When “Faith” Is a Lie


My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord GOD. Precisely because they have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace….
—Ezekiel 13:9-10a

I started a diet back in November that has seen me lose 30 pounds and keep it off. I’m right at the weight I want to be, and that’s a good thing.

One of the “guilty” foods the diet affords is Peanut M&Ms. I like Peanut M&Ms, especially the new variation, the dark chocolate kind.

But as I bought this guilty pleasure more often, I noticed an odd thing: I was being lied to.

The lie? Well, ask yourself, When is a pound not a pound? Answer: When it’s 12.75 ounces.

Now some people aren’t bothered by this because they don’t consider a substandard packaging size a lie. I do. It’s a form of fraud, especially when it’s done to make the price appear stable. Plenty of people won’t notice the change, and the company avoids the heat by claiming they’ve kept the price down. But they haven’t. The cost per volume/weight has gone up. Often considerably.

Edy’s/Dreyer’s ice cream went from a half gallon (2 quarts) to 1.75 quarts to 1.4 quarts. Same price. Except it’s not.

The government said last quarter’s consumer price index rose only 0.6 percent. Does anyone here, in an age of $4 a gallon gas and 1.4 quart ice cream containers, believe that for one second? Honestly? I suspect that the majority of packaged foods I regularly purchase have seen a downsizing in package size in the last nine months. In other words, food prices have gone way up, no matter what companies claim.

Okay, so the cynical ones among you will ask what we should expect from companies out to make a buck or a government that only seems to exist to placate the masses. Our surprise should not be when companies and government do bad things, but when they actually do good. Point taken.

On the other hand, what do we do about an institution that is always supposed to be good, yet lies to us nonetheless?

One of the issues I have with the American Church in its present state is that it confuses faith with a pollyannna mentality. It is simply wrong to say, “If we just have faith, all our problems will go away.” That’s a lie. Yet how often is that lie foisted off on believers on one level or another by well-meaning Christian leaders?

Here’s a prime example from Scripture of real faith and the action that followed:

Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one. The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind are also seven years of famine. It is as I told Pharaoh; God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of the famine that will follow, for it will be very severe. And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about. Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land and take one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven plentiful years. And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.”
—Genesis 41:25-36

Think about what would have happened if Joseph had instead told Pharaoh, “Don’t worry about your dream. Have faith in God! He will preserve us because He is a good God who only wishes the best for His children.Isn't it all so happy? Now let’s all go eat, drink, and be merry!”

Having faith does NOT preclude wisdom and preparation. Yet think about how many churches are ill-equipped to handle any kind of disaster. Think about the churches who routinely preach it will always be sunshine and lollipops. Is that your church?

In the passage that opened this post, God condemned the lying prophets who told the people not to be serious about the times, to go on as if nothing were changing around them, to claim a time of peace when it was anything but.

There is a stark difference between a healthy fear and senseless bravado passed off as faith. When Satan tempted Christ to leap off the top of the temple, the Lord responded to the father of lies with a healthy fear of the Father of Lights. We need that same kind of healthy fear.

Some of you may have heard talk of a looming trucker’s strike the first of June in protest over gas prices.  I don’t blame the truckers, I’m angry too that fat cats speculating on oil futures have driven the price through the roof.

Now think about how our entire country depends on trucked-in everything for its operation. Think about what happens when the grocery store runs low of food. Think about what happens when the hospital can’t get its supplies. Think.

Now ask yourself: What is the American Church doing to prepare?

See, it’s a lie to keep on acting as if everything is swell, as if the problems aren’t there, as if the seven years of famine won’t be all that bad. Genuine faith doesn’t sit on its haunches and sing happy songs. No, it gets out there and makes a difference. It prepares. It asks tough questions and comes up with tougher solutions. It asks something of its people.

It bothers me in the extreme that we simply can’t get Christian leaders to act. No matter what kind of fire we light under some of these guys, they’re content to spend all their time persecuting minor heretics and arguing over the finer points of infralapsarianism or some other non-essential when people are losing jobs, houses, and, potentially, food.

The early Church ensured that the proper people, godly people, were selected to wait the tables of the widows and orphans, to make certain they were cared for. How does that contrast with how we Christians prepare to meet challenges facing our communities and the society as a whole? How stupid and irrelevant do we wish to look in the eyes of the world if we are entering a time of tribulation without any preparation (other than to think, Hey man, Jesus is going to rapture me outta here! )? Is that the way the early Church responded to looming threats? (See Acts 11:28-30 for the answer.)

Faith is not a license for foolishness. Faith does not suffer liars lightly. Faith is only faith when it’s mixed with godly action.

What is our godly action right now? And why aren’t we acting on our faith?

6 thoughts on “When “Faith” Is a Lie

  1. The churches need to perpetuate the lie, don’t they? For the large ones, look how many are in the middle of massive building campaign (or will be going into one). Preaching doom and gloom (as preparedness would be seen) doesn’t help with the finances for the project, does it?

    When was the last time that you heard someone preach out of Acts chapter 2 for something other than a small group campaign?

    You raise some good points, Dan. What are some practical steps that we can do to move forward?



  2. Dan,

    Excellent points. This and your GPI (Green Pepper Index) have been quite good. Since then, I’ve been watching the GPI as I shop!

    Things are getting smaller. My grocery bill each visit rises only slightly…but our visits are going up because of they very thing you point out.


  3. bob p

    Lots of mini-subjects here. Lets see, where do I start?

    Congrats on the 30 lb loss. BY the thumbnail picture you didn’t appear fat. I’ve lost 30 since Jan simply by eating sensibly and some exercise. I’ll leave off the many details but I haven’t felt this good in years.

    Dieting and higher food prices (can you say “inflation”?) have me discovering bargains. I just bought 2 huge generic round boxes of just plain oatmeal for $5. I’ll eat this daily and will last for weeks. I kick it up with a ton of cinnamon and some raisins. (Look out!) And I’ve started my first garden in 10 years.

    I work Saturdays at a refrigerated warehouse and most of our shipments come from all over the globe. Third world countries ship VAST amounts of fish and shrimp raised by aquaculture. (We’ve even shipped farm-raised shrimp to New Orleans!) I’ve seen huge pallets of spinach grown in CHINA! Suffice it to say most of the food could have been raised here but it was cheaper to ship it across the globe and the continent, often criss-crossing.

    It is difficult to sort real looming disasters from Chicken-Little proclamations. The real thoughts we have are that this can’t go on like it’s going now and God will end our luxurious ways abruptly and horribly. There is one thing to remember: our government does care to some extent of offering benevolence to its citizens in crisis. Myanmar and China are suffering because of lack of standards or decency on their governemnt’s part.

    I feel that obsession with biblical eschatology and micro-theology is making us lazy. While I also feel the church WON’T prepare for desparate times, it will quickly grow up when horrible times hit and will learn to give and to help.

    You and I both have become terribly weary of personal crises. But haven’t we both grown up a bit?

    Oh, don’t get me wrong; I still pine for my former days of glory and seemingly endless success and optimism. But a strange thing has happened: I seem to care more about people now.

    Maybe the American church will grow up when it has no other choice.

  4. His Direness: The government said last quarter’s consumer price index…

    I think the government has been using statistics to lie to us for quite some time.

    And then there is Larry Kudlow.

  5. jfn

    Hey Dan! Congrats on the 30lbs! Seems like the year for it, I have hit 50 since the first of the year, and feel better than I have in many years.

    You have once again hit square one of the largest problems in the church today. Increasingly I am finding that the sunshine and lollipop crowd is so unwilling to accept what is looming just around the corner, that many of our local pastors are even disappearing from the volunteer lists at the local foodbank. Rather than seek an answer, or be active in their faith, they “hide-out”

    Our local Food Bank handles roughly 140 families per month, and with government cuts, and the tightening pocket books, we are witnessing an upswing in need, that is not being met by the churches. In fact, our contribution rate of money and food has fallen off dramatically in relation to the rising cost of fuel and food. We are still being able to feed our folks, because God is providing, however, if we are faced with any type of minor tragedy, our support system of churches will find themselves ill prepared to help.

    Had a friend of mine who is also a pastor, comment that he can imagine changing the name of his congregation to the First Church of the Foolish Bridesmaids. He has faced the same roadblocks many of us are facing as we forewarn our congregations that we must be prepared, only to be met with a reluctance to accept the stark reality of what is happening.

    I am not completely surprised by this, as we Americans thrive on being “fooled” into accepting the sales trickery as being the best reality possible. The changing of sizes and quality to maintain an acceptable price has long been a standard operating procedure for businesses, and will remain as such, as long as the consumer caves to the temptation to readily accept things as they are.

    May God continue to lift up voices in the wilderness to alert the church, and may He open the ears and minds to understanding and action.

    God Bless you Dan!

    • jfn,

      Everyone is going to be hurting during this economic slide, including people who think they are on solid footing financially. I’ve been warning of this for years, but I’m a nobody.

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