The Lie the World Now Tells to Silence Christians


In November 2004, I sat in a movie theater and witnessed one of the most chilling, frightening films I had ever seen: The Incredibles.

“Aw, c’mon, Dan,” you might protest. “That was an animated film for kids. Pixar. Now Disney. How can that possibly be anything but rainbows and unicorns?”

This scene:

The film’s writer and director Brad Bird nailed it:

“And when everyone’s super, no one will be.”

For a while, that narrative played in real life. It was a story the forces that hate God and hate His Church attempted to promote. “If everyone is a good person, and we construct a story we tell that makes everyone good, then no one will be morally or ideologically superior to anyone else. And then we can do whatever we want because we will have killed off religion, especially those that draw distinctions between good and evil.”

It’s an insidious ploy. Problem is, it didn’t work. The reason? Human sin.

You can’t claim that everyone is good if people keep doing heinous things. This especially doesn’t work when certain groups of highly visible people repeatedly are behind those atrocities. The goodness lie can’t stand in a world of fallen people.

Here’s where the flip-side is beginning to creep in…

I’ve noticed a new narrative lately coming from those who are desperate to draw moral and ideological equivalencies so as to excuse themselves, while also taking down any exceptionalism claims by any belief system. It’s a concession that the “everyone is super” narrative failed. What we are now being propagandized with is its opposite.

When Alexander Bissonnette walked into a Quebec mosque and unloaded his weapons into the bodies of the men present, the headline the next day described him with a phrase I’d not seen before in the press: Christian terrorist.

This past week, when Cedric Anderson walked into a California school and started shooting, the press wanted to know why Christians were not denouncing this terror perpetrated by a Christian pastor that left people, including a mentally-challanged child, dead.

Anyone else see what is happening here?

There’s a lie building. And from the perspective of those who tried with the goodness message and failed, it’s a more effective foundation supporting this revised agenda, because fallen people tend not to act good. Therefore, instead of finding cases of wholesale good in any group, find instances of the opposite.

“If we want to establish moral and ideological equivalency, we must show that no one is exceptional. Because if no one is exceptional, then there is nothing exceptional about what anyone believes.”

The implementation as an attack on Christian faith is to find deranged, unstable, violent people who have some slim connection to something someone thinks is Christianity, and paint them as brightly as possible as stellar, A-#1 examples of Christian faith. Then say, “Look at this mass murderer Christian! Christians are just as bad as everyone else. In fact, they may be the real monsters we never realized lived among us.”

You see, Alexandre Bissonnette liked Pope John Paul II on his Facebook page and used an image of a crusader to announce his savage plan to murder.

You see, Cedric Anderson called himself a pastor in public and quoted biblical-sounding things on his Facebook page.

So, of course, these murderers and terrorists are shining examples of orthodox Christians. Orthodox Christians are terrorists too. Look! Look!

Except it’s a desperate lie.

Any 15-minute investigation into Bissonnette showed, if anything, that he is beholden more to an atheistic humanism with roots in rationalist philosophy than to anything Christian. The label doesn’t stick. At all.

Same for Anderson. A con man with a history of weapons and violence charges, who appears to have lied about his military service, had no church behind his “pastorate,” and who espouses some mangling of the Old Testament in a series of Facebook posts—he’s no more an orthodox Christian than Jim Jones.

Thing is, no one tried to draw an equivalency with Jim Jones back in the ’70s. No one looked at the People’s Temple and said, “I can’t see any difference between them and your typical Methodist or Presbyterian church.” Any reporter who tried would have been run out of town on a rail for being so blind and willfully ignorant.

But today? Well, that willful ignorance falls into the rotten “gift” the Web and social media have given us: That if someone says something loudly and often enough on the Internet, that person can find an audience and replace ultimate truth with alternate facts.

Fake news indeed.

This is a real problem for Christian believers.

For us, I don’t see any recourse but to engage this agenda of delegitimizing the Gospel and Christian theology through wide-brushing Christians as morally and ideologically equivalent to those groups that are committing atrocities around the globe. We must confront this forced equivalency and reveal it as the lie that it is. We must draw distinctions between genuine Christian faith and all the perverted forms that people desperate to undermine Christianity are trying to foist on the ignorant as the norm.

Here is one reality we must keep reinforcing. Unlike some other groups out there, terrorists and ideological deviants do not come out of orthodox (small-“o”) Christian churches. Those radicals that may identify (and be identified by outsiders) as “Christian” almost always come out of “churches” with deviant theology that in no way resembles orthodox Christian theology and practice. The distinctions are clear, and anyone should be able to see them if they spend even a little bit of effort to note the difference.

Except those with the equivalency agenda do not want people to do the checking. They figure if they “equivalent-ize” loudly and long enough, people will believe them. Sadly, that seems to work when left uncountered.

All I can say to fellow believers is that we cannot rest and ignore this. If we see someone on the Internet trying to force a moral and ideological equivalency between faiths or belief groups by appealing to examples of “Christians” who commit atrocities, we must speak truth to it.

Again, the most egregious lie is to look for “radicals” and to place them as coming from orthodox church congregations. However, “Radicalized Christians” always come from a “church” with deviant, unorthodox theology, belief, and practice, and almost always glaringly so.

Remember, that to work, this lie must force equivalencies, so it must also operate in the other direction, by excusing non-Christian groups that produce radicals. Fact is, these radicals ARE coming from orthodox versions of that non-Christian group. This is used against Christians by forcing the equivalency that if orthodox examples of these non-Christian groups are producing radicals and terrorists, then orthodox churches are too.

Except this simply is not the case. Radicals do not radicalize in Christian churches that are not preaching radically deviant beliefs.

We orthodox Christians must speak and stop letting outsiders who claim they understand us propagandize lies about us.

Doctrinal Silence and Spiritual Abuse


There are times when I think Jesus’ spitting on the ground and smearing the resulting mud over the blind man’s eyes gave too many Christians a supposed license to be weirdos in church on Sunday.

I’m not saying Jesus was out of bounds (He enjoyed perfect communion with the Father, remember), only that I wish more Christians showed wisdom in how they dealt with others.

So a guy comes up for healing prayer and is told to lie down while the people stack Bibles on him and then walk around him seven times while chanting. Did the Holy Spirit really direct the people praying to do this? REALLY? And was that direction verified, not only beforehand by checking with the elders but also by noting whether such an odd means of dealing with the problem actually resulted in a positive outcome?

Spiritual abuse has many forms. From bizarre charismania passed off as ministry to the cult of personality favored by some church leader “celebrities,” one can find some type of spiritual abuse in nearly every church. It’s just that most churches and the people in them are often too timid to point out their own failings. And the beat goes on…

While it may be easy for outsiders to walk into a church and immediately notice what might be “off,” people are far better at noticing a present problem than recognizing what is absent.

The issue for us as Christians today is what might be absent may form a more egregious example of spiritual abuse than the presence of any obviously bizarre practice.

Over at Church A, everyone talks about finding freedom in Christ (present) but no one ever talks about the perseverance of the saints (absent). Likewise, at the Church B, the talk is always that the shed blood of Christ on the cross bought healing from sin (present), but no one ever hears the blood and cross bought us healing from physical illness and disease (absent).

At Church A, the people there live in constant fear of losing their salvation. At Church B, people wrongly make peace with their physical sufferings and never take hold of the healing Christ bought them.

When we do not preach the whole Gospel to the whole man, are we not perpetrating spiritual abuse?

I’ve long been a fan of Leonard Ravenhill, the British revivalist. One of his consistent jabs was to call denominations “abominations” and then “correct” himself, as if he’d made a slip of the tongue. Let the nervous tittering commence.

When you get to the heart of this issue, though, the truth hurts, and I think that Ravenhill was closer to the truth regarding denominations than some think.

I enjoy musical theater, and one of my favorite musicals is South Pacific. The theme of that musical concerns racism and its devastating warping of people’s thoughts. The highlight song of that theme is “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” (see video).

The problem with denominationalism and the conformance to one ingrained “brand” of Christianity over another is that such adherence not only teaches through the presence of ideas, it also teaches by absence. You’ve got to be carefully taught, and in many cases what is not taught is as important as what is. And it is the absent teaching that most often rattles people when they encounter other Christians who are content with a valid, present theological concept the “lackees” have never heard (or have been told doesn’t matter). More divisiveness enters the Church for this reason than any other.

If we are not preaching and teaching the entirety of the Gospel, if we pick and choose our theology so as to create doctrinal silence here and there, then it is likely that we are spiritually abusing those charged to our care.