Destructive, Damnable Deceit of the Devil (1)

“When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (Jn. 8:44).

The devil is the father of lies because he told the first one. He lied to Eve by telling her she would not surely die (Gen. 3:4). Since that time he has worked relentlessly to deceive the whole world (Rev. 12:9). He has lied to you and me, luring us to sin against God and thereby condemning our souls.

Some of Satan’s lies are easily seen for what they are. When he convinced Cain to kill Able, it was easy to see that as sin. Sodom and Gomorrah were caught up in the devil’s deceit, but others looking on could see their perversion for what it was—sick and sinful. Other lies told by the dragon are not so easily detected.

The most dangerous deceit invented by Satan is religious in nature. Nearly everyone reading this will agree that billions of people have been deceived by the false religions of Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. More prevalent in our nation, however, are the lies of denominationalism.

Denominationalism is one of the greatest tools used by the devil to damn the souls of men. Denominations are pseudo churches. They are false representations of what the Bible teaches and portrays. They appear like the real thing, but are counterfeits.

Consider the following three points.

  • Denominations were founded at the wrong time: 6th to 21st centuries.
  • Denominations were founded in the wrong place: Italy, Germany, France, Great Britain, USA.
  • Denominations were founded by the wrong men: group of bishops, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, Joseph Smith, etc.

The Church of the New Testament is different.

  • It was founded in the 1st century.
  • It was founded in Jerusalem (Acts 2:47).
  • It was founded by Jesus the Christ (Matt. 16:18).

After sweeping the church into the paganistic error of Roman Catholicism, the devil took men into denominationalism. When men began to see the corruption, ungodliness, and anti-biblical teachings and practices of Roman Catholicism and work their way out, Satan provided multiple paths for them to take. One path led to Lutheranism, another to Calvinism (Presbyterianism), another to Anglicanism (Church of England, Episcopalianism), another to Wesleyanism (Methodist Church), another to Mormonism…and many, many more.

Initially, these different denominations fought hard for their beliefs and practices. They would take one another to task, holding debates and excoriating each other from the pulpit. However, there eventually developed a strong movement to get back to the Bible alone; commonly known as the Restoration Movement. As this movement began to spread like wild fire, the great deceiver pulled another weapon out of his arsenal: tolerance.

It took some time, but Satan has achieved a subtle but destructive goal. He has convinced people that it does not matter what you believe. In former times he used division over the doctrines of men to keep people from the truth. Now he uses compromise and indifference to disguise error.

We now live in a society where churches, for the most part, believe everyone is going to heaven. The mantra of the day is choose the “church of your choice.” They extend the right hand of fellowship to one another despite significant doctrinal differences. One claims salvation by faith alone, another says it is by faith plus something else. One teaches baptism is sprinkling, pouring or immersion, while another insists it is by immersion only. One baptizes infants, another decries that as unscriptural. However, when holidays roll around, they join hands and praise the Lord together. All is forgotten about their many dissimilarities while an emphasis is placed on their few similarities. They pat each other on the back and declare what a great day it will be when they are all in heaven together.

There is only one problem with all of this: it is anti-biblical.

The Bible teaches there is one church (Eph. 1:22, 23; 2:16; 4:4). The Lord prayed that all members of that church are to be united (Jn. 17:20-23). The unity for which He prayed is not one where people bury their convictions or turn a blind eye to others. It is a unity in truth. It is a unity where believers “speak the same thing,” are “joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” that “there be no divisions” (1 Cor. 1:10).

When error is taught or practiced by anyone, it is to be exposed, not ignored (Eph. 5:11). False teachers are to be marked, not given to pulpit for a joint-worship service (Rom. 16:17, 18). Fellowship is to be refused, not pursued (2 Jn. 9-11).

Denominationalism is a major religious lie created and promoted by Satan. Those who participate in it will lose their souls. We need to work to get people out of it, not apathetically watch them drown in it.

— Steven F. Deaton