It seems like there’s a new conspiracy theory everyday. Maybe you’ve heard some of these theories; “There’s a worldwide cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles that have infiltrated the Democratic party and liberal Hollywood.” “5G wireless networks are causing the coronavirus.” “There’s an underground city that serves as the headquarters of the New World Order underneath Denver International Airport.” Oh yeah and, “Elvis is still alive.” There are many, many more, but I think you get the idea.
How should Christians handle these conspiracy theories?
First of all, there is a biblical precedent to take a stand for the truth and expose falsehood. For example, in Acts 23 the Apostle Paul’s nephew exposed a “conspiracy” to assassinate Paul. Likewise, the prophet Nathan in 2 Samuel 12 confronted King David and uncovered his secret plot to cover up his sins of adultery and murder.
TIME Magazine revealed a “Shadow Campaign” that in the words of the publication “saved the 2020 Election.” The article illustrated how powerful CEO’s, left-wing activist and the US Chamber of Commerce conspired together to influence the outcome of the election. Molly Ball author of the article says, “Even though it sounds like a paranoid fever dream-a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information. They were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it.” 19th Century British politician Lord Acton was right when he said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We really shouldn’t be surprised to discover that men and women in positions of political, economic and social power conspire together to get what they want. Afterall, even the Pharisees and the Sadducees who are normally enemies of each other colluded together to rid themselves of a common enemy namely, Jesus. However, I’ve learned that while there may truly be conspiracies not all conspiracies are true. Therefore, I believe it’s incumbent upon the follower of Christ to have discernment. There are key principles from the Scripture that will help us to rightly handle rumors of secret plots when we hear them.
Principle #1: Sound Doctrine Is Priority Numero Uno
The Apostle Paul instructs Timothy to, “Remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.” (1Timothy 1:3-4 NASB) The New International Version adds some clarification that’s applicable to our context by rendering the last part of verse 4 this way, “These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith.” The charge to the follower of Christ is to ensure that we are advancing the truth of God’s Word and not promoting “myths and endless genealogies and controversies.”
Principle #2: Test All Things
“Test all things; hold fast to what is good.” (1Thess 5:21 KNJV)
As discerning Christians, we must take every report we hear in media, every YouTube report or rumor we hear from a friend and test it. Testing involves “fact checking” verifying that what’s reported is true. But more importantly, for the follower of Christ it should include testing against the Scripture and making sure that this report is not contrary to the sound doctrine of God’s Word.
Principle #3: Be Wise To The Times
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2Tim 4:2-5 NASB)
According to this passage in 2 Timothy as we get closer and closer to the end times the more and more people will distracted away from “sound doctrine,” and be drawn to teachers telling them what they want to hear. In the New Century Version 2Tim 4:4 reads, “They will stop listening to the truth and will begin to follow false stories.” In light of that verse, it would appear that one of the strategies of our enemy in the end times is to “distract us from the truth” and get us “follow false stories.” Therefore, I believe in the days in which we live, we must be wise, the Bible tells us not to be “ignorant of the devil’s schemes” (2Cor 2:11).
Then in light of the fact that we are approaching the end times the Apostle Paul exhorts us to do four things. First, he exhorts us in 2Tim 4:5a to “be sober-minded” (ESV). Another translation renders it “keep your head in all situations” (NIV). In other words don’t let the signs of the times or latest reports cause you to lose your mind or your sound judgment. Second, he says “endure hardship” (2Tim 4:5b). If we believe that every word of the Bible is true then it shouldn’t surprise us that things will get worse the closer we get to the end times. Economies will collapse, pandemics will come and go, and political tensions will rage, but our God is faithful. We would do well to remember that God said, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Heb 13:5, DT 31:6). Third, the Apostle Paul says in 2Tim 4:5c “do the work of an evangelist.” If we really believe that we are in fact closer to the end times now than ever before, then we should be more motivated than ever to share the good news of the gospel. Fourth and finally, we are told in 2Tim 4d to, “Fulfill your ministry.” Paul’s concern for Timothy, is that Timothy would not get sidetracked from the main thing. In the words of Greg Laurie, “The main thing, is to keep the main thing the main thing, and that’s the main thing.” It could’ve been easy for Timothy to get so distracted by all the myths, rumors and controversies of the day, that he was no longer doing what God called him to do. John MacArthur once said, “Every Christian has a ministry, but not every Christian is doing their ministry.” Each of us have been given spiritual gifts and have been called by God to serve in various ministries to build up the body of Christ, we would be well served to guard ourselves from being distracted from the main thing.