Societal changes generally happen over the course of long periods of time and move very slowly. The reason for these slow and methodical movements is because big movements are too shocking and repulsive to the culture. The trip to Crazytown can’t be a short one or it would appear too different from what we’ve grown accustomed to and we wouldn’t be comfortable there. For example, think of a map on which point “A” represents the light of God’s truth and point “Z” is labeled Crazytown. You can’t go from point “A” to Crazytown in a day because it is so very different that it’s offensive. We’d say, “This place is crazy! I’m getting out of here!” So, the culture concedes and agrees to a more methodical approach that takes place slowly over time. So the culture shifts from “A” to “B”. “B” is slightly different from “A”, and has introduced a milder, precursory quality of Crazytown, but it’s not so offensive to our senses that the masses run away. As the journey continues, those precursory qualities of Crazytown are ratcheted up a little at a time at each stop in an effort to desensitize the masses to the incredible darkness of Crazytown. Then, after becoming slowly desensitized to the darkness over time, there is a sign outside the window of the train that reads—“Welcome to Crazytown”.
Let’s think about a particular deed of darkness—murder. We see the first murder just after the fall of man when Cain murders his brother, Abel, in Genesis 4:8. We also see murder prohibited in the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses for the people of Israel (Exodus 20:13). I would imagine if we did a survey and asked people if they believed that murder in cold blood was wrong, nearly 100% would say that it was. However, can we imagine a scenario in which the murder of another human being would be accepted by our culture as being good? It isn’t hard to imagine as the murder of the unborn is widely approved of in our culture. In 2016, there were roughly 1,700 murders of unborn babies committed every single day. It doesn’t make the news and sparks no outrage. The cultural crickets testify to the great distance already traveled from the light of God’s Word and our insensitivity to sin as a society.
How did we get here? How did we get to the place where only 12% of the country believes that all abortion should be illegal according to a 2019 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center? To answer this question, we need to highlight the fact that Satan is a schemer (Ephesians 6:11) and that he is the god of this world with the God-given authority and power to influence culture (2 Corinthians 4:4). His scheming generally involves raising up people to positions of power or influence to lead in getting the masses onto the train. Those he raises up gain followers for themselves through deception. Remember, darkness is not going to show up wearing a name tag which says “Hello, my name is Darkness”. Darkness is not going to shine light on the destination for the crazy train as that would negate the deception. The goal is simply to move from one point to the next—compromise after compromise. This is done by creating confusion in the same way that Satan did in the garden. This confusion is created through the casting of doubt, the redefinition of terms and appeals to emotion.
Instead of murder, we started calling it abortion, and then women’s reproductive health. We then demonize those who disagree as being anti-women’s health rather than anti-murder. We can’t call it a baby to whom God has given life. No, we have to call it a clump of cells. We’re going to need this barbaric act to sound like something other than murder, so we’ll call it a procedure performed by doctors who have all taken an oath to do no harm. We then highlight scenarios which appeal to emotion and try to make inroads toward compromise. What about this heartbreaking scenario, or this one? You would actually have this poor girl give birth when this terrible thing happened to her. The insinuation is that you are an actual monster rather than the one who is promoting the murder of the unborn. We have compassion for those in these heart wrenching circumstances, but it isn’t the circumstance which determines whether or not we’re talking about a human baby to whom God has given life. The baby doesn’t become a baby when it becomes wanted or is born—it is a baby upon conception (Psalm 51:5) with all the DNA of human life already present. God is the One who knits human life together in the mother’s womb and all human life is fearfully and wonderfully created in the image of God (Psalm 139:13-14). Little by little, the train creeps down the track. If we can accept the murder of the unborn in any case then we’re on the train.
Now that we’ve thought about how this desensitizing process happens (and the tactics and schemes that are used) in something physical—like the murder of the unborn—let’s shift gears to think about how this process takes place in regard to the faith once for all delivered to the saints within the visible church (Jude 3). How does it happen that those who profess to be in the light have been carried into darkness by lies disguised as truth? It happens in the same way. Satan raises up leaders with influential voices to create confusion through the casting of doubt, the redefinition of words and emotional appeals. There has always been error seeking to make it’s way into the congregation of God’s people. We can know this because the biblical writers are writing to combat error in many cases. But, it would seem that in our culture we have fallen victim to spiritual laziness and a lack of watchfulness. The effects are disastrous.
This sowing of confusion is preparation for false gospels to invade the visible church. God is not a God of confusion but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33), but Satan strives for confusion and chaos. So, he raises up biblical “scholars” who create confusion by calling all of Scripture into question. Did God really say that? What about these other books that were left out? Did Paul really write that? This is actually just allegorical, not literal. Is that what the word really means in the original language? To continue to sew confusion, we have teachers and influencers who take words that have evolved in meaning over time and they replace their meaning from Scripture with their current accepted meaning. A significant example of this is the word “love”. In today’s terms, love relates to wholesale acceptance and unquestioning approval. This is not what agapé means (1 Corinthians 13:4-13). Confusion and disorder are sewn when we take modern understandings of words and insert their meaning into Scripture. This would be like someone in the 1980’s listening to Michael Jackson’s song “Bad” and then going back through classic literature and saying that wherever you see the word “bad” what it really means is “good”. It creates the confusion for which Satan is striving. Lastly, there are emotional appeals made to try to discredit the true meaning of Scripture by creating scenarios involving personal experience or close interpersonal relationships in which someone might say, “ok, I guess I don’t agree with that part of what God has said”. If you get to the point where you’ve said that, you’re on the train to Crazytown and it’s end is destruction.
Satan is betting that you will be far too busy sorting through the cares of this life to actually put what you’re being sold on trial by comparing it to the truth of Scripture with skill and wisdom as instructed (1 John 4:1-6). Sadly, this appears to be the case. These false messengers will promote plausible arguments—that arise out of the confusion—that sound like something you might see in Scripture (Colossians 2:4). We know there will be those speaking what is contrary to the truth, but we are not to listen to them. The extreme vast majority of people who profess to be followers of Christ have no idea what the message of Scripture is, and this leaves them vulnerable to being herded aboard the train to Crazytown and being carried away in error to apostasy one compromise at a time (Ephesians 4:11-14).
As I think on the heresies disguised as light that are most prevalent today, they are all prodding you to focus on and devote yourself fully to investing in temporal things rather than eternal. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and trust that He will order the physical to provide all we need (Matthew 6:33). Seek the things that are above and set your mind on them (Colossians 3:2). Darkness disguised as light will twist biblical concepts to get you to do the opposite.
Scripture is full of warnings for believers to guard us from being herded away into error. There are deceitful workmen—disguised as messengers of light—whose role it is to usher people toward deeper darkness. Paul says this is no wonder as even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:12-15). In the book of Ezekiel, there are men who say they speak for God (declaring a message of light and truth) yet, they proclaim false visions and messages of peace and safety when God’s judgment is upon them (Ezekiel 13:8-16). Don’t be fooled! This world is not our home. We are not called to fix our eyes on the world or love the things of the world (1 John 2:15-17). The primary aim of darkness disguised as light is to use deceitful schemes to create confusion and persuade you to take your eyes off of eternal truth and fixate on the temporal things of this world. Maybe the message promotes temporal health, wealth and prosperity. Maybe it’s aim is temporal justice and equality for all. The messages vary, but the overall goal is the same. Be primarily concerned with the world and the things of the world. Fix your eyes upon the world that is passing away.
The train to Crazytown has a sure destination of deep and pervasive darkness without regard for the light of truth. This is a call for you to get off that train and run to truth! Evaluate those things you’ve accepted as true by asking yourself, “Does this agree with sound doctrine or does it result from a perversion of truth? Does this lead me to fixate on the beauty and the glory of Christ or on temporal things? Does this lead me to grow in my love and appreciation of Christ and motivate me to live in a manner that is worthy of Him? Does this encourage me to set my mind upon those things listed in Philippians 4:8 and to love others through the pursuit of holiness?” Stand firm in the truth and do not give an audience to that which is trying to cause confusion to lay the groundwork for darkness disguised as light. Perhaps this message has caused you to think about what you’ve accepted as true and you’ve taken a good long look at the friendly looking fellow who is the engineer of the train and as you get a glimpse of his name tag, it reads “Darkness”. You’ve got to get off the train because it is heading for the cliff of eternal destruction. Repent and follow the Lord Jesus by faith. Fix your eyes upon Christ who is the author and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:2). Forsake the world and explore the amazing blessings that are ours in Him and grow in your love of the Savior (Ephesians 1:3-14).