A Very Long War

By Roger Penney

Battle For The Minds
Satan has long-term aims. These are mainly to destroy everything and everyone who stands up for God and the truth of the Bible. As he has done with Israel, the Evil One targets Christians to destroy, undermine and subvert them by any means possible; while he directs the thoughts of the world away from what is good, right and true. It is the Devil’s intention to bring everyone in the world, after he has destroyed the last vestige of godliness, into complete subjection to himself by means of his Antichrist.

The war against the truth has been going on from the very beginning. Satan lied to Eve (Gen. 3:1). The letters to the angels of the churches in Revelation 2-3 tell how the war has been brought into this age. The turning away from the love of God to religious practices and rituals is one ploy of the evil powers. Other tactics in churches have been in the rise of clericalism, mystical arts, dead pride and unholy formalism.

It is in modern times that a new form of warfare emerged. This appeared roughly from the time of Tyndale and Erasmus (around 1500 AD), when hundreds of papyrus manuscripts became available to translators, freeing Bible translations from the dead hand of Christendom.

The religious wars which followed the Protestant Reformation brought about an intellectual turning away from religion, at least in Europe. “Thinkers” forsook the spiritual to concentrate on the material, and on politics rather than religion. Clearly this took people’s attention away from God and His Word.

In the providence of God, a large number of working and lower middle class people clung to the Bible, family life and godliness. They tended to think for themselves. The Bible-based thinking among these classes spread to all the English-speaking nations and beyond. Many of these individuals were self-educated, and they were therefore strongly influenced by God’s Word.

From the eighteenth century through the nineteenth and into the twentieth centuries, there continued a spread of Christianity worldwide. But Satan was already stirring opposition and undermining the truth of the gospel. Birds snatched away the good seed, or it fell on stony ground (Mt. 13:1-9). In particular the weeds of unbelief and falsehood choked much of the healthy growth.

Efforts To Choke The Spread Of The Gospel
Science, encouraged though it was by Christian interest in God’s creation, was subverted by the philosophical refusal to look beyond the material universe. This did not affect many of the lower classes, but Satan had hit upon another ploy to stir up the discontented: extreme patriotism and violence. This again involved the dismissal of the spiritual in favor of the material.

Soon science turned to humanistic atheism and secularism. All that there was in the eyes of shortsighted man was the material. Man’s natural enmity against God readily, with increasing eagerness, took on humanistic values and rejected what was seen as old and worn out Christianity. The ungodly theory of evolution turned men and women away from the Bible and God in droves. They were deceived into believing that science had disproved the Bible. Meanwhile two more sinister movements also arose which inflamed human pride and unbelief.

A Direct Attack On The Bible
Religion weakened, and faith was seen as “a leap in the dark” (Kierkegaard). Romanticism and rationalism took over, and materialistic science came to be the means of interpreting the Word of God. A number of vocal individuals, in what became known as the Higher Criticism, attempted to rid the Bible of the supernatural. Of course if you do that, you do not have much left. This was exactly what Satan wanted. The Bible was no longer believed to be the Word of God, but a collection of human documents, few of which were written at the times claimed in Scripture, nor by the writers who the Bible said were “holy men of God [who] spake as they were moved by the Holy [Spirit]” (2 Pet. 1:21 KJV). Indeed, there was no Holy Spirit according to these proponents of unbelief.

It can only be by satanic delusion that academia all over the western world capitulated to this deluded way of thinking. Now the majority of Bible colleges and seminaries for the training of evangelists and pastors are infected by unbelief. Students come out brainwashed and unable to teach the truth of God, only spewing a watered-down religiosity.

There are a few faithful men and women who teach the truth ­ the Bible and nothing but the Bible. Perhaps this is how God allows it to be, for He takes “the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, and things which are not to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Cor. 1:27-29).

The Power Of Evil Has Risen, Is Rising And Will Have A Brief Triumph
There are newer and more infectious strategies of the enemy with which to deal. Let us, therefore, remind ourselves of what God tells us through the apostle Paul, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) casting down imaginations [reasonings], and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:3-5).

Thoughts And Thinking
We must deal with our own thought life first, which can only be done by reading the Bible daily and meditating on it (see Phil. 4:8-9). We need to be prepared for the difficult task before us, for now Satan is even changing the meaning of words. “Walls,” for example, has become a dirty word, and we are told we need to break these down. This, we are told, includes the differences which God has built into His creation. God at the “beginning made them male and female” (Mt. 19:4).

Sadly, a nation’s “values” may be mistaken for the absolute moral values of the Bible ­ but they are different! Governments today seek to establish their own values in society as if God were dead. It has been said that humans rule the world, and we can choose to do exactly as we like. Anything is to be tolerated except, of course, the perceived intolerance of Biblical Christianity.

However, God and His values are eternal, for “the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Pet. 1:25)! May we be faithful to Him.