If I were the devil and knew the greatest threat to my kingdom was a thriving church, what strategy would I utilize? Among my daily chores such as shining my horns and polishing my pitchfork I would also work to undermine the church. Being the OG of lying and the Father of Deception here are some ways I would subtly undermine the church:
1. I would convince modern believers that greed was grace and giving was legalism.
I would use my deceptive deceptiveness to convince, especially the American believers, that being a New Testament believer alleviated them from giving. I would ensure the church was under resourced in the modern world by convincing the most prosperous believers in one of the most prosperous nations of all time that they were “freed” from giving. I would convince them that making Jesus first in their life by tithing of their income was legalism. I would deceive them by having them not realize the only thing they were freed from by not giving was the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the blessing of being a giver, and the eternal reward of sowing into an everlasting kingdom.
2. I would convince modern believers to turn The City on a Hill into a candle in a closet
Perhaps one of my crowning deceptions, I would convince many to deem large, growing churches to be from me and not God. I would convince a church that has complete freedom to grow and thrive to think smaller and have less faith than their persecuted predecessors. Instead of building large, influential churches that would be a beacon of light to the world. I would convince believers that small churches were somehow better, that growth and “numbers” were carnal, and that success meant churches had missed the mark. I would convince believers that having small meetings where everyone got to share a “word” was more important than having church services that evangelized the lost. Billy Graham was way off the mark with those crusades, so was Oral Roberts, Greg Laurie, and Joel Osteen is my direct offspring.
3. I would convince modern believers to allow the abuse of a few to undermine the authority of a cohesive congregation
Never mind the fact that Paul submitted his ministry to the church. Forget about the fact that Peter was submitted to the church. Turn a blind eye to the fact that Jesus said that relational issues were to be submitted to the church. Ignore the fact that Paul elevated the church above even the judicial system for believers in matters of civil disagreement. I would create a culture of consumerism by allowing honor, faithfulness, devotion, and respect for Church government to diminish in the light of self-seeking and self-interest. Hey, your all kings and priests, certainly those terms have no founding in government and order and were intended to lead to a fragmented body of individuals instead of a strong unified corporate entity.
I would also convince readers of this blog to take it more seriously than they should. In addition, I would cause them to think the writer intended for it to be a comprehensive list. I’m deceptive that way.