Showing posts with label bilderberg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bilderberg. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Christians and Conspiracy Theories: Witnessing, Romans 1 and An Appeal (Part 4)

Posted by Christine Pack and Cathy Mathews

In the past few days, we've written extensively about Christians and the conspiracy theories, and the wisdom of such a focus. We want to make it clear that just because biblical history records conspiracies doesn't mean that as believers we should study conspiracies. There is plenty of evil in the world that is plain, that we already know of, that we should address. We don't need to decode Katy Perry's or Madonna's or Beyonce's song lyrics according to some conspiracy theory website in order to determine that they are wicked and promoting a wicked lifestyle. It's plain to see from what they have recorded and how they live.

With this is mind, please consider the following two examples for witnessing to the lost:
Christian to a lost person: "Did you notice what Katy Perry was singing about in the half-time show? Her lyrics encourage out-of-wedlock sex and homosexuality. God teaches that fidelity in marriage is a blessing and that homosexuality is a sin in his eyes, let me show you. 
Lost person: It does? Okay, can you show me that?
contrasted with......
Christian to a lost person: Did you watch Katy Perry's Super Bowl performance? First of all, she's the woman who rides the beast from Revelation 17. And about that costume, did you notice....(insert four thousand more words here on the costumes, symbols and hand signals of the half-time show)." 
Lost person: Zzzzzzzz (asleep)
 Romans 1 and Suppressing The Truth In Unrighteousness 

The Bible is all we need in terms of understanding why the lost are enslaved to Satan. Romans 1 stands in stark contrast to the claims of conspiracy theorists on how people become enslaved to sin, which is that these symbols, or hand signals, or corporate logos, or whatever, somehow "condition" people to accept Satan's schemes. But this is simply not true. When unconverted people stand before God at their judgment, God will not say:
"You were under Satan's spell because you looked at a symbol. It was a Satanic symbol, but because you didn't take the time to study symbols, and therefore identify one correctly, you were put into bondage under Satan."
Nor will He say:
"Remember that ad you saw in the magazine that time. Well, it had an embedded Satanic message that your subconscious mind saw, and this ensnared you in Satan's trap. Too bad there was nobody schooled in 'visual literacy' that could have pointed this out to you." ('Visual literacy' is a term that was used by a recent commenter to explain why Christians need to study symbols for occult meaning, and warn others about them.)
No....but what God will say is something like this:
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen." (Romans 1:18-25)
They will be condemned because although God makes His existence self-evident and plain to men, they suppress this truth in unrighteousness.

Men love their sin.

This is what binds men to Satan.

Men are not ensnared unknowingly and unwillingly through subliminal messages or imbedded symbols, but are enslaved knowingly and willingly through denying the clear evidence of their Creator and refusing to honor Him as God or give Him thanks. They refuse to come to Him on the terms He has given (faith in His Son Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins).

That's it. And that is God's own prescription for what enslaves people.

 God's Children Marked By Love 

Given that America has increasingly cast off moral restraint, no-one is denying that there are almost certainly darker times ahead for believers. We're just discouraging the fearmongering websites that cause believers to become, in our experience, angry, paranoid, panicky and mean-spirited when biblically challenged about the wisdom of looking at conspiracy websites. We're not saying all those who frequent conspiracy websites are this way. But Christians are told by God that they WILL be marked by love. Well, many of the conspiracy theorists who have come onto our Facebook wall to debate this in the past few days have been mean, foul-mouthed, unkind, panicky and angry. Those are not the fruits of the Spirit.

 A Final Appeal 

Let me close with a direct appeal to our friends, the conspiracy theorists: please understand that our desire really is to see Christians who are caught up in conspiratorial thinking to become free from this snare. Because even if it's ALL true, every bit of it, so what? What are you going to do with all this information that you get from your conspiracy websites? Are you going to storm the doors and demand answers? They shoot people at the White House for that. You know that, right? What about the resorts where the world leaders are (allegedly) meeting to conspire evil? You can't get in there, those are gated communities, and even if you could, what would you do? Pass out You Might Be An Illuminati Member If..... pamphlets? They'd cart you off and lock you up in a padded cell.

I mean honestly, what is the point of looking at this stuff, and supposedly "educating yourself" on it all? What is the end-game for it?

What lost people need is not a dissertation on evil. They need Christ. They need the gospel message. They need to be helped to understand what sin is, and then told that they need to repent and believe on Christ for the forgiveness of sins.

Let's keep our eyes on the Christ, and make sure we're keeping our hearts pure, and making sure our time is being wisely spent on the study of the Scriptures, and not in hours of time spent poring over conspiracy websites. Let us strive to remember that this increasingly dark world is not our home, but that we can entrust whatever wickedness is here to the LORD. May we continue to preach Jesus Christ and him crucified. And when souls are saved through the preaching of the gospel, those new believers WILL leave behind the trappings of the world of their own accord, because He who has begun a good work in them will bring it to completion, will He not?
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim 3:16-17) 
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Phil 4:8)
"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." (1 Peter 3:15)
"The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day." (Prov 4:18)
* * * * * * * *

The rest of this series can be read here:
PART 1 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories (Katy Perry, the 2015 Super Bowl halftime performances, Now The End Begins website)  
PART 2 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories (Madonna, the 2015 Grammys)  
PART 3 - Conspiracy Theories: Dark Times, Truth, Lies and Where Christians Should Put Their Focus
PART 5 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories: A Biblical Response (CONCLUSION)

 Additional Resources 

Conspiracy Theories Are Bunk (Dr R Scott Clark, Heidelblog)

The Christian and Conspiracy Theories
 (Ken Samples, Issues Etc.)

David Rockefeller, the New World Order, and the Necessity of Verifying Internet Quotes (Nick Peters)

Why Creation Ministries International Rejects ‘Conspiracy’ Theorizing (Drs Robert Carter and Jonathan Sarfati, Creation Ministries International)

Christians and Conspiracy Theories: A Biblical Response (Part 5 - Conclusion)

Posted by Christine Pack and Cathy Mathews

Read the rest of our series here:
PART 1 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories (Katy Perry, the 2015 Super Bowl halftime performances, Now The End Begins website)  
PART 2 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories (Madonna, the 2015 Grammys)  
PART 3 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories (Dark Times, Truth, Lies and Where Christians Should Put Their Focus)
PART 4 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories: Witnessing, Romans 1 and An Appeal
We understand that there are conspiracy theory ministries who are doing what they think is right, and that, for them, that involves decoding conspiracies and showing Christians that symbols are spiritually compromising them and indoctrinating their children into evil.

We are equally passionately about our position, which we believe is the biblical one. We believe we fight this spiritual battle first and foremost by contending for truth (Jude 1:3) and by contending against arguments and vain speculations raised up in opposition to the Lord.

We also believe it is important to warn Christians against putting undue focus on things we're not commanded to. Scriptures by which we are constrained in this area are Ephesians 6:17, Colossians 2:8 and 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:
"Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:17)
"See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8)
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." (2 Cor 10:3-5)
In contrast to those who believe that evil symbols have inherent power to spiritually compromise people, we believe that the Bible is clear that it is ideologies that are transmitted through words which ensnare and spiritually compromise people. Simply put, ours is a battle of ideas and truth claims.

We're not doubting or minimizing the cunning and guile of the devil. We're not saying that evil doesn't exist, and that Satan isn't real. We affirm that evil exists, and that Satan is real, and that he prowls around the earth, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).

We don't deny that symbols exist. We don't deny that symbols mean certain things to certain people. But just as we cannot know why someone might wear a cross without asking them, we cannot know why they are wearing a different symbol unless we ask them. So instead of spending hours researching the possible meanings, one can simply ask. The meaning of symbols change over time and therefore aren't a fixed reference. What a person believes, confesses, and lives out is what matters. Symbols have no inherent power. Period.

Satan doesn't work his evil through symbols. He works his evil through ideas that are conveyed with words. You don't witness to a lost person ensnared in evil by giving them a dissertation on symbols and the Illuminati. Neither will you find any model or command for that anywhere in scripture. You convey to them, with words, the truth of Jesus Christ and him crucified for the forgiveness of sins.

And when a person is saved, they will leave their wickedness behind on their own accord, in the same way that as a new believer, I (Christine) gathered up 3 garbage bags full of occult materials that I had in my house and destroyed them. I didn't destroy them because they had inherent power, but because they were part of a life that belonged to a person I no longer was. I was born again, with new beliefs, and new desires. The old was gone, and the new had come.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Cor 5:17)
We urge Christians not to waste time researching symbols and their supposed connections to (alleged) secret societies on fearmongering conspiracy websites that are sensationalistic and only feed the flesh, only to reach conclusions that are already explicitly stated in scripture: people are born wicked and are in the kingdom of darkness and are the children of Satan and enslaved to him and to sin. They will remain in this state until they hear the gospel and are converted and transferred into the Kingdom of light. And when souls are saved, those new believers will leave behind the trappings of the world of their own accord.

Ours is not a battle of flesh and blood, but of truth, ideological truth, which we must use words to communicate. Simply put, we preach Jesus Christ and him crucified for the forgiveness of sins, and this for the salvation of souls, and to the glory of God.

 Additional Resources 

Conspiracy Theories Are Bunk (Dr R Scott Clark, Heidelblog)

The Christian and Conspiracy Theories
 (Ken Samples, Issues Etc.)

David Rockefeller, the New World Order, and the Necessity of Verifying Internet Quotes (Nick Peters)

Why Creation Ministries International Rejects ‘Conspiracy’ Theorizing (Drs Robert Carter and Jonathan Sarfati, Creation Ministries International)

 Facebook Discussions 

Symbols and conspiracy theories, and the proper place for them in the Christian walk (9-30-13)

Conspiracy theory films (12-2-13)

Conspiracy theories and the Christian (12-31-13)

Warning about Now The End Begins conspiracy website (2-2-15)

Christians and conspiracy theories, the New Age, Jesuits, Illuminati (2-4-15)

Christians and conspiracy theories, Madonna, Katy Perry, symbols and conspiracy theories (2-4-15)

Christians and conspiracy theories, 2015 Grammys (2-9-15)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Christians and Conspiracy Theories (Part 1)

Posted by Christine Pack
"For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: 'Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.'" (Isaiah 8:11-13)
Yes, the world is wicked. And yes, a lot of that in-your-face wickedness was on display, both visually and lyrically, in many ways during the 2015 Super Bowl half-time show. But as Christians, we have an obligation before the watching world to be steady and wise and  biblically grounded in our thinking.

Take for example, an article from the conspiracy-focused website called Now The End Begins, entitled: Ex-Christian Katy Perry Promotes Dark Magic and LGBT Agenda at 2015 Super Bowl Halftime Show. This article, which claims that various performers in the 2015 Super Bowl half-time show were openly broadcasting the intentions of the Illuminati and the New World Order, has been popping up in my Facebook newsfeed all day, having been posted by fellow Christians. For those who have never heard those terms before, the Illuminati and the New World Order are believed to be organizations in which Satan's followers gather in secret to plan evil deeds, but they will occasionally come out into the open, it is believed, to broadcast Satan’s intentions to the world, which they do through various costumes and hand signals.  Beyonce making a triangle with her fingers during a stage performance was one widely quoted example of this, and so was Madonna's half-time Super Bowl costume from a few years ago. What are these high level occultists supposed to be broadcasting? The code-breakers can't quite figure it out, but they insist that something evil is going on. From the article:
In the recent years the Super Bowl, almost always the highest-rated and most-watched television broadcast on the planet, has given over it’s famed Halftime Show to trumpet the cause of the New World Order and the Illuminati. And as referenced in our opening bible verse at the top of the story, the Illuminati knows that it is “their hour”, and they are defiantly out in the open. (online source)
But as Christian researcher Marcia Montenegro wrote a few years ago, symbols vary from culture to culture, and don't always mean the same things (read her article entitled Demystifying Symbols here).

These conspiracy sites are concerning for two reasons:

(1) They confuse and mislead Christians about what the occult is. The occult is not about symbols that are embedded in the landscape, and which must be decoded. It is not about tracking conspiracies like a bloodhound, and examining all the (supposedly) dropped-breadcrumb-clues of the Illuminati when they (supposedly) broadcast their intentions, and then unraveling the mystery about what wealthy industrialist knows what world leader, and what they were really (wink wink) doing together at that private resort. (What were they really doing? Planning chem-trail routes and other nefarious evils? No, they were drinking whisky, smoking cigars and comparing their golf scores. That's what they were doing.)

(2) While it is true that evil does exist on a rampant scale, we only need God's word, which is our standard for what is good and holy and righteous, to be able to understand what is wrong and unholy and unrighteous. We don't need to be unraveling conspiracies and trying to figure out if the wealthy elite of the world are getting together to conspire and scheme in smoke-filled rooms. We already know there is evil. We already understand that there is an evil force that is alive and well, and operating in the world, and it is Satan. And we know this from God's word, not from unraveling supposed conspiracies. But, as Christians, we know that truth and light overcome lies and darkness, and so let us take seriously our mandate to proclaim these truths to those taken captive by the world's system.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:1-5)
As believers we know that Satan IS a real entity who prowls the earth seeking whom he may devour, and that he always has his willing agents from generation to generation. So it can be tricky coming to a biblical understanding of the right filter through which to see the world. Nonetheless, it's important for Christians to strive to think as biblically as possible in this area, as in all other areas, because not only will our Christians walks be strengthened, but we will become steadier and steadier as we continue to fix our eyes more and more upon Christ “the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

To learn more about the conspiracy mindset, please read some of these Facebook threads in which we discuss the conspiratorial worldview, and why such thinking can so seriously hinder a Christian's walk.
Symbols and conspiracy theories (9-30-13) 
Conspiracy theory films  (12-2-13)
Conspiracy theories and the Christian (12-31-13)
Be cautious of those teaching a conspiratorial worldview (12-16-13) 
King James Onlyism and how it is conspiratorial thinking (9-28-13)
King James Onlyism, Textus Receptus and Jesuit Change Agents.....oh my! (10-1-13)

photo credit: tempusfugate via photopin cc

The rest of this series is linked below:
PART 2 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories (Madonna, the 2015 Grammys)  
PART 3 - Conspiracy Theories: Dark Times, Truth, Lies and Where Christians Should Put Their Focus 
PART 4 - Christians and Conspiracy Theories: Witnessing, Romans 1 and An Appeal
PART 5 - CONCLUSION Christians and Conspiracy Theories: A Biblical Response 

 Additional Resources 

Conspiracy Theories Are Bunk (Dr R Scott Clark, Heidelblog)

The Christian and Conspiracy Theories (Ken Samples, Issues Etc.)

David Rockefeller, the New World Order, and the Necessity of Verifying Internet Quotes (Nick Peters)

Why Creation Ministries International Rejects ‘Conspiracy’ Theorizing (Drs Robert Carter and Jonathan Sarfati, Creation Ministries International)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dr. James White (AOMin), Fred Butler (GTY) Weigh In On The Problem With Conspiracy Videos

Posted by Christine Pack
"I have a loved one who is into political conspiracy theories. For example, a couple of years ago, he told me a few months before the Presidential election that it would not take place because the US would be under martial law by that time and Obama would be ruler for life. Innocent citizens will be shot down by drones as they're walking down the street. The Illuminati is behind everything. There are secret military training camps hidden all over the country. His latest is hiding away survival materials in the instance that he would need to protect himself against government attacks. I'm starting to worry about his sanity. Still, he is a strong, Bible-believing Christian. Are there any biblical resources out there that I can pass along to him to perhaps persuade him to forget all this craziness and trust Christ?" (message received from a reader of our blog)
Why do people become captivated by conspiracy theories? Why do some otherwise rational thinkers begin to follow rabbit trails in their thinking, rabbit trails which conjure up all manner of nefarious mischief being plotted, when there is no evidence to support their beliefs? More specifically, why do some Christians become ensnared by such thinking, given that, of all people in the world, Christians should be those with the most hope and the most joy, and should not given to suspicious, paranoid thinking, such as is engendered by the conspiratorial worldview? Is there even a balanced way to think about conspiracy theories? What about secret plots that have existed over the years and which have come to light (such as the KGB brainwashing, Nazi human experimentation, etc.)?

With those thoughts in mind, I would like to point our readers to two of today's Christian writers who are tackling this topic of the conspiratorial worldview head on. On a recent Dividing Line program, Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries discussed the production of conspiracy videos in which spooky, manipulative music and leading language take the place of actual scholarly data. The specific film being discussed was Tares Among The Wheat by filmmaker and talk show host Chris Pinto, and in this segment, Dr. White christened Pinto's filmmaking style as the "the spooky music proof approach." Unfortunately, the sad reality is that these fringy films have a way of getting around in the Christian community, and thus it is a real service to the body of Christ for our respected leaders to acknowledge that these films are out there, and take the time the refute them, as Dr. White has done. (The segment begins at about the 11 minute mark in the video below.)

(NOTE: Dr. James White of AOMin also recently participated in a public debate with Chris Pinto regarding the issue of Codex Sinaiticus as a Jesuit can listen to the debate in its entirety here.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Writer Fred Butler (who works with John MacArthur's GTY media ministry) has also weighed in on Chris Pinto's film with his article entitled Tares Among The Wheat, A Review. In his review, Butler noted that the reason he felt the need to review this film was because Chris Pinto has been given credibility by his association with a Christian ministry that has a number of credible teachers associated with it. From Butler's article:
"Someone who is driven by a conspiratorial world view isn’t taken seriously by most regenerated, sober-minded, Bible-believing Christians. However, within the last few years, Pinto has gained more recognition by being numbered among Brannon Howse’s Worldview Weekend ministry partners. A conspiracy theorist is featured along with other reputable Christian men including John Whitcomb, pastor Mike Abendroth, Justin Peters, and Erwin Lutzer.  That association provides him some credibility that I don’t believe he deserves, nor is it one the Christian church at large needs." (online source)
As I've written before, my own thinking became fear-based for a brief season of my Christian walk by scaremongering radio shows, websites and videos. After all, as an ex-occultist, I am fully aware that there is genuine evil out there, that occultic and New Age groups do use occultic symbols, etc., etc. It was only in conversations with my friend Marcia Montenegro (who is also a former occultist/New Ager and who writes for Christian Answers For The New Age) that my own thinking became more biblically aligned. Out of those conversations, I asked Marcia to write an article on symbols that really was a turning point in my own Christian walk as far as steadying me in this regard. (You can read that article here.) So please understand that my true desire is to exhort my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to guard their minds against this kind of fear-based teaching. God did NOT mean for us to walk in fear! Yes, it is true that Jesus, Paul, and most (if not all) of the apostles were targeted by conspiratorial groups (which were in all likelihood guided by Satan), groups that sought and achieved their deaths. And yet, Scripture nowhere exhorted them (and by extension, us) to focus on the evidences of these conspiracies, but only to continue studying God's word, growing in the faith, and sharing Christ with the lost.

 God's Sovereignty 

When I did a Precepts study on the book of Isaiah a few years ago, one of my takeaways from that year of study was a real wonder and marvel at the sovereignty of God. Such knowledge brings what can only be described as a supernatural peace, and I truly wish this kind of peace for my Christian brothers and sisters enslaved to a focus on Conspiracy Theories. In Isaiah, God reveals himself as an omnipotent being so powerful that He has the ability to swing the pagan rulers over his head like a club and mete out punishment to the Israelites using these pagan kings as a disciplining tool. He reveals himself as a God who knows the end from the beginning, as a God who sets up (and takes down) rulers, as the One who says "I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass." (Isa 46:11) Such knowledge of God should bring us peace and joy, even in the midst of this dark and crooked generation in which we live.

A very helpful passage from Isaiah 8 (below) very specifically and pointedly addresses conspiracies, one of the few places in Scripture where God does so. And before I get a barrage of emails with scriptures mentioning plots and conspiracies, please try to understand that just because there are Bible verses that do mention plots and conspiracies, this does NOT mean that Christians should extrapolate out from that that we should spend hours of our time on the internet, attempting to connect this nefarious group to that nefarious group. That's a very, very poor hermeneutic.
"For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: 'Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.'" (Isaiah 8:11-13)
I have personally dealt with Christians completely ensnared to the conspiratorial worldview, and if you try to lovingly and gently point out why this type of material isn’t edifying to the Christian walk, ah well, then, *you* must therefore be part of The Big Conspiracy. You’re not a fellow Christian, you’re One Of Them. It’s very tidy, how this whole cottage industry first preys upon people’s fears and then answers back to the naysayers who would attempt to bring in a reasoned, biblical response to those ensnared by the teachings being peddled. And make no mistake: there is an entire cottage industry of these kinds of videos that lurks within Christendom, ready to prey upon Christian’s fears. Illuminati! Bilderberg! The all-seeing-eye! Oh my! It’s a real moneymaking endeavor for the person who can convince his audience that he alone is the decoder who can help them Connect The Dots, because well, they will just keep coming back for more…and more…and more. What I eventually began to realize, through God’s grace and the Holy Spirit growing me in discernment, was that God truly never meant for us to walk in fear of Satan’s schemes, but by being undergirded with the truth of God’s word which commands us to fear ONLY the Lord (Prov 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”).

In closing, I want to say clearly that while the conspiracy stuff is not considered an essential, this is still NOT a minor issue. Conspiratorial thinking is not only not edifying to the Christian walk, but as I stated earlier, nowhere in Scripture are we taught to unravel supposed conspiracies. Instead, we're to keep our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:2). I know several Christians who attest to having gotten involved with this conspiracy stuff, and that it made them fearful, anxious and perhaps even a tad pietistic (and I mean "pietistic" in the sense of feeling one has superior knowledge to other "lesser" Christians who are supposedly clueless of all these supposed secret societies actively working to do spiritual mischief). A Christian friend, who at one time was ensnared by the conspiratorial mindset, made the following remark to me:
"All I know is my family used to joke around about me wearing a tin foil hat. Were they intrigued? Yes. I could tell them all kinds of Illuminati, Masonic, Satan worship, mind stealing stories and keep them glued to my pc for hours!!! Did they get saved? No. Did they hear the gospel? Not really. They wanted to hear more conspiracy junk over what the Bible has to say. They didn't care if I had any good MacArthur downloads. I'm glad I turned away from that stuff because there isn't a whole lot I can do about the New World Order. But....God can and God is still on the throne and I'd much rather prepare myself to meet Him. He's really the one we should fear and not the Jesuits creeping around. Let 'em creep. God's watching them and they can only do what He allows. Why scare the heck out of yourselves and your loved ones? Not edifying at all."
To answer the question posed at the beginning of this article about whether or not there is a balanced way for Christians to view conspiracy theories, the answer is yes, there is. Simply put, it involves weighing actual evidence, and not just relying on anecdotal accounts or speculation. Of all people, Christians know that there is real evil in the world, and that we have a real Adversary, a real spiritual presence that is alive and well and active in the world today ("Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8). But, we also know that a sovereign Lord  rules and reigns over the affairs of man, and that what we are commanded to do is simple: contend for truth and share the gospel.
"Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." (Hebrews 12:1-2a)
"Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, 'The LORD reigns!'" (1 Chronicles 16:31)
"Say among the nations, 'The LORD reigns.' The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity." (Psalm 96:10)
"The LORD reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake." (Psalm 99:1)
"The LORD has established His throne in the heavens; And His sovereignty rules over all." (Psalm 103:19)
"In the LORD's hand the king's heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him." (Proverbs 22:1)
"Thus says the LORD, 'Do not learn the way of the nations, and do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens Although the nations are terrified by them'" (Jeremiah 10:2)
"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." (Romans 13:1)
"It is God changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding." (Daniel 2:21)
"Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints." (Jude 1:3)
"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2)
Satan is alive and well, and is a very real and active presence in the world today. We're not to be ignorant of his schemes (2 Cor 2:11), but only in the sense that we need to know how to tear down the strongholds of worldly wisdom raised up against God's unchanging truth, and that we do by applying God's word, rightly divided, "for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds" (2 Cor 10:4). The answer is to refute the false beliefs with truth from God's word. Our battle is doctrinal, it has to do with ideas, not with things like decoding symbols or connecting the dots from this nefarious group to that nefarious group. With all this in mind, not only do I now refuse to have any part of any ministry actively selling videos that serve to ensnare Christians with a conspiratorial worldview, I would even go a step further and say that because I see such thinking as being so potentially damaging to the Christian walk, I believe I have something of a responsibility to actively warn against teachings that serve to create such a mindset. And thankfully, more Christians (James White of AOMin, Fred Butler of GTY, etc.) are also now beginning to weigh in on this topic. It's an important issue to address and for all of us as Christians to be mindful of as we navigate our own Christian walks.

photo credit: James Provost via photopin cc

 Resources About Conspiracy Theories 
The Christian and Conspiracy Theories (Ken Samples, Issues Etc.)
The Christian and Conspiracies (Faith Defenders)
Christians and Conspiracy Theories: A Call to Repentance (Acts 17:11 Ministry)
David Rockefeller, the New World Order, and the Necessity of Verifying Internet Quotes