Author: Ryan Price | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22
Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.
Mr. Paul Kearns, LCG’s area pastor for New Zealand and Vanuatu, is a university graduate who majored in World War II history and early Christian history.
For his forum, he told the students that there is a crisis that affects almost every issue today: We don’t know who to trust anymore. Truth is scarce since everyone has their own agenda. Mr. Kearns explained that Satan is responsible for this confusion and showed the students that this has been a strategy of his since the very beginning.
The Greatest Deception
The beginning of this crisis can be found in Genesis 3:1-5. Mr. Kearns broke down this account and showed the cunning methods Satan used and still uses to deceive mankind. Satan started by sowing the seed of doubt in Eve’s mind (v. 1). Then, he used a half-truth—Satan knew that Adam and Eve would not die instantly upon taking the fruit, yet neglected to mention the eternal death penalty that comes with sin (vv. 2-4). Finally, he slandered the source of the truth, God Himself (v. 5).
All of this is very familiar to us; we can see it occur daily amongst our politicians, news outlets, and nations. However, this muddling of the truth is not where Satan stops.
Propaganda: One of the Devil’s Greatest Tools
The Bible and history are full of examples of Satan’s use of propaganda. He doesn’t want just to obscure the truth, but to replace it with his false narrative. Today, propaganda is everywhere, and it can affect us. So, how can we recognize propaganda?
Mr. Kearns explained that to recognize a source of information as propaganda, we must look at the agenda of that source. Why is it giving out that information? He then pointed to the story of Absalom’s rebellion recorded in 2 Samuel 15:1-6, explaining that Absalom believed he was justified in his actions and that his agenda reflected that. He went to the city gates—the social and informational hub of the day—and befriended the people. Then, he sold the people his idea. Absalom also planted the seeds of doubt in Israel by slandering David and elevating himself. Mr. Kearns explained that this was Satan-influenced and pointed out the parallels between this account and the account in Genesis 3. In Matthew 11:19, we find that the Pharisees spread propaganda against Jesus Christ. What was their agenda? They saw that Christ was performing many signs and wonders and sought to destroy and discredit Him to preserve their own prestige.
The Power of Propaganda
Mr. Kearns turned the students’ attention to Nazi Germany for an example of how powerful propaganda can be. Joseph Goebbels was Germany’s minister of “public enlightenment.” He promoted the agenda that the Aryan people were the master race. However, the Jews were considered enemies to the Aryans. Therefore, the Nazi agenda was to destroy the Jews. Goebbels utilized many half-truths to paint the Jews in political office and other positions as trying to destroy German society. He used this narrative to dehumanize them, and his efforts resulted in the Holocaust.
From Matthew 24:9, we can see that we will be hated by all nations for Christ’s sake. Mr. Kearns explained that this will likely happen through propaganda, just as it did in Nazi Germany. Matthew 24 also warns us that many false christs will arise in the end times, and these will even try to deceive the elect (vv. 23-24). Mr. Kearns warned the students that we all need to be alert, recognizing Satan’s propaganda and holding fast to God’s word as the one source of untainted truth.