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Someone has said that only fanatics have true faith; for only they are willing to carry their theories out to the ultimate. Unfortunately, when the theories are faulty, the end results can be very destructive.

Born again charismatics in Australia made headlines when a woman they were trying to cast devils from died during their violent exorcism. They prayed over her dead body for days in the hope that she would be resurrected. Public outrage would label them as murderers; whereas we think that God would see them as sincere, but misguided.


The misdirection stems from the evangelical emphasis on salvation by bluff, or "name it and claim it" theology. These people think God can be made to feel obligated to make the "confessions of faith" come true. They think that, if they say often enough and loudly enough that they know that they know that they are saved, they might actually be saved. No room is allowed for doubt about whether the formula is a correct one.

It's true that the Bible teaches salvation comes by faith. But not by faith in the devil. Nor faith in your pastor, nor faith in miracles, nor even faith in your rightness with God.

It was blind faith in their rightness with God that made the Pharisees such arrogant pigs. And much the same can be said for the average evangelical. They leave no room for the possibility that their pat formulas for salvation may be flawed. Their faith is in the formula rather than in God.

The fact that the apostles never once suggested that saying a little prayer would guarantee a place in heaven, and the fact that Jesus requires his followers to obey him never gets through to them. Such thoughts are seen as demonic attacks on their "faith", so that even Jesus himself must be forced out of their minds.

Like that poor band of fanatics praying around a dead woman, they have invented a fairy tale that suits them; and they risk everything on the hope that, if they repeat it often enough, it may eventually come true.

After a few days, the Aussie prayer warriors were forced to admit that God had called their bluff. Unfortunately, born-againers will not discover their error until they stand before Jesus and he points to their blatant disobedience and says, "Go away! I never knew you!" (Matthew 7:21, and Matthew 25:41-46)

(See also Miracles, and Dogmas.)

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