Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. No matter where you touch the living truth, it always leads to other things. The Western tendency to make thinking discrete and linear, with binary logic, is a major hurdle to overcome in approaching God’s living truth. The only loose ends are you and I, hanging off the outside of this one universal living thing.
I wrote The Cult in part to introduce how demonic influences can take on a life of their own. So instead of worrying about discrete individuals doing this or that great evil thing, as if they were some anti-hero, we put the focus where it belongs.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of moral darkness in this world, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the Spirit Realm. (Ephesians 6:12)
At the same time, I wanted to wipe away the worst of our Western mythology about how evil works, and to begin correcting a large body of false demonology. Our biggest problems do not come from natural threats or human oppression; we can work around those because Our Father rules this world. But a part of His rule is establishing an Adversary as His whip hand. Satan serves God’s purpose, but we have to understand that purpose.
So what God does with natural events and in His herding of humans who ignore Him are together the background against which we manifest His glory. These things are mere context. By faith our hearts know what we should accept with grace and what we should challenge in prayer. When our calling requires something that does not appear likely, we pray for divine intervention. Thus, we are sometimes healed of maladies and sometimes told to live with it (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
However, Satan and his demons are another matter entirely. We oppose him first in our choice to immerse ourselves in the moral life led by the heart. From that foundation, we learn how to oppose demons in more specific ways. And Western Christianity has gotten lost entirely from that ancient viewpoint because the primary effect of demonic activity is deception. The grand success of Satan’s plot to blind us by stealing away a cultural orientation that assumes a heart-led existence remains our biggest barrier to finding peace with God.
A critical part of countering that vast deception is the teaching of The Cult. People matter in the sense that they are tools of the Devil who need deliverance. The primary means of delivering them is by delivering ourselves, for in the struggle over our own selves as the battlefield, we have done as much as we can for everyone else. We have shined the light of glory on a volitional path they each must take for themselves. It requires learning to think of victory, not as some discrete event, but an ongoing process. It also requires learning to think of our Enemy as an influence in people, not the people themselves.
Further, for them to take that path and escape deception, that act itself is a miracle of God. It’s not a decision of the mind, but a compulsion of conviction. You and I cannot possibly formulate a means to make that happen in their souls. Decision Theology remains one of the biggest lies we fight, because it hobbles the whole of Western Christianity.
Stop for a moment and consider the moral logic here, the implications of what I point out. Our mission of redemption in this world is not to convince people to make a decision. Our mission is simply walking in the power of His divine moral Law. By showing what that Law looks like, we then have authority to teach it verbally. The gospel message is not magic; it has no power of its own, but requires a vivification in human lives. That’s how God does things. Jesus Christ is the Living Law of God, so the gospel message is not wrapped up in orthodoxy, but in living by His example as the Law — Law = God’s moral character.
The massive disaster of all this church missionary stuff is not that the world hasn’t heard about Jesus. Believe me, the whole world knows His name and has heard some version of the false gospel of Decision Theology. The disaster is that the churches who send those missionaries are themselves so much in need of the real gospel message. The churches are a mission field, and very tough one, at that. What a heartbreaking thing to realize that some church folks are so very close, yet so very far from the gospel of Jesus Christ, the name they claim in all they do.
Consequently, the biggest hassles we face in our faith and religion are the mainstream established churches. If there’s any human influence likely to challenge us, it’s the churches. Not the individual folks, any of whom may be just a step away from claiming the full heritage of the children of God, but the institution and how it serves as a weapon of Satan. That we face an institution is, in itself, the primary evidence of the gravity of this situation. The institutional church serves The Cult by it’s very principle of organization.
This is the one time when we need to hesitate about infiltration. Submitting yourself to the rule of religious organization is a moral compromise that comes with very high risk. The family of God is an organic thing; we should hesitate to even use the word “organization” when we talk about God’s divine plan for what a church looks like in this world. At the very least we must engage the discipline of making sure we never forget that the organization itself is just a tool, a human manifestation of faith; the church organization cannot be sacred in itself.
So we choose something tribal in nature, taking our clues from the nomadic period of Israel’s history, as the one sure way to keep the flesh nailed to the Cross when it comes to doing church. The rigors of wandering in tents as a metaphor helps us squelch the fleshly urge to take ourselves and our doings too seriously. This is part of why I invest so much energy in a virtual parish “organization” — to inhibit my fallen urge to play the hero. Having done all I possibly could, I’m still just an unworthy servant (Luke 17:7-10).
Consider these things.