In a day of pluralism and tolerance, apologetic and discernment ministries are viewed by some as anti­quated, unneeded, and in the way of getting together and getting along.

In a day when unity is put far above truth, counter-cult ministries are seen as passé and even obstructionist.

Televangelists and Word Faith teachers can draw tens of thousands to their meetings while discernment confer­ences struggle to get a hundred. Truth, dear thinking, and biblical precision are definitely not in, and heresies are gaining popularity. Orthodoxy is out and false doctrine is in vogue.

Of course, there are many reasons for this: Men love darkness rather than light. We have an unseen enemy who goes about like a roaring lion. And liberalism has so eroded confidence in Scripture that many are turning to mysticism and experience. Subjectivism is the drug of choice. Many of the religious are addicted to their own adrenalin.

Truth be known, the deception is getting deeper and more subtle. This only underscores the need for organi­zations such as Personal Freedom Outreach. Someone needs to sound the alarm. Without discernment minis­tries, who will do it?

The evangelical Church has tried so hard to be relevant to the world that it is becoming irrelevant. Rather than compromise with the dominant culture, we need to stand more strongly for our distinctives and distinctiveness.

The Apostle Paul warned us in 2 Timothy 3 that deception would be as alluring and impressive as the magicians of Moses’ day (v. 8). The antidote, Paul says, is to carefully follow doctrine (v. 10), but few are listening. Paul further warns that “evil men and seducers will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (v. 13).

Deception has multiple masks. Deception is hard to spot. Deception is covered with religious clichés de­signed to deceive and that is why we need all the help we can get from those with discernment. Deceivers are tricky and most times wear disguises. Deceivers may even say they believe in Jesus, so we fail to stay alert to what they layer onto the name of Jesus. Some may not even ask, “Which Jesus?”

Take, for instance, the following testimony. Read it slowly and see if you can find anything wrong with it:

“…today’s society makes me constantly wonder if anyone knows what it’s like to give your heart and mind to the truth of Christ and Yahweh, and to be hated and ridiculed for those beliefs, especially by people that don’t even know me. I’m always trying to make sense of everything I read and everything I see going on around me and holding back my disgust for those that I feel are responsible for the lies that my people so easily accept as truth. I see drug dealers, gang members and other criminals killing and being killed all the time with no sign of fear from these individuals. But we Christians that are promised life everlasting seem to stand back and let things get out of control because of our fear and because of the Judeo-Christian preachers and the government constantly telling us that these prob­lems will be taken care of. But they never are. My hateful thoughts toward my enemies sometimes consume my logic.

But I am always mindful of the mistake and great wrong it would be to take any kind of action out of hate or ignorance. As a messenger of Yahweh I am always praying that what I have expressed to my people will make them thirst for more knowledge. And that what I have told them will never escape their minds. As a Christian I don’t need to see what will take place in the future because Yahweh has told me what will happen, therefore I know it will be. But knowing what the future holds doesn’t make it any easier living in the present. So, when I’m asked, don’t you get depressed or do you ever feel like giving up, my answer is ‘yes.’ But it is my faith that sustains me and I start out every morning with the thought that every new day means one more day of Satan’s rule behind me and one day closer to the second coming of Christ. My wife also reads Psalm 91 every morning, which I suggest that everyone should read for spiritual fortification.”

On some level the words are challenging and would resonate with most Christians. The deception, however, is not the words, but the real interpretation given by the speaker. The one who spoke these words is Charles Lee, Grand Dragon, White Camelia Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The quote is from Soldiers of God by Howard Bushart, John Craig, and Myra Barnes (pp. 171-172).

On the basis of Lee’s words alone, most anyone would consider the speaker a dedicated Christian. However, a discernment ministry would pick up on all the baggage that so denies Christ as to nullify Lee’s testimony. It would know about the “seed line” theory that gives the white supremacist the liberty to persecute Blacks and Jews. Remember: The Pharisees were fundamental and believed the Old Testament. However, the traditions they added made their religious system void in the eyes of God (Matthew 15:8-9). Whatever they had right was nullified by their endless traditions and additions. A religion may offer the name Christ and even have a correct Christology, but then offer a plan for salvation by works. A proper Christology does one no good if Christ is put out of reach by a defective doctrine of salvation. One correct doctrine is not enough if another totally ignores the pattern of the Apostles’ teachings (Acts 2:42, 2 Timothy 1:13).

The above is almost a no-brainer, but there are others less obvious and more deceptive. The Word Faith movement may superficially speak of Christ, but their Christology of a born-again Jesus who suffered in hell, denies the Christ of the Bible and is rank heresy. Using Christian words and defining them in non-Christian ways is the essence of deception and cultism.

There are many reasons we need organizations such as PFO. We need to help one another spot deception. We need to help one another be more discerning overall.

Pray for PFO — support it with your prayers and gifts. It is a ministry that is desperately needed as the darkness and deception deepens. There are men who want to be thought of as evangelical who sit on the boards of organ­izations of New Age gurus, and who endorse New Age teachers and a Catholic contemplative web site. Someone needs to sound the alarm on the fence-straddling.

“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17-18, NKJV).

G. Richard Fisher

End Notes:

[1] G. Richard Fisher, “Is PFO Really Needed Or Should We Quit?,” The Quarterly Journal, Personal Freedom Outreach, Vol. 25, No.3, July-September 2005 , 2, 24, 25.

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