Tuesday, February 10, 2015

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 - Dr. Randy White Discusses Christians and Conspiracy Theories 
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)
The John MacArthur NASB study notes on these passages are as follows (I have highlighted in red the passages that I think particularly apply):
'the sword of the Spirit' As the sword was the soldier's only weapon, so God's Word is the only needed weapon, infinitely more powerful than any of Satan's. The Greek term refers to a small weapon (6-18 inches long). It was used both defensively to fend off Satan's attacks, and offensively to help destroy the enemy's strategies. It is the truth of Scripture.
'takes you captive' this is the term for robbery. False teachers who are successful in getting people to believe lies rob them of truth, salvation and blessing. 
'philosophy and empty deception' 'Philosophy' (lit. 'love of wisdom') appears only here in the NT. The word referred to more than merely the academic discipline, but described any theory about God, the world, or the meaning of life. Those embracing the Colossian heresy used it to describe the supposed higher knowledge they claimed to have attained. Paul, however, equates the false teachers' philosophy with 'empty' or worthless 'deception.' (Cf. 1Ti 6:20; see note on 2Cor 10:5). 
'the elementary principles of the world.' (see note on Gal 4:3) Far from being advanced, profound knowledge, the false teachers' beliefs were simplistic and immature, like all the rest of the speculations, ideologies, philosophies, and psychologies the fallen satanic and human system invents.
2 CORINTHIANS 10:3-5  
'war according to the flesh' Although a man, Paul did not fight the spiritual battle for men's souls using human ingenuity, worldly wisdom, or clever methodologies. Such impotent weapons are powerless to free souls from the forces of darkness and bring them to maturity in Christ. They cannot successfully oppose Satanic assaults on the gospel, such as those made by the false apostles at Corinth. 
'our warfare' The motif of the Christian life as warfare is a common one. 
'of the flesh' Human. 
'fortresses' The metaphor would have been readily understandable to the Corinthians since Corinth, like most ancient cities, had a fortress (on top of a hill south of the city) in which its residents could take refuge. The formidable spiritual strongholds manned by the forces of hell can be demolished only by spiritual weapons wielded by godly believers—singularly the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17), since only the truth of God’s Word can defeat satanic falsehoods. This is the true spiritual warfare. Believers are not instructed in the New Testament to assault demons or Satan (Jude 9), but to assault error with the truth. That is our battle (John 17:17; Hebrews 4:12). 
'speculations' Thoughts, ideas, reasonings, philosophies, and false religions are the ideological forts in which men barricade themselves against God and the gospel. 
'every thought captive' Emphasizes the total destruction of the fortresses of human and satanic wisdom and the rescuing of those inside from the damning lies that had enslaved them.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

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.  I (Cathy) wore a cross as an unbeliever. It certainly didn't mean that I was saved. Unfortunately, for people who give weight and credence to symbols, it would have given a false assurance that I was identified with the Lord Jesus Christ, when I most certainly was not.

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 depraved 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 and if 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 

Dr. James White (AOMin), Fred Butler (GTY) Weigh In On The Problem With Chris Pinto's Conspiracy Videos (Sola Sisters)

Tin Foil Hat Theology (Part 1)(Part 2) and (Part 3) (Fred Butler, GTY)

Chris Pinto: A Conspiratorialist Within The Camp (Fred Butler, GTY)

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

David Rockefeller, the New World Order, and the Necessity of Verifying Internet Quotes

Chris Pinto's Conspiracy Theories (Dr James White, Alpha and Omega Ministries 8-29-13)

Chris Pinto's Conspiratorial Worldview (Dr James White, Alpha and Omega Ministries 12-3-13)

 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)