Evangelism

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Section 18—Dealing With False Science, Cults, Isms, and Secret Societies

Satan Gains Foothold Through False Doctrines

Error Draws Its Life From Truth—Satan has wrought with deceiving power, bringing in a multiplicity of errors that obscure the truth. Error cannot stand alone, and would soon become extinct if it did not fasten itself like a parasite upon the tree of truth. Error draws its life from the truth of God. The traditions of men, like floating germs, attach themselves to the truth of God, and men regard them as a part of the truth. Through false doctrines, Satan gains a foothold, and captivates the minds of men, causing them to hold theories that have no foundation in truth. Men boldly teach for doctrines the commandments of men; and as traditions pass on, from age to age, they acquire a power over human mind. But age does not make error truth, neither does its burdensome weight cause the plant of truth to become a parasite. The tree of truth bears its own genuine fruit, showing its true origin and nature. The parasite of error also bears its own fruit, and makes manifest that its character is diverse from the plant of heavenly origin. Ev 589.1

It is through false theories and traditions that Satan gains his power over the human mind. We can see the extent to which he exercises his power by the disloyalty that is in the world. Even the churches that profess to be Christian have turned from the law of Jehovah, and have erected a false standard. Satan has had his hand in all this; for by directing men to false standards, he misshapes the human character, and causes humanity to acknowledge him as supreme. He works counter to the holy law of God, and denies God's jurisdiction. It is at his throne that every evil work finds its starting point and obtains its support.—The Review and Herald, October 22, 1895. Ev 589.2

Diverging Paths of Truth and Error—Satan's angels are wise to do evil, and they will create that which some will claim to be advanced light, and will proclaim it as new and wonderful; yet while in some respects the message may be truth, it will be mingled with human inventions, and will teach for doctrine the commandments of men. If there was ever a time when we should watch and pray in real earnest, it is now. Many apparently good things will need to be carefully considered with much prayer, for they are specious devices of the enemy to lead souls in a path which lies so close to the path of truth that it will be scarcely distinguishable from it. But the eye of faith may discern that it is diverging, though almost imperceptibly, from the right path. At first it may be thought positively right, but after a while it is seen to be widely divergent from the way which leads to holiness and heaven. My brethren, I warn you to make straight paths for your feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way.—Manuscript 82, 1894. Ev 590.1

Heresies Now Presented as Bible Doctrines—The time has come when we cannot depend upon the doctrine which comes to our ears, unless we see that it harmonizes with the Word of God. There are dangerous heresies that will be presented as Bible doctrines; and we are to become acquainted with the Bible so that we may know how to meet them. The faith of every individual will be tested, and everyone will pass through a trial of close criticism.—The Review and Herald, May 3, 1887. Ev 590.2

Satan Misquotes Scripture—All should become familiar with God's Word; because Satan perverts and misquotes Scripture, and men follow his example by presenting part of God's Word to those whom they wish to lead in false paths, withholding the part which would spoil their plans. All have the privilege of becoming acquainted with a plain “Thus saith the Lord”.... Ev 591.1

There are false shepherds who will say and do perverse things. Children should be so instructed that they will be familiar with God's Word, and be able to know when part of a Scripture is read and part left unread in order to make a false impression.—Manuscript 153, 1899. Ev 591.2

Fallacies Introduced by Religious Leaders—With the open Bible before them, and professing to reverence its teachings, many of the religious leaders of our time are destroying faith in it as the word of God. They busy themselves with dissecting the Word, and set their own opinions above its plainest statements. In their hands God's Word loses its regenerating power. This is why infidelity runs riot, and iniquity is rife. Ev 591.3

When Satan has undermined faith in the Bible, he directs men to other sources for light and power. Thus he insinuates himself. Those who turn from the plain teaching of Scripture and the convicting power of God's Holy Spirit, are inviting the control of demons. Criticism and speculation concerning the Scriptures have opened the way for Spiritualism and Theosophy—those modernized forms of ancient heathenism—to gain a foothold even in the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ev 591.4

Side by side with the preaching of the gospel, agencies are at work which are but the medium of lying spirits. Many a man tampers with these merely from curiosity, but seeing evidence of the working of a more than human power, he is lured on and on, until he is controlled by a will stronger than his own. He cannot escape from its mysterious power. Ev 592.1

The defenses of the soul are broken down. He has no barrier against sin. When once the restraints of God's Word and His Spirit are rejected, no man knows to what depths of degradation he may sink. Secret sin or master passion may hold him a captive as helpless as was the demoniac of Capernaum. Yet his condition is not hopeless.—The Desire of Ages, 258 (1898). Ev 592.2

Error and Fanaticism in a Confused Ministry—God calls upon His people to be Christians in thought, in word, and in deed. Luther made the statement that religion is never so much in danger as among reverend men. I can say that many who handle the truth are not sanctified through the truth. They have not the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. They become accustomed to handling sacred things, and because of this, many handle the Word of God irreverently. They have not walked in the light but have closed their eyes to light. Ev 592.3

This is an age of signal rejection of the grace God has purposed to bestow upon His people, that in the perils of the last days they may not be overcome by the prevailing iniquity and unite with the hostility of the world against God's remnant people. Under the cloak of Christianity and sanctification, far-spreading and manifest ungodliness will prevail to a terrible degree and will continue until Christ comes to be glorified in all them that believe. In the very courts of the temple, scenes will be enacted that few realize. God's people will, be proved and tested, that He may discern “between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.”—Manuscript 15, 1886. Ev 592.4

Conflict Between False Science and Religion—I have been warned that henceforth we shall have a constant contest. Science, so-called, and religion will be placed in opposition to each other, because finite men do not comprehend the power and greatness of God. These words of Holy Writ were presented to me: “Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” This will surely be seen among the people of God, and there will be those who are unable to perceive the most wonderful and important truths for this time, truths which are essential for their own safety and salvation, while matters that are in comparison as the merest atoms, matters in which there is scarcely a grain of truth, are dwelt upon and are magnified by the power of Satan so that they appear of the utmost importance. Ev 593.1

The moral sight of these men is diseased; they do not feel their need of the heavenly anointing that they may discern spiritual things. They think themselves too wise to err. Men who have not a daily experience in the things of God will not move wisely in dealing with sacred responsibilities; they will mistake light for error, and specious error they will pronounce light, mistaking phantoms for realities, and realities for phantoms, calling a world an atom, and an atom a world. They will fall into deceptions and delusions that Satan has prepared as concealed nets to entangle the feet of those who think they can walk in their human wisdom without the special grace of Christ. Jesus wants man to see not men as trees walking but all things clearly. There is only one remedy for the sinful soul, and unless it is received, men will accept one delusion after another until their senses are perverted.—Manuscript 16, 1890. Ev 593.2