I know I should not be surprised when I see it happening over and over again. Scripture warns us that false teachers, false apostles, and Satan will disguise themselves:
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
Still, when false religions go to great lengths to appear Christian to the outside world and hide their objectionable doctrines, it still never fails to shock me. Apparently I am just slow to learn.
For example, the LDS (Mormon) Church goes to great pains these days to appear to be just another denomination of Christianity. They try to avoid talking in public about their clearly heretical teachings, but embrace them within their own walls. The missionaries that arrive at your door are not likely to proudly proclaim their belief that they can one day be gods. Yet, when their leaders speak and write to their members, they trumpet these teachings with great joy:
How fortunate you are to be aware of the Restoration of the gospel! You know there was a premortal existence in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. You were schooled and tested. You learned of the laws that would allow you to progress and advance. You followed those laws, and thus you were entitled to come to earth, placing you on a course leading to exaltation, dominion, and godhood (Keith Hilbig, Ensign Magazine, July 2013).
This is from the current edition of the magazine the LDS church uses to communicate with its members. The article is excerpted from a speech he gave to students at BYU-Idaho. In it, the LDS leader discusses how fortunate they are to know about several non-Christian teachings that are mislabeled as “gospel”:
- The premortal existence of people as spirits before their birth
- That following laws in this premortal existence are what allowed the spirits to get human bodies
- That by continuing to follow laws, people can progress and advance to become gods themselves.
And all these non-Christian teachings come from only a single paragraph. But, they tend to downplay these more radical teachings as they masquerade as angels of light.
Therefore, we cannot be lazy as Christians. We must know our own faith well and ask lots of questions about the faiths of others. We must always remember that the false teachers, false apostles and even false christs will try to lead us astray by hiding behind a facade of Christianity. We must be disciples (students) of Jesus Christ and know our Bibles so we can recognize the lies when they come.
Also, we Christians must be careful not to do the same things. We should never preach a different message outside our church walls from the one we share inside the walls on a Sunday morning. We can never mislead people by trying to get them to try on a diluted version of the Christian faith in hopes they will attend our church. We want to bring them to saving faith in Jesus Christ, not make them members of our congregation.