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The Silent Enemy

Listen to this helpful quote I came across today:

"The idea that Christianity stands chiefly in danger from the forces of materialism, or from secular philosophy, or from pagan religions, is not the teaching of the New Testament. The greatest danger comes rather from temptations within and from those who, using the name of Christ, are instruments of Satan to lead men to believe a lie and to worship what in reality belongs to the demoniac (cf. 2 Thess 2:3-9; Rev 13:11)" (p.259).


"Instead of believers in the apostolic age being directed to listen to all views 'with an open mind', they were told how to 'test the spirits, whether they are of God' (1 John 4:1). For there are 'deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons' (1 Tim 4:1); false teachers 'who will secretly bring in destructive heresies' (2 Pet 2:1). There are words which 'spread as a cancer' (2 Tim 2:17)" (p.260-61).


Cyprian, a bishop in the city of Carthage c. 200AD wrote:

"It is easy enough to be on one's guard when the danger is obvious...but there is more need to fear and beware of the Enemy when he creeps up secretly, when he beguiles us by a show of peace and steals forward by those hidden approaches which have earned him the name of the 'Serpent' (p.261).

The fact that...

"the idea that the knowledge is enough to make a Christian is false. The devil believes Scripture, knows Scripture, uses Scripture, and yet remains unholy and in love with all that God condemns. it ought therefore to be no surprise that scholarly men can be familiar with the text of Scripture (as the Jews were with the OT) and yet remain unchanged. The corruption of the human heart is such that it needs more than knowledge" (p.269).

And one last quote from Martin Luther:

"We are surrounded on every side by angry and raging bishops and princes who wish we were wiped out. Still this is nothing in comparison with that spiritual battle...Satan is grasping at us with ALL his powers...We are on the battlefront whenever we teach the Word, whenever we preach and glorify Christ" (p.270).

Let these quotes be a sobering reminder to you. We live in an age when enemies come from without - though, of course, this does happen. Rather, we live in an age when the raging wolves come from within our OWN FLOCK.

Listen to what Paul says to the elders at Miletus:

Acts 20:29-30 29 "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

May we heed these words that Paul spoke to the elders and may we be those that are prepared to stand firm for the truth. May we never shrink away from the truth. Furthermore, may we never be so diluted into thinking that everything we hear in 'church' is right and 'biblical.' May we be those noble Bereans who tested the Scriptures (Acts 17:11).

Be careful. Sometimes, you need to be more careful as to what you hear "in church" than what you may hear "outside of church."

SOURCE: Murray, Iain H. Evangelicalism Divided. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2000.

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