One of the benefits of living one’s life through a biblical worldview is that it serves to protect the adherents of its principles from the dangers of a fallen world. The Bible is replete with warnings and admonitions for Christians to be on the alert, and not to be deceived by false prophets, spurious philosophies, and worldly schemes of Satan.
Any cursory examination of the what’s happening in America today concerning the plethora of messages inundating the airwaves will yield an unsettling awareness that deception and misinformation are permeating the public square.
Friends, we are living in the age of deception. “Fake News” accusations of false advertising and misinformation dominate the airwaves and contribute to the diminished public trust. The rise of alternative media and journalism in the marketplace is the retort to biased reporting typified in most media outlets.
The church is not immune to the “fakery” of today; in fact, much of what is deceiving in culture today is sourced in the church. Fake Christianity is devastating biblical values and ethics in a profound way. In many instances, mainline denominations have introduced a “Neo-Morality” more politically correct than biblically correct. These denominations affirm false doctrine, new trends ,and secular humanism embraced by the culture and populists.
Christians, more than most, ought to be able to discern authentic biblical Christianity from fake cultural Christianity! However, in more cases than not, cultural Christians (more than evangelical Christians) are susceptible to the false doctrines and false prophets hiding in sheep’s clothing teaching deception inside the church.
The meaning of the word fake: not true, not real or genuine. Counterfeit, sham, impostor, charlatan. There are several words in the New Testament connected with this definition. The two that best approximate fake are deceive and delude.
The word deceive is translated from three Greek words that connect best with the word fake. The first Greek word is ἀπατάω apatáō, used in Ephesians 5:6: “Let no one deceive you…” Here the meaning is to cheat or trick. The second word is πλανάω planáō, used in Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked.” Here the meaning is being led astray. The third word is ἐξαπατάω exapatáō, used in Romans 16:18. “…and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the heart of the unsuspecting.” Here the meaning of deceive is to be seduced, beguiled.
The English meaning of deceived: to cause to accept as true or veil what is false or invalid; to make someone believe something that is not true.
Next is the word delude. There are two biblical words that translate into English as delude. One of the Hebrew words is אָשָנ Naw-Shaw) used in Isaiah 19:12. “The princes of Zoan have acted foolishly. The princes of Memphis are deluded.” The meaning here is to lead into error, to cheat. The Greek word for delude is παραλογίζομαι paralogízomai. This is a compound word meaning error or incorrect, logizomai, meaning reasoning or thinking. Together it means to reason falsely or incorrectly, to mislead. Notice 2 Thessalonian 2:11: “For this reason, God will send a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false.”
The meaning of delude in English is: to mislead the mind or judgment of; deceive, trick.
Two Examples of Contemporary Spiritual Deception
In the Christian Post May 24 online edition, an article featured Vision Church in Atlanta, which added to their staff a psychic medium who claimed to commune with the dead. Dr. Lakara Foster teaches that mediumship should be included among the spiritual gifts of the modern church because James 1:17 teaches that “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” This teaching is deception, corruption, and flat-out fake Christianity.
The second is perhaps more sinister in that it is more nuanced in its deception. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a candidate for president of the United States, announced that he is a Christian and claimed publicly that God made him a homosexual. The mayor is delusional and promoting an idea antithetical to the teaching of scripture. It’s fakery and deceiving to low-information Christians.
Protection From Fakery
The only protection Bible-believing Christians have is the word of God. It is through the word we can discern the times, assess right and wrong based upon what God has said. The authentic starting point for determining truth is with an operating understanding of the word of God. The extent to which we know God’s word and mature in applying biblical truth to our lives will be the degree to which we are covered against fakery of a fallen world.
Stephen E. Broden is the senior pastor at Fair Park Bible Fellowship, founder of Protect Life and Marriage Texas, and member of the National Black Prolife Coalition. He is the chairman of the Gone 2 Far Movement.
The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.