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Chapter 12: It’s the Devil, Stupid

Pardon the play on a famous political line—“It’s the economy, stupid”—but it’s important to know that all of the disturbing trends we have seen are not disconnected bits floating on a sea of chaos. They are, rather, gnarly outgrowths from a single malignant root. 

It’s the devil, stupid. 

The fact that the body of Christ has forgotten this, and scarcely references it with any theological accuracy, is my final disturbing trend in today’s church. It is the ground and being of every other disturbing trend too. 

Chaos is irrationality’s excrement. And irrationality is the devil’s calling card. Sin is irrational. A coup against heaven is irrational. A wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing is irrational. 

I am coming to realize that every time I scratch my head over something in the church or in the world and say, “That makes no sense whatsoever,” the devil is only inches away, hiding in the corner. 

It is too kind to say that irrationality is just uninformed, or stupid, or senseless. Irrationality is evil. It is, in fact, the essence of evil.  It is the unreality of demonic lies battering themselves against the bedrock laws of our eternal God.

The lies of Satan will burn themselves out trying to batter God’s people. Herein lies the chaos. The Church, grounded in Scriptural truth, will prevail—ultimately, in the long run. 

The near term is another story. 

More Cunning

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)

When the Bible introduces us to Satan, the first description applied to him is “cunning.” Different translations say subtle, crafty, shrewd, and wise. 

Of all the possible descriptors of the devil, this is the one that is most easily forgotten. This dark lord is cunning. He is crafty. He is wily. 

But this is forgotten. It is forgotten by pastors. It is forgotten by Christians. It is forgotten by politicians. It is forgotten by the world. It is forgotten by virtually every person posting on social media. 

The Head and Fount of all evil, and murder, and darkness, and deception in the world is, above all else, subtle. 

Much later, in the New Testament, St. Paul would say the same thing: “And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

What does this cunning prince of demons look like? 

An angel of light.

When humans encounter this master of treachery, they think they have encountered a messenger of beauty and truth.

This verse is the conclusion of a longer argument. Paul writes, “And no wonder!” Why does he say this? 

He says this because, in context, he is talking about his profound concern that his friends who knew the Lord would be seduced away from the simple gospel of the grace of God, and the clear teachings of the Word of God. 

For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:2)

Every Christian is married to Christ, he says. By definition. The great miracle of the new birth immediately generates the closest union possible between the believer and Christ. The child of God is instantly purified, as a chaste virgin, and is made one with Christ. 

The basis of that relationship is as secure as the triumph of the Crucified and Risen One. 

But a believer’s experience of that relationship is always on shaky ground. 

It is on shaky ground because there is a ceaseless attack by countless seducers every single day. 

  • But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your  minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)
  • For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:13, 14)

Paul styles these seducers “false apostles.” They do not look like demon worshippers or sorcerers. Though they are incarnations of satanic lies, they present themselves with uncanny charm and irresistible appeal. 

They look like workers for Jesus. When the people of God observe them, we declare, Look at those wonderful servants of God! Yet the great Apostle declares them to be “deceitful workers.” 

The diabolical charmer deceives whole nations. He deceives so many their number is “as the sand of the sea” (Revelation 20:7, 8). In fact, Paul says he “deceives the whole world” (Romans 12:9).

The whole world. 

Why are so many so utterly deceived?

Because the heart is deceitful and because biblical illiteracy is normal and because the devil is subtle. These three realities combine to produce a drunken world, and a church too distracted, clueless, or co-opted to do anything about it.


To read the rest of Chaos, please pick up the book!

[Please click here to be notified when the book is released.]

You might have caught some changes in file names, podcasts episode names and titles, because I have basically changed the numbering system to make the whole structure of the book more clear, it’s a work in progress. I’m also changing chapter titles…

With this episode Bill continues giving away most of this book, as he shares it with you on the podcast. The message is urgent. The message is timely. If it strikes a chord with you, please share it with your friends. I appreciate your prayers.

There has never been a more important moment in the life of the modern church. It is time for us to return to our roots and seek God as never before.

Here’s the Table of Contents (subject to change)

CHAOS: AS GOES THE CHURCH SO GOES THE WORLD

Preface: Fire on the Horizon
Intro: As Goes the Church

Part One: Disturbing Trends in Today’s Church
1. The Giants Have Perished
2. Cheap Epistemology
3. The Song that Never Ends
4. For the Love of All That’s Holy
5. Whatever Happened to Hell?
6. Modern Day Pharisees
7. Kingdom Mania
8. The Discipleship Captivity of the Church
9. The Whole Bible for the Whole Church
10. The Leadership Captivity of the Church
11. How the Church Murdered Grace
12. It’s the Devil Stupid

Part Two: The Revival We Need
12. Reformation and Scripture
13. Reformation and Justification by Faith
14. Some Theology Concerning Revival
15. Some History Concerning Revival
16. Proclaim Christ

Afterword: What’s an Evangelical?

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Please click here to be notified when the book is released.

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