They Came in by the Back Door: How Culture Influences the Church

Suppose you were the security guard of a great house, belonging to an important family, with enormous wealth inside. And one day you notice some thieves have entered the house through a hidden door at the back. But due to the guests being entertained it was difficult to get the attention of the owners of the house regarding this serious threat to their wealth. For one, these thieves dressed up just like the guests, so they blended in quite well. Also, it was hard to convince the owners that anyone could truly get past their security system, plus they hated being interrupted during a party! But as you paid close attention to these guests you noticed they would act like they were interested in the diamond necklaces, the rubies, the gold rings, and the crystalware like they wanted to purchase them, but then they would set them back down and move on. However, as you walked over to the displays of these and into the kitchen area you began to look very closely at them and you could tell there was something not quite right, and as you examined these items with your magnifying glass you finally realized the diamonds had been exchanged for cubic zirconia, the rubies had been traded for lab-created ones, the gold items had been traded for gold-plated only jewelry, and the crystalware had been exchanged for synthetic crystal. You were suddenly alarmed! You even began yelling to the owners to close the doors, lock everyone in, saying “we have a thief in our presence!” But they just told you to stop alarming the guests, everything is fine! They said, “Look, everything is here, nothing has been taken.” Then they went back to the party, assuring the guests that everything was fine, turned up the music, and began drinking again. You were so frustrated that NO ONE WOULD LISTEN. You knew the truth, but no one cared enough to listen to you. After all, you were just an ordinary security guard. You weren’t “fancy and rich” like all the guests. You were nobody to the owners. But you stood your ground. You did your job. You tried to warn everyone.

This is the story I have been living for years now. And I, but not me only, am the “security guard.” I have been trained to “guard” something very precious in God’s house, the Word of Truth. I spent many years training just so that I could tell a counterfeit when it was within my sight. I studied day and night to show myself capable of defending the truth, “for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:13-14), and this is what I have done. I have analyzed the details, the history, the people, the times, the methods, and the words, over and over so that I might discern truth from error and light from darkness. Well, as the security guard, I noticed thieves entering through the back door of the House of Worship. They dressed like everyone else, they spoke like everyone else, but it was their ideas that were unique. I recognized these ideas because I had heard them before. I had learned them in school, from the media, the culture spoke of them, my parents spoke of them; I heard them in social settings, from the counselor, and from the psychologist and psychiatrist. And it is not that these were “bad” ideas necessarily. in fact, they sounded quite rational. And that is it, they sound “good” but not the “best”; they sound smart but not “wise”; they do “hold truths” but are not the truth. But, like I said above, I had studied the Word of Truth so that I might immediately recognize a counterfeit when I saw one. And this I did! I recognized it due to the years of training with the real thing. So, what did I do? Well, any “good” security guard would alert the ones in charge of the House of Worship so that they might catch the thief and put him where he belongs, in prison, till the Judge deals with him, on the Last Day. But Satan, or the Devil, is crafty, and slippery as a serpent and difficult to catch. And like him, his servants are quite crafty, “and no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). When Satan’s servants come in disguised as “rational, good, intelligent, healthy, culturally sound” ideas they can be difficult to pull apart or “separate” from the Truth. But again, the one trained to recognize the lies of the Enemy is always on the alert: Therefore, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). And when the security guard is watching over the Master’s Word he must alert all who are in danger otherwise he is not doing his job, is he? You see, the Enemy sneaks in unnoticed and exchanges the whole truth for half-truths and takes the counsel of God out of the pastor’s mouth and replaces it with the counsel of men. This “other” wisdom sounds appetizing because it never confronts sin or convicts hearts and it is easy to swallow. So, the “watcher of the Word” alerts the pastors and leaders to warn that a Thief has entered the House of Worship. But what happens if these leaders have, over time, been eating and drinking from magazines, books, podcasts, groups, conferences, and teachings from other leaders who have not been feasting on the pure milk of the Word (1 Pet. 2:2) and now your own pastors have allowed “good sounding” yet unbiblical teachings to enter the church? Well, you must decide, do you confront the pastors, or do you walk away? “If” you are to do your job as a “Watcher of Truth” you must be faithful to the ultimate Master of the House, Jesus, who has placed you in the position of watching and of protecting the Truth of His Word, even if your warning goes unheard. And if you are “unheard” then you are free to remove yourself and place yourself where the wealth and riches of the Word of Truth are guarded jealously, in a different House of Worship.

Just know that it only takes small compromises in seemingly insignificant areas regarding the Word of Truth to begin to numb oneself to the discernment and wisdom which can only come from the Spirit of Truth who will ONLY speak what is TRUE.

The Word says that at the end of time it will be those who did not “love” the truth who will reject Jesus, saying “…because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (2 Thess. 2:10b, emphasis mine). And this is KEY: the ONLY way to assure you will never stray from the truth and be deceived is to “love the truth” more than anything else in the world.

So, to end my message I thought this would be appropriate: “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isa. 40:8, emphasis mine).

Categories HOPE!, Last Days, Truth and ErrorTags ,

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