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“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

Ephesians 6:12

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Whether it’s philosophy, psychology, religion, or social or political issues, this current world system is attacking the church and God’s people with several layers of deceit through several different human institutions. It might seem overwhelming at first, but in reality, all these institutions have the same goal: to understand and control the world while ignoring and rejecting God. It’s a battle between man’s word and God’s Word. This strategy is nothing new. The early church faced these same challenges in their day:  “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8). The apostle Paul wasn’t warning the Colossian Christians to avoid simple thinking, he was warning them to avoid simplistic thinking.

Simple and simplistic are very different. If something is simple, it means it is easy to understand or do. Simplistic, on the other hand, means making a complex topic unrealistically simple by ignoring or omitting important factors or details. Many modern ideologies are deceitful and simplistic by design. Just look at any humanities department at a university. All they are concerned with are ideologies. Why? Because they are seductive, they are attractive, and they are mindless. They are simplistic and deceitful. As John MacArthur explains:

“Here’s how an ideology works: “What’s wrong in America? White privilege. What’s wrong in America? Systemic racism. What’s wrong in America? Abuse of women.” They want you to buy into the fact that everything that’s wrong in America can be explained by an ideology. They don’t want you to think critically about it.” [1]

That’s the danger with ideologies:  Don’t think about it, just believe it. But as Christians, we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), and because we have the mind of Christ, we think biblically. Because we think biblically, we know the truth, and because we know the truth, we know what is real and what is false.

We should not be surprised that fallen men, who reject God and the truth revealed by God, would turn to empty deceit and simplistic ideologies. We know that the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). Because they do not understand the things of God, they suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18b). Not only do they suppress the truth, they also do not honor God as God but instead have become futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts have been darkened (Romans 1:21). This is why there are so many ideologies coming at us from every angle:  Because man in his darkened sinful heart has rejected God and is attempting to understand the world and the things in the world without God. I once heard Voddie Baucham explain it this way:

Instead of:   Man believes in:
Creation > The Big Bang
The Fall > Evolution
Redemption > Therapy
Consummation  > Utopia

Man can create ideologies to explain away God’s truth and subsequently God’s morals. Same sex marriage isn’t a sin caused by the fall, it’s a natural result brought on through years of evolution.

Not only does man’s sin separate him spiritually from God and prevent him from understanding God due to spiritual deadness, but he is also prevented by the current world system that lies in the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19), the prince of the power of the air who is at work in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2). This two-prong system, man’s sin and Satan’s world system, form the stronghold Paul refers to in 2 Corinthians 10:4 mentioned above. And, it is this stronghold filled with arguments and lofty opinions that we must battle against. We are not called to battle against the specific people (flesh and blood) who believe and teach error, we are called to battle against the error itself. We must pray for the individuals while combating and breaking down the simplistic strongholds.

How do we combat simplistic ideologies that invade the church? As John MacArthur stated above: with critical thinking. Thoughtful, careful, logical, and discernable thinking will help us recognize error and deceit, and help us to expose it and avoid it. For an ideology to be believable, just like any deception, it needs to shut down all alternative thoughts and discussions. That’s why we have cancel culture. The world system has decided that what you believe is dangerous to its wellbeing, and you are not allowed to question it.

We must make sure we are not being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, or by craftiness in deceitful schemes (Ephesians 4:14). Instead, we must be like the noble Bereans, examining everything against the Scriptures to see if they are true (Acts 17:11). We must fight against these arguments and lofty opinions that hate God and hate His Gospel. By fixing our eyes on Christ, setting our minds on the things that are above and not on the things that are on the earth (Colossians 3:2), and not conforming to this world but transforming and renewing our minds through the Word (Romans 12:2), we can take every thought captive to obey Christ.

When confronted with simplistic ideologies we must ask ourselves:  What does God say about these things? And, perhaps more importantly:  Is what God says about these things sufficient? If we begin to accept and buy into simplistic ideologies it will affect how we interpret God’s Word, and we may begin to question if God’s Word really has all the answers. In the coming weeks, we will examine three simple truths God has given us that the current world system has twisted: race, marriage, and gender. I do not want to focus on all the ways the world gets these three truths wrong as that would turn into a novel! Instead, I want to focus on what God’s Word says about these simple truths. Can we go to God’s Word and find sufficient truth for marriage, race, and gender? Yes, and the simple truth of God’s Word is all we need. Believe and trust in the Lord, not in man.