THE UPWARD CALL
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
IN CHRIST JESUS.
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
by – Stuart H. Pouliot
February 8, 2012
Craftiness in Deceitful Scheming
(11) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as
pastors and teachers, (12) for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the
body of Christ; (13) until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to
a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. (14) As a result, we
are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of
doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; (15) but speaking the truth in
love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, (16) from whom the whole
body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each
individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16
There is a secular expression that says: Get on the bandwagon . According to Wikipedia, it is called “the
bandwagon effect” and is the observation that people do and believe things because many other people
do and believe the same things. Simply, people tend to follow the crowd without examining the merits of
a particular thing. Unfortunately, the bandwagon effect can be quite successful and gather up a lot of
people. It is like a fad and referred to as the "herd mentality." The more people who go along with it, the
more people will join it without examining it carefully. As they say, people "hop on the bandwagon."
The bandwagon originated as a wagon that carried a band in a parade, circus, or other entertainment,
and the phrase "jump on the bandwagon" was first used in American politics. People (voters) would jump
on political bandwagons, that is, support certain candidates for office, not necessarily based on the
merits of the candidate’s positions. In our modern age of instant communications, polls, focus groups,
and biases from the news media, it is easy to see how a nation can become so fixated on politics and so
steered by the views of the news media and the almost endless number of so-called experts and
commentators that people jump on the bandwagon of candidates, not so much based on facts but much
more on what the herd is doing.
Now, this might seem like I am about to launch into a discussion of the present race for the next
President of the US. This is not what is on my mind. I am thankful that we have a King who is seated on
the throne and ready to come to this earth to set things right.
Some years ago, the matter of bandwagons came to me as I was meditating on what is going on in the
visible church of our day. As I meditated, the word fad came to me, and I felt that I was to do a word
search and look at the first thing that came along. Well, it was this matter of bandwagon that popped up.
It seems to me that some (perhaps, many) of the Lord’s people hop on the bandwagon because many
others are doing it. By this, I mean that there is a herd mentality amongst the Lord’s people that leads
them to follow after every new wind that blows through the pews, bookstores, and the Internet. For
example, someone writes a book and someone with a name endorses it and the next thing you know it is
a best seller and the author is a new leader of the modern-day church. It matters not if there are things in
the book that are not quite according to scripture or are extra-Biblical in an inaccurate sort of way. What
matters to the masses is that everyone else is reading it or following it (whatever it is).
This leads to the verses quoted above, especially verse 14 which, in the Concordant Version, reads by
craftiness with a view to the systematizing of the deception . This phrase seems to capture the heart
Craftiness in Deceitful Scheming
of what Paul meant. Other translations use phrases like systematized error (DNT), clever strategies that
would lead us astray (ISV), and plot to seduce in their subtlety (JMT).
I believe Paul was conveying to the ecclesia that a system of thought could be developed based on
error, especially based on a spirit to deceive, that becomes a system of thought that permeates how one
views many things.
Systematizing is not merely accepting something false; it is building an entire framework based on a
deception, so that everything is seen through this deception. Take Paul’s hope of the out -resurrection as
an example. As a former Pharisee, Paul believed in a physical resurrection of the body, and he held to
this belief after the Lord broke into his life. In fact, 1 Corinthians 15 is a defense of the resurrection of not
only the Lord Jesus but of all mankind. However, some have taken Paul's use of the word resurrection
and made it a spiritual resurrection one receives in this life. The result is that the one thing that is
essential to the hope of believers is systematically put in a lower place of importance, ignored, or
distorted. But it is worse than this, for Paul's real hope was not to appear in the general resurrection of
the dead but to appear in the out -resurrection or the resurrection from the dead. If you don't know the
difference between the two, you may have fallen for the systematizing of the deception.
One of the devil's greatest achievements has been the systematizing of deception. He has not only
succeeded in taking what is false but in taking it and packaging it into a systematic framework and then
passing it off as the truth of God's Word. It appears as light but at its very core is darkness. Many of
God’s people have been hooked into various frameworks of deception. I confess that at times in my life I
have, so I only have the greatest amount of compassion on my brethren who write and teach in this day.
I pray frequently that I not fall into deception but remain open to correction in all that I see or write.
I suspect that there are many such examples of systematized deception in the doctrines and teachings of
the "church." Many of them have become the tradition of men and those who teach them are simply
pawns in the game of deception. This does not necessarily mean that they are deceivers, but that they
have been deceived themselves and are simply unknowingly passing the deception along to others who
willingly jump on the bandwagon without verifying if it is truth or not.
Unfortunately, I believe that there is an even more insidious thing happening in our day. When people
are warned that something is amiss, they don’t seem to want to hear it or to care that it might be off. It is
as if they have become dull of hearing or hardened to the truth. They are more interested in being
excited, or, as Paul warned, the time has come that they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting
to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their
own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths (2 Timothy
Are we so naïve to think that this cannot happen in our day? It is not uncommon to hear people respond
to such challenges by saying "God is much bigger than that" or "no one has all the truth." To this last
point, this is true, for we all see dimly, but this should not be an excuse for being lazy with the truth, not
verifying what we hear or read, or worse, desiring to hear only what appeals to us, that is, tickles our ear.
In our day of instant gratification and media intensity, we need to question any new so-called spiritual
matter, event, teaching, or prophetic word, especially when everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. My
warning to all that have an ear to hear is that the Christian bandwagon of our day may lead you astray
and away from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ . Perhaps, it is time for some to jump off
the bandwagon and cling to Christ and Him alone. It is time to grow up, to mature in Christ.
Dear beloved in Christ, let us not jump on every new bandwagon that comes along.
Let us be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves. Let us discern in spirit all that we hear and
see. Let us test the spirits. Let us look for true fruit of the spirit, the fruit of righteousness.
Let us love the truth , seek to know the truth , and walk in the truth (2 John 1, 4).