"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Monday, March 20, 2023



February 1, 2023

T. A. McMahon

The biblical basis for this two-part article is:

2 TIMOTHY 4:3-4
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

In this part, the focus will be on a significant cause that is turning Christendom away from “sound doctrine,” away “from the truth,” and “turned unto fables.” It’s called mysticism.

As we noted, mysticism is the obscurity of biblical doctrine. It is a process of taking the truth of God’s Word and distorting it so badly that it becomes devoid of reason, logic, and common sense. It is a completely subjective process that rejects the objective truth presented in the Scriptures.

Noah Webster, in his 1828 dictionary, defines the doctrine of the mystics as “a religious sect who profess to have a direct intercourse with the Spirit of God.” The communication however, is with demons, all of whom reject God’s truth. Yet it’s good for us as believers to be continually reminded of what God's truth entails.

HEBREWS 2:1 warns us:
“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard [i.e., sound doctrine], lest at any time we should let them slip.”

PSALM 119:160 tells us,
“Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth forever.”

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (JOHN 8:31-32).

Jesus prayed to the Father for believers, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (JOHN 17:17). He is asking that believers in Him be set apart by truth, which is His Word.

What’s being established by these verses and many, many more that could be given is this: The Word of God is truth. It is absolute truth. All things that are consistent with the Word of God are true. Anything that is contradictory to the Word of God is false. It’s a lie. God’s Word is unequivocally—God’s Word. It is His revelation to mankind. Mankind had no part in that revelation other than what God’s prophets received from Him and subsequently wrote down. That’s it. They simply transcribed what the Holy Spirit gave them.

It is all of God. It is all objective truth given throughout the Scriptures. Why is that critical for believers to understand? It’s the basis for discerning truth from error. A believer needs only to search the Scriptures to know whether or not a teaching is true. We’re told to look to the Word of God (ACTS 17:11), and if what’s being put forth by teachers regarding a doctrine or practice is not according to Scripture, “...it is because there is no light in them” (ISAIAH 8:20). They are false teachers and their words are not true.

So how does Satan, the father of lies, make his lies acceptable? That’s where mysticism comes in.

Remember, mysticism is the process of creating doctrinal confusion by putting forth teachings that have no reasonable, rational, logical, or common-sense basis. That would seem to be the end of the Adversary’s scheme to deceive humanity. But it’s not. It’s simply a shift in the strategy that he used in seducing Eve. It began with Satan questioning God’s Word before her: “Hath God said?” Satan followed that up by declaring that she would “not surely die.” Well, she ate of the fruit, and she immediately died spiritually! Satan’s positive mental attitude for Eve, as with all of his lies, has no possibility of coming true. That’s where mysticism comes into play.

Mysticism creates an environment that is purely mental. It’s the stuff of the imagination that has no basis in reality. Yet it’s sold on the idea that it can and will become a reality. His lies never have and never will come to pass. That being the case, he has to draw people into the world of the imagination, a world of make-believe, a world that can’t be challenged on the basis of reason or objective truth. It’s a world that is completely subjective. It’s driven by emotions, the state of one’s mind, attitudes, moods, feelings, and so forth.

That’s the world—but we also find it making inroads in the church. Questions asked in many Sunday school classes too often are along the line of “How do you ‘feel’ about this verse or that verse?” Obviously, feelings cannot decide what’s true or false. They are just the way a person feels, irrespective of evidence to the contrary. That's the perfect scenario for what the Bible calls “strong delusion,” which God will send upon those “who believed not the truth” (2 THESS 2:11-12).

Let me give you what I believe are examples of strong delusion. All sin is delusionary to some degree, yet some things are over the top. The lie of Godhood for created beings qualifies. As noted in Part 1, Lucifer took that leap of faith in Heaven (ISAIAH 14:14). Eve was deluded into thinking that she too could “become as God.” Yet, without even a clue of that being able to take place, they were seduced by strong delusion. How strong?

That’s the lie that’s being sold throughout the world, and that will be at the heart of the religion and kingdom of the Antichrist (2 THESS 2:4). Evolution certainly qualifies. There is nothing about evolution that is true. Nothing. Yet it has convinced the world and many throughout Christianity of its so-called reality.

TTUF Note: If you haven’t checked out Russ Miller’s ministry CREATION, EVOLUTION And SCIENCE, here’s your chance!

Psychology qualifies, specifically psychotherapy. It also has convinced the world and much of the church of its alleged scientifically based beneficial claims, all of which are false. Those turning to so-called Christian psychology, with its spiritual implications, only compounds the delusion.

Check out the TTUF article: The CHURCH HAS BEEN PSYCHED!

Running rampant in Christendom are related delusional programs that have no basis in Scripture (or reality, for that matter) such as the Contemplative Spirituality Movement, the myths surrounding the Catholic Desert Fathers, the promotion of the Enneagram, Gnosticism in the early church, and the later Word/Faith heresies of today.

Contemplative spirituality has seduced many of the highly influential evangelical leaders of our day such as Richard Foster, Rick and Kay Warren, Chuck Swindoll, and Beth Moore, to name but a few (see A Time of Departing, page 7), by turning them to Eastern meditation. That enticing lie claims that stilling the mind will enable them to hear directly from God, thereby opening one up to achieving an intimate relationship with Jesus. Many are claiming that focusing on “sound doctrine” has dried up their personal relationship with the Lord, which is nothing less than a fulfillment of the prophecy of

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.”

There are a host of others that make up Satan's devices in our time of strong delusion and increasing apostasy, but I want to zero in on what is the most popular strong delusion impacting Christendom in our day and explain what makes it so. 

2 TIMOTHY 4:4 declares: 
“And they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables.” Some Bible translations use the word myths rather than fables. Both words are defined as made-up stories, fiction, fabrications, stories not based upon truth.

Before I became a born-again, biblical Christian, I was a myth-and-fable maker. I applied that craft as a screenwriter in Hollywood. The job entailed making up original stories, or stories based upon books or peoples’ lives, or historic events. All theatrical movies are made up, even though some are promoted as being based upon actual events. “Based upon” is a phrase meaning that it’s Hollywood’s interpretation of history.

My primary function as a screenwriter was manipulating the emotions of movie-going audiences: make them laugh, make them cry, frighten them, stimulate their desires, make them cry out for vengeance, or put them in a euphoric state. If some of that wasn't actually taking place or being entertaining and effective in the movies I wrote, it would have meant a disastrous consequence for the box-office returns. It also would make getting my next writing assignment more difficult.

So, we’ve seen that controlling the emotions of an audience is the chief function of movies. That’s what makes them the most seductive and influential medium in the world today. And the leader in that realm of religious influence is the film series The Chosen. It completely qualifies in every aspect as an example of strong delusion. Furthermore, it has turned millions—non-Christians, professing Christians, and many true Christians—to “fables.” All of its episodes are made up by its Mormon production company as well as its hired screenwriters, directors, and actors who contribute to the stories.

See The BEREAN CALL interview Tom McMahon had with the producers of The Chosen, here!

As a movie, it is a medium that is driven by controlling emotions and has no basis in biblical truth. Most of the interviews of those who previewed The Chosen's successful debut in theaters spoke glowingly of how emotionally affected, even overwhelmed, they were at the screening. Why would that be when all the characters that appear on screen are false representations of those found in the Bible, and most importantly—a false Jesus Christ? Obviously, they were blinded to that fact by their emotions, their feelings.

Any attempts to portray Jesus by an actor are acts of blasphemy. Although blasphemy is considered by most people as contemptuous or irreverent words against God, the primary meaning of blasphemy is characterizing Him in ways that are not true to who He truly is. That takes place whenever an actor tries to represent Jesus.

For those who don’t see the problem of someone portraying the Lord, I would ask them to please re-evaluate their view of the biblical Jesus. Is He the one that Scripture tells us is God manifest in the flesh? Isn’t He the image of the invisible God? Are you aware that “in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (1 TIM 3:16; COL1:15; 2:9)?

Are those attributes of Deity attainable for sinful man? Can they possibly be reproduced in a movie? What’s your response? That’s critical because it influences your relationship with Jesus just as someone portraying or pretending to be your spouse would adversely affect that personal relationship.

As I’ve had numerous opportunities to share my perspective on The Chosen in articles, at conferences, in private talks, the most common response I’ve received goes like this: “Well...I hear what you’re saying, but I’m sorry, I just don’t feel that way.”

On the one hand, I’m continually grieved by that response. On the other hand, it confirms the abandonment of sound doctrine and turning instead to fables—fables as prophesied in 2 TIM 4:3-4. Remember, mysticism is a lie that has no basis in reality. It is a construct of the imagination that is furthered by demons. That’s why The Chosen is the ultimate example. (See this month’s Q&A on page 3 for an expanded definition of mysticism.)

Yet the problem goes deeper into The Chosen's pit of delusion. The series is produced by a cult: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is nothing about the Mormon religion that is true. Nothing. When the Scriptures declare men will turn to myths or fables, Mormonism epitomizes that.

Although the Book of Mormon claims to be the “most correct book of any book on earth and the keystone” of the LDS religion, it is total fiction. It is contradictory to the truth in all of its declarations. It has been completely disproved by archaeology, by linguistics, by geography, and its claim that North and Central American Indians are all descendants of the Jews has been completely discredited by DNA science.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the first contemporary religion to clearly teach the lie that the Serpent offered to Eve—that humans could become Gods. Their prophet and fifth Mormon president, Lorenzo Snow, claimed that he was given a revelation by the Holy Spirit that “As man now is, God once was. As God now is, man may be.” The Book of Mormon—their “most correct book”—is a complete fraud conjured up by Joseph Smith in the 1830s. Nevertheless, it has seduced millions of Latter-day Saints even though what they believe in never took place. And the deception is not just duping Mormons.

It’s ensnaring many of those whom you would think would have biblical discernment and especially those who have the responsibility as shepherds of protecting their sheep.

Tragically, many of them are Calvary Chapel pastors. Although Greg Laurie now has his own ministry called Harvest, he started out in ministry with Chuck Smith. This is from an interview that Laurie did recently with Jonathan Roumie, the actor who played “Jesus Christ” in The Chosen. Roumie, by the way, is also an evangelist for the Roman Catholic Church. He took The Chosen’s writer/director Dallas Jenkins, a professing evangelical, to Rome to meet with the pope, who applauded the movie series.

Laurie stated in the interview (available on Harvest’s own YouTube channel) that “God had put [Roumie] in a very strategic place” in playing the character of “Jesus.”

He then declared, “I think this series is fantastic.” Again, I’m just quoting what he said, so don’t think I’m “attacking” him. In his own words he is stating what he clearly believes. Laurie continued, “The actors are doing an amazing job in bringing Bible stories to life for a whole new generation.” No, they are not Bible stories according to screenwriter Jenkins, but rather what he calls “backstories.” They all stem from the minds and imaginations of the screenwriters of the various episodes, as well as input from the Mormon producers.

2 THESSALONIANS 2:10-11 tells us:
“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”

I’m sure most of us have a sense that the world is in a state of delusion...strong delusion. It’s a day of complete irrationality.

We’re having to explain to our kindergarten children why some of the boys in their class are being given girls’ names. In another sense, one must also explain why it’s not those who adhere to biblical Christianity that are to blame for destroying “Mother Earth.” Neither is the killing of babies through abortion the solution to a world they’re being told is overpopulated. Yet the children of the world are being force-fed that continually. The world is a mess and it has no solution—no solution, that is, that fits with reality. Therefore, Satan must put forward a solution that bypasses reality. And he has.

Mysticism to the rescue?!

At its most popular level, mysticism is being sold through the movies. That’s the ideal vehicle. Remember, movies are all about the manipulation of emotions. Not only that, but to borrow a verse from Scripture, “and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do” (GEN 11:6), and I would add, “especially on the big screen.” It’s a canvas that seems to have no limitations, although what is created and presented is not real. And yet it’s generated a host of beliefs that are overwhelmingly seductive. We’re told that our minds can create environments or universes beyond the physical universe in which we live.

It’s a place where we have complete control, where we can have whatever we imagine, and where the problems we face in the real world do not exist. The appeal to young people (which should come as no surprise) is off the charts. It’s like a drug trip—which, by the way, is a path to and a facilitator of this mind-altering delusion.

Scripture refers to the use of drugs as sorcery (pharmakeia in the Greek, which is where we get our term “pharmacy”) and indicates that drug use will be prevalent in the last days. It’s clearly evident that we’re already there! All of this is what we will be facing in the year ahead unless our blessed hope, “the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,” intervenes and takes us home collectively.

So, how do we deal with it until then? How do we remain steadfast? How can we be fruitful in a time of such unprecedented deception and wickedness?

EPHESIANS 6:10-18 spells it out for us:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

I’m sure most of us have read those verses many times. But I wonder how seriously we took them? They set forth everything we need to do in order to “withstand the evil of the day,” in order to “quench the fiery darts of the wicked,” in order to effectively use the “sword of the Spirit,” which is the Word of God. And of course, it all needs to be sustained by “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” That’s the only hope for those who know the Lord, and for those who will seek Jesus and come to know Him.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!


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