“and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”(2Th 2:10-12 ESV)
It is my contention that much of evangelical Christianity’s doctrine and dogma is this strong delusion. I have shown in previous posts (here) that 2Thessalonians was written to the first century saints and not some later, still future generation. When Paul wrote "that they did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" he is speaking of those who did not believe in and who crucified Jesus; In other words, the first century unbelieving Jews.
Who was the man of sin you may ask? I would say in all likelihood, it was John of Gischala. He was the leader of the rebels that took over the temple just prior to the Roman siege. According to Josephus, he killed the high priest and put his own puppet in place of him. He, not God would decide who and who not should be the high priest. He set his regime up in the temple. He killed all of the dissidents.
So then, what is the strong delusion you may ask? I believe it is the leaven of the Pharisees which is their doctrine (Matthew 16:12.) The strong delusion is the inclusion of the doctrine of the Pharisees in church dogma and doctrine. Paul warned that grievous wolves would come in not sparing the flock (Acts 20:29.) He also said that false brethren came in among them to spy out their liberty (Gal 2:4.)
Today we have many evangelicals that act like modern day Pharisees. Our seminaries have adopted the hermeneutical position of the Pharisees which is grammatical historical hermeneutic; Jesus and his first century followers used redemptive historical hermeneutic. We insist on calling the entire scripture the word of God like the Pharisees when Jesus and his apostles defined the word of God as the gospel, and Jesus, the living gospel. The leaven of the Pharisees suggests that we are acceptable to God based upon our ability to develop law based righteousness. While the evangelicals pay lip service to faith righteousness, they in reality, demand law righteousness. I find it fascinating that much of Jesus’ rebuke in Matthew chapter 23 could just as easily be leveled against the bulk of evangelical Christianity. Evangelical Christianity says that faith allows one to enter the covenant but obedience to the law is what proves one was really converted.
After a two years of this blog it should become very apparent that we have lost the way. We are off the mark in so many ways. We have in fact been given over to a strong delusion and we believe what is false. I find it encouraging that so many are waking up from this stupor today. Many are rising up and beginning to become critical of the status quo. Many are questioning the principals that here-to-fore they were obliged to accept. For this I praise God and I hope that more and more Christians of conscience will rise up and stand up for the gospel of GRACE!