21
Sep
09

A Mind Control Reality Check

The Church is a river, not a reservoir.

We all know that cults control what their adherents are exposed to. For instance, a Jehovah’s Witness is not allowed to read Trinitarian literature. Just try giving a JW a tract and they will immediately reject it as “demonically inspired.” Mormonism, Scientology, Unification (Moonies), just won’t allow their adherents to believe anything they like and remain in good standing with the organization. For this reason, those who join these groups are told what they can and cannot read, see, hear and trust. When beliefs pop-up that do not fit, the cult immediately goes to work dispelling any evidence that opposes their theological propositions. Often the apologetic provided seems, to a rational mind, incomprehensible.  

Those who have worked in de-programming know that the number one challenge is ridding a cultist of his or her misplaced confidence. Their reliance on the authority of the prophet, Joseph Smith or the teacher, Charles Taze Russell and the Watchtower is superior to the Spirit and the Word of God. Everything must be interpreted through a demogog of one kind or another. Doctrinal isolation – being deprived of other points of view is key to the indoctrination process. Mind control requires the constant and steady drumbeat of a prescribed dogma. This should be no surprise. We expect this from a cult.

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

 John 8:36

21Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are your’s; 22Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your’s; 23And Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

1 Corinthians 3:21-23

Sectarianism is the evidence of Spiritual immaturity and carnality…

I see evidences of predestination but because I do not see overwhelming evidence of it. I am, by default, a non-Calvinist.

I have read widely and enjoy authors from a wide variety of theological perspectives. I challenge almost any ordinary Christian to have read more sermons by C.H. Spurgeon than I have. Though Spurgeon didn’t always preach or write like a Calvinist should ( I intend a future blog entry on examples of this), he claimed to be one and I like him. Then I have enjoyed other Calvinists like, John Piper, R.C. Sproul, James White (some subjects more than others), John McArthur but I also like John Wesley, C. S. Lewis, John Stott, Calvin Miller, Ravi Zacharias, Chuck Colson, Howard Hendricks, Philip Yancey, Chuck Swindoll, Max Lucado, A.W. Tozer and on and on it goes. I confess to even have read, Benny Hinn’s, “Good Morning, Holy Spirit.” As they say, “Sometimes I have to just eat the chicken and spit out the bones.”

It is my opinion that this wide exposure to theological thinking helps one to have a more balanced view of the “Faith of our fathers” or, let me put it another way, “the faith once delivered to the Saints.”

Some of my email and blog comment indicates that not all of my readers feel similarly.

Those who only see things from one perspective make me just a little nervous. John Calvin finished his massive (and I must say brilliant), “Institutes of the Christian Religion” by the time he was twenty-seven and by the end of his life he said that he wouldn’t have changed a thing. Should this bother anyone?  It’s an amazing person that has it all figured out (especially something so incredible as the sovereignty of God) by the time he or she is but twenty-seven years of age. Quoting Bob Dylan from “My Back Pages,” Ahhh, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”

I thank God for Luther’s justification by faith alone and for the Menno Simons and the Mennonites in reclaiming the importance of the Word of God. When carnality was rampant in the church, there was John Wesley, “a brand plucked from the fire” who felt elect to the task of “restoring holiness in the land.” Then, just at the right time, just when the church needed someone to step up and reach out to the poor and suffering, God gave us William and Catherine Booth and the Salvation Army was born. Even though, sometimes over the top, I like the Pentecostals welcoming the Holy Spirit back into the worship services.

Perhaps you don’t appreciate all of these influences as I do? Why not? Though no theological stream is crystal clear, do you value the Christian Missionary Alliance, the Southern Baptists, the Lutheran witness in the world or is every group but your group under suspicion? Have you and your group become the sole arbiter of Christian orthodoxy? Uh, oh.   

I am suspicious, and you should be as well, when Christian groups or leaders have only one point of view. This happens you know. I have run into sects who bang the drum in a certain way and they expect their adherents to fall in line. There is no room for the non-conformists – the person who asks the honest question or questions authority. These groups generally isolate their people from others and in the name of truth or doctrinal purity exert power through a certain kind of mind control. I could name these groups but I’m pretty sure that you have your own list. One of the problems with indoctrination and mind control is most often those who are the victim of this toxicity are the least aware that it has happened to them. They have become the proverbial, “frog in the kettle.”

”…knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation…

2 Peter 1:20

Perhaps you see what I might be getting at? Let me resort to quoting the great philosopher, Oscar (it may have been Grover) of Sesame Street, “One of these things is not like the other? One of these things does not belong ”  Being able to make fine distinctions is a primary test of intelligence.

See an earlier blog entry: “Hyper-Calvinism.”

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2 Responses to “A Mind Control Reality Check”


  1. 1 whitebullrunning
    September 23, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Hey, it’s me, Steve. You raise some great, EXTREMELY timely (in my life) points on keeping an open mind and being HONEST in our struggles with deep theological issues…which in the end is OK b/c we know that what really matter is very SIMPLE. I feel like your blog is a great place for deep-thinking, confused, non-Calvinist, non-Arminian yet simple folks to check out ;-). Thanks…


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