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Christian Today Article – Devilish Advice on Dealing with Christian Ministers who Actually Believe the Bible

This is a shorter version of the article I wrote in response to the Scottgate fiasco!  It is more generic – the longer article is here – Devilish advice
(with apologies to CS Lewis)…

My dear Diabolos,

Good job! I see you have been learning from your earlier mistakes and are actually using our Father’s carefully selected subtleties. It’s good that you have been following the diabolic rules when dealing with these loathsome creatures who actually believe what Jesus said.

Rule 1. Don’t start with ridiculous concepts such as truth and facts. Start with impression and emotion. Begin with discrediting your opponent by calling them arrogant and confrontational. This always works. You win both ways. If they keep silent they appear to agree with you. If they answer they appear arrogant and confrontational. They are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. We love damnation!

Rule 2. Always play the Judgemental Card. This is embarrassingly easy. We love the fact that we have created an army of agents who manage to persuade people that judging is such a terrible sin, and then spend the whole time doing so – without offering any remedy! Everything is in their opinion…which suits us fine.

Always portray those who don’t believe the Bible as gentle and gracious, just like Jesus. Again it doesn’t really matter whether this is true or not, or whether everyone believes what you say, but some will. And so you continue to create the impression that on the one hand there is the loving, gentle, kind, tolerant accepting liberal and on the other there is the nasty, certain fundamentalist. By the way, what a wonderful coup that we have managed to claim the name ‘liberal’ for those who hate the true liberality of our Enemy! You see how easy it is to change and use language with those who foolishly think words only mean what they want them to!

Rule 3. Always play the uncertainty card. Portray yourself as uncertain and seeking, with a wistful look back to your ‘childish’ days when you were certain, and your opponent as an arrogant know it all who thinks that they know the will of God. This is a brilliant strategy because it allows you to appear humble while at the same time believing whatever you want to believe and rejecting whatever you don’t like. Remember your aim is to create a narrative, an impression and so make sure you don’t actually encourage people to think. Otherwise they might work out that your certainty about uncertainty is self-contradictory.

Rule 4. Always sound spiritual. Cite some proverb or saying which sounds profound and meaningful. It doesn’t matter that it is nonsense, it just makes people feel good and allows them to indulge whatever their particular thought of the moment is, without having to worry about whether it is true or not.

Rule 5. Don’t under any circumstances allow questioning. This is of course tied in with preventing people actually thinking. Hopefully your charge of arrogance because they claim to know the revealed will of God, will be enough to stop them asking questions. What if God has revealed himself in the Bible? What if the person who is teaching the Bible as the revealed will of God is in fact being humble, not teaching their own opinions but His? Don’t let these kinds of questions be asked because then you have lost.

Rule 6. Talk often about how progressive you are. Speak movingly about your ‘journey’. This both makes you appear humble and modern, while your opponent is stuck and immobile. We always love seeing people slide into hell while thinking they are advancing into Nirvana.

Rule 7. Play the Jesus Card. The knife is better stuck in with a smile, rather than a snarl. Remember you are trying to win others over to our side. After you have laid down the foundations of how humble, gracious, progressive, uncertain you are, move on to calling your opponent names. Mud sticks. Especially when the logic of the enemy has been removed from the mind.

Don’t forget to play the Jesus card. This is my personal favourite. Imply that your opponent is ‘not like Jesus’. This manages to impress both Christian and non-Christian and sometimes has the advantage of making your opponent doubt themselves. Tell them they are Pharisees (without of course allowing them to think that it was the Pharisees who denied the Word of God, mocked the person of Christ and ended up being responsible for crucifying him – a mistake Our Father now regrets having made). Be careful here. Make sure you accuse your opponent of not being ‘Christlike’ (which in this culture usually means ‘nice’ – and since you have already established that your opponent is not nice – you are on to a winner!) before you then go on to talking about your version of Jesus. The nice personal, inclusive, do whatever you want, mystified and mystical Jesus.

We love getting people to believe in a Jesus who doesn’t exist. He can do us no harm, and he can do them no good.

Rule 8. Make sure they never, ever understand the cross. That shouldn’t be difficult. After all Our Father of Lies didn’t understand what was happening until it was too late. The whole of the ‘good news’ about our Enemy Jesus does centre around a correct understanding and expression of what God did in Jesus on the cross.

Rule 9. Always quote Scripture. This should perhaps be nearer the top of the list. Our Father of Lies used it as his number one weapon in his tempting of the Enemy. I love that our agents within the Church deny that the Bible is the Word of God and then quote the bits they like as though they were. It certainly confuses the enemy’s troops. You know the nice stories about the Samaritan who ‘broke the rules and kept the commandment to love’. It allows them to use all their favourite buzz words about inclusion, caring for others etc without ever getting to the real heart of the matter – that humans are lost and incapable of truly caring for others without a radical heart change. Our liberal friends think that they can care for others fine without Jesus. He is in their eyes, only a fine example of what they already believe themselves to be!

Rule 10. Always denigrate Doctrine. At least true, biblical doctrine. It is appalling. It tells them about Our Enemy. That is the very last thing we want them to know about. So come up with lines like ‘for the hard-line fundamentalist, doctrine is everything’. Never let them see that everything they believe is in some way a doctrine. Do you not see how delicious it is that they believe our doctrines and call themselves ‘freethinkers’ and despise Our Enemies doctrines – the very truths that would set them free?

Although you have had some set backs, we are delighted at the havoc you are wrecking in the Western Church. It is beyond delicious to see that our Father of Lies original trick (‘did God really say?’) Is still as potent as ever. Will these loathsome creatures never learn?! Keep up the good work,

Yours in the Service of our Master,



  1. Nice take on Lewis, loved it.
    Found this bit a tad misaligned though:
    “and ended up being responsible for crucifying him”
    Would it have been better to use passive tense, as in
    “and ended up being responsible for him being crucified”?

    Since, as we know, Christ was crucified by Gentiles having been handed over by ‘Temple plc’.

  2. Thanks for this posting . I certainly got the point, although continually had to untangle myself reminding myself who was who . Education is a wonderful thing !

  3. I hope this comment makes it past moderation. I do appreciate the creativity and humour that has gone into your “Devilish Advice”. I want to support that.

    If I a truthful I also fear being on sticky ground with you David. I would like to express caution about made out to be either mad or bad through attempts at guilt though association with any movement, denomination or group of all the synchretism and atrocities that have been committed within.

    I hear your admission humbly made and with transparency that there is pride within the Free Church. I would wish to honour that candidness and be guarded against any manifestation of pride but I wouldn’t want to see anyone in the Free church being accused of pride merely for being a member.

    Specifically, in the light of recent events, I support your addressing the false teaching against “Christ died for your sins”. I would also welcome the preaching of “the Word of God” and the richness of biblical doctrine done in love.

    Would it be beyond reasonable to ask for welcoming of comment where there has been manifestation of pride, in whatever form that takes?

    1. Adam, I’m afraid that you post way too much and I can’t just let your continual posts dominate….why not write your own blog?

      I am also tired of your attempt to play the equivalence card…yes on the one hand the C of S tolerates heresy, but on the other the Free Church is proud. Given that all of us are proud/sinful/corrupt/arrogant or whatever it is an easy card to play to negate any criticism. And it is wrong to do so. Of course there is sin within any sinner – that is a tautology. What we are concerned with here is the deliberate contradiction of the bible by a teacher of the Bible and his denomination saying that that is ok. Justifying that by pointing out that everyone is a sinner is just both illogical and wrong….even the devil quotes the bible!

  4. The new ‘Exploring Faith’ booklet for new communicants from the Church of Scotland says the following on page 29:

    ‘After all, how should the death of Jesus be understood as the means of God’s forgiving grace? Here there are a variety of ways in which the Church has answered the question. Jesus represents humanity. Jesus is a substitute for the punishment humanity should rightly receive on account of its sin. God pays a ransom (Jesus) to the devil for humanity. God defeats evil, death and the devil in the death and resurrection of Christ. God satisfies the need for justice through this perfect sacrifice. The Bible itself provides a range of images and concepts by way of explanation, and it is a fascinating, sometimes mind boggling question how to understand these and other approaches to the question. But trusting in God does not mean we have to know which solution is right.’

    I guess this is rule numbers 3 and 8 – or maybe an extra rule 11 – ‘let them think that certainty about basic truth about God and salvation is beyond the reach of the ordinary Christian’. A useful corrective is found in the Westminster Confession of Faith (sadly neglected):

    ‘Not all things in Scripture are equally plain in themselves or equally clear to all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly stated and explained in one place or another in Scripture, that not only the educated but also the uneducated may gain a sufficient understanding of them by a proper use of the ordinary means.’ (WCF 1.7 – modern English version)

    1. So Tom, you argue that in this statement the CofS is guilty of being in league with Satan for thinking that “basic truth [is] beyond the reach of the ordinary Christian” by talking of a “range of images and concepts [and] mind boggling how to understand these.”

      Contrast this if you will with what is sometimes expressed in Evangelical churches the “we need to think outside of the box”. Given that the apostle Paul was sensitive to culture in being a Greek to the Greeks, Jew to the Jews and gentile to the gentiles is it any wonder that the same truth may be expressed in a “mind boggling” variety of ways in our individualistic and multi-cultured society?

      I would suggest consideration as to whether this is the work of Satan disguised as an angel of light or a reflection of the rich diversity within the body of Christ.

      1. Saying that the C of S is in league with Satan is putting words into my mouth I didn’t say – misled by Satan would be how I would put it. Seems like you have fallen for Rule 2. Of course we can all be misled by Satan but James warns us that those who teach will be judged more severely – hence the seriousness of error in a book for new communicants.

        Using Paul as an example falls a bit flat when he of all people expressed the atonement as a substitutionary sacrifice – and expressed it as such to Gentiles not just to Jews. You’ve fallen for Rule 9 there. Not that I’m saying you are in league with Satan – just misled. But I imagine, correct me if I’m wrong, you have also fallen for that error regarding Satan that CS Lewis pointed out of not believing in him at all. So that I don’t fall for the equal and opposite error of giving him too much attention let me say that ‘rich diversity’ can only glorify Christ if it honours who he is and what he has done in his redemptive work otherwise it is ‘diversity’ that is glorified and not Christ.

  5. “Saying that the C of S is in league with Satan is putting words into my mouth “I didn’t say – misled by Satan would be how I would put it. Seems like you have fallen for Rule 2.”

    If I were to respond in kind it could be to say that you are straining a gnat by making a difference between being in “league with” and “misled by” and your response is in keeping with rile to by being judgmental.I could go on with responses to allege “error” and following of any particular “rule” and say it is you that seems to be “misled”.

    See how easy it is?

    I’m not interesed in any foolish argument that only leads to quarrels.

    Instead, I will say that you are right to comment that “‘rich diversity’ can only glorify Christ if it honours who he is and what he has done in his redemptive work otherwise it is ‘diversity’ that is glorified and not Christ.”

    Therefore in the light of the central issue being about “Christ died for our sins” it would seem to be a time for communicating that message in a manner that is reflective of the diversity within our culture in manners which may be “out of the box” but remain true to the glorification of Christ would it not?

    1. But this is where we must disagree. There is a world of difference between being in league with someone (that is ‘In close cooperation or in partnership with, often secretly or in a conspiracy.’ – and being misled by someone (that is ‘to lead into error of conduct, thought, or judgment’ –

      There is also a world of difference in accepting or denying penal substitution as the central defining explanation of the atonement (accepting that other explanations such as ‘Christus Victor’ are other aspects of this central explanation). So alas, we can’t use the same language to say we mean much the same thing because once we get down to precise definitions the difference becomes all too clear. It is precisely because I believe that Christ died in my place that I am united with other Christians from all sorts of backgrounds who believe that Christ died in their place.

      There is a reason why creeds and confessional statements were produced by those who went before us. The Church of Scotland seems to be moving to a position more like the Quakers. I happen to know an evangelical Quaker and I have also met a Quaker who believed in pantheism – two diverse views that are not reconcilable but that are acceptable in a movement with no creeds. As you have not precisely stated your view I’m not sure if I am united with you or not. I’m afraid a ‘let’s all be nice to each other and not argue’ approach will not do – but I am happy to discuss this in a civil way.

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