Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

   by Rayola Kelley

Today in Christian circles two of the leading topics of discussion are delusion and truth. Most Christians believe that the real issue plaguing the church is the infiltration of heresy. I would have to agree with this evaluation but the point of contention often remains intact as to whom or what will determine delusion or truth for the church.

Sadly a Christian’s method of getting at the truth is often nothing more than arguing and debating about personal beliefs, doctrines, denominations, or leaders. This is a show of pride rather than humility, conceit instead of a searching heart, and self-righteous piousness that covers an unteachable spirit. It is as if intellectualism or our ability to quote scriptures, powerfully swing the sword (the Word), or hammer a point home until there is silence are determining factors in discovering the truth. None of these methods determine anything other than man’s ability to defile, distort, use, and even abuse God’s Word.

How does one get at the truth in order to discern delusion especially in a time where heretics are rampant, doctrines of demons are hailed as the latest truth, and much of the church has become so worldly that the ability to separate the holy from the unholy is practically nonexistent? The key of coming to truth rests with facing present day reality.

A person can’t get from delusion to truth without confronting reality. The problem is that many avoid reality in our society because they can’t change or manipulate it. In fact, America’s favorite pastime is escapism from all reality. We have TV, videos, computers, sports, video games, and endless options of pleasure to pursue or hide in, in order to avoid coming face to face with reality. As a result, problems escalate, relationships fail, and people become angry, disillusioned, and unhappy with life.

I believe people’s inability to face or recognize reality is the biggest challenge in our American society. Although many Americans consider themselves to have cultural savvy, the blend of cultures have made America blatantly pagan as many give into endless self-serving appetites of fun, pleasure, and foolish, vain pursuits. Many of these same people consider themselves wise as they cover rebellious attitudes towards God and their spiritual ignorance with tolerance and political correctness. As these people point to so-called “personal goodness” they ignore the moral depravation that is ripping this nation apart, advocate perverted lifestyles, and defend offering innocent babies on the altars of selfishness.

The question is how can one know the difference between delusion and reality? After all, many people consider their delusion reality and are skeptical and in denial when they are faced with the unpleasant aspects of life.

In order to discern between delusion and reality, one must understand what reality is. This was brought out in the movie, A Beautiful Mind. A friend seeking our opinion about it asked us to watch it. Since it was based on the life of Nobel Prize winner John Nash, we consented.

We followed John Nash from college, to his pursuit for the original idea, espionage and marriage. Everything that happened in his life seemed normal in light of circumstances. All of a sudden, we found our understanding of his reality becoming confused as we realized, along with him, that some of the people that were part of his world were not a reality to those close to him.

Confusion is the first indication that something is amiss in a person’s reality. This is where discernment is necessary to wade through the confusion to come to terms with what is real.
The conclusion to Mr. Nash’s ordeal was that parts of his world were nothing but an illusion or a figment of his imagination. But was it an illusion or part of a different dimension that Mr. Nash tapped into through metaphysics or his obsession to discover an original idea? (Even though I am not advocating that one should see this movie, if one does, he or she needs to properly discern whether it was a figment of his imagination or another dimension.) To draw the right conclusion, one must understand both the dynamics of fantasy and reality.

Fantasy is a form of delusion. Most fantasies (this includes illusions) are designed to give people feelings of happiness or utopia. This form of delusion is a product of vain imaginations that is able to create a perfect world that is solely based on the person’s personal concepts, desires, and needs. This world is not only illusive but also unrealistic. All fantasies are only temporary but they create emotional highs, allowing the person to swing from one possibility of fulfillment to the next as he or she clings to them. Eventually these delusions will cause a person to operate in extreme emotional swings of anger, disillusionment, and depression.

Reality can’t be changed. People can ignore or escape from it for a season but when they come back to it, it will pick up from where they left off with the same problems or challenges. The problem with reality is that it can operate in different dimensions that can’t always be seen by the naked eye. These dimensions can constitute a frightening existence but there is a growing attraction to experience these different worlds in order to obtain enlightenment or power. Sadly, there are easy accesses to this unseen dimension through drugs, the New Age, music, hypnosis, and the occult including involvement with Harry Potter, Star Wars, and etc.

You might be wondering how this subject could be brought down to a personal level for a Christian. Much of the American church is living in a delusion. As you consider Christianity in light of those who truly have paid a price to experience the heavenly blessings of Christ, it is obvious that Christianity has been glamorized beyond recognition. This glamour reeks of the world and has rendered many powerless in their prayer lives and against Satan.

Due to the influence of the world in the church, heretics and charlatans have seized upon the opportunity to create a false illusion that would be as attractive as the world but would have all the religious trappings to make it seem like the real thing. They use the same media avenues such as TV, music, computers, and videos to present a false image that would not only give the desired impression and obtain results but also entice Christians to accept false and illusive promises. Since many Christians in America were already indoctrinated to embrace self-serving illusions and pursuits, many have been susceptible to these wolves and their devices.

Sadly, the wolves have been successful. Not only do many Christians have an unrealistic concept of Biblical Christianity but also they are carnal and unable to properly discern what is going on around them (See 1 Corinthians 2:14-16). This fantasy has produced two extremes: One of fanaticism and the other of unbelief. You can see this fantasy in operation today.

For example, true Christianity is often a source of mockery and is being replaced by a false light that blinds people to the delusion and destruction of this antichrist religion. The power of the Christian life, which is found in self-denial, a cross, and a narrow entrance to heaven, has been exchanged with the pursuit of prestige, rights, and happiness through the riches of the world. Visualization, mental, or verbal affirmation, which are nothing but New Age mind science practices, have replaced real faith in the character of God. New revelations and supernatural experiences now supercede the authority of the Word. The supernatural that is being done under the guise of Christianity is nothing more than the means to open people up to the unseen dimension of the New Age and the occult where the power comes from Satan rather than God.

Another fruit of this religious fantasy is that much of the church has lost sight of its commission. Instead of lifting up Jesus, many arrogantly advocate doctrine, denomination, and self-esteem. Instead of working hard in the harvest field to reach the lost, and in the trenches with hurting people, most of the church are being encouraged to fill up religious coffers to build bigger and better worldly kingdoms. Although the real motives are often hidden behind religious jargon, countless numbers of Christians choose to ignore the real fruits of this blatant error and buy into the fantasy. After all, this fantasy serves as a means to alleviate Christians from their basic scriptural responsibility as they convince themselves that enlightenment or spirituality is the goal and glibly believe that the church organizations are taking care of the widows and fatherless (James 1:27).

As you study the lives of David Brainerd, William Carey, Hudson Taylor, and George Mueller, Christianity America style is nothing but the worst type of sham. I know that there are Christians who recognize that there is something terribly amiss in the Christianity that is being presented but they either can’t put their finger on it or they do not know what to do about it.

The solution rests with each Christian choosing to come to terms with what is reality. The Apostle Paul instructs us to think on that which is real and put what we know is true into practice (Philippians 4:8-9). Once we come to terms with reality, we will be able to distinguish delusion and embrace truth.

Next month I will deal with the issue of truth but meanwhile are you dealing in reality or in fantasy? Are you prepared to embrace truth that can set you at liberty to be all God wants you to be or are you hiding behind fantasy and hoping reality will eventually adjust to your personal delusion? Maybe you opened yourself up to another dimension of spirit guides or demons. The solution remains the same, Jesus Christ in you, the hope of glory.