Spiritual ignorance is usually man-made. It is the deliberate attempt to pretend that spiritually knowledge does not exist, or, if it does exist, it is either unknowable or unattainable. This has produced a number of self-professed skeptics, atheists, agnostics and doubters. However, Satan has used it against humanity for all time. We should understand that God’s truth and wisdom has been freely given, and even when one perceives that he has no wisdom or lacks knowledge, there is an open invitation from God to ask and seek it from Him. God thus gives knowledge and wisdom to those that need it and seeks it. Sadly, folly on the other hand also calls unto humanity and pleads with them to enjoy her delicacies which in themselves are a highway to eternal destruction. There are also those who are wise in their own understanding and fails to see the importance of seeking after godly knowledge and wisdom. These too as the ancient proverb says, “There is a way that seems right unto man, but its end are the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25).
Thus, some have taken the path of foolishness and have become secular in their thinking, avoiding all forms of true spiritual realities. They have become so base that they have even become fools, for, “a fool has said in his heart, there is no God” (Psalm 14:1). Why do these self-professing atheist been called fools? You will do well to heed Paul’s discourse in the book of Romans. He argues that everything that can be seen to prove to us the existence of God, or rather, to declare to us the existence of Deity for all time has been freely displayed. Even nature itself, its design and way of being proves that there is a Grand Designer, a much more wiser and intelligent mind than a mere accident that presumably brought the universe into existence.
We are told that some philosophers like Charles Darwin were first Christians but later, they bought into the humanistic thinking of their time and ended up rejecting God and all the truth claims of Christianity to which they had once subscribe in favor of some repugnant theories that helps advance the devil’s agenda. Yet, we should also not fail to see that, the ever raging war between the forces of God and the forces of the devil is also a battle for the mind. God seeks to control humanity as the sole owner of the universe, but, Satan on the other hand, claims sinful humanity belongs to him by virtue of their sin. The Bible even declares that he who commits sin is of the devil. However, the story did not end there. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and having shed his blood as a ransom for all, he liberated all the once enslaved captives of the enemy ushering in a new age of spiritual liberty from the shackles of the enemy. For this reason, the Son of Man was manifested in order to destroy all the works of Satan (1 John 3:8).
It appears then, that, there are some rebellious humans who have willfully chose to join in the rebellion of Satan by partnering with him to wreck spiritual havoc in the world. The subtlety of this rebellion lies in the fact that, these people knows the truth, but, they take more pleasure in wickedness than righteousness. Hence, they subvert truth, twist it and make it more appeal to the human mind through tricks and cleverly invented manipulation and propaganda strategies. This is meant to sway the ignorant as well as the informed. It is for this reason that the Bible encourages us to “buy the truth and sell it not” as well as to “seek the ways of the Lord”. Truth should be sought, bought and kept. This is the best way to safeguard yourself from error and deception.
Thus, the mind of unbelievers is bent on receiving and accepting spiritual lies, falsehoods and error as the acceptable norms of any given society. Many people are even convinced that the religious world has nothing to offer to humanity except some morals and good teachings meant to harness immoral behavior. The spiritual ignorant looks at the church as an ethical college where good ethics and morals spring from. Sadly, with the emerging breed of church leaders that have mushroomed in our day, the image of the church has been marred and soiled. The church is now used as a cloak to hide evil activities of the clergy. Numerous pastors and church leaders have been caught in ungodly scandals, scams, tax evasions, adultery and all forms of moral vices. In a day when church leaders had respect, it was because they earned it and had a good profession among the unbelievers. But today, that respect has been lost. The church leaders have become one with the world and as a church, we have contributed immensely to this demise of spiritual values in our societies. The unbelievers at times fails to distinguish between true genuine spirituality and a mere professing of it.
The Spiritually Ignorant: Those that are spiritually ignorant exists today in the world and in the churches. This owes largely to the extent religious clergy have peddled religious truth on the pulpits. In the Christian churches, many preachers have come up with a lethal spiritual idea of wrongly gospelizing, that is, using the wrong method of gospel presentation. As a result, these preachers tend to concentrate on the wrong methods of gospel presentation and are committed to do so just to get an audience or bring the majority to the churches. The evangelistic pulpit today is no longer a place for the euangelion, the Gospel. It has become a place where man sells motivational speeches to the audience in a properly well calculated attempt to give to the audience what it wants to hear instead of what it needs to hear.
As a result, this kind of method cannot warrant informed spirituality since the believers have been made to believe in a wrong gospel. False gospels exists today and the best way to hear them is by attending churches, their crusades and conferences. What is a false gospel? It is any kind of gospel that promises people things that God has not promised. It is that kind of eloquent presentation of spiritual truth with the aim of luring people to church without taking them out of their sins, out of the kingdom of darkness. False gospels sells the idea of a good life on earth as God’s greatest agenda for humanity and promises a problem free life where you simply decree and declare things, and where you are safe from spiritual attacks because you have invested through seeding (seed money) into the preacher or his church. False gospels makes people spiritually blind because they boast for earning their salvation through giving, good works, prayers or fasting. False gospels are so cunning and if one is a novice, can have difficult times discerning truth from error since they too use deceptive tricks such as invoking Jesus’ name on everything.
Remember, false gospels are diabolical. They do not seek to save anyone. Christ Jesus came to seek and save that which is lost. If the gospelizing that is done in the churches has no real interest in the salvation of the lost, which in reality, entails the presentation of the gospel truth in the power of the Spirit, then, the produce of such presentation is a church full of spiritually ignorant and ill-informed congregation that looks to the preacher as its Savior and not Christ. Spiritual ignorance lies in the way a leader leads his congregation too. If the leader is spiritually ignorant, then the followers cannot be above their leaders.
Suppression of Truth: Another contributor to spiritual ignorance is the way knowledgeable and intelligent preachers seek to suppress truth in the churches. This is a deliberate move meant to safeguard one’s territory. In the past, truth suppression was done by many religious cults. They would urge their members not to buy or own televisions, radios, books or even daily newspapers. These forms of information were rule to be unspiritual and detrimental to one’s spiritual health. Today, some sects and churches still hold on to that, but in reality, it is a way of suppressing knowledge and truth form congregants who have put their blind faith in the leaders and not God.
Today, we are witnessing a new kind of spiritual suppression through manipulation and mind control strategies. Because of the advancement of technology, many religious and spiritual leaders now own Television stations, internet websites and radio stations. They then use these as tools for manipulation and propaganda. Several church leaders would want their congregations to hear nothing outside their church or denominational horizons. All other preachers are lost and they themselves have the truth. They are afraid their congregants might hear something that is deemed detrimental to the health and growth of the preacher’s empire that has been wrongly called church
The congregants are advised to buy the preacher’s books, DVDs and CDs as a way to promote the church’s spiritual agenda. Sadly, most of these materials are devoid of any true spirituality and in most cases, the sermons or teachings lacks biblical depth. I have often witnessed people from some of these congregations willing to die for their pastor, prophet or leader, but, having been put in similar situation where God’s name is despised or cursed, they have remained silent or walked out. But hey, just mention the name of their leader in a negative sense and you would wish you were never born! The leaders have actually revived the Roman papal system and the church members are made to believe that their church is the only church and the man of God is the only man of God for the season and maybe, his other friends. Whosoever does not agree with their teachings or subscribe to their philosophy is considered a threat.
I remember talking with another lady from one of such churches who had given me a lift. She began to sing and shower praises for his spiritual father, his Papa, boasted of the many buildings, hotels, latest technologies they use in church and wonderful teachings and prophecies this man of God gives. She was so well versed in what the prophet teaches and I listened with keen interest as she spoke. After a few hours of listening to hear, I asked her a very simple question, “How much of the Scriptures do you know from memory?” she then said to me, “I don’t care about which verse to memorize or not as long as my Papa, the prophet is teaching me. I don’t understand the Bible and I don’t even bother to care about its contents. The only man I listen to is prophet so-and-so.” I then asked her, “How then can you know of certainty that what the prophet teaches is true when you don’t know the word of God?”
She hit the emergency break, turned to my sit, red with anger, “What did you say? Do you mean to tell me that prophet so-and-so is not a man of God? Everything I have is a result of that prophet including this car in which you are seated. I don’t want anyone who speaks badly about my prophet or church.” She went on to scream and shout as I patiently waited for her to finish. When she was done, she asked me if I still wanted to continue my journey in her car or not, and I said that I was still comfortable despite having her throwing curses on me and binding my demons and sending some strange fire to consume me for speaking against the man of God.
Such is the spirit of deception that I am talking of. This lady, (and it’s sad to say, I have met more people like her), did not know the Scriptures but whatever her prophet had instructed her, she could recall from memory. Thus, for her there is no need for studying the bible or knowing what it teaches as long as the prophet is there teaching and instructing her. You basically begin to have some questions: are these folks taught to react this way? Have they been manipulated or it’s just the immature response of the person?
Because of the internet and social media, journalists, whether Christian or secular have taken their time to investigate some of these churches and their leaders. They have given all forms of treatment from being fair, honest critical and even being dubious and biased in their reporting. A quick search on Google about prophets for instance can show you millions of pages and articles to read. Read the article and scroll down to the bottom for comments and you will be surprised to see how congregants from these churches behave and respond to criticism. Whether the criticisms are just or unfounded, the response of the church mates shows you a lot about their attitudes and you just wonder if that is how they are trained in their churches.
All truth suppression is deliberate. People do it for a reason. In the case of the churches, truth is sometimes suppressed so that believers are kept in control. Those believers who seem to mingle with others and hear differing views are like to cause serious threats. As already discussed elsewhere on this book, some leaders will tell their church members not to mingle with other churches because they will lose their spiritual touch. Member are discouraged from studying the Bibles by being told such statements as ‘we go by revelation and not the written words’ or, ‘God is not bound by his word’ etc. Now, if the question of biblical authority has been erased, the believers are left with no standard of measurement for spiritual truth; only the skewed opinions of the leaders matter. This is spiritual church witchcraft.
Reversal of Values: The next step in the process of spiritual ignorance is a reversal of spiritual values. In most cases, church folk are quick to accept anything with a spiritual connotation without evaluating its importance. Because to them, the word of the man of God is final, it is assumed that whatever the man of God says is in equal authority to God’s written word or sometimes, it is assumed the word of God far supersedes the Bible since this is fresh, the Rhema word from God. We should not be quick to castigate the congregants because they are victims of spiritual manipulation. However, God will one day hold them responsible for each believer will stand before God’s throne of judgment to give an account of his or her life including the religious beliefs and practices one had while on earth.
The book of James gives a strong warning to the church teachers. It makes it clear that teachers will receive a tougher and stricter judgment before the Lord. The fierceness of this warning should cause every true spiritual leader to tremble and examine himself whether or not he is in the faith. What we teach people duplicates and manifests in their lives. Teaching is a way of spiritual transformation. We have a biblical mandate not only to be hearers of the word, but the word should dwell in us richly and be put into practice, lest we become foolish people who build our houses on the sands. One philosopher said, an unexamined life is not worthy living. Likewise, an unexamined doctrine is not worthy teaching.
The teaching ministry of the church should thus foster spiritual values and godly disciplines in the people. When we fail to take this into serious consideration, it’s like putting the cart before the horses; we jeopardize everything. Most church leaders behave as if they own the people, like they have purchased them with their own blood. They forgot that the Church’s is the Lord’s and we are under-shepherds who are accountable to the Great Shepherd of the sheep, Christ Jesus himself. As a result, they live carelessly pitying the church of God against satanic attacks and making it defenseless while they are ease in their daily businesses.
Spiritual values of prayer, biblical meditation, fasting, holy living, etc., have been misplaced or almost forgotten. Some may argue that our churches are praying and fasting churches and we have an overwhelming display of God’s power in our services. Well, that cannot be ignored and am glad you say so. But, is the praying biblically informed and is the fasting theologically founded? What is the bone of contention here? Well let me explain. Spiritual growth is a product of spiritual exercise and every believer have to participate in the spiritual exercises. It is interesting to see that the Bible stresses much value in the church’s functional system as the body and encourages each individual’s participation.
Thus, for the believer, every endeavor should begin with prayer and cemented with meditation and fasting. The Holy Spirit works best with us if we are prayerful for then, are we spiritually sensitive to his leading and bidding. Prayer creates confidence in God and helps built our spiritual trust as we learn to converse and to be silent in the presence of His Majesty, the Lord of Hosts. Thus, a praying person usually finds himself in God’s will and can depend on God to have his back. Sadly, in the churches, there is a myth that prayer just happens because you have been told you should pray.
The Bible clearly indicates that the practice of effectual fervent prayer can be learned. It just don’t happen. Dr. David Srygley in his book From Cloister to Cubicles: Spiritual Disciplines for the Not-So-Monastic Life has indicated that prayer is not about learning techniques; it is about placement. In prayer, three ideas are often learnt: God’s holiness, God’s provision and our sinfulness. “Prayer isn’t about getting words in the right order; it’s about getting a life in the right order,” he writes. Thus, prayer is learning to let God in your life and for it to be effective, God must have unhindered access to every area of our lives.
Today, the tendency of most believers is to use prayer as a way to obtain things from God. Yet, prayer should be used as a way of fellowship with God. As we abide in God’s presence through prayer, our thoughts becomes focused on the thoughts of God of course, being informed by biblical truth. The gravest error of current praying has been prayers deformed of biblical direction. The books of James tells us that it is possible for people to pray amiss. Now, if someone prays amiss, it means there is something wrong with his spiritual foundation. Without a proper spiritual foundation, there is no spiritual growth. Our minds should be renewed and be transformed by God’s Spirit (Romans 12:2) to enable the dual lenses of Scripture and Spirit in our lives.
Another spiritual value that is often undermined is study. When you study God’s word, you are allowing God to transform your vision. In our normal lives, parents expects their children to be totally obedient and they have come up with a system of rewards and punishments. Those kids that are obedient receive the praise of their parents and are even rewarded with certain gifts and favors. The disobedient ones brings grief and sorrow to their parents and attract spanking and punishments for their actions. In a similar way, we are God’s children and He has given us some very specific instructions on how we should behave as members of his household. Sadly, the amount of obedient children is very low compared to the amount of disobedient believers that exist in the churches today.
“The word of God intersects every aspect of our lives,” wrote Dr. Srygley. “Unfortunately, many people do not believe this because they have so much trouble “finding verses that apply” to a specific situation.” It is sad however, to note that people don’t like verses that doesn’t seem to support their idea of the moment. The word of God is pure and final, yet, when one reads it and finds it to be saying something that he doesn’t want to hear, the person willfully chooses to be disobedient and seeks another verse (usually out of context) to sooth his ailing mind. It should be noted however as observed by Dr. Srygley that “the Bible does not apply to situations; it applies to Christians!”
The bible is meant to teach us principles of godliness. Sadly, we use the bible as proof text for our misguided and half-baked opinions that we infer into the text. People are no longer to taught to obey the biblical principles, instead, they are encouraged to “copy-paste” its words into situations, the fruit of a poorly done hermeneutic. In order for you to completely rely on the assurance of God’s word, you need to know it. To know it you have to study it. The bible hen properly studied, provides us with a better worldview and shows us godly principles that can transform us into the image of Christ. The purpose of God’s word is not to foster in us an attitude of ‘claim it and have it because it is written in the bible, rather, God’s word always seeks to accomplish what God desires. Remember, it is His word and not your word!
There are other values which we could look at, but suffice it to say, spiritual ignorance is detrimental to the church’s spiritual health and will lead many professing Christians to eternal destruction. When people live in error, the devil uses that to his own advantage and further his diabolical agenda against God and humanity. Ignorance is not an asset, thus, we should not seek to cherish spiritual ignorance. It is a path to destruction.
Narrow Mindedness: as a result of suppressed truth, spiritual values are reversed. As if this is not enough, there is a great narrowing of vision and the mind has no room for potential growth. Today, there is a race to control human minds, for, “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Mind control has a deep connection with spiritual life. Sending children to spiritually and morally corrupt but academically excellent school causes them to have a totally decadent in mind. Once minds have been captured, and once degenerate passions have been instilled, they will begin practicing it all as soon as they gain their independence. Thus, the human mind is a critical component in the spiritual life of every person. The importance of the human mind is emphasized hundreds of times in the Bible.
Our inability to guard our hearts has resulted in the coldness and degeneration seen in the spiritual world. Most of what we see portrayed in the media to feed and conserve our minds is based on earthly standards. Instead we ought to give priority to how they contribute to a healthy and spiritual mind. In 1 Peter 3:15, the apostle says that we should “set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts”. If our obedience has to show in life, it has to originate in our mind. (Proverbs 4:23) Consequently, all degenerate movements and bizarre cults aim directly at the human minds. The rest follows automatically. This blinding and controlling of human minds is mentioned by Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:4. About believers losing their spiritual balance, the Scripture says even this begins in the mind (2 Thessalonians 2:2). The whole of Psalm 119 and Proverbs gives a description of how the Scripture takes control of the human mind to produce a holy life. “As a man thinks, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7).
I have been privileged to study Christian apologetics at Trinity Graduate School of Apologetics and Theology in India under the mentorship of great apologists, Drs. Johnson C.Philip and Saneesh Cherian. I have received training in some crucial topics such as mind manipulation strategies, propaganda analysis, how to ask lead questions and how to resist manipulation strategies. Courses in philosophy helped me to see the difference between what is real and what isn’t, the difference between facts and theories and to discern spiritual errors and fallacies of logic. Sadly, most people sees this kind of training as devoid of spiritual values and turns to shy away from it. Yet, all church leaders and believers in this century should seek to understand how the world we live in is currently wired and conditioned if we are to counter the subtle attacks of the enemy. Instead of shunning away from leaning, we should utilize the opportunities as an occasion for furthering the cause of the Gospel and equipping the saints for the work of ministry.
But, here is the dilemma. Ignorant church leaders knows that knowledgeable apologists and polemicists can be God sent to them to evaluate their faith and doctrines. Sadly, the war has greatly escalated in the churches because it’s a battle for the control of the minds and politics of the stomach. If you set free those that have been enslaved in their minds by error, when they begin to see God’s illuminating light shine through their minds and defeat ignorance, they will change the way they viewed the entire system and seek to bring reformation, transformation and revival. Like the ancient king Josiah, when people are back to the discovery of the book of the law, they would want to weed off anything that offends God in the religious systems.
If such a spiritual reformation would take place in our day, many rich pastors will go financial bankrupt, for like the tax-collector Zacheaus, they will stand in public and make restitutions for all the ill-gained wealth. Many believers have been robbed in the name of religion and church leaders have invented strange ways of eating people’s monies. Instead of the biblical teachings on giving, strange revelations that includes a return to animal sacrifices, seed money, protection fee, etc, etc. have taken the churches by storm. It pains my heart to see people so overzealous of things that have no spiritual value when the men of the cloth takes advantage of the poor. In some of these systems, you have to buy your healing, buy your deliverance. Sometimes, the way of deception is hard to discern as no exact price tag is said to be the commercial value. However, you are encouraged to financially seed for your healing, health, promotion, marriage etc. You are told to give the best that you can give, and the offering like a sacrifice, should pain you since it will give you joy on its return to you. It is wrongly assumed, “those who sow while weeping, will reap with joy”. This is wickedness and injustice. We are like ancient Israel as depicted in the prophetic book of Amos.
What has led people to be in this predicament? What has contributed to this spiritual slavery at a time when the church proclaims the gospel of freedom, liberty and deliverance? The church is indeed in a serious crisis. The spiritual and physical methods meant to unshackle and liberate people seems to be more binding and heavy than the Pharisaic yoke. Today, the churches have become prisons where human minds are imprisoned in the name of religion and spirituality. Unless we go back to the fundamentals of the Christian faith, we have a meaningless religion that is devoid of life and God’s power.
There is Hope: If the Lord was present on earth today, He would look at the people enslaved in spiritual ignorance. He would weep like he is weeping for Jerusalem and he is still calling to those bound by denominational and church tradition chains, “Come unto me all you who are heavily laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon yourself” (Matthew 20:28-30). The Holy Spirit has clearly taught us, “where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” and again, “It was for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1).
The control of the minds have made people in the church narrow minded and have thus lost spiritual vision. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 28:19). Yet, the Lord is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Church leaders should seek to see that their churches are not like the Germany concentration camps. Churches should be were minds are spiritually liberated to perceive what is that good and perfect will of the Lord is. The church should be a place where people are trained to think of Christ and setting their minds on things from above (Colossians 3:1) and think on holy, pure, noble things (Philippians 4:8). Churches should be places of freedom not a places of spiritual brainwashing and mind alteration. When you begin to experience closed mindedness in a church system, it’s time to seek help.
But how can we liberate people from such kind of shackles? Concerned believers should seek to help those bound in these systems to see true spiritual light. We should befriend them, for people tend to listen more to their friends as a result of the trust that has been developed in that relationship. It is not good to be critical and judgmental for that will close the door for your witnessing. Instead, take a course in apologetics, evangelism, theology or philosophy that can help you to reasonably and intelligently share the faith with others. As concerned members of the church, we should also encourage prayers for these believers. Some of them are so innocently mislead and they think they are doing God a service. Others are just following the crowd and they perish with the rest. But God cares. He cares for His people and his desire is to bring salvation and deliverance.
Church leaders should develop educative and awareness programs in their churches that equips believers to weather the heretical storms of the enemy. Churches should encourage bible reading, bible study ad fellowship and have trained leadership that is sound in doctrine. If a church have ministers that preach other gospels, then that church is vulnerable to Satan’s attacks any moment and great will be its fall. Usually, the temptation is financial and powerful. People these days wants to associate themselves with rich pastors, and rich churches. To crown it all, they need a church where there is a spiritual show. Power in the churches is now judged by a number of demonic manifestations, supposed prophecies and miracles. Rarely can it be gauged by the amount of saved sinners and transformed lives in the congregation. This is a great malady and the Lord is grieved. We care for larger audiences because there is much money in numbers especially if we have positioned ourselves as the problem solvers of the community. The true spiritual enterprise is diminished and the subversion of values ensured. Yet, this should not be so!