Mark Twain once said, “there are lies, dammed lies, and then there are statistics.” Unfortunately for all of us, Mr. Clemens was wrong. When it comes to manipulating truth, there is something more dangerous than statistics—doctrines of demons.
Last time, we talked about the pearl of great price. That is what Jesus compared finding the Kingdom of Heaven (Mat 13:46) to. The parable tells us that the person that finds this pearl would willingly make any trade necessary to own the pearl. The pearl not only represents the Kingdom but also represents Truth. Like the pearl of great price, the Truth today is nearly impossible to find.
On the other hand, doctrines of demons are readily available anywhere you look.
Versions of the “truth.”
One of the difficulties we encounter today is that there seem to be multiple versions of the facts. Even as I write this, there are people out there disagreeing on simple facts. This can range from the current debate on the origins of the Covid-19 virus to whether Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon to the more tragic holocaust deniers.
If you ask around, you’ll find people that don’t tie the Chinese government to the covid outbreak in any way, don’t believe we landed on the moon, and have never heard of or don’t believe the “official” holocaust story.
Start with distortions
Now, you might think, “people are people, and they come in all shades and shapes and sizes and opinions.” If that were the only thing at stake, it wouldn’t matter to anyone. However, the truth is much more sinister. The different versions of the “truth” are necessary to distort the Truth; having a binary conversation between up or down, left or right, right or wrong is much more effective for distortion when there are many “shades of truth.”
Distortions are the easiest ways to get rid of the truth. Take the actual truth and run countless different strains of it. With each version having a slight variation, everyone will believe that their version is ‘true’ to the original. However, confusion is the only logical result once these ideas meet in the open “marketplace.” With so many versions available, not only will people question the truthfulness of other people’s versions but eventually question their own.
Nowhere is this more apparent in society than the subject of sexuality. Just 50 years ago, terms like “deviant” were commonplace in sociology literature when discussing homosexual tendencies. It was an insult on the part of the sociologists as much as it was a way to describe the behavior: a deviation from the norm. It’s hard to imagine that it only took less than a generation to get to where we are now.
Terms like “non-binary,” “fluidity,” and “seeking” are commonplace, and it has reached epidemic levels in our schools. But, unlike “deviant,” the new terms are neither meant to explain, describe nor inform—quite the opposite. Instead, the demons in charge choose them to create the greatest gray areas, where the largest possible souls can commit themselves to a lost eternity. Such terminology makes it possible for 9 billion people on the planet to have different points of view on something that our nature has established for millennia.
There is no better example of this than television. When HBO first came on the scene, it was mostly a place where you could find movies that had recently been in the theaters that had not yet made their way to “rabbit ear antenna” tv.
The same television service is now filled with movies that could quite easily pass off as pornography. The fact that modern homes have multiple televisions where adults and children are not usually watching in the same room makes the distribution of this material even more prolific among children than ever.
Not subtle enough
As we mentioned before, society didn’t arrive here overnight. It was a slow, constant, intentional march in this direction. If you’ve ever read the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, you’ll know what I mean. You may hear people talk about a “swinging pendulum” and how it was worse when they were young. I don’t argue that the wild public orgies of the sexual revolution seem like a thing of the past. However, the spirit of that “godless freedom” remained in society even after the public orgies went back into the closet (for the most part).
When truth can be distorted so easily and gradually enough to avoid detection, the points of view and perspectives multiply. Soon, the sheer plurality searches for truth no longer a sensible goal. In such a situation, it is easier to seek consensus and compromise, preferably with a total absence of truth of any kind. As far as doctrines go, relativism is among the preferred by demons.
With objective Truth defanged by 9 billion distortions of lesser value and the meaning of Truth buried by the gradual crossbreeding of the Truth, dilution of the Truth the result. But the goal can only be relativism. Since the Truth is so strongly diluted, it must mean that there is no truth. Better yet. It is all true.
Suddenly, everyone with an opinion is a Master of the Universe in the making. Over-confident and under-educated, he is civil society’s worst nightmare. You cannot argue with this modern man. He knows it all: “God is dead… and we have killed him”, he’ll chant, thinking it came from some modern rock song.
This homo-modernus has finally met a god he can live with: himself. He is all-knowing. He is also petty, cruel, proud, and a scoffer of things about his paygrade. He’s given to fits of murderous rage, drug-induced psychotic episodes, and freedom of libido without precedent. This modern man looks more like the ancient Greek gods every day.
Why are you telling me this?
Great question. Because that description can fit just as easily in the church as it does outside, we have let distortions, ever-so-minute, crawl into the Church. We have allowed these distortions to fester and multiply and become a confusing Gordian knot. Since such things are better left untangled, we have decided to look the other way. After all, confronting some of these issues may affect church attendance and the all-important one as well: giving.
Gradually, left unchecked, these ideas and doctrines of demons take on a life of their own. Well-intentioned churches, pastors, and congregations conclude it’s better to compromise than deal with the consequences. Don’t believe me? Have a conversation about politics with your pastor. See how long that friendship survives that encounter.
I need more
Still not convinced? Here’s proof. The State of California is home to the largest and biggest and wealthiest congregations in the country. Yet, their elected officials seem to take their policy directives directly from doctrines of demons.
With abortions and late-term abortions and late-late-term abortions, you would have to think that these super-mega-churches have no political clout whatsoever, nor do any congregants vote. Yet, they had Reagan as governor with no mega-churches but Newsom as governor with the mega-churches. You see the irony there?
Doctrines of demons?
Ok. So now you’re on board but still think that calling them doctrines of demons is a stretch. After all, we’re all still Christians. Good point. So let’s see what the Word has to say on the subject.
1Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, 2through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. 3They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods that God created to be received with gratitude by those who believe and know the truth. 4For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5since it is sanctified by the word of God and by prayer.
At this point, it might be worthwhile to make a list of the doctrines of demons that Paul identifies for Timothy. Some are plainer to see than others. The low-lying fruit is probably “legalism.” Don’t touch that, can’t drink this, don’t sit there, say it like that. It reminds me of the scene in Devil’s Advocate: “touch but don’t taste; taste but don’t chew; chew but don’t swallow.”
Legalism is at opioid-epidemic crisis levels in our churches. The same people saved by Grace live under the Law. They tithe as foreigners rather than enter the throne room as sons. With so little understanding of what actually took place on their behalf, they believe the New Testament but practice the Old. Perhaps it’s some kind of insurance policy that I don’t know about.
Where have I seen this before? Who forbids marriage? It’ll come to me. These peddlers of demonic doctrines adhere to legalistic practices that no longer apply to Christians, but they even invent new ones. Furthermore, marriage is the first institution that God created. It’s so important to Him; He set it up in the Garden. In the beginning. So what’s a demonic doctrine to do? Deny, deny, deny! Deny God and His institutions; deny God and the goodness of His Creation.
Forbidding marriage and requiring abstinence from certain foods is only the most apparent of their fruits. If eunuch priests and not eating meat on Fridays where the Church’s greatest physical concerns, we would be in a much better place. No. Their deception goes much deeper than that. Paul described them as liars, hypocrites, and having a seared conscience in his letter to Timothy.
Jesus, in fact, has some very choice words for those who preach and practice such lies. Jesus calls the Devil the “father of lies.” He also calls those that practice deceit the children of the Devil (John 8:44). Lies are their native language, their nature. The Devil, his demons, and those that practice his lifestyle can only teach deceptive doctrines. The Devil was a denier from the Beginning. These preachers of demonic doctrines have all the outside showings of godliness but deny its power.
And so many more
But beyond sex and food, what other doctrines are demonic? It comes down to this: anything that man does to add to the sufficiency of the work that Jesus Christ fully accomplished on the cross is a doctrine of demons. Whether it’s the need to speak in tongues to be saved, to only being allowed to worship on Saturdays, to praying for the salvation of the dead, and so much more, demons have always been active in adding human work to the finished work of the Cross.
God: fickle, petty, and weak
The “little foxes” are usually the ones that destroy the grape harvest (Songs of Sol. 2:15-17). When we think of doctrines of demons, we picture some openly unbiblical statement that “anyone” could plainly recognize. Unfortunately, demons have been working on this for a long time, and their technique has been refined. Things like “God will heal you in His own good time.”
This distortion of the character of God points people back to legalism, where they are looking to check off items from a list of “to-do’s.” The healing that is dependent on you might as well be dependent on your pet. This doctrine teaches that Jesus’ death covered sins only. Your bodily healing is contingent on how well you jump through some hoops.
How many times were you told that if you don’t tithe, “you are robbing God” (Malachi 3:8)? Imagine a human that is able to rob God. And yet, we are constantly told that we don’t receive because we don’t give. Yet, somehow, God is keeping track of our finances, and He will only deliver to us when we’ve reached our minimum required. Just like an earthly father, I guess.
Further still, some doctrines deny the deity of Jesus altogether. Some sects describe Him as “a son of God”; you know which ones those are. Then there are entire religions based on the belief that Jesus was only a prophet. Islam, by definition, is a doctrine of demons. It denies the virgin birth, the death on the Cross, and the resurrection. And this doesn’t just apply to Islam. In fact, any person, group, or religion who does not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh (2 John 1:7) is a liar. And since, as we said before, the Devil is the father of lies, anyone who denies Jesus in the flesh is a child of the Devil.
Let my people think.
I know it sounds harsh. But we all have those friends out there. So, I would encourage you to take this as your notice. You have been served. Make sure you preach to your friends and family members that do not recognize or deny Jesus “come in the flesh.” No three-point sermon is needed. A few words here and there and a life well-lived will do. But should the opportunity present itself, be ready to give the reason for your hope.
Bondservant to Jesus Christ, Married to Michele, Dad to Madelyn, Claudia, and Joseph and educator by trade, apologist by calling and saved by Grace. Antonio loves to read, write, and discuss all-things-apologetics. He has many passions in life including reaching, teaching, and keeping men for Jesus Christ. Waiting on God’s big reveal: Antonio knows He has something beautiful in mind.