Conspiracy Theories or Prophetic Facts?

All serious-minded people experience, at some point in their lives, something like the following: After a nice social event—perhaps a dinner with guests—a discussion begins. The sad state of the world and current events provide common ground at first. Before long, someone begins to speak more—much more—than anyone else. The one-time social visit turns into a monologue before an unwitting audience. It becomes clear that this person has done his or her share of reading on conspiracy theories, and so has “privileged” data others didn’t learn in school. The monologuer . . . monologues. Some slouch back, eyes glazed over; others leave the room; still others sit on the edge of their chairs, visions of 911, Princess Diana or JFK dancing in their heads.

Conspiracy theories supposedly expose the dark deeds and covert alliances of governments, secret societies and prominent individuals. One feels very powerful in the role of “knowing.” But the knowing can degenerate into an unhealthy fascination with the mystery of iniquity leaving some so consumed with evil that they lose sight of the Savior. We don’t want to be them.

Conspiracy theorists call those who object “naïve.” And truthfully, many live in a La La Land of gullibility, spouting off about Newage-y love, peace, and Oprah, while the forces of evil steal a march on the innocent. We don’t want to be them, either.
How do we exercise good discernment in spotting and warning against true evil without becoming obsessed and imbalanced in the process? I propose that we proclaim prophetic facts rather than propagate conspiracy theories.

Ephesians 5:11-13 provides some insightful guidance:
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.”

Conspiracy theorists love the first verse, because it tells us to “expose” the “unfruitful works of darkness.” But they fail to interpret it in context—the next verse warns against speaking of things “done by them in secret.” In other words, if it’s secret, we have no business delving into it. It’s not our calling as followers of Jesus to act as devil detectives. God has no secret police. He is Truth and Light.

Here’s an essential point: It’s not that we rule out the possibility that Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t act alone, that Princess Diana was killed on purpose, that the government was involved in 911, or that the Apollo moon landing never happened. The bulwark of evil in this world is beyond our imaginings. Additionally, as humans, our senses and information-processing skills are finite. The news media and history books may be utterly deceiving us. But has God called us to solve these mysteries? And if we find a book or a document that reveals a different story than that presented by the media, how do we know that story is true? How do we know that the author of that book or document doesn’t have a secret agenda of his own, even more diabolical than the one he is supposedly exposing? As the dark waters of one conspiracy leading to another fold around us, our souls drown for want of the pure air of heaven.

The passage goes on to clarify how evil is properly exposed: It is “made manifest by the light.” Biblical prophecy shines a spotlight on world events. Like the little boy in The Emperor’s New Clothes telling the deluded king “You’re not wearing any clothes!” students of prophecy state the obvious in the face of mass denial. God leads His wise-but-innocent children to identify evil as it fulfills prophecy. Far from being patsies, Pollyannas, and dupes, God’s messengers expose the evil deeds that truly matter, at the time God schedules, with the Bible in one hand and the New York Times in the other.

Conspiracy theories are wrong on two counts: Conspiracies and theories. God hasn’t called us to expose the devil’s conspiracies, but his flagrances. We don’t do it with theories, but with facts. Prophecies find their anchor in the Word of God. Conspiracy theories release that anchor and plunge us headlong into the dark waters of the devil. What’s your preference in these difficult times?

By the way, the photo is me on Mt. Rainier, rejoicing that this is my Father’s world.

28 thoughts on “Conspiracy Theories or Prophetic Facts?

  1. Ken McFarland

    Agreed that focusing on prophecy is preferable to conspiracy theorizing. But the same mindset that revels in the sensationalism of conspiracies, when brought to Bible prophecies, can just as easily go off the rails there, as well.

    That’s why we have self-appointed Pied Pipers who routinely surface in the church to attract followers (and their financial support) through sharing some “insider” prophetic information. That can range from date-setting for the Second Coming, to stories of angels appearing to announce how many years the world has left, to riding a Daniel or Revelation hobby horse theory on trumpets, seals, or plagues to the exclusion of any focus at all on the Jesus of the Book.

    Yes, facts trump theories. But every day a battle rages for the human mind…yours, mine, everyone’s. Politicians, the media, marketers and advertisers, our church, our pastor, our friends and family…each and all present us with what they assure us are “facts.” Accepted uncritically or on someone else’s good authority, reputation, or credibility, we risk buying “facts” that are anything but.

    This whole life and our destiny for the next hinge on using the mind and power of choice God has given us to do our own study, develop our own relationship with our Maker, and reach our own conclusions in separating fact from theory and fiction. In the end, it’s just me…and God. Same with all of us.

  2. Kitty Goodwin

    Agree with this and would like to add IJohn 2:15-17 onto this about facebook. It may not be a conspiracy to entrap GOD’s people, yet facebook is very much like the world. One is brought into opportunities to have lust of the flesh, and of the eyes. One also may develope the pride of life on facebook. These things are not of the Father, but are of the world.On facebook we must be very careful in joining the world. I would even go so far as suggest dropping out of facebook. It is more then a waste of time, it can be death! Stay with Jesus!

  3. Janice Bailey

    Amen Sister! Thank you for sharing your thoughts in such a clear and relevant way. I had to laugh about a couple of your examples…La La Land, etc.
    Have a wonderful 4th celebrating the freedoms we have at this time!
    Janice

  4. Esther Doss

    THANK YOU!!!! I have become so weary of conspiracy theories and long discussions about what the Evil One is up to. Our local church members seem to be more focused on the enemy’s tactics than exhorting one another to grow in grace and sharing Christ. When I make any mention of this, I am often accused of being naïve and wishing to remain so. “Don’t you want to be in the know?” I know enough. Knowing more only discourages me. Keeping my eyes on Christ is not being naïve. It’s empowering. Your email was refreshing and much appreciated. It’s a keeper!

    Esther

  5. Velma Collings

    Yes, Yes, Amen. you said it! All this theory thing, I am not interested. Just go with God, and what He says and bask in the peace that Jesus gives, that He promised. How can you rely on His peace, when upset with all the bad in the world?

  6. Jack Marti

    Just stick with the facts. Prophecies themselves are often erroneously tied to current events or entirely misinterpreted. History is often a far better interpreter of prophecy than are current events. People get just as wrapped up in current events, trying to read them into prophecy, as conspiracy theorists are in their own theories. Then when the events don’t occur they way current events were leading them to think, people lose faith in the prophecies. Better, we should live our lives in harmony with revealed truth and occupy till He comes, and leave off speculating about unfulfilled prophecy until it is fulfilled. If we are watching and praying, we will know what to do when the time comes.

  7. Brian Holland

    Jenn asked me to post this…

    1. Can I prove or disprove the concept? If a concept can neither be proved nor disproved, it isn’t worth having . . .

    I once asked someone who believed a certain conspiracy idea how I could convince him that he was wrong, if he was wrong and he couldn’t answer me. Any evidence presented was part of the cover-up and I was merely part of the duplicity. Due to their very nature, conspiracy theories are impossible to disprove even if false. All contrary evidence is part of the conspiracy.

    2. If I accept the concept by faith in an authority, and the concept actually is false, will my acceptance of it do damage to me or to society? Will my acceptance of this false concept hurt or damage another person’s reputation? Will it undermine confidence in people, groups or organizations? If so, then I shouldn’t accept it.

    3. Because I cannot know the truth for myself about the issue in question, (that knowledge is only available to those “in the know”) or I don’t have the time and/or resources to check it out adequately for myself, then I must trust the one(s) making the allegation that they are honest, and knowledgeable, and that they don’t have an agenda on their own. (Jer. 17:5)

    4. The advocates of conspiracy theories promote the idea that mainstream sources of information are unreliable, compromised, or have motives to conceal, distort or cover-up the truth; while they (the conspiracy theorist advocates) have no reason to lie, distort or conceal the truth. This itself is a distortion because there is a great motivation to lie, distort or conceal the truth for 1) book sales, 2) video sales, 3) public attention, 4) personal pride and 5) sensational excitement.

    5. The burden of proof lies on the accuser or the person making the allegation, not on the defendant.

    6. “The first to plead his case seems right, until someone cross examines him.” (Pr. 18:17)

    7. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. (Prov. 14:15)

    8. When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras. (Unless of course you happen to be in Africa)

    9. The fact is acknowledged that even the most blatant lie contains some truth, but that doesn’t mean you should believe the lie.

    10. It stands to reason that information sources that have accountability have much more weight than ones that do not.

    11. Because a conspiracy theory is unfavorable and/or destructive to a person, an organization, institutions or authority (governmental, church, institution, etc. ) and it cannot be proven either correct or false, it is morally the same as gossip, but only on an institutional rather than personal level. This is inappropriate for the Christian to believe in or participate in the spreading of.

    12. Conspiracy theories are based on and must create distrust of authority.

    13. As Christian’s we are not to be accusers of others, or speculating evil of others. Conspiracy theories do both. (2 Peter 2:11; Jude 1:9; 1 Tim. 6:3-5)

    14. Conspiracy theories spread disunion, suspicion and strife merely on the basis of allegation. (Prov. 6:14; 16:28; 18:8; )

    15. Conspiracy theories use the methods of Satan rather than the methods of God. (Rev. 12:10)

    ________________________________________

    The great majority of conspiracy theorists, or “truth activists” as many have come to call themselves share many philosophical and sociological views:

    1. A deep, deep distrust of authority figures (whether they are Governments, Businesses, (especially corporations), organized religions, academia, etc. This is replaced with authorities, who the CT view as a kindred spirit, because they are self-published or hold alternative viewpoints than the “mainstream” or “official.” Being “mainstream” or “official” is to the CT inherently flawed and instantly dismissed, regardless of evidence unless it can support their view (see 4).

    2. An all pervasive paranoia. “Yes there is something out there, and yes it wants to cause me harm as an individual and society (the world) as a whole.”

    3. An all-encompassing social or political pessimism.

    4. The ability or willingness to ignore documented or verifiable evidence, in lieu of something much more spurious and unsupported, because documentation is part of the conspiracy. In that vein, also willing to stretch evidence to try and claim support of their theories, if not outright creating it themselves.

    a. CT’s have a very skewed understanding of history, often interpreted to support whichever claims they make.

    b. CT’s have the willingness to believe a highly convoluted explanation, rather than a much simpler or apparent explanation. Because of 1-4, this does not conflict with the fear of inherent complexity in the world in general (as in 5)

    5. That prolific events could not have happened at random because it is easier to believe that encompassing group X engineered it, rather than acknowledging the complexity and chaos that is inherent in life.

    6. The author of this document has either fallen for or is part of the conspiracy.

  8. Albert Podorski

    Dear Jennifer,

    Thanks for your insights on this matter.
    I don´t know how to explain this, but it does fascinate. I fell into it many years ago.
    And the Lord helped me realize that I was contemplating the Dark Side. I believe too that we only see or sense just the tip of a huge Iceberg.
    I decided to quit spending all my energies into this “unfruitful” field of investigation. It is all too consuming.
    From now on, I have made a point in fulfilling everyday this threefold mission of mine thru the Grace of God:

    1- Spiritual life
    2- Marriage
    3- Health-mindedness

    It is a lot more “rewarding”. I have decided to become “ignorant” upon these conspiracy theories (although they might be true) and other related
    matters and focus all my being upon these 3 aspects of my agenda. Yes I do have an agenda, and I believe that I am pursuing a God-approved one.

    Thanks again, Jennifer for sharing, May the Lord our God continue to bless you all.

    Albert Podorski

  9. Rob Adams

    Thank you for such clear thinking. I know a few dear brothers in church that like to trade conspiracy theories. The challenge in dealing with these people is letting them know I’m not interested without a) being angry b) being condescending or c) getting caught up with them in their game.

  10. Jennifer

    Ken- I think the Pied Pipers you’re speaking of have a “private interpretation’–no? To me, far from being about me, God, and no one else, the core issue with Pied Piperism is lack of humility manifested in having to be better than the rest of the church. Separatism, whether it’s fanatical beliefs about lifestyle or prophecy or conspiracy theories always seems to be fueled by the need to distinguish oneself and feel superior, in the know, specially regarded by heaven. And the cure seems to dialog with brothers and sisters as equals. At a campmeeting this year I sat with two different people at two different meals. They both griped about the church. The both had a better way. They both lacked humility. They were the same! The only difference was that one was extremely liberal and one extremely conservative, whatever those terms mean.

  11. Jennifer

    Kitty- For sure facebook can become an ungodly addiction. But not for everyone. It’s my experience that the best thing to say regarding these things is, “Others may, but I cannot.”

  12. Jennifer

    Janice, Esther, Velma, Albert, and Rob–Thanks for your posts and I couldn’t agree more!

  13. Jennifer

    Jack I think we must leave room for misfires lest we create a sense that prophecy is dangerous. But you’re right, plenty of prophecy-types are just as fanatical as conspiracy types.

  14. Jennifer

    And Brian, I absolutely love your doctor Spock way of laying things out and I couldn’t possibly agree more.

    “Any evidence presented was part of the cover-up and I was merely part of the duplicity. Due to their very nature, conspiracy theories are impossible to disprove even if false.” That’s very helpful. They’re simply impossible to disprove, which by the same token makes them impossible to prove.

    #3 is right on, too, in that CTs take advantage of people who must work an 8-10-hour day and don’t have time to dialog on the same level. I don’t believe truth to be that esoteric.

    #4 is great because the CTs lack the insight to admit that it’s human nature that is corrupt, not liberals or Americans or whatever–and that the same sordid motives driving the mainstream can drive a fringer. I happen to believe that there is good accountability in the media (they’re always trying to shoot each other down) and that this provides a measure of protection such that what we get is essentially fact (spun and distorted, but fact). Of course I would never tell a CT this.

  15. Bob Maxwell

    Well stated, Jen.

    As one can all-too-easily observe, my visions tend generally toward the sugarplum genre. However, I have decided to follow Jesus…hmmm, reminds me of a song! Without any other changes, imagine how this world would be if everyone lived for the simple and meaningful. If all the entertainment industry, of which pro sports are a part, were to survive on what they get out of me, if all the money spent (worse than merely wasted) on alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, meat and the legal system could be diverted into positive causes, imagine…It would quickly eliminate the national debt and we’d have a heaven on earth. Of course, we know with prophetic certainty that none of that is going to happen.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Your friend and avid reader,
    Bob

  16. Mark Regan Cleminson

    “Thus the message of the third angel will be proclaimed. As the time comes for it to be given with greatest power, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them. The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power–all will be unmasked. By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred. Thousands upon thousands will listen who have never heard words like these.” EGW Great Controversy What does Sister White mean by unmasked?

  17. Jennifer

    Mark, assuming that you wanted to emphasize this part of the quote:

    The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power–all will be unmasked.

    Couldn’t all those things be fulfilled without people unnecessarily delving into “things done by them in secret.”?

  18. Matthew Shallenberger

    Thank you for this, Jennifer. This is exactly how I feel about conspiracy theories. They have no place in the life of a Christian who trusts in God. If we believe that He is ultimately in control, why should we live in fear of the Illuminati, the Masons, or any other nefarious, secretive group supposedly pulling the strings of the world’s governments? The Bible tells me that God sets up kings and removes them. There is nothing that happens without His knowledge and consent (not to be confused with approval). I trust Him to take care of me no matter what crazy things may happen on this earth.

  19. Matthew Shallenberger

    Also, just a quick observation about that EGW quote: she makes it clear that what exposes the “sins of Babylon” is the proclamation of the third angel’s message. We unmask falsehood by proclaiming the truth, not by debating the sources and particulars of the falsehood.

  20. Jennifer

    Matthew I couldn’t agree more. So well, and so simply, said. Everything is made manifest by the light. It’s not that we never acknowledge sin, far from it. The sins of Babylon, because of her popularity and power, are blatant, but very few will identify them as sin. Only true followers of Jesus will have the guts to call them what they really are.

  21. Mark Regan Cleminson

    “Preparing for the Final Act—This world is a theater. The actors, the inhabitants of the world, are preparing to act their part in the last great drama. God is lost sight of. There is no unity of purpose, except as parties of men confederate to gain their ends. God is looking on. His purposes in regard to His rebellious subjects will be fulfilled. The world has not been given into the hands of men, though God is permitting the elements of confusion and disorder to bear sway for a season. A power from beneath is working to bring about the last great scenes in the drama—Satan coming as Christ, and working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in those who are binding themselves together in secret societies. Those who are yielding to the passion for confederation are working out the plans of the enemy. The cause will be followed by the effect” (Letter 141, 1902). {6BC 1106.2}

  22. Mark Regan Cleminson

    Don’t you want to know about the last great scenes in the drama?

  23. Jennifer

    Mark, I do want to see the signs of Jesus’ coming fulfilled, because that will remind me that He’s near. I don’t want to chase every rabbit the devil throws in my path. Yes, there are secret societies, confederacies, corruption. The statement you quote makes that abundantly clear. But nowhere do I see a command to delve into the workings of the confederacies of evil. This statement is simply acknowledging their existence, which I do–freely! But it is not commanding us to know all about them. We don’t need to! Jesus has already told us that the everything that is in the world is from the devil.

  24. Mike Bender

    WOW! This article was reassuring to me. Our church conducted a mens get together to share thoughts and concerns last sabbath. This very issue came up and it is refreshing to me to learn the outcome of that session was to suggest we inform all who are concerned with world events, trying to digest what is going on, should cease worrying about the world. That is satans theatre.

    Considering the bible, every time God was about to do something major, He sent a messenger. Until He does so again, my little group of church leaders has come to the agreement we should not worry about what the world is up to but rather we should focus on spreading the gospel and growing daily in the spirit.

    That is so reassuring to me, to learn our little group is in harmony with the message you have here shared with us. That suggests to me our leaders are on the right path, that they are people we can put our trust in and maybe even learn from.
    We should of course put our trust in Jesus, but it helps to know we have local church leaders who can rightly discern the will of God.

  25. Jennifer Jill Schwirzer Post author

    That’s really cool Mike. Yes, Satan would like us to chase every rabbit–so much so that we’re too exhausted to fight the real enemy when it arrives. And of course our strength is from Jesus so if we over-focus on the enemy we’ll become weak.

  26. Earl Belfast

    I couldn’t agree more sister Jennifer.
    I think you have articulated WELL what i have been sharing with many of God’s people on the internet.

    Conspiracy theory does not bring the experience.
    While the world prepare via bunkers guns and stockpiled food.The people of God have to make a preparation of the soul.

    Conspiracy theory does not bring the heart work into the Christian experience.Been there done that it does not work. It does not help you to be an overcomer in the daily life although you may have a lot of Conspiracy “knowledge”.
    I went trough the comments before and was looking for a particular scripture text to jump out at me but I may have mist it. If its not there i want to spell it out.

    Bible says 2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
    We have a SURE WORD of PROPHECY. Its surer that IFS,MAYBE’S AND SPECULATION IN WHICH NO ONE CAN PROVE.
    Prophecy brings the experience and if it doesnt then those presenting it need to read Revelation 1:1 until they get the message. Let me explain.

    2 Peter 1:19 says : it will do us well that we take HEED until the DAY STAR arise in the heart. Who is the day star ?
    Malachi 4;2 Says the SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS arise with Healing in his wings. The SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS = THE DAY STAR = CHRIST.

    So what this text is saying the DAY STAR Christ grows up in the heart. how is this done ?
    1.Well as you walk the histories of the world from Genesis to Revelation you behold the love of a unchangeable God.
    2. You see that He has the reins .It is He that set up kings and take them
    down.
    3. You understand the nature of loving merciful God who does all the save sinful man.
    4. Finally As the events unfold as sure as the Bible shows in the prophecies ,as the Bible reveals the hard evidence you as a Christian and a student of prophecy can fine tune your experience as you here the footstep of an approaching God. Not out of FEAR , But in preparation to face a righteous God. Sin cannot dwell in the presence of a righteous God.IN other words you are preparing to be for Judgement. John 16:8-11 the progression of salvation is Sin, Righteousness and Judgement. This is the everlasting gospel as described in the experience.

    When the attempts to sit on the throne of the earth via the aid of the Rome (Rev 12,13,17) ,Daniel 11:40-45 . Christ must be at this time seated comfortably on the hearts of believers.This is the purpose of Bible prophecy.
    Conspiracy theory won’t give you that experience. Only God’s word can complete this mystery Christ in you the Hope of Glory. Col1:27.And get this brethren there is a deadline for this work to be done.So the more time we spend in Gods word the better for us instead of listening the DVD’s and internet feeds of IF’s and MAYBE’S OF CONSPIRACIES AND MAN’S THEORIES.

    Perfect Peace and at such a time.

  27. s cisneros

    The generation that sees these things come to be shall not pass before the second coming.Christ said wars and rumor of wars. Some shall be taken up afflickted and killed in my namesake. Fullfilment is WW1,WW2, WW3 has been rumored to be end of the world war, nuclear distruction, armogedon battle. To prove it we also have Gods people beening taken up afflickted and killed wearing the star of david sewn on there clothing. Jesus name sake tribe of Juhda. Hitler kill 30 million jews. WW1 began thirteen and a half yrs into the 19th century. A generation is around 25yrs 13 yrs is close to the middle of that generation.more proof. The white horse of the revalation is aconquerer that went out to conquer. That is exactly Hitlers mission and a white supremist tag. The second horse was red and had power to take peace from the world. Russia was tagged the red army red comunist. They warred with Hitler causing WW1 and WW2 taking peace from this world. Today they stand with syria poised to start WW3. Syria is prophsiesed to attack Isrial kings if the north to begin the armagedon battle. The third hosre is black with balances in hand. Ounce of barley one dollar two ounces wheat a dollar hurt not the oil or the wine. America is base on balance, equality all men created equal. We protect the words oil supplies. We honor the blood sacrifice of Christ the wine. We dismanteled the white horse germany the same for the red horse russia. Our trade system is now world wide dollars for wheat dollars for barley. As far as black we releast the black slave we gave the blacks the right to vote in the loudest campaine for balance the civil rights act. A blackman is ruler of the world because of America. The fourth horse is pale he who rides him is death and hell follows.the devil satan is this king the Anti-christ. Pale; Chinamen are pale they have enough men for a two million horseman fullfilment crossing a dried up euphraties kings of the east they are allied with russia king of the north and are vetoing in favor of syria. Be ready this is the revalation of Jesus Christ. Crist revealed. The generation that sees these things come to be will not pass before the second coming. The generation is one hundred yrs old next yr 120yrs is the oldest they can live. Jesus is my savior. Like a thief in the night. No is paying attention.

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