WHY DOES GOD WARN HIS PEOPLE AGAINST EMBRACING CONSPIRACY THEORIES?
From COVID’s nefarious development,
to motivations for racial sensitivity,
to masks and vaccines,
to rigged elections etc.,
conspiracy theories are
corrupting authentic, grace-filled, Spirit-filled lives in God,
short-circuiting the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit,
demeaning the depth of His reaching, redemptive mercy,
AND defaming the character of God Himself.
I believe far too little is being said about the dangerous spirit that is attached to the hydra of conspiracy theories that currently plague our evangelical fellowship.
Conspiracy theories are not new. They exist in every culture, and in every generation.
The European Journal of Social Psychology defines a conspiracy theory this way: “An explanatory belief about a group of actors that collude in secret to reach malevolent goals – usually prejudiced against a specified sub-group within the culture.” (EJSP, 2007)
Over the last 3 years, conspiracy theories have exploded in our American culture. This is one of the ways that we can know that the judgments of the Lord have fallen upon us as a people.
Furthermore, as the time of our Lord’s return draws near, conspiracy theories will only become more popular – and tempting to embrace. (Luke 17:23; Matthew 24:23-25; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; 4:4)
The Word of God explicitly admonishes disciples of Jesus to have nothing to do with these fables, myths and speculations. (1 Timothy 1:4; 4:7; Titus 1:14)
The intense social pressures caused by the judgments of the Lord actually stimulate the development of conspiracy theories. The conspiracy theories offer individuals an alarming narrative that encourages them to rise up and maintain control of their destabilized culture – usually in the form of protest or hostility.
At the same time, and most importantly, the conspiracy story-lines also effectively provide a people-group with an excuse to NOT humble themselves before the Lord Who is bidding them to address heart-issues that are out of line with Jesus’ Kingdom.
This is the reason why the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, unanimously denounce conspiracy theories. They are counter-narratives that encourage the people to walk independent of the wholesale claim that the Lord has upon their lives.
“Do not walk in the way of the people, and do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’ concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. He will be for you, as a sanctuary.” (Isaiah 8:11-14)
(See also Jeremiah 11:9 and Ezekiel 22:25)
Here are 6 tell-tale signs of a Conspiracy Theory:
The unsettling truth is, EVERY SINGLE ONE of these marks distinguish conspiracy theories that are currently circulating within our American Evangelical family in 2022.
O beloved, these imaginations are far far below our glorious calling!
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2)
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; let your mind dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
“(Let us be) obedient in all things… lest Satan take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (2 Corinthians 2:9, 11)
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord… And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us…” (Ephesians 5:6-10, 2)
6 GOOD QUESTIONS FOLLOWERS OF JESUS NEED TO ASK ABOUT A CONSPIRACY THEORY:
1. WHICH of our ENEMIES is specifically perpetrating this evil? How is the Holy Spirit calling me/us to think about, pray for, and love this enemy?
2. Before God, WHAT REAL EVIDENCE do I/we have that this CHARGE is warranted? Is the evidence great enough to overcome our Holy God’s many warnings against MALICE, HATRED and UNFORGIVENESS?
3. Is this report stirring me to more bitterness and MALICIOUS ACCUSATION than thanksgiving and MERCY-FILLED INTERCESSION?
4. How might the pursuit of this narrative be DRAWING US AWAY from our primary zeal and pursuit of EXALTING the glory of JESUS? How is JESUS being MAGNIFIED through the sharing of this narrative?
5. Is this REPORT calling the Body of Christ to HUMILITY and REPENTANCE before God Who allowed the evil to be perpetrated against us, or is it deterring us from crying out to the Lord in our crisis? Where do we see/experience the Body of Christ responding to this crisis by coming to the threshing floor of the Lord?
6. How is this REPORT stimulating me, and the Body of Christ to BEAR OUR CROSS in meekness, compassion and incarnational redemption for the sake of the gospel? Can I imagine JESUS spending this much energy spreading this report?
FINAL NOTE: One of the chief considerations for a believer in the time of trouble is to guard him/herself from the many temptations to feast from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, rather than cultivate love-filled faith in the Lord and His protection and mercy. If we have more zeal for “inside information about evil” than we do zeal to seek “revelation and exaltation of the glory of our King” our spirits are out-of-whack.
JSB • November 22, 2022