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HEART Christian newspaper | May 25, 2020

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Can anyone spot the truth any more?

Dr Clifford Hill

From the royal family to Iran and President Trump’s impeachment, it’s hard to tell truth from deception

The apostle Paul, writing to his young disciple Timothy, gave a powerful warning that is relevant for us today.

He said, “The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3).

These words came strongly to me when I was writing my editorial article for ‘Prophecy Today’ in mid-January. My topic was the deception that is becoming a major characteristic of our times. There are so many lies and so much fake news around that it is difficult to distinguish truth from deception.

Even the Royal Family has been caught up in it, with stories about disagreement between Harry and William – all said to be fake news invented to feed the public appetite for sensation.

Trump’s impeachment

In America, the impeachment process surrounding President Trump has been inundated with lies and fiction, claims and counter claims. Did he or didn’t he try to get dirt on rival Joe Biden in exchange for arms sales?

We will probably never know the truth! The media and politicians all handle ‘facts’ to suit their own purposes. As Jeremiah says, “Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips” (Jeremiah 7:28).

Plane evidence hotly denied

The shooting down of a passenger plane over Iran was at first hotly denied, but when overwhelming evidence was broadcast around the world, the Iranian government had to admit the truth. Slowly, the whole Iranian population is beginning to recognise the extent of the lies they have been fed through decades of oppression.

Cheating people

Now the financial world is waking up to the biggest scam ever known. Dr Ruja Ignatova, a German-Bulgarian businesswoman, appears to have successfully carried out the greatest pyramid Ponzi of all times, cheating a million people out of their savings.

A report published in ‘The Week’ says: “Six years ago, Dr Ruja was a consultant working in international finance. Then she heard about bitcoins, the strange new digital money not backed by central banks or governments. As bitcoins’ price started to rise, Ignatova saw an opportunity. Rather than invest, she went one better and designed her own: ‘OneCoin’. It was, she claimed, simpler and safer than its better-known rival.”

A businesswoman has cheated millions out of their savings

Ignatova set up offices in London, Dubai and Singapore, attracting money from all over the world. Whether wealthy investors or impoverished villages in rural Uganda, they all wanted to set up OneCoin accounts.

By the middle of 2017, OneCoin had reached 175 countries, and was estimated to have pulled in more than £4 billion, possibly even £12 billion. But now Ignatova has disappeared, leaving all those who were waiting for the day when they could cash in their coins for real money at the banks – a day that will never come. For them, the days of deception have already dawned.

Deceiving Christians

We can expect these things in the world, but Christians who aim to live in accordance with Kingdom values should surely be upholders of the truth. Seeing the revelations about Bishop Peter Ball in the two TV programmes on BBC2 last month came as a shock.

Peter Ball was the popular monk who became widely known as the “Charismatic Bishop of Lewes”. He rose to fame when he was promoted to Bishop of Gloucester and became friends with Prince Charles and many prominent establishment people and politicians.

It was not only teenage boys who were deceived when told by Peter Ball that the pain he inflicted on them enabled them to share the sufferings of Christ. He also deceived everyone who knew him, right up to Archbishop George Carey. I had discussions with George (Carey) at that time, but I had no knowledge that he was so deceived that he had withheld crucial evidence from the police. Surely, there should be no cover-ups and no compromising with deception.

Falling for deception

But many churches in Britain are also falling for deception without knowing it. It comes from adherents to the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), who claim that their leaders are ‘apostles’ with greater spiritual powers than the original disciples of Jesus!

Sadly, their teaching and their music, the latter being very popular with young people, have infiltrated many churches who have not carefully examined the biblical basis of what is being promoted.

When people stop believing in God, they do not believe nothing, they believe anything!

One large, popular church in California is well known for strange practices such as worshippers lying on the graves of ‘saints’ to absorb their spirituality: then they carry out so-called ‘impartations’. The latest craze is led by the son of the church’s founder; this young man directs their ‘Raising the dead’ teams. They claim to have set up more than 60 of these teams around the world and to have had 15 successes – although no evidence is given on their website.

Itching ears

Deception is everywhere today – fake phone callers, credit card and identity thieves, scammers and fraudsters are all trying to deceive us. We are surely living in days when the world has what Paul described as “itching ears”, which makes it easier for the promoters of lies and deception, because their listeners do not know the truth! When people stop believing in God, they do not believe nothing, they believe anything!

False teaching and deception enter the spiritual arteries of the Church

Christians are equally vulnerable when they do not check the biblical basis of what is on offer. Many church leaders are following the standards of the world – if it sounds good and pleases the people, then it is acceptable! So false teaching and deception enter the spiritual arteries of the Church.

We can all fall for deception, because it is always very close to the truth! Bible believing Christians should constantly be studying the Word of God to discern deception. Only truth can overcome deception.

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