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A Recent Article
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's
clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
The use of camouflage in the military is a
fascinating study. But long before armies, navies and air forces began
to camouflage their men and equipment to hide them from the enemy,
animals and insects had been designed and created by God with colors
and shapes that made them impossible or difficult to spot. Hunters
have learned from the military and nature and now also use the same
techniques to be less visible to their prey.
During World War II, huge parts of Burbank, CA,
including the massive Lockheed factories that produced planes for the
war, as well as the runways of what is now Burbank Airport, were
covered with painted nets that made the factories and the airport look
like suburbia from the air. There are some very interesting pictures
of this on the Internet.
Camouflage is not only used by the armies of this
world but also by the armies of Satan to hide its agents in plain
sight. Here in Hollywood (un)reality and movie stars, gangsters and
politicians hide behind big shiny crosses around their necks. One of
the best ways to detect the deception is the size of the cross – the
bigger the cross, the bigger the deceiver. In addition to symbols that
used to belong to Christians, they also use language to hide their
true nature. Sayings like “god bless” and “we are praying for you” are
all part of a clever ruse to lull the non-suspecting into believing
the individual can be trusted.
The agents of Rome have long used their cassocks,
sandals and crosses to hide their abusive and deceptive nature. The
back-to-front clerical collar (aka dog collar) has in America become
standard camouflage for all sorts of frauds, New Agers and other evil
workers. This is so bad that I have come to believe that anyone
wearing a clerical/dog collar is indeed one of the dogs that Paul
warns about: “Beware of dogs,
beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!” (Philippians
3:2). Yet millions are fooled by these imposters because of the
camouflage they wear.
This kind of deception is also not new: “For
such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves
into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms
himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his
ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness,
whose end will be according to their works.”(2 Corinthians
But recently, as a result of a book I have been
reading and various preachers I have been listening to, I have become
aware of another (also not new) form of spiritual camouflage, and that
is the use of the term “Sola Scriptura”. Just as the big cross and the
clerical collar immediately flashes a red flag that something is wrong
with the picture, the profuse use of the words “Sola Scriptura” has,
for me, become a warning sign that the speaker or author is trying to
Sola Scriptura is one of the terms that came out
of the Reformation and is Latin for “only Scripture”. By using the
term, we mean that our faith and doctrine is based on Scripture alone
and not on the traditions of men, extra-biblical documents,
“revelation”, human philosophies or anything else outside of the 66
books of the Bible.
But writers and speakers are increasingly using
the term to camouflage the extra-Biblical sources of their ideas. One
writer uses terms like “we base our doctrine only on the Scriptures”
dozens of times throughout his book. All the while he blatantly builds
his ideas on everything but the Bible. In fact, sometimes he would
sandwich his extra-biblical teaching between two such statements! It
is so bad that while reading the book I came to discover that those
words were actually a siren to draw attention to those parts of the
book where he most grievously departed from Scripture and where one
had to be especially careful.
The sad thing is that pastors and mature
believers whom I would normally regard as very discerning, and who
have also read the book, see no problem with it. So the technique
clearly works so well that even the most observant and experienced are
fooled by it.
At a recent conference I attended, the speakers,
one after the other, bandied the term “Sola Scriptura” about. Not only
did they like to use the term but they seemed sincerely convinced that
what they were propounding was based only on Scripture and they openly
claimed that everyone else was adding to Scripture. Yet they did not
have a single Scripture for the central idea they were propagating at
the conference. Instead they relied on experience, statistics, the
Church Fathers, and the Reformers as a base for their doctrine. Once
again it seemed that almost all of the 5,000 attendees were thoroughly
convinced that the speakers were speaking truth.
Does that mean that anyone who uses the term (or
similar terms) is fake? No, not necessarily. But if someone makes a
point of flashing a big shiny cross around, beware; and so too be very
careful of those who like to assure everyone of their orthodoxy. If an
author or preacher is preaching the truth from God’s Word, it should
be pretty obvious and there should be no need to protest too much.
One of the many problems with identifying anyone
using sources outside of the Bible is that it is impossible to be a
Berean – in the sense that there is nothing
in the Scripture to compare
the new idea to because it finds its source
outside of Scripture. But
that should actually be the very basis for rejecting the new idea. If
it is not found in the Bible, no matter how the author justifies the
use thereof, then it should be rejected out of hand.
And don’t be intimidated by the preacher’s
doctorate, credentials and background, elite “spirituality,” and least of all by his confident pronouncements, predictions
and prophecies, bombastic pontifications, or affected meekness. The
questions are simple: “Is it in the Bible and is this what the Bible
plainly teaches?” If the speaker claims that you will not see what he
sees because you do not have the special training, experience and
background that he has, reject him. He is adding his “special insight”
to the Scriptures. (This is a form of Gnosticism.)
Sola Scriptura also means that the Scriptures
stand on their own. Yes, you need the Holy Spirit to lead you into all
truth (John 16:13), but that’s it. No more. Anything else is a
deception – no matter how red the speaker gets in the face when he
insists he is teaching orthodoxy and Sola Scriptura.
The answer to all the bluff and bluster is easy
and simple: “Show me where it is written.”