Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Note on Changed Lives

Doing some research into our Church's history, I came across this article in the magazine of the denomination we used to belong to in the 1930s. It is instructive, particularly given that the Bethel Society had Pentecostal roots.

A Note on “Changed Lives”
Can Satan Change Lives?

Practically every 'modern' movement seems able to produce 'changed lives', so that the true believer is apt to be considerable puzzled. Cults such as Christian Science and Spiritualism most certainly have men and women whose lives have been transformed into characters of beauty. Surely evil could not produce such fruits? Many think therefore that though such cults (and there are many others!) may contain plenty of error in doctrine etc., yet Christ must be dwelling in the lives of many of the adherents who are so clearly living the life of kindness, unselfishness and peace. Is it possible that Satan can change lives?

Some years ago the Sunday School Times published the testimony of a Christian woman who had been remarkably delivered in answer to prayer from the Satanic cult of Bahaism. When she first accepted the teachings of this cult, there came into her life a wonderful peace and quietness, and she had a remarkable control over her children that she had never had before. Please note that her life was 'changed' – but not by Christ. Finally she was delivered and entered into the 'fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ' – and knew the meaning of the fruit of the Spirit, but not before.

So Satan can change lives and apparently for the better (but the word in italics is very important!), and the true Christian has to be very wary in judging a new movement by its 'changed lives'. There are counterfeits of the Christian spiritual life which are very subtle, very deceptive and highly dangerous, They imitate certain parts of the Fruit of the Spirit. Note, in passing, that there is only one Fruit of the Spirit, although it is in a cluster of nine parts (Read Gal. 5:22, 23). Then how may we tell the real from the false? By observing whether one special part of this fruit is present or absent. One part of the fruit of the Spirit is absent from all false religions, even though other parts are simulated, and that part is Faith. No false cult brings its adherents to faith in the shed blood of the Lamb of God as the only way of Salvation. If this one part of the fruit of the Spirit is missing, you may safely assume that that other eight are likewise absent no matter how plausible the counterfeits may seem.

Anon. The Bethel Messenger December 1937

1 comment:

The Happy Wife said...

This is a good reminder. You can find similar teaching in C S Lewis' Screwtape Letters where Screwtape tells Wormwood that if you can get a person to fall with something so simple as a game of cards then there's no need to try to get him to murder. For some then perhaps they only require the appearance of goodness without Goodness, himself, which as you wrote is without faith. Good thoughts.