This past Wednesday evening (4/27/11) at Gospel Light Bible Baptist Church, we were blessed by the teachings of Brother Gabriel Gonzalez, a leader in our evangelical ministries. In his usual concise and understandable way, he delivered a study on the deceptions by cults and how they manifest themselves. Relying heavily and fittingly on scripture, he opened with reading 2 Tim 3:13-17, verses which instruct us to fight deception and properly discern the truth through scripture.
People’s eyes can be covered with false beliefs and doctrines. Brother Gabriel listed four ways that can happen, supported by Bible verses:
- By man: Eph 5:6, Matt 24:4
- By Satan: Rev 12:9, 2 Thess 2:8-10
- By Ourselves: 1 Cor 3:18, James 1:22,26
- By the Lord: Ezek 14:9, Jere 20:7, Rom 1:26, 2 Thess 2:11
Brother Gabriel then expounded on the ways deception can be seen outwardly, manifesting itself in discernible ways. He taught us several things to look for in every cult that show how people are deceived:
a.) Every cult, in some way or another, doubts the Word of God. They will claim it was inspired and written by men and not of God. They will try to point to errors in translation and imply a need for correction. They may claim that the words are open to interpretation, repudiating that there is only one true meaning. The lesson that Brother Gabriel wished us to learn was that by reading and learning the Word of God, we will see the truth and will believe.
Brother Gabriel then asked two very pointed and shrewd questions: “Why couldn’t God preserve His inspired Word? Do you doubt God’s ability?”
b.) One method of deception by Satan is to elevate the intelligence of man. Men who started cults “thought they had a corner on the market” in truth and wisdom, Bro. Gabriel proffered. Satan tries to trick man into believing that they can be like God, as we see in Gen 3:5, “ye shall be as gods”, that they can be more important than they really are. To counter that attitude, Gabriel provided these verses: Prov 16:19, Col 3:12-14, and 1 Pet 5:5-6. We should “be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).
c.) “Overemphasis of a particular pet doctrine”, Bro. Gabriel said, will lead to an unbalanced faith typical in cults. Such exaggerated doctrines could be gifts of the spirit, the gap theory, the sovereignty of God, the judgment of God, or the non-deity of God. This oversensitivity to one theological item results in an imbalance in the ministry and requires the twisting and changing of scriptures. Cults, because of pride and stubbornness, become unteachable and close-minded.
d.) Brother Gabriel taught that the Lord deceives people. This is something that occurs in all cults. Being told to examine the verses in context, we read from Ezek 14:4-9 and Jere 20:7. God will deceive people when they practice idolatry, when they love things more than God. False or misdirected worship acts as a stumbling block to being close to God. When Israel chose not to put their idols away, God gave them over to their delusions. Bro. Gabriel advised us that “what God was saying to Israel, he is also saying to us individually.” Two New testament verses were given to further back this point. See Rom 1:26-28 “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections …” and 2 Thess 2:10-11 “… for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie”. God will give you the answer you want because of what is in your heart.Conclusion: Citing John 4:23-24, Brother Gabriel said that first we need to be saved, and then worship God according to the scriptures. He implored us to make sure God is first in our lives. “We need to make things right with God”, he said, “If there is something we love more than God, we need to take care of it before we can ask God for help.” The lesson concluded with reading Eph 5:8-14. Brother Gabriel declared, “We can wake up from darkness.” (Your blogger wonders why anyone would choose to be willfully ignorant.)