Category Archives: GRACE (CHRISTIAN) LIVING

Must I have a degree in music to sing or play an instrument at a local church?

MUST I HAVE A DEGREE IN MUSIC TO SING OR PLAY AN INSTRUMENT AT A LOCAL CHURCH?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Sadly, some have indeed been turned away from music in a local assembly or singing in its choir because they lacked formal training (a college degree, professional tutoring). This is an example of using human viewpoint to gauge church matters. (It is no different from the self-absorbed declaration, “You cannot preach at our church unless you have graduated from our denomination’s seminary or Bible College!”)

It is quite advantageous to have some familiarity with music if you so choose to become involved with a local church’s music ministry. Someone may say, “I can play the piano, but not that well.” Another may declare, “I sing solo—‘so low’ so others cannot hear.” In fact, this author will be quite bold in writing the following. As with some people who should not be teaching and yet are, there are some people who should not be singing and yet are. (It does not matter how many advanced degrees they have!!) If there is no underlying sound Bible doctrine, they would do themselves and others much good by staying quiet until they learn the truth instead of singing erroneous material. (Please see our “appropriate hymns” study linked at the end of this article.)

Colossians 3:16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:18-19: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord….” As long as our heart attitude is right (faith in God’s Word rightly divided, not showing off or seeking worship ourselves), and we are singing or playing music in accordance with grace doctrine, this is really all that our Heavenly Father requires concerning a music ministry. God surely does not mind “amateurs.” As long as we are playing or singing from the heart, that is all that matters. God the Holy Spirit can sense our motives; let Him be the Judge, for He will surely do right!

The author is reminded of a time, many years ago, when one of his former pastors claimed a particular man in the assembly “was not a good singer.” However, the pastor would never insult the man to his face; rather, he would let the man sing at music time but spoke about it behind his back to other church members. The pastor prided himself as a professional, accomplished singer. Recently, this author learned that the pastor is now suffering from dementia. Failing memory caused him to retire from preaching and then from singing. He cannot remember how to sing or preach! As for the brother “who could not sing,” he is a friend of the author. The man is a Christian, and he undoubtedly loves the Lord and His Word. While not formally trained in music, he ultimately sang for the Lord’s pleasure. It made no difference if some condescending, fleshly preacher approved. Keep that in mind, friend!

As for those who seek man’s approval concerning any ministry in the church, we close with two verses. Firstly, “Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God(Luke 16:15). Secondly, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ(Galatians 1:10).

Also see:
» What if I was never thanked?
» Which hymns are appropriate for us grace believers to sing?
» What is wrong with “praise and worship?”

Is it normal for me to be too busy for daily Bible reading?

IS IT NORMAL FOR ME TO BE TOO BUSY FOR DAILY BIBLE READING?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“I am a grace Christian. I really do want to read the Bible but I always feel like I don’t have time or I’m too busy. Is that normal? I certainly make time for other things in my life.”

Christian friend, it is “normal” in the sense of being widespread but not “normal” in the sense of being desirable. Most people are simply too busy to read the Bible every day—let alone study it. Sadly, it is true even of a majority of professing Christians. Indeed, they spare time to watch a daily news program or television show, they have time to read their favorite book or magazine, they make time for gossiping or texting on the phone, they have time to browse social media websites, but they do not seem to have even five minutes to spare for God to speak to them in His Word. Honestly, this is why their Christian lives are not functioning properly—if at all. No wonder they make innumerable poor decisions! No surprise they are weak in the faith! No wonder they are easily deceived, hopping from group to group and idea to idea!

Friends, a simple illustration will profit us much here. Imagine a soldier about to enter the battlefield. He simply does not have time to put on his armor. It is too laborious gathering and donning all that gear. In haste, he arrives on the battleground. He did not even bother to waste time taking a sword either. In fact, his only defense is bare hands and everyday clothing! This is most ludicrous, right? And yet, we thus enter the spiritual battlefield every day—and most of us scarcely have a shirt and a pair of pants! There are no helmet, no sword, no breastplate, no shield, no shoes, and no belt. We are sure to be injured spiritually, invisibly (our wounds will not be immediately evident). Satan’s evil world system will indeed taint us that day. We do not know what the God of the Bible, the Creator, said about life’s particular situations. Therefore, when we face those situations, we lean on our own understanding. There will undeniably be trouble, whether near-term or long-term, there will be misfortune!

Let us try another basic illustration. Are you too busy to eat? (It sounds silly, but just follow the logic.) Why do you take time to eat, friend? There are so many other things to do every day! Skip eating entirely. Again, what nonsense! Just as the outward part of us wastes away without physical nourishment, the inward part of us wastes without spiritual nourishment. God’s Word feeds our soul and spirit, lest they starve.

Quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, Jesus Christ rightly observed in Matthew 4:4: “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Without the inspired Word of God influencing our mind every day, the evil world system will corrupt it! Millions of Christians in history can testify to that—trapped in denominations, spiritual darkness, impotency. Billions of lost people alive right now are proof of that. Their souls are severely malnourished; their lives are either ruined or nearly so. There are misery, heartbreak, and headache. Oh, dear friend, if you could be spared this, this author would make the decision for you! Alas, you have free will, and you will have to make the choice yourself. It is your spiritual health and safety on the line—not his.

Hebrews 5:11-14 says: “[11] Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. [12] For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. [13] For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. [14] But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Israel is so pathetically ignorant of God’s truth here. She was to be God’s teacher of the nations, but she herself has never submitted to being taught herself. Her ignorance, in reality, led to her rejecting and crucifying God’s Son on Calvary’s cruel cross. She was too busy learning error, false religion, and it had devastating effects still affecting her (and the world) today. See Romans chapters 9-11.

We could take it a step further though. Read Genesis chapter 3. A failure to know and understand sound Bible doctrine led Adam and Eve to produce the deplorable world we see today. Do you see the children with horrific birth defects? The elderly stooping for age? Do you notice the carnivorous animals attacking the injured and helpless? The homeless people living on the streets? Broken homes? Divorces? Abuses? Miseries? Tragedies? That was Adam’s deliberate choice to introduce sin—and we are still suffering the effects of his lack of sound Bible doctrine. He was too busy following his wife than following the LORD God! Please, oh please, see the danger you are in by claiming you are “too busy” for daily Bible reading and study. Difficulties are sure to come, deception is sure to come, and debilitation is sure to come! Spare yourself, friend, spare yourself while you still have a chance.

Daily Bible reading and daily Bible study are essential for proper spiritual growth. Take Psalm 1, for instance: “[1] Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. [2] But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. [3] And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. [4] The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. [5] Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. [6] For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

Notice the simile in verse 3. The idea is nourishment. As a tree requires fertilizer, water, and sunlight to develop, so the spiritual aspect of the man will flourish when he knows and understands God’s Word. There is spiritual life, not spiritual death. There is functional life, not functional death. He is the exact opposite of the dismal spiritual condition found in Hebrews 5:11-14. Not weak, he is strong. He is bearing fruit—good works. Dozens of pages could be written here, but these will suffice.

CONCLUSION

It is the challenge we all face at one point—to have some time for daily Bible reading and study. Yes, it is a problem now more than ever because of all the new technology, activities to distract us, and so on. Life is about choices, and what is most important is we make right choices now—because good and bad alike, they will affect us in the short-term and long-term. Whatever we believe underlies our choices. That goes for everyone. However, if we know not the truth, we cannot believe it, so that means we are making decisions based on erroneous information. Let us give special attention to Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. Be quite familiar with Romans overall.

Remember, friend, daily Bible reading and study do not involve three or four hours every day. That is preference and accommodation to one’s unique schedule (and it varies from person to person). We have jobs, families, and so on that are important. These priorities should not be neglected. However, we must make time—10, 20, or 30 minutes, for instance—for the Bible every day if we are to survive and overcome Satan’s evil world system. The pastor and Bible teacher should absolutely be making more time for God’s Word than others, for he is to be leading. He cannot lead anyone in the Bible if he himself is not first following the Bible!

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

Also see:
» Is it not enough that I “believe in God?”
» “O ye of little faith?”
» “But what if they read the Bible at my church?!”

Should Christians celebrate Valentine’s Day?

SHOULD CHRISTIANS CELEBRATE VALENTINE’S DAY?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Valentine’s Day, every February 14th, involves hugs and kisses, the sending of millions of romantic greeting cards, the giving of roses and other flowers, and the mass consumption of chocolates and additional candies. What is the history of this holiday? Should Christians get involved with it?

ORIGIN OF VALENTINE’S DAY

Who exactly was “Saint Valentine” anyway? Honestly, we really have no idea. Historians disagree as to who he was—if he existed at all. Moreover, the Roman Catholic Church honors not one but three martyrs named “Valentine” (or “Valentinus” in Latin). Since that name was highly popular millennia ago, it is difficult to pinpoint who this holiday was named after (assuming he was one of those three, ignoring the innumerable others sharing that name).

One “Valentine” was a priest who allegedly performed illegal marriages in the Roman Empire a few centuries after Christ. Another story involves an imprisoned “Valentine” (same or different?) writing to a woman who had gained his affection. He supposedly signed his letter, “From your Valentine.” Whoever he was, Valentine may have died in mid-February, leading to the familiar celebration of love. The holiday became especially romanticized during the Renaissance several centuries ago. Considering the diverging accounts, it is difficult to separate fact from fiction. It could have been a combination of stories of numerous other men thus named.

Due to the mysterious and ancient history involved, it is challenging to establish exactly how the name and time of Valentine’s Day originated. Suffice it to say that it is most definitely attached to heathen Roman religion. For example, Cupid—a baby or young boy holding a bow and shooting heart-shaped arrows—is the prominent icon of Valentine’s Day. This “adorable” little figure is actually the ancient Roman god of desire, affection, and erotic love. There is certainly nothing “Christian” about him!

Interestingly, another pagan deity is also connected to Valentine’s Day. Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, was honored on the fertility festival of Lupercalia—February 15th. Here, we can see a clear link to love and couples, and how the date was probably fixed.

According to History.com,

“To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.”

“Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity… but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”—at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.”

This brief background gives us some idea—albeit murky—as to how February 14th became associated with celebrating love and affection. There is certainly nothing Christian about the holiday as far as the record of Scripture is concerned. Moreover, there is also pervasive superstition to be avoided (a “healing” miracle Valentine allegedly performed, people making modern-day pilgrimages to view his supposed remains as “relics,” and so on). It is a most precarious issue.

WHAT IS THE CHRISTIAN TO DO?

Our purpose here has been to enlighten you about Valentine’s Day so that you can make an informed decision. It is certainly not our goal to “have dominion over your faith;” our desire is to be “helpers of your joy” (2 Corinthians 1:24). We will not dictate to you what you can and cannot do regarding February 14th, but we do offer this study for your consideration. Our goal is to have your faith rest in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word, so that you may have joy and peace in believing God’s Word (Romans 15:13).

The Bible says, without doubt, that husbands are to love their wives. Wives should reverence or respect their husbands. This should be true year-round, not just once a year. Ephesians chapter 5: “[21] Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. [22] Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. [23] For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. [24] Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. [25] Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; [26] That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, [27] That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. [28] So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. [29] For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: [30] For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

“[31] For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. [32] This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. [33] Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

If you and your romantic interest (boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, fiancé/fiancée) want to spend February 14th exchanging flowers or sweets, or enjoying a nice dinner at a restaurant, that is your business. This author will certainly not legislate your life for you. He is more than eager to use the Scriptures (and outside sources, if necessary) to point you in the right direction, but it is ultimately your decision.

In addition, he would like to take this opportunity to strictly caution you to guard against the commercialization of Valentine’s Day. People spend their money carelessly at this time of year. They believe they must purchase expensive, flattering gifts to please others or express “true” love. The greeting-card industry is out to make a profit—just like every other business (florists, candy makers, jewelers, and so on). The attitudes underlying the actions, not the amount or value of material gifts, are what matter the most. If it is Christ in you loving your significant other, then that carries far more weight than all the world’s silver, gold, precious jewels, flowers, and candy!

A WORD OF EXHORTATION TO THE LONELY, FORGOTTEN, AND BEREAVED

Valentine’s Day can be quite lonely for single people. Those who have just experienced, or are experiencing, divorce find this time of year quite painful. The same could be said of widows, those betrayed by unfaithful partners, those unable to find lasting romance, and so on. It is also true of those who cannot afford or do not receive a dozen of roses, a box of chocolates, a fine meal at a restaurant, costly jewelry, and so on. Some women are married to men who have never given them, and will never give them, any gifts. Similarly, some husbands never receive special treatment from their wives. This is all quite unfortunate—and undoubtedly all results of sin.

The word “love” is used so flippantly today in this shallow-minded world. Love and sex are often confused. There is no selflessness, or self-sacrificial love. Fuzzy warm feelings and uncontrollable emotions are surely present, but is there true love, the mental attitude of seeking someone else’s highest good (charity, love in action)? Unfortunately, the answer is often “no.” People just want to get any pleasure or gratification from others, even to the detriment of those others. Luxurious gifts and over-complimenting can be used to manipulate to achieve one’s desires. Marriages often end in divorce. Romantic relationships wane and dissolve. There is no guarantee people who have such relationships are even happy. It is easier to be single and desire marriage, than be married and desire singleness! Friend, you would do well to think on that long and hard.

Above all, the Bible says that Almighty God loves us—even if no one else does. We must never confuse His infinite love for us with our weak, fickle love for Him. Human love, no matter how deep or long-lasting, will never, ever replace God’s love! His love is unconditional, not tied to our circumstances. We look to Calvary’s cross, Christ’s finished crosswork, to see God’s love on clear display. His only begotten Son offering His life at Calvary so He could then offer us eternal life, that is the greatest gift. It is worth far more than flowers, rings, kisses, and candy. His inspired Word written to us and preserved in English in the King James Bible is worth far more than any greeting card or manmade note of affection. It will outlast all other documents!

Romans chapter 5: “[6] For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. [7] For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. [8] But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. First Corinthians 15:3-4: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:….”

Also see:
» What is meant by, “Love thy neighbour as thyself?”
» Should a Christian be polygamous—having multiple spouses?
» Was Priscilla lead teacher in her family?

“Speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt?”

“SPEECH BE ALWAY WITH GRACE, SEASONED WITH SALT?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Colossians 4:6: “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Can you shed some light here?

Indeed! Friend, this is an example of where we use the Bible with common sense. Surely, sodium chloride (NaCl)—table salt (what we flavor physical food with)—is not under discussion here. It is a spiritual issue and thus must be interpreted with spiritual eyes.

Read the context: “[2] Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; [3] Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: [4] That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. [5] Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” The Apostle Paul has been preaching God’s Word rightly divided for some 30 to 35 years at this point. He is now in a Roman prison (or technically house arrest), as per Acts 28:30-31, and asks the saints at Philippi to pray that he not be intimidated to silence. Lost people are all around him, and they need to hear the Gospel so they can believe it and be saved unto eternal life. They may be religious, but they are still Hell-bound. They are most likely pagan idolaters, worshipping the gods and goddesses of Greek and Roman cultures; therefore, he needs to make wise use of his time and speak up!

Verses 2-5 set the tenor and govern how we should understand verse 6: “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Firstly, in the context, the “speech” of verse 6 is not everyday conversation or light chitchat. Rather, it is speaking God’s Word (first and foremost is the Gospel, but secondary Bible information is in view too). The word “alway” also demands a word of explanation. It is not “always” but “alway” (a common confusion and unnecessary correction). “Always” is “at every time, on every occasion;” “alway” (as here) is “all the way, all the time, forever.” Our speech should all the time, throughout, be grace-oriented. It should effectually communicate the truths of God’s grace without fail. God’s grace is God’s Word as in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

The issue of “seasoned with salt” will be considered now. We season bland food by adding condiments, spices, herbs, and so on. Similarly, we can heighten or improve the “flavor” of our preaching. Such polishing will make it stand out, or give it a distinctive character. To “season with salt” refers to preserving something, a message that prevents decay, decomposition, or corruption. (Think of the process of curing or preserving meat with salt before refrigeration was invented in the mid-20th century.) Sin degenerates the soul and weakens society around us; God’s Word rightly divided, in stark contrast, nourishes and strengthens. It gives light, life, and health to its hearers and readers.

Whether in the physical world or the spiritual world, the challenge of seasoning is to strike a balance. Seasoning can potentially enhance—but it can also be overdone and become ruinous. We should give people enough information to make it appealing but not overwhelm them and make it appear burdensome. We should not seem overbearing or dictatorial. We do not “lord” over them or bully them (1 Peter 5:3). We do not have dominion over their faith but we are rather helpers of their joy (2 Corinthians 1:24).

To give our speech the unique appeal of grace, of course, requires spiritual maturity, grounding in God’s Word rightly divided. We can destroy others with our words or we can edify them. There is destructive criticism and there is constructive criticism. It is better to have the latter—for that is the purpose of the Bible. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21). “For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed” (2 Corinthians 10:8). Does what we preach and teach conform to Pauline doctrine? Is it grace teaching or legalism? Must people perform before we accept them? That is not grace but law. It harms not helps. Do they have to do or give us something before we will do something for or give to them? That is law not grace. It injures not benefits. Do we love them after they love us? That is law not grace. It wounds not enhances.

Having the exceptional characteristic of preservation and wholesomeness (health), our speech perpetually with grace is designed to give us the ability to address whatever somebody would require or demand of us. If they ask a Bible question, we should be able to answer it according to the rightly divided Word. If they need guidance concerning a particular aspect of life (sickness, financial difficulty, family troubles, death of loved ones, and so on), then that is our opportunity to share God’s Word with them. Our goal is not to impair them with religious silliness but aid them with the eternal words of the eternal God!!! We do not aim to confuse and corrupt them with worldly wisdom but educate and edify them with Divine wisdom!!!

If they are lost, without the righteousness of God, then we preach the Gospel of Grace to them: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4—also see Romans chapters 1-5). If they are saved, Christians, members of the Church the Body of Christ, then we direct them to Pauline passages that apply to their situation. Again, this requires grounding in grace doctrine, and, sadly, very precious few believers are able to do it because they are so weak in grace doctrine themselves. Three important chapters are Romans chapter 12, Ephesians chapter 4, and Colossians chapter 3. Every preacher and teacher should be familiar with them in preparation for counseling!

Colossians and Ephesians are sister epistles; therefore, they expand on each other. In closing, the best way to interpret Colossians 4:6 is to consider it in light of Ephesians chapter 4: “[25] Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. [26] Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: [27] Neither give place to the devil. [28] Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. [29] Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. [30] And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. [31] Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: [32] And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Should we Bible-believers investigate and promulgate conspiracy theories?
» Which hymns are appropriate for us grace believers to sing?
» Have I blasphemed against the Holy Ghost?

Would God want me to share the Gospel?

WOULD GOD WANT ME TO SHARE THE GOSPEL?

by Shawn Brasseaux

A brother in Christ just asked this author such a question. The brother’s classmate of many, many years ago had called him on the phone. Having known her since childhood, he knew she was a devout person. She was still a faithful member in the denomination he had abandoned 50 years earlier when he came to faith in Jesus Christ alone. Was her calling him and reconnecting with him “God’s way of getting him to share the Gospel with her?” This is what the brother desired to know.

It is quite clear from the Bible’s own testimony that God wants us to share His Word with others—especially the Gospel. Second Timothy 4:1-5: “[1] I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; [2] Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. [3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. [5] But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

First Timothy 2:3-7: “[3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”

First and foremost, it is God’s will that lost people believe on the Lord Jesus Christ—“Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). This is for salvation unto eternal life, justification (given a right standing before God), the only qualification to enter Heaven. It is also God’s will that those who have eternal life grow in His Word, especially His Word to them. This is the realm of Christian living and maturity. Very few every get saved unto eternal life, and very few (of the already few) ever get saved unto sound Bible doctrine. The first part of God’s will is our getting saved into Heaven and then our getting that Gospel to others. The second part is us learning why we are saved into Heaven.

Rather than wasting time wondering if this or that is God’s opportunity given us to preach to lost people (or saved people), we should see that it isan opportunity. Friend, there are certain people in this world that only you can reach—they will listen to you and you alone. Just get on with what Father God is doing, and dally not with trivial inquiries. We should use our renewed minds to devise exactly how to approach them. What words should be said, when they should be said, how they should be said. Make the Gospel as approachable as possible, as plain as you can. We should labor to make the Bible as simple as we can for them.

In closing, this author is reminded of a man who prayed fervently for a ministry. How he so wanted to preach! One day, a local assembly called him and asked him if he would be their pastor. Then, the dear man began to wonder whether or not God would have him take the position! Certainly, our Lord Jesus Christ would not want us to struggle with such perplexities. Anyone, anywhere, anytime, Almighty God would undoubtedly want us to preach the Gospel. He would certainly have us teach the Bible rightly divided—anyone, anywhere, anytime. Our task, our challenge, is to take verses and figure out how to tailor those Scriptures to make them most impactful to the souls in our audience.

Also see:
» I believed the Gospel, so why do they not believe?
» What are some verses to help me stop focusing on myself?
» How was Jesus Christ crucified among the Galatians?

Should we Bible believers investigate and promulgate conspiracy theories?

SHOULD WE BIBLE BELIEVERS INVESTIGATE AND PROMULGATE CONSPIRACY THEORIES?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “conspiracy theory” as “a belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for an unexplained event.” By the way, this author is a trained scientist, so he despises the term “conspiracy theory.” It will greatly vex him to continue writing it. The word “theory” should not be abused in this or any other manner. Alas, “conspiracy theory” will be begrudgingly employed throughout the ensuing pages because of its widespread usage and for lack of a better expression. (He is being a tad melodramatic, and cannot help but smile here. Nevertheless, he reminds you, dear reader, to do everything possible to shun using words sloppily.) J

I. A (VERY) BRIEF INTRODUCTION

Are those stringy clouds “chem trails” in the sky a poisoning of the population below? Do certain groups manufacture and control the weather? Who really killed United States President John F. Kennedy in 1963? Did we actually land men on the Moon? Was September 11, 2001 an “inside job?” Does NASA generate its images in a studio? Is the Earth really a sphere or “flat” like a disk? Is it hollow as a shell, or solid/semi-solid throughout? Are the Bilderbergers plotting to bring about a one-world government, a “New World Order,” and/or a “planned economy?” Is the Rothschild family in on it? The Masons? The Illuminati? Is there secret alien technology known only to high-ranking government officials? Could governments be deliberately contaminating public food and water sources?

Conspiracy theories. If we are not careful, friends, we will base our Christian life on this extremely slippery slope. The above statements are just a sample of the weird inquiries besetting innumerable people. Here, we are not so much interested in these views themselves but rather why individuals would propose and maintain them in the first place. In this, our special-edition 565th Bible Q&A, and in celebration of five whole years of “For What Saith the Scriptures?,” we want to concentrate on what God’s Word says about what is really going on in our world. “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4). For consistency’s sake, we ask (as we have innumerable times before), “For What Saith the Scriptures?” 🙂

II. CONSPIRACY THEORISTS ABOUND (ALTHOUGH THERE IS ONE LESS)

This author has had many years of experience in dealing with conspiracy theorists. Yea rather, it is highly significant to note that he used to be one himself some years ago. He has many family members, dear friends, and ministry associates entangled in these ideas. Some have abandoned that mindset, while others still remain therein. It is with the gentlest spirit possible that he thus lays out this material, knowing full well that it will likely jeopardize and abolish intimate relationships he has. Howbeit, he is more than willing to let them go for the sake of what he knows to be the unwavering truth of the Holy Bible. The Lord Jesus Christ alone deserves his allegiance, and that is that! Here is what insight he can offer regarding conspiracy theories, those who hold to them so passionately, and how we as Bible-believers can (possibly) reach them. It has been his honor to serve as your Bible teacher here these past five years, and may the Lord Jesus Christ grant him many more here!

III. MASS COMMUNICATION AND MASS CONFUSION

Conspiracy theories have probably been with us from our species’ earliest days. Yet, with additional events in human history, much fuel has been added to the fire. Above all, the increase of mass communication has led to the amplified propagation of that information. Whether print (books, magazines, et cetera), radio, television, or (the most effectual vehicle) the internet, these avenues afford easier access to conspiracy theories. People watch videos online—posted by whomever from wherever, with who knows what background—and believe the material “hook, line, and sinker.” They spread it on social media, where it reaches millions in just a few seconds. How careless and dangerous!

Beloved, just because it is in the news, that does not make it true! Anyone can create websites, post material, and record and upload videos. Such capability alone does not necessitate it be gospel truth. Videos can be edited or doctored, even by seemingly “reliable,” professional news organizations. Sources can be fabricated or non-existent. As far as we know, vulnerable teenagers and senile senior citizens could be moderating some of the websites promoting “the proof that the government is lying about this or that.” Drug abusers and the mentally ill may be writing or speaking that information. It will be a happy day in the lives of billions when they start thinking for themselves and stop relying on strangers to teach them who knows what. Yes, it will be a happy day in the lives of billions when they start reading the Bible for themselves and learning something worthy of their trust!

IV. SEVEN OPENING ADMONITIONS

1. WE ARE TO AVOID FOOLISH AND UNLEARNED QUESTIONS

“But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes” (2 Timothy 2:23). Scripture warns us not to engage in “foolish and unlearned questions.” We should not ask them and we should not answer them. Why? The verse tells us that such queries are not designed to help or build up anyone. They are offered only to generate fights. There is no usefulness or profit, as there is no thoughtfulness undergirding these questions. Furthermore, rather than studying for themselves, people resort to “ignorant questions.” They question everything—one question leads to another and another and another. Questions are designed to lead to answers, but some individuals truly delight in asking for the sake of asking. Hence, they ask the same question dozens of times, expecting a different answer.

Moreover, such souls will not attempt to investigate or think for themselves. They will rather ask others, relegating to them the responsibility of researching. It is this author’s experience that conspiracy theories and their resultant questions create nothing but arguments, do not lead to serious thought or meaningful dialogue, and have no benefit associated with them. They are nothing but fruitless discussions!

2. WE ARE TO AVOID GENERALITIES (AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE)

Conspiracy theorists often have little to nothing substantive themselves to offer in place of the notions they disbelieve and attempt to discredit. A common reckoning of a certain event is said to be “a lie,” and that may be a valid point. However, what do they suggest we use to substitute it? Well, they cannot give us a definite answer, only a variety of non-specific answers, nebulous thoughts and complexities. Dear friend, there is more to life—much, much more to life!—than opposing error. We must arrive at and grasp truth at some point, correct?

If you do not mind, friend, please consider this simple analogy. Suppose you are a student in a college mathematics classroom. The professor writes a problem on the blackboard. She proceeds to show lengthy steps as to how not to solve it. Crossing out all that work, she shows you another example of how not to do the problem. This continues for several minutes, you growing more frustrated. Friend, you never get anywhere. Who cares how not to do the problem? All that matters is how to do it. We want specifics as opposed to generalities. “What shape is the Earth? We do not know, but all we can say is that it is not a sphere! It is flat and circular, as in a disc, or loop, or a cone, or….” (This would be the “Flat-Earthers.”) “Who killed John F. Kennedy? We do not know for sure, but all we can say is that it was not Lee Harvey Oswald!” On and on this could be said about other conspiracies.

 3. WE ARE TO AVOID BEING WISE CONCERNING EVIL

Romans 16:19 says, “For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.” The word “wise” is “experienced” whereas “simple” means “inexperienced.” Paul, by the moving of the Holy Spirit, preferred Christians to have more insight into what is right than what is wrong. Sadly, some believers in Jesus Christ study nothing but error, and they practice nothing but sin. They have not given the Bible reasonable time in their study, but they have investigated this group, that group, this sect, that sect. They have not allowed the Holy Spirit to control them, but they have let the world, the flesh, and the Devil dominate them! So much time and energy have been wasted. So much time and energy have been wasted. So much time and energy have been wasted! This especially applies to conspiracy theorists (as well as anyone and everyone not walking in sound Bible doctrine—every unsaved person, every carnal Christian, and every babe in Christ).

4. WE ARE TO AVOID GULLIBILITY

We want to especially shun the appearance of gullibility. Friend, if we gain a reputation of doubting and questioning everything (as conspiracy theorists do and embolden us to do), then who will believe us when we share the Bible? By that time, we will have lost our credibility—which is exactly what Satan purposed in the first place. Rather than him having to put forth effort to discredit us, we do his job for him by disgracing ourselves. More importantly, people attach foolishness to the name of Jesus Christ when they see us entertaining silliness. They remark, “That person will believe anything. No wonder they follow the Bible. I can do without all that nonsense! My life is just fine without some ‘Jesus-loving loony!’” (Friend, you had better think about this 50,000 times before you start sharing rubbish!!)

 5. WE ARE TO AVOID WALKING FOOLISHLY

Ephesians 5:14-18 admonishes us: “[14] Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. [15] See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, [16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [17] Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. [18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;….” Rather than behaving riskily, carelessly, we look around, exercising caution in our conduct. We should be exact in our steps, wary of where we put our spiritual feet.

As opposed to puerile thinking, we are filled with wisdom—godly wisdom. The Spirit of God controls us; we are adult children of God, not babies. Colossians 3:16 explains, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” To be “filled with the Spirit” is synonymous with “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” Friend, instead of stuffing our minds and hearts with worldly thinking, speculations and traditions of men, we concentrate on the Holy Bible rightly divided!

Enough time has been squandered because of Satan and his evil plan. If we are members of God’s family, if we have trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, does it make sense for us to behave like we are Satan’s children? No, friend, no! Why should we be wasting time with things other than God’s Holy Word? Yet, that is exactly what we do when we make it our life’s goal, our “Christian” ministry’s goal, to go around exposing this conspiracy and that conspiracy. The Holy Spirit echoes, “Redeem the time, because the days are evil!”

6. WE ARE TO AVOID THE COMBATIVE, STRIVING HEART ATTITUDE

One work of the flesh is “strife” (Galatians 5:20). This contrasts the fruit of the Spirit—“love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (verses 22-23). When the Holy Spirit governs a person’s inner man, these nine fruit will be evident in his or her life. Sound Bible doctrine is at work. Strife—conflict, rivalry, fighting—results in the absence of sound doctrine. At that point, their flesh is running them rather than the Spirit of God. While appearing to be doing right, their heart attitude is wrong. They may be teaching and preaching the truth, but their flesh is motivating them. God would thus disapprove; it is not a good work!

Conspiracy theorists are often aggressive, ready to fight in a heartbeat, because they are outraged. As Christians, this should not be true of us. Second Timothy 2:24-26: “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

7. WE ARE TO AVOID DEIFYING THAT WHICH IS NOT GOD

In the conspiracy theorists’ realm, the government, or some other powerful entity, is portrayed as seemingly omnipotent. Mortal men are presented as gods working behind the scenes to achieve some nefarious end. It is as if the Creator God has no final say; it is ignored that He will allow sinful man to go only so far. The conspiracy theorist, lacking any real depth of Bible understanding, has no hope to offer the troubled souls whom he or she indoctrinates. If the Christian entertains such ideas as making governmental officials to be gods, then the unbeliever sees no purpose whatsoever in believing in the one true God. The Christian has no peace, so why should the unbeliever have anything to do with the God of the Bible? After all, it is more likely that the unbeliever has never even heard of such “wild” conspiracy theories until encountering a “Bible-believing Christian.” Such ill-mindedness will stay with the unbeliever, and may very well cause that soul to shun the Scriptures forever.

V. EIGHT OBJECTIVES OF CONSPIRACY THEORISTS

While all eight are not necessarily true of all conspiracy theorists, they are nevertheless true of at least some. Each conspiracy theorist falls under one of these categories at the bare minimum.

 1. TO HEAR HUMAN VIEWPOINT

The Bible says, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:5-7). Such individuals just want to hear the opinions of men, human viewpoint, religious tradition, false doctrine—anything and everything but the truth. They worship philosophy. Colossians 2:8 reminds us, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” They are like those in Acts 28:22, “But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.” They are interested only in what a man thinks about a certain persuasion rather than asking God’s Word about it.

2. TO INDULGE IN THE SIN OF PRIDE

“Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth” (1 Corinthians 8:1b). Knowing a wealth of information can actually be disadvantageous because knowledge without wisdom can (and often does) lead to pride. Pride, of course, was Satan’s original sin (1 Timothy 3:6; cf. Ezekiel 28:15-16). As opposed to arrogance—lifting ourselves above others—we should practice “charity.” Charity is love in action, seeking the other person’s highest good. The information we learn from the Bible is to then be used to build up our audience. If whatever we are studying does not help them in life, it is worth neither our time nor theirs.

When we promote conspiracy theories, are we truly attempting to enhance the lives of others? This author seriously doubts it. Unless we have something better to offer than what is already there, we need to hush. If the only thing we are sure about is that a certain view is wrong, and we have no clear insight with which to replace it, it is better to stay silent until we have an improved approach or idea. Furthermore, if the Bible is silent about the matter, it is most important to focus on what the Bible does say rather than what it does not say!

 3. TO DECEIVE THE NAÏVE

Dear friend, as stated earlier, we should be careful not to believe everything we hear and read. Just because it is on the internet, that does not mean it is true. Just because it is said at “church,” that does not mean it is true. False teachers often talk about “Jesus.” They read the Bible, and quote it only when it suits their agenda. We should not be “children,” “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.”

Notice Ephesians 4:11-15: “[11] And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; [12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: [13] Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: [14] That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; [15] But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:….”

Those “carried about with every wind of doctrine” are trusting, willing to believe this person and then that person, that idea and then this idea, this group and then that group. Conspiracy theories leave people with so many questions that, when all is said and done, they really do not know what to believe. Vulnerable beyond description, they are open to literally any possibility about literally any event. It is possible that they will eventually start doubting Bible accounts. After all, if we cannot trust anything, then we would have no desire to believe the Bible either! (Herein is Satan’s conspiracy, friend!)

4. TO GAIN ATTENTION

Frankly, some conspiracy theorists just seek attention and acceptance. They want someone to listen to them so they have become unhealthily fixated on a very unique idea very few embrace. It gives them purpose or meaning in life. Instead, what they should be doing is focusing on the Holy Scriptures and learning all about the Lord Jesus Christ, what He did for them at Calvary, and whom He can make them. They do not have to be ignorant of His Word unless they choose. Ephesians 1:6 says, “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Father God accepts us in His Son, Jesus Christ. We do not have to do anything to gain that acceptance. If no one else fellowships with us, He will and always will! We need not resort to repeating wild tales to get people to like us or attend to us.

 5. TO OBTAIN POWER

Let us read 1 Corinthians 8:1b again, “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” Knowledge without charity (love in action) is a means of gaining power, wielding it as though you were God. Pride will gain an entrance into your life (as we discussed just a little earlier). The attitude can be summarized as, “Look at all this ‘special insight’ I have. So many people believe in those lies but I know the truth about what really happened in that event! I can now go dominate (intimidate) people with that information.” It is a most dangerous position to take, friend, and conspiracy theorists teeter on that slippery slope. Brethren, we Bible believers are not immune from falling into this trap either, so let us guard ourselves! Seeking others’ highest good is the way whereby we avoid gaining the “heartless knowledge” characteristic of intellectual bullies.

6. TO ACQUIRE WEALTH

There is an old adage, “If it does not make sense, there is a buck in it somewhere.” People are out to make money, so they will recycle old ideas and publish them with a new “spin” by distributing new videos, books, and so on. They endeavor not to tell the truth but to exaggerate and embellish in order to gain attention and ultimately revenue. They seek to make a name for themselves with their podcasts, blogs, merchandise, news crews, and seminars. Conspiracy theories are often so convoluted that they often do not make sense, and the reader at this point can figure out why.

7. TO HAVE THE “FINAL SAY”

Conspiracy theorists seem to want to have the final answer for everything. It has not crossed their mind that their sources are wrong and that they indulge in fantasy. Is their information really as air-right as they claim, truthful as they allege, worthy of our time as they say? No, but it is all they have and so they will cling to it—whether it is true or not makes no difference to them (see the previous six objectives).

8. TO BELIEVE THE ULTIMATE LIE

Although claiming to deliver people from lies, and yet, conspiracy theorists have believed the ultimate lie—focusing on anything but the Creator God and His Word. They do not know it, but “deceiving, and being deceived” accurately describes them and all they do (2 Timothy 3:13). As long as they occupy their time with and expend their energy on warning people about this conspiracy and that conspiracy, they have neither time nor energy to study and share sound Bible doctrine with anyone. They engage in reading everything but the Holy Bible. This is exactly where Satan wants them in their understanding; they have played right into his hands. As long as God’s Word is not involved, God’s power is not involved, so Satan does not mind us spreading the speculations of men. It is no bother to Satan at all because we are no bother to Satan at all! Only God’s power can overcome Satan’s work.

VI. THIRTEEN OCCASIONS WE WOULD DO WELL TO ESCHEW

1. AN OCCASION FOR EVER LEARNING (NEVER ARRIVING AT TRUTH)

The Apostle Paul visited Athens, “the city wholly given to idolatry” (Acts 17:16). Idols are everywhere!! Various philosophers hear the Apostle preaching and are interested: “[19] And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? [20] For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. [21] (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)” As we survey the rest of the chapter, there is nothing but unbelief. They have no concern in believing on the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Instead, they “mock” the resurrection of the dead (verse 32). Yet, they asked questions. They wanted to hear some gossip, some “new thing” about which to entertain themselves. Such is the situation with conspiracy theorists—they always want to hear something and learn something but have no real desire to arrive at the truth.

2. AN OCCASION FOR PLAYING MENTAL GYMNASTICS

It is this author’s impression that conspiracy theorists frequently attempt to show how “clever” they are, how “special” they are, or how “enlightened” they are. “The majority of society may be fooled, but not me. I do not believe we ever landed on the Moon. I think Lee Harvey Oswald was a patsy, and not Kennedy’s assassin. I doubt the Earth is a sphere like most claim. I think the government is out to kill us all.” Dear friends, it is not wrong to be a dissenting voice, to hold beliefs contrary to the general consensus. After all, we Christians are in the minority anyway! We King James Bible users are in the minority anyway! We Pauline dispensationalists are in the minority anyway! However, when we start sharing these views in public just to flaunt ourselves, to draw attention to ourselves, to exhibit “mental prowess,” that is nothing but a flesh parade. Friend, we should stay away from that satanic trap! Lastly, outlining a painstaking dismantling of a commonly-held view, but having no solid conclusion yourself, is most silly.

3. AN OCCASION FOR ANTI-GOVERNMENT SENTIMENT

As implied in the definition, an anti-government attitude abounds in a good many number of conspiracy theorists. According to Romans 13:1-8, this attitude should not be true of Christians. If conspiracy theorists can prove somewhere that the government is dishonest, then they are well on their way to justifying anarchy, doing whatever they want, not submitting to any authority at all. Resisting authority—namely, God’s authority—is the heart of sin. Conspiracy theorists are always questioning the government and looking for ways to reduce its existence. While human government is certainly not perfect, God ordained it to maintain societal order and restrict Satan’s policy of evil. In times where human government would cause us to disobey God, then, of course, we are to “obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29; Acts 4:19). However, it is most unwise to incite rebellion against government by emphasizing conspiracies.

First Timothy chapter 2: “[1] I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; [2] For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” The Christian’s attitude toward government is a life marked by “quiet and peace” as opposed to anger and hostility. Do you know when this passage was written, friend? When the cruel, pagan, malicious Roman emperors were ruling!!

4. AN OCCASION FOR BRAINWASHING

Friend, brainwashing is the most effective tool in tempting people to embrace conspiracy theories. The Oxford English Dictionary says “brainwash” means “pressurize (someone) into adopting radically different beliefs by using systematic and often forcible means.” This explains the conspiracy theorist’s repetitiveness, or “hobbyhorse riding.” He or she cannot break away from that particular topic, so it becomes an unhealthy obsession. Some leader taught on nothing but that idea. The student now goes forth repeating the example. Such parroting is passed down once the student becomes a teacher. The conspiracy theory is like a rampant cancer, spreading far and wide, inflicting great damage on each new soul it reaches. Sin does not suddenly appear. False teaching does not suddenly surface, either. It is a long process, a slow poisoning, if you will.

5. AN OCCASION FOR FANATICISM

Extremism is dangerous. There is nothing more disagreeable than a religious fanatic, particularly one who is not skilled in the Holy Bible rightly divided. Spiritually speaking, they have lost control. It is spiritual insanity. As you judge the content of the words the conspiracy theorist writes or says, you will see he or she has no moderation. Restraints seem to be few and far between, if present at all. There is a difference between being “open-minded” and just plain irresponsible with thoughts and speech. We, especially as Bible believers, should be ever so careful “not to go off the deep end.” It will surely be self-destruction, both of us as individuals as well as the Lord Jesus Christ whom we claim to serve. Friend, mark these words, and mark them well!

6. AN OCCASION FOR IMMATURITY

Basically, conspiracy theorists need to grow up emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. It is easier to act and think like a child than an adult. They boast in knowledge that is inconsequential to say the least. They sound very childish in their thinking, in the manner in which they elucidate their beliefs, and how they respond to criticism. This is not designed to be an insult but simply a personal observation that must be stated. If it helps, you can think of it as an adult bragging about knowing how to proficiently perform addition and subtraction—when there are much more advanced operations in math such as algebra and calculus!!

Conspiracy theorists have no ability to discern good and evil doctrine, important and insignificant, worthwhile and worthless. Hebrews chapter 5 says of the nation Israel, most immature: “[11] Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. [12] For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. [13] For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. [14] But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Instead of being “skilful” in God’s Word, they are babes. This depicts those who focus on everything but sound Bible doctrine—and that would include conspiracy theorists (and just about all Christians, genuine and merely professing).

7. AN OCCASION FOR DISTORTING BIBLE VERSES

What should concern us is when people intentionally distort Bible verses to prove a point. Some of the most absurd ideas come from—not man’s imagination—but misquoted or perverted passages of Scripture. Friend, you would be totally amazed to see just how dishonest with the Bible some people are in trying to justify their particular belief about a certain “conspiracy.” The primary example is the Flat-Earth Movement (see the link at the end of this study). God’s Word is so twisted to promote a ridiculous idea. If people are mishandling the most important Book in the universe, we would do well not to listen to anything else they have to say! Since they are wrong on the majors, they will be just as dangerous on the minors. If we must change Scripture to support our belief, then the belief is to be discarded and Scripture is to be upheld.

8. AN OCCASION FOR ENTERTAINING MEN’S OPINIONS AND IGNORING GOD’S WISDOM

As note earlier, it is much easier to entertain men’s shallow opinions and speculations than to search the Bible to mine the profound depths of God’s wisdom. We read in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Bible “study” is for a “workman.” It is not for a lazy person or someone who seeks entertainment. “Study” is work; it is effort. Flipping through pages of Scripture, looking for and reading similar phrases and pairing them to form a larger body of information, that is exhausting (if you doubt it, then try it and see, friend!). For some, it is “too much work.” They throw their hands into the air and throw the Bible away! But, if you find an appealing video online about a certain conspiracy, they will sit for hours and hours soaking up that data. There is no thinking involved. They do not have to pick up a book, use higher order thinking skills, listen to the Holy Spirit teach, nothing! Just press “play,” sit back, and let the narrator do all the thinking!

9. AN OCCASION FOR MEDDLESOMENESS

Let us face it, friends. It is human nature to be nosy, to dabble in other people’s business. When we should be focused on straightening out our own lives, we want to boss others regarding the problems in their lives. We find fault with what someone else is doing. “They deceive the public with this lie or that lie.” Meanwhile, we make no effort to check with the Bible to see if what we believe is true. We may not know the truth, or even where to find it, but we critique and discredit others who do not have it or know where it is either. Does that make sense?! Instead of worrying about deception, why not go search for the truth? Because it is easier to complain about others than research it yourself!

The Holy Bible, especially Proverbs and James, says much about the destructive power of the tongue—gossiping, hearsay, meddling, being a busybody. Conspiracy theories are a gateway into these sins. People are slandered, and the charge may not even be true! “This politician is secretly involved in drug trafficking, child trafficking, pedophilia, sedition….” Why? “Well, I watched a video posted online, so it must be true!”

Now, let us correct any possible misunderstanding. Possessing a talent for investigation can be constructive. Such people make good law-enforcement officers, forensic scientists, medical professionals, and the like. Being inquisitive is not a sin in and of itself. However, there is the danger of inquiring at the expense of time… ever so much time, ever so much time, ever so much time, ever so much time! Wisdom is needed, that time be used for the maximum profit. Searching and getting somewhere is fine; however, engaging in ceaseless rumor is senseless.

10. AN OCCASION FOR IDLE SPECULATIONS

Friend, imagine pedaling a stationary bicycle. Your legs are moving, you are sweating and panting, but are you getting anywhere?! Is your body in a different location than it was before? Imagine waving your arms in a swimming pool. Are you really swimming, or just treading water in the same place? Utter futility!!!

As noted earlier, this author has noticed that most conspiracy theorists who use the Bible have no deep insight into Scripture. They have a shallow grasp, and have made no real progress in the Bible. Beyond the Gospel, they know practically nothing about Christian thought and behavior. Babes in Christ (new believers) and carnal are their two categories. Since they have no real comprehension of God’s Word, there are no boundaries in their thoughts. They love to speculate about this topic and that idea. Wondering, drifting about, their mind lacks solid footing. No framework is present to restrict them—they have no limits as to what they may embrace. This sets them up for our next point.

11. AN OCCASION FOR SEDUCING SPIRITS

If there is no firm grounding in the Scriptures (see above), that poor soul will be led astray. First Timothy chapter 4 says in verses 1-2: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;….” To “seduce” means “to draw away from the path of rectitude with the promise of delight.” Something pleasant or attractive is used to lure people from where they ought to be, over to a place where they should not be. These “spirits” or voices—as in teacher’s voices—have a way with words to draw souls over to their side. Religious tradition can be employed. Conspiracy theories can be used. Philosophy can be employed. Souls are enticed from the Bible, from the ultimate source of truth, to concentrate on wild suppositions. Those wild speculations are seen as “more fascinating” than Scripture. They tantalize the flesh, make people feel good and excited. It may be of no substance but it does awe and delight (spiritual “junk food”).

12. AN OCCASION FOR BEING JUDGMENTAL

Conspiracy theorists appear to always try hard to prove everybody else wrong. They have overly critical points-of-view. There is a difference between vigilance so as not to be deceived and vigilant so as to spot errors. There are “life proofreaders,” “life editors.” For example, the person who finds “mistakes” in the Bible is often not an honest person but someone who simply wanted to find errors. He or she had no intention of believing it to be the truth anyway. Her or she had no interest in trusting and obeying it to start off. If someone never arrives at the truth, then we can only conclude he or she never had any desire to find it. “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17).

13. AN OCCASION FOR SPIRITUAL INSTABILITY

A former conspiracy theorist whom this author dealt with recently told him that alternate ideas had riveted her. She was “hooked” into this conspiracy and that conspiracy, but never actually got anywhere with all that speculation. Nothing was certain, so it was an endless search for “the truth.” As a Christian, she has now given up on the search for answers to conspiracies (this author has done likewise—and does not regret it!!). She knows there is absolute truth in the King James Bible rightly divided, and she has taken herself away from all that perpetual inquiring with conspiracies. Praise the Lord! We rejoice with her!!

Second Peter 3:15-17, especially verse 16, describes the spiritual condition of those who do not follow the Word of God rightly divided: “[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. [17] Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.” “Unlearned” means “having never been taught” and “unstable” is “prone to change or fail.” This mishandling of Scripture will lead to spiritual “destruction”—and you just look at the millions of confused and deceived church members to confirm it!!!

Notice the instability in verse 14 of Ephesians chapter 4: “[12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: [13] Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: [14] That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; [15] But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:….” It is Satan’s goal to get all Christians to be “children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” Conspiracy theories are a sure way to fall into Satan’s trap, as they distract from Scripture! In stark contrast, God wants us to “grow up into [Christ] in all things!” Let us toss away the spiritual baby bottle, beloved!

VII. FIND AND HOLD FIRM THE THINGS OF GREATER VALUE

 1. WE MUST SET OUR PRIORITIES IN ORDER, LEST WE BE NEGLIGENT

Conspiracy theorists do not have their priorities in order. If their goal in life, if their goal in church, is to tell the world not to be deceived by a Moon landing, not be misled by the official conclusion of the Kennedy assassination, not to fall for the idea that the Earth is flat instead of sphereical, not to believe NASA operates satellites in outer space, then what they endeavor to do will really have no consequence in eternity. The most important information—sound Bible doctrine—is ignored. They have no idea what they need to believe, what they need to do in life, and what they should tell others to do in life. Again, they are infantile, unable to discern what matters most. They are carnal Christians or baby Christians who feed on speculation and human wisdom, and then pass it along to others. “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:5). God’s power is in God’s doctrine, sound Bible doctrine; it is not in man’s “wisdom.”

2. WE MUST IDENTIFY AND RETAIN VALUABLE INFORMATION, LEST WE BE CONNED

If they are honest, conspiracy theorists will admit that the information they offer us really has no profit to their own life. It really makes no difference one way or the other, as their daily life will go on as normal regardless of the truth of the event. Yet, they blow it out of proportion, and make a big deal about nothing. They go on endless crusades exposing this error and exposing that error. If the view they are proposing is true (as they claim), and yet has no benefit to them (as they claim), then why do they bother sharing it with us? See, this is nothing but drivel. Perhaps they are unwittingly indicating to us their view is not worth our reception or trust?

Friend, what will the conspiracy theory matter in 1,000 years? Does it really further Satan’s plan if people believe the Earth is spherical? Will they go to Hell if they believe that Muslims hijacked airplanes on September 11, 2001, and not the United States government? Who is to say that God will take away the Christian’s reward if he or she believes NASA’s images were not doctored? When we start spending all our time and energy on a certain concept, it had better be worth it. It would have to be something worth defending, and not just something we “talk about” simply because we want to hear ourselves talk!

3. WE MUST BE ZEALOUS AND INFORMED, LEST WE NOT BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY

Romans 10:3 says of apostate Israel, “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” They are passionate, fervent, but lack knowledge. Verse 3 further explains, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” Without knowledge, enthusiasm is detrimental. It is most unwise to engage in activity while being ignorant of said matter. Zeal could be put to better use if it is paired with knowledge (and, of course, driven by charity). Rather than speculating about this conspiracy or that conspiracy (which can never be settled conclusively), we can settle on the Holy Bible (absolute truth). If we want to be zealous for the truth, may we go look in the Word of Truth, and then go proclaim that to this lost and dying world! The conspiracies of men will be destroyed, but the Word of God stands forever and ever!

4. WE MUST STUDY THE HOLY BIBLE, LEST WE BE SUPERSTITIOUS AND SUSPICIOUS

Turning to Acts 17:22-23, we read: “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.” The Greek word rendered “too superstitious” here is quite striking—“deisidaimonesterous” (“fearing more devils than others”). As Paul entered Athens, “his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry” (verse 16). He observed idols and shrines all over the place! The Athenians were afraid of this god, that goddess, this deity, that idol. In like manner, conspiracy theorists live in fear about anything and everything. This group is out to harm them, that group will try to poison them or shoot them or cheat them financially, spy on them, track their whereabouts, and so on. Such fears will dissipate when we rest in the next point.

5. WE MUST REST IN GOD’S PEACE, LEST DISTRUST AND HOPELESSNESS OVERWHELM US

As remarked time and time again, conspiracy theorists are skeptical of just about anything and everything. They suspect evil in a situation even if there is no trace of it. This horrible existence is a doorway to hopelessness, paranoia/obsession, and fanaticism. Fear and doubt are like oxygen to them; without them, survival is impossible. Their identity is so wrapped up in exposing this plot and exposing that scheme. It becomes an all-consuming passion, but is it really worth pursuing? No. It only harms them and those they influence.

Romans chapter 15 says, “[4] For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope…. [13] Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” The Scriptures are to give us hope, and “the God of hope” (Author of Scripture) is thereby able to “fill [us] with all joy and peace in believing, that [we] may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Faith, joy, and peace are all fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Beloved, hopelessness is not who we are. Dear friend, doubt is not who we are. Beloved, fear is not who we are.

Philippians chapter 4: “[6] Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. [7] And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Being “careful” in this setting is the idea of “full of care,” or worrisome. God’s peace will come upon us when we talk to Him in prayer, when we speak to Him in light of His Word to us regarding all the details of our life. Conspiracy theorists and their system can offer us none of this—yea, they only provide the exact opposite.

6. WE MUST BE COGNIZANT OF THE REVELATION OF THE MYSTERY, LEST WE OVERLOOK THE MOST IMPORTANT SECRET

Conspiracy theorists revel in dwelling on secrets—except the right one! They are addicted, utterly given over to exposing covert operations. Instead of paying attention to the plain truths of Scripture, learning what Almighty God is doing and wants them to do, they spend all their time and energy worrying about the secrets of mortal men. The fact is, the God of creation kept a secret, a marvelous secret, until He revealed it directly to and through the Apostle Paul (and to us through Paul’s writings quoted below). It was all done to done to outsmart Satan, all his evil angelic associates, as well as sinful man—all of whom had united in preventing God’s will in creation from coming to pass.

Romans 16:25-26: “[25] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:….”

1 Corinthians 2:6-8: “[6] Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: [7] But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

1 Corinthians 15:51: “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,….”

Ephesians 1:9-10: “[9] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:….”

Ephesians chapter 3: “[3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [4] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) [5] Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; [6] That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: [7] Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. [8] Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; [9] And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:….”

Colossians 1:25-27: “[25] Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; [26] Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: [27] To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:….”

1 Timothy 3:16: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

If someone cannot adequately communicate to this author the nature of that overriding mystery, the secret that will affect all eternity, they need not bother to attempt to interest him in “man’s secrets” which really pale in comparison. The Creator God is far wiser than all the conspirators combined!

VIII. SIX ITEMS OF WHICH WE MUST BEWARE

1. BEWARE OF SATAN’S ATTACK ON CHRISTIANS!

Second Corinthians chapter 10: “[3] For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: [4] (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; ) [5] Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;….” The “obedience of Christ” is God the Son’s faithfulness to go to the cross of Calvary by faith in His Father’s Word to Him! Friend, whatever does not fit in accordance with that, whatever contradicts that, we toss it out of our minds. We are in war, dear brethren, and Satan endeavors to corrupt us using whatever means possible and whomever he can. Let us be vigilant, ever so vigilant, and not underestimate him!

Philippians chapter 1: “[9] And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; [10] That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; [11] Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul longed for Christians to have love that would “abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.” If they adopted that mental attitude of love, they would thus “approve the things that are excellent.” Of all the choices in life, they would choose good works over sin. And not only so, out of all the good options, they would evaluate to determine which was the best action to take, the choice of greatest value.

Conspiracy theorists, considering their often superficial understanding of the Bible, are not a good influence on us. They are not making the best use of their time and energy. See, and here is where Satan’s evil world system operates. If the Christians get caught up in that, they cannot fulfill God’s will in Philippians 1:9-11. They are rejecting Divine knowledge, Divine judgment (discernment). What better way to attack Christians than attack the Bible, the only Book that produces mature, strong saints who can fight Satan!

2. BEWARE OF SATAN’S ATTACK ON SCRIPTURE!

While those who promote conspiracy theories are not necessarily ill-minded toward the Bible, the people who devised those ideas may have been. For example, it has been this author’s experience that individuals often use conspiracy theories to mock and discredit Christians and (really) Scripture. When people are focused on the minor things, they lose sight of the major things. It is a mental battle with Satan’s policy of evil, and if we are not careful to maintain sound Bible doctrine, we will lose it. We must be engaged in war with proper equipment, or we will get severely hurt in battle! If we are not stressing the right information, we will discredit ourselves—and God’s Word will be mocked beyond imagination.

 3. BEWARE OF EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENTS

Conspiracy theorists may have an emotional attachment, a mindless infatuation. A loved one might have introduced them to that notion and they must hold to that view. In their mind, if they break from that idea, they disrespect the memory of that loved one. They may have an emotional attachment to a particular teacher of the conspiracy theory. “Learned men,” “kind guys,” “lovely women,” “helpful ladies,” will simply have to be set aside and God’s Word will have to exalted above them. “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10). “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). We seek God’s approval not man’s approval! Never forget that, friend! We seek God’s approval not man’s approval!

4. BEWARE OF SPIRITUAL WOOD, HAY, AND STUBBLE

First Corinthians 3:12-15 is a special warning to Christians: “[12] Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; [13] Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. [14] If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. [15] If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” At what the Bible calls “the Judgment Seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10), Christians will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ to give an account to Him for their service to Him on Earth. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

There is something “bad” done in the body—“wood, hay, stubble.” This is anything and everything other than sound Bible doctrine. Much of what people push as conspiracies today, the Bible says nothing about them. Therefore, they are advancing the traditions and opinions of men. It does not lead to an appreciation of creation. As stated earlier, there is no spiritual stability, no spiritual health or nourishment. It will amount to nothing at the Judgment Seat of Christ. If you want to build your life and spend all your time worrying about nonsense, friend, you go right on ahead and do it. However, never, ever can you say that you were not warned!

5. BEWARE OF THE LACK OF CHARITY AND ABUNDANCE OF NEGATIVITY

“Charity… thinketh no evil,” 1 Corinthians 13:5 says. If charity, or love in action, is lacking, the worst will always be assumed of people. Pessimism, distrust, negativity, gloom clouds the hearts, minds, and lives of conspiracy theorists. They hear gossip about some person—especially celebrities—and run with that information about “secret lives.” Never is anyone above suspicion. It is a gateway to “hypervigilance,” extreme or excessive vigilance, the state of being highly or abnormally alert to potential danger or threat. This leads us to our next point.

6. BEWARE OF THE ABSENCE OF DIVINE THINKING

Notice the following admonitions. Romans 12:1-2: “[1] I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. [2] And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Colossians 3:10: “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:….”

Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Ephesians 4: “[17] This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, [18] Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: [19] Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. [20] But ye have not so learned Christ; [21] If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: [22] That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; [23] And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;….”

Friend, if the system you are embracing does not agree with these three primary passages of Scripture, it is time to bid the system an eternal goodbye!

IX. THE CHRISTIAN CONNECTION?

Of the various conspiracy theorists this author has met, all were Christians (at least professing, if not genuine members of the Body of Christ). They quote verses and believe Scripture verses to some degree. So, how can Christians of all people be deceived? How is it that they have gained a reputation for being fixated on the pettiest of conspiracy theories, and yet claim to have “the truth” in a book called the Bible? Why are they not as consumed in sharing the authoritative Scriptures as they are in promoting sensationalism and naivety? How can even preachers deliver whole sermons about embracing specific conspiracy theories?! While they are aware of Satan’s evil world system, and purport to be warning others of evil, they themselves have inadvertently fallen prey to it. They are focusing on insignificant lies when there are more serious ones to recognize and avoid.

Back in Ephesians 4:14, we read about Satan’s tricks. Notice again: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;….” That word “sleight” is to be taken as “sleight of hand,” trickery or skill in causing someone to focus on one thing (distraction) and thus overlook another but more important matter. “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). Satan wants us to concentrate on the little lies so we neglect the one of most importance! Our Adversary is the master deceiver, friend, and never, ever, ever to be underestimated. Such ingenuity is far beyond our own capacity to overcome, but God Himself can and has equipped us in His Word to do just that.

Someone would say, “Oh, Brother Shawn, should we not identify lies when we see them? Does not God call us to expose Satan’s policy of evil?” Indeed, it is just that conspiracy theorists do not know how to identify Satan’s policy of evil anyway. They are not skilled in God’s Word rightly divided, but they are well aware of what people are speculating about governmental affairs. They spend time watching videos, reading websites, and perusing books about this conspiracy and that conspiracy, but little to no effort is made in studying the Holy Bible. Ignoring the standard of truth, they go around showing themselves to be champions of the truth. Absurd ad infinitum!

We should rather engage in godly edifying. Dabbling in conspiracy theories does not build up anyone spiritually. There is no solid footing, peace, or stability. Rather, there is uncertainty, dread, and paranoia.

First Timothy chapter 1: “[3] As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, [4] Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. [5] Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: [6] From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;….” Two snares in ministry are “fables” and “endless genealogies.” “Fables” are nothing but stories designed to convey moral lessons; they are wild and fantastical tales meant to distract us from the moral lessons written down and preserved in the Holy Bible. Such would be similar to conspiracy theories. “Endless genealogies” is the emphasis on people, personages/celebrities, instead of doctrine. We must break emotional attachments from people who teach false information!!

Now, chapter 4: “[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;… [6] If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. [7] But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. [8] For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come…. [12] Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. [13] Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. [14] Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. [15] Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. [16] Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” What will get us through times of apostasy (verse 1), a mass departure from the truth, is sound Bible doctrine (verses 13 and 16). Conspiracy theories will not be able to help but will rather confuse us further!

Finally, chapter 6 of 1 Timothy: “[3] If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; [4] He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, [5] Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” Conspiracy theorists are surely among these individuals who proudly entertain evil thoughts, flaunting themselves as “enlightened ones,” fighting with others in words, exercising corrupt minds, know-nothings. That is what the Bible says. They do not accept “wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness.” Rather than preaching Bible truth, they have made it their life’s mission (or ministry’s mission) to expose conspiracies.

Conspiracies were back in Bible days, Old and New Testament times, yet the Bible says very little about governments plotting to accomplish this secret plan and that secret plan. Sinful man and his covert agenda have been present ever since the Garden of Eden (Genesis chapter 3 and the Fall of man), yet God Himself did not think it important to mark down in His Book (the Holy Bible) all the schemes of the Jewish government, Assyrian government, Babylonian government, Median and Persian governments, Greek and Roman governments. God did speak, however, of Israel and Rome conspiring together to put His innocent Son to death on Calvary’s cross. He does speak of the conspiracy to rob Jesus Christ of His glory. He does divulge information about the Whore of Babylon, Satan’s political-religious system that will come about during the end-times (Revelation chapters 17 and 18). That evil world system has been operating since the Tower of Babel, but such idolatry and works-religion has its earliest roots in pharisaical Cain. Roman Catholicism is the modern manifestation of the evil religious system that ensnared Israel. Yet, conspiracy theorists are nearly totally ignorant of these schemes. Satan has fooled them and sidetracked them with the “little conspiracies.”

Now, we read 2 Timothy chapter 2: “[1] Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. [2] And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. [3] Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. [4] No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” Verse 2 is of particular importance. Above all else, the Christian minister is to learn Pauline revelation, the Books of Romans through Philemon, and then teach others who can thus pass that information on to even more people. That is our goal, friend. It is not to spread error, and it is not simply to expose error. Furthermore, verse 4 says we should not get so engrossed in the world that we start adopting its mindset, sharing its priorities. If we get too comfortable down here, beloved, we lose sight of our heavenly destiny. Be ever so careful here, be ever so careful. The route of conspiracy theories is not in our best interests!!

X. CONCLUSION

1. MOST CONSPIRACY THEORISTS SEEM TO BE “INNOCENT BYSTANDERS,” LED BY SELECT WILLFULLY IGNORANT

Some people are simply misled and do not know any better about conspiracy theories. They need to be taught (and it is your job now to use this information to do just that, friend!). However, others are intentionally misleading. They want to teach, and what they want to teach is utter nonsense. They have invested so much time and energy that they cannot possibly turn away from it now. It is their life, their reputation, their all-consuming passion, and we respect their free will. May they truly enjoy themselves in the error they have fought so tenaciously to keep!

Then, as noted earlier, we have those who are only “pass-alongs.” They have not really doggedly pursued investigating conspiracy theories as others (such as leaders), but something has grabbed their attention and they pass along that “interesting” information to others. This seems to be most people in practically any belief system. They are innocently caught up in the whole matter, and would have an eye to see and an ear to hear to leave such wild speculations. This is in contrast to those who have already been warned about the dangers but continue leading in them anyway.

It is this author’s experience with conspiracy theorists that they often have nothing important or substantive to say about anything. The content on much of their words is simply garbage. As the adage goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.” There is little to no sound Bible doctrine coming from their lips and pens, and that means they lack the discernment as to what are the most serious lies in the world. Some are cantankerous; others are polite and genteel. Regardless, their doctrine is spiritual in nature and quite dangerous, and should thus not be entertained or downplayed as “mere differences of opinion.”

2. WHAT SHOULD WE DO AS BIBLE-BELIEVING CHRISTIANS?

If we are Bible-believing Christians caught up in conspiracies, we would do well to heed these verses and recover ourselves out of the snare of the Devil! Let us believe God’s Word rightly divided, and then by faith go teach and preach that. If we know Bible-believing Christians caught up in conspiracies, we should share these truths with them, that they recover themselves out of the snare of the Devil!

Second Timothy chapter 2 says, “[22] Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. [23] But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. [24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

Dear friend, we should try to rescue conspiracy theorists from their error—especially if they have a testimony of salvation in Jesus Christ. Let us try to be as gentle as possible, as meek as possible, but as firm as possible. They are living contrary to whom Almighty God has made them in Christ. As noted earlier, this author has dear friends and associates caught up in these ideas. A few have come out, but most remain where they are. Our goal is not to seek these people so we can straighten them out, argue with them, and insult them. If we happen to encounter them, if we happen to realize who they are and what they believe, then we should certainly attempt to assist them. However, the fact remains that some people—even Christians—do not want help. They are comfortable exactly where they are. It is easier to keep on their current path than admit they are wrong. Give them over to what they want, then!

The Apostle Paul said, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37-38).

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

ATTENTION: Dear brethren, it is with great pleasure that we have uploaded our new 3-part Bible video series “The Sabbath Day.” Overall, there are approximately 3 1/2 hours of study. We hope and pray that these lessons will edify, encourage, and enlighten you! Praise our Lord Jesus Christ! (These are an offshoot of our 7-part “Feasts of Jehovah” series from last month.) Watch them here.

Also see:
» Does Scripture teach a flat Earth or a spherical Earth?
» Should we hate the denominational people who misled us?
» Must one be a “King James Bible Pauline dispensationalist” to have eternal life?

How would God have us view veterans?

HOW WOULD GOD HAVE US VIEW VETERANS? SHOULD CHRISTIANS SERVE IN THE MILITARY? IS IT A SIN TO BE PATRIOTIC?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The following was recently asked: “For all my brothers and sisters in USA, I would like to know what is your attitude toward people who served and fought for your country? I am asking this because many ‘christians’ [sic] here where I live say that believers who give honour to soldiers, flag, homeland have demonic spirit, and that the respect toward these people who fought for freedom is not Christian.”

Here, two primary issues are at hand: (1) wars and (2) nations. We will treat each separately in this study. Indeed, certain groups—even religious and particularly “Christian” ones—express anti-war sentiments for diverse reasons. They do not believe in serving in their country’s armed forces (or military). Such individuals are pacifists (shun all military activity). Some even go so far in saying we should never honor veterans. To them, it is “un-Christian” to be patriotic (salute a flag, celebrate a national holiday, and so on). Pride in country is forbidden on the grounds of being “evil” or “satanic.” Nationalism is viewed as “racist.” Opinions and speculations aside, what does the Bible say?

As we move into every Christmas Season, society tends to sing about and strive for peace. Whether they realize it or not, the Bible has influenced them to some degree. Note the passage describing the night of Jesus Christ’s birth: “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men (Luke 2:13-14).

The Prophet Isaiah, writing 700 years before Christ, agreed: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

One of Messiah’s titles is “The Prince of Peace.” The cessation of war and hostility characterize His reign. Consequently, the heavenly choir sang shortly after His birth, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Yet, in the land where the Prince of Peace was born 20 centuries ago, war is (still) the norm. Honestly, the Middle East was violent long before His birth, and it is yet hostile long after. What of God’s plan for peace in the Middle East, especially in light of the aforementioned verses? Are we not to take the Bible literally? It speaks of peace on Earth, and yet, war rages now just as it ever has. Why?

THE CASUALTIES OF WAR

Friend, as you are most painfully aware, war is brutal. Maybe you have firsthand experience with it. You perhaps can testify to the fact that it is devastating, to say the least. War is costly—not just monetarily but physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Limbs and lives are lost. Survivors are mentally scarred. Families are split and burdened beyond imagination. Neighborhoods are flattened. Innocent women and children suffer. The damage is irreversible. Understandably, such adverse conditions and results cause people to oppose war. Pacifists, for example, refuse to engage in physical conflict at all. Still, is pacifism the answer?

THE REALITIES OF WAR

At the very heart of human nature is selfishness. James 4:1-2 relates: “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.” A war exists in every human heart—and more so in the heart of the Christian. The sin nature, or Adamic nature, is the origin of sins (actions). Sin (the nature) works inside before it is manifested outside in behavior. In the heart of the Christian, there is also the Holy Spirit, and He opposes the working of sin (see Galatians 5:16-26). A Christian, but not a lost person, can be victorious over sin by trusting God’s Word—especially the words of grace found in the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon.

Let us be brutally honest. Our flesh, or sin nature, is avaricious; it loves to “pig out.” Turn to Ephesians chapter 4: “[17] This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, [18] Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: [19] Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” The operative word here is “greediness.” Our sin nature will take, take, take, TAKE! “If it feels good, do it!” “Gimme, gimme, GIMME!” Colossians 3:5 says, “covetousness, which is idolatry.” Here is the war inside that drives the conflict outside.

Wars start among people when one party endeavors to dominate another. At the center of the battle is something valuable—land, money, et cetera. The core of the battle, however, is really power; it is a struggle to see which group can overcome the other. In this fallen world, all physical battles start in the heart. Moreover, there is a combat in the heart because there is one overriding spiritual war. Ephesians 6:12 describes the conflict between God’s allies and Satan’s comrades: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The God of creation has a challenger—His chief creature, Satan. We are all under Satan’s control until we trust Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). After joining God’s team by faith (not by works), we fathom the reality of the crucial battle like never before.

When the LORD God created and put Adam on the Earth, He charged Adam (and, indirectly, Eve): “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26-28).

God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, created offices of government in Heaven and Earth: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (Colossians 1:16). Adam—and, by extension, all mankind—was originally designed to be king over the Earth for God’s glory. Man occupied the earthly offices of authority. In chapter 3 of Genesis, however, Satan enticed man (chiefly, Adam) to follow him in his rebellion against Almighty God. Wanting to be “like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14), “possessor of heaven and earth” (Genesis 14:19,22), Satan had just led a revolt in Heaven (recruiting many of God’s angels). Now, he was responsible for an uprising on Earth. God’s latest creature, mankind, had left Him as well.

There is a mutiny in creation, friend. God’s will and Word are ignored, and Satan and sinful man following him are active in opposing the Creator. They desire to do their own thing, be their own god, manage their own lives. It is God’s design to have peace with them, but they do not want it. They do not want to live in harmony with Him. They do not want to follow His plan for His creation. It is true on an individual level and a national basis too. (We will get to that a little later in our study.)

For now, we look at Exodus 15:3, “The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.” This sits in the context of JEHOVAH God just destroying Egypt’s armies in the Red Sea. He gave Israel a military victory over the Amalekites in chapter 17, becoming Israel’s deliverer or war hero (gaining the title “Jehovahnissi”). Furthermore, the LORD God purposed Israel to have a strong army. He actually instructed them to number Jewish men for battle. Israel would need to fight to overcome the Gentile powers in the land they were soon to enter and settle.

Numbers chapter 1: “[1] And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, [2] Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls; [3] From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies…. [45] So were all those that were numbered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel; [46] Even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.”

Friend, if we speak of war as “evil” (and some do), and ascribe to the idea that veterans are not worthy of respect (and some do), then we are in fact disparaging the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ will return at His Second Coming to fight the Battle of Armageddon. He is coming to reclaim Earth, to take it back from Satan. It has been rightly said that God’s kingdom will be brought in, not by persuasion (preaching the Gospel and converting souls), but by power (military force—and FORCE it will be!).

Revelation 19:11-13 remarks: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” (While man may and does engage in wars with evil motives, military conflict can be done “in righteousness” because the God of the Bible encouraged Israel to do it and He Himself will do it in the last days, future from us.)

The Prophet Isaiah, chapter 42, verses 13-15, report of that day: “The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools.” More could be said about this violent return of Christ, but for brevity’s sake these passages must suffice. Let us move on to the issue of nations.

THE CREATION OF NATIONS

In Noah’s day, worldwide conditions are relayed in Genesis 6:5: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” God thus brought about a Great Flood: “[11] The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. [12] And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. [13] And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth…. [17] And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.” The key word in this passage is “violence”“the earth was filled with violence” (verse 11). What was the extent of that “violence?”

The Great Flood has now cleansed the planet of evil. Noah and his family disembarking, stepping off the Ark into the new world, Genesis chapter 9 starts: “[1] And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. [2] And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. [3] Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. [4] But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. [5] And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. [6] Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

Never before have we seen this commission in Scripture. The God of the Bible has added the death penalty in the crime of murder. Verse 6 again, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” Capital punishment is not a church institution or government institution. It is a Divine institution, carrying the authority of God Almighty Himself. At this point, someone would object, “But, Brother Shawn, that was the Old Testament. Such a commandment has nothing to do with us!” Oh, dear friend, be sure to read your Bible thoroughly before you make such a careless remark!

The Apostle Paul, writing in New Testament times, says the following in Romans 13:1-8 with respect to human government: “[1] Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. [2] Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. [3] For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: [4] For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. [5] Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. [6] For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. [7] Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. [8] Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”

Pay attention to “the sword” in verse 4. There is a particular “evil” that the “sword” should discourage. Comparing that to Genesis chapter 9, we understand that “the evil” here is murder. Government is meant to deter murder, violence of all sorts but especially murder. Paul is writing with respect to the Roman government, so the “sword” is capital punishment (to be graphic, it is beheading). In Genesis chapter 9, we see the basic groundwork being laid for nations (they will be the major theme throughout chapters 10 and 11).

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul says in Acts 17:24-28: “[24] God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; [25] Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; [26] And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; [27] That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: [28] For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”

God Almighty “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth” (verse 26). This is Adam’s universal fatherhood of all people—regardless of ethnicity. There are no “superior” nationalities. Verse 26 adds, “and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” These “bounds” are boundaries, national borders, and they serve a special purpose. As with the death penalty, national borders are not man’s creation, but God’s creation. God Himself instituted nations, and He defined them using geographic limits. He created those national boundaries or borders in order to compartmentalize mankind. Why?

Nations themselves do not explicitly appear in the Bible until Genesis chapter 10, after the Great Flood of Noah’s day. This is highly significant. Something happened in connection with the Flood to generate the necessity of nations. What was it? Remember, what caused the Flood to come upon mankind in the first place? It was the spread of wickedness, chiefly violence and murder. These events led to the Great Deluge. After the Flood, with Noah and his family leaving the Ark, God established the death penalty. From Noah’s three sons—Shem, Ham, and Japheth—all the peoples of the world descended (see the genealogies recorded in Genesis 9:18-19,25-27 and Genesis chapter 10). Nationalism, the advocacy of political independence for countries, patriotic feelings and principles, began right here in human history. God Almighty Himself was responsible for it. If God supports sovereign nations, distinct from each other, what position would Satan take? Of course, he would sponsor the opposite view!

As we come up through the Bible’s record, we can see the LORD God taking a certain action and Satan following it with a counterattack. As soon as God Almighty created nations, Satan was present to advance internationalism. Cooperating with the Devil, sinful man began to unite. This is documented in Genesis chapter 11, what we know of as the construction of and scattering from the Tower of Babel. Man was united politically, socially, and spiritually around Satan himself. God punished the nations by confusing them with new languages:

“[1] And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. [2] And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. [3] And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. [4] And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. [5] And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. [6] And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. [7] Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. [8] So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. [9] Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.”

Satan does not like nations; he prefers internationalism or globalism. The Devil wants all people to mingle with each other, having no boundaries, all fellowshipping with one another—regardless of religious, political, and social distinctions. When you hear about denominations or religions gathering today, nations uniting today, and country borders being downplayed and breached, you are seeing a modern manifestation of the attitude that drove the construction of the Tower of Babel. Satan is alive and well, and he is so thrilled to have sinful man working for him… still!

It should be noted that, just as Romans 1:18-32 says, God gave the nations over to the spiritual darkness they so craved at Babel (Genesis chapter 11). He pulled aside Abram (later renamed Abraham) in chapter 12 to form the nation Israel. To what did He turn over the Gentiles, the nations? Deuteronomy 4:16-20 says He gave them over to idols, evil spirits to which those idols corresponded! Now, we return to Acts chapter 17.

National borders restrict Satan’s policy of evil. If one nation is corrupt, that does not affect all nations. Individual sovereignty of nation-states allows God’s truth to be found in pockets or isolated locations. God made the nations and divided them by borders (Acts 17:26), “that [purpose, intent] they should seek the Lord, if haply [perhaps] they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us” (verse 27). The Lord gave the nations of the world over to Satan in Genesis chapter 11 at Babel, but He gave individuals a chance to escape that ignorance and spiritual darkness if they wanted. They could locate the one true God if they sought Him, and national borders (especially Israel’s) allowed the seekers to come to Him. Sadly, Israel did not guard herself, and she permitted her neighbors to contaminate her with false religion, paganism, idolatry!

As a proud natural-born American, this author must say that his nation has truly enjoyed God’s Word for four centuries—when it was but colonies escaping religious persecution in England. Since our immigration policies have been relaxed over the decades, religious ideas of all kinds have flooded our thoughts. America is on a downward spiral morally, and yet, it is far worse in the other countries. We have not yet learned the painful lesson from Israel’s chronicles! Yes, history is repeating itself, and God is not at fault. It is our problem if we refuse to have faith in the revelation He has provided us.

The ability to maintain a strong military is a nation’s God-given right to defend itself, lest evil cross its boundaries and affect it as it has neighboring countries. Veterans go to war, or at least should enter the battlefield, with that mindset. War should be last resort, but it is a Scriptural option nonetheless. Indeed, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). We should certainly not go around looking for fights (both as individuals and nations), but, friend, we must be willing to defend our personal property and ourselves. Indubitably, we should not be the aggressors, but we can rest assured antagonists will come and we must be prepared for them. Someone would reply, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). As we have already seen, friend, there will be no true peace in the world until Jesus Christ returns to usher it in as “the Prince of Peace.” Matthew 5:9 looks to that end. While we certainly should not go around starting wars, conflict is inevitable because attackers are expected, and attackers are expected because of the reality of sin working within our hearts.

CONCLUSION

Regrettably, people who use the Bible are often quite sciolistic. The vast majority of Bible-quoters and commentators pretend to know what they are talking about, but, upon closer examination, they are seen to be ignorant of the deep things of God. Childish in their thinking, they so misuse and abuse the precious words of God. Friend, may we not be among them!

National pride—patriotism—can be recapped as follows. Our country of origin is part of our makeup, our DNA. It is who we are, whom Almighty God made us. Not that we boast against those of other nationalities, or believe ourselves to be better than they, but rather we encourage them to have the same satisfaction in their own country. Nations and their boundaries are vital to God suppressing Satan’s policy of evil. Believe it or not, evil conditions on our planet could be far worse than they are now if God had not founded nations!

This author has family members and friends, living and deceased, who have actively served or are still serving in various branches of the military. His paternal grandfather (late), uncles, cousins, and various others were or are veterans. War impacted them most painfully in numerous ways. Those living have agonizing memories of friends lost on the battlefield, and are still suffering great emotional and mental distress all these decades later. It would be absolutely foolish (!) for me to ignore the sacrifices they made so I can enjoy what I do today. They should be honored.

It is important that we respect anyone who believes in his or her country’s right to exist and remain independent. The Bible would agree that nations are crucial to this fallen world not being worse than it is. Veterans—whatever nation they serve—certainly do not go to war to hand their country to the enemy. They are fighting to protect and preserve it from foreign threats (bullies). When we realize the depths of the sacrifice veterans make, we cannot help but recognize and appreciate their service. They have scars, visible and invisible. Friend, entering the armed forces is a personal choice. We as Christians are not required to do it, and we are not required not to do it. If we choose not to go to war, let us be careful not to flaunt ourselves as “more pious than others.” “I am holy, I do not believe in fighting.” (This attitude of haughtiness would be evil, satanic, un-Christian—1 Timothy 3:6.)

Also see:
» Should we be pacifists?
» Is it “un-Christian” for a country to have border walls?
» Why is there so little history recorded in Genesis chapters 1–11?