes and the comments overwhelmingly agreed with him. Many (from Christians) sounded like they could have come from Peretti's Oliver Young or Alcorn's Rev. Braun.
Earlier I mentioned catching up with old friends. I looked up Richard Bach, who I used to enjoy reading. He's a gentle man approaching eighty, with lots of whimsical ideas. He's still writing; still popular, and he reminds me of a Frank Peretti novel character.
Two years ago he nearly died in a plane accident. I prayed he'd wake up and find Christ. Last year he consulted his "spirit guides" and wrote on his blog:
"Suicide was the way for Jesus, but not for me. I haven’t made that many enemies, I hope, and it’s not important for them to kill me. The only thoughtful way I can think of dying, these days, is by ascending. In perfect health, a decision to let this world go, and I leave my belief of a body to vanish in the air.”
Bach never challenges his beliefs. He trusts his own self, and his "spirit guides" because what they say sounds warm and fuzzy. Elsewhere, Bach writes that we don't die - not really. Does that sound familiar (Genesis 3:4)?
The truth is that he's curling up with a hot cup of chocolate in his own cold grave.
God tells us the heart is deceitful and wicked; that the wages of sin is death, and only faith in Christ is eternal life (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 6:23).
How many churches make it a point to affirm this today? Not many, because it is too confronting and "hateful", or they don't actually believe it.
The devil is enjoying his romp throughout the world, and the church. Sadly, I'm afraid that a significant number of Christians are either oblivious or totally comfortable with it.
And that is why this present darkness is steadily growing.
About Alf Cengia
Last week: A Return of the Old gods?
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