Prophetic Discernment in an Age of Disinformation [Part Two]

© Phil Mason January 2021

“We live in a political world; wisdom is thrown into jail
It rots in a cell, discarded as hell, leaving no one to pick up the trail.”

– Bob Dylan: Political World, [Oh Mercy 1989]

In this series we are exploring the challenging new environment of heightened disinformation in an age of information wars. My particular concern is the church’s engagement in the political process and its vulnerability to the dark spiritual influences that flourish behind the curtain. We cannot be blind to the operation of what Paul called the spiritual ‘powers’ that drive and energize the currents of political thought and action. In his own day, the Roman Caesars ruled with an iron fist and political intrigues and dark plots flourished inside Palatine Hill, the location of Caesar’s Palace. 

The Roman Empire was awash with political machinations where despotic political power ruled the land. Roman policy was driven by sinister political agendas to dominate and control the Roman populace. The book of Revelation sought to lift the curtain in exposing the beast and the false prophet who ruled the land through unassailable political power. (Revelation 13:4) 

Times and seasons have changed but the same dark powers still seek to infiltrate even the most transparent democracies. 

The church’s relationship with the political world is fraught with multiple dangers. Building alignments with political power may be a temptation too great to resist but the coded nature of the book of Revelation ought to cause the people of God to pause before engaging in a marriage between church and state. The entanglement of the church in overt power politics inevitably makes the church complicit with the dissemination of political disinformation and disinformation and political spin is the very currency of the political world. Cosying up to a political party is a wholesale selling out of the prophetic mandate to speak truth to power by turning a blind eye to the very nature of earthly political power. 

We inherit the great tradition of the Old Testament prophets who stood outside the King’s palace to speak heaven’s truth to political power. 

We have to recognize that in the pursuit of power, politicians do not hesitate to co-opt the church into throwing their support behind their political agendas. Don’t think for a moment that Christians cannot become pawns in the hands of shrewd politicians who are hungry for power. The church’s participation in, or cooperation with political parties that disseminate deliberate disinformation inadvertently become complicit with the spirit of Jezebel who sought to exercise control over the people of God through overt witchcraft and political disinformation. It is important to remember that Jezebel used disinformation to obtain Naboth’s vineyard for her husband, King Ahab. (See 1 Kings 21) 

The propagation of disinformation is witchcraft, pure and simple. It is an assault against the “Spirit of truth.” In this new age of information wars, politicians do not hesitate to weaponize information to manipulate the minds of the masses. Whether we like it or not, the church frequently gets trapped in the crossfire of political disinformation wars and often gets dragged into the centre of this earthly battle by compelling Christians to take sides in an earthly culture war. To the extent that the church is swept up in power politics, to that same extent the church becomes blinded to the spirits of deception that drive the dissemination of disinformation. 

Unquestionably, the church is called to engage government at all levels by prophetically speaking truth to power in the tradition of the prophets who deliberately stood outside the machinery of earthly politics in order to retain a prophetic objectivity to speak into government and those entrusted with power. There is only one organization in the earth that has the capacity to speak God’s truth to power and that is the church. 

The church engages in partisan politics to its own peril because the very process of power politics degrades and entangles God’s people in human agendas instead of God’s governmental agenda. God’s government is established through love and by winning over hearts to His kingdom agenda. It is noteworthy that in the defence of a political party and its policies, Christians are often found to be completely silent in speaking truth to power when it comes to calling out the lies and disinformation of their own party of choice. 

We urgently need to recognise the difference between a healthy participation in the affairs of government and an unhealthy participation with political parties and worldly political agendas. The fruit of power politics is an engagement in a battle against flesh and blood instead of our mandated battle against principalities and powers. As soon as any human being steps into this arena they are immediately engaging with heavy spirits of deception. If they lack high level spiritual discernment, they become extremely vulnerable to getting played by the invisible realm. Have you noticed that whenever earthly political battles infiltrate the church, it always leads to a spirit of strife and division within the body of Christ? Love immediately gets flushed down the toilet as brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers become vilified as the political ‘enemy.’ 

Loyalty to King Jesus

The church is called to live above the machinations of earthly politics in their loyalty to Jesus as King and their loyalty to His divine government. He alone is worthy of our unswerving loyalty. Then and only then can the followers of Jesus truly speak truth to power and call out the use of disinformation in the advancement of political agendas. 

You know you’re a Christian nationalist when your patriotism to Jesus is compromised by your patriotism to your nation. 

Politics traffics in idolatry, most notably the quest for political power and the advancement of nationalist agendas. These are some of the great idols of our time. One of the tasks of the prophets is to call out idolatry in all its forms. The Old Testament prophets called out Israel’s idolatry and apostasy and they called upon the people of God to be wide awake to the idolatry of political power. Imagine if the church recovered her royal assignment of speaking truth to power by raising her voice in the marketplace and calling politicians on their use of disinformation? We need to recover the fire and courage of the Old Testament prophets who spoke truth to power. The spreading of lies and falsehood in the name of political advancement is a gross injustice and a crime against the people because it trades in deception and confusion. 

As Dylan prophesied; “We’re living it times when men commit crimes and crime don’t have a face!” Disinformation is one of those faceless crimes. There is no greater injustice in the land than corrupt politicians in the seat of power. Imagine if the church again became the matrix in which courageous prophets were formed who could call out societal injustices in all of its forms. We need to recover some of the fiery prophetic language of the Old Testament prophets.

“God’s justice? You high and mighty politicians know nothing about it! Which one of you has walked in justice toward others? Which one of you has treated everyone right and fair? Not one! You only give “justice” in exchange for a bribe. For the right price you let others get away with murder. Wicked wanderers even from the womb, that’s who you are! Lying with your words, your teaching is poison.” (Psalm 58:1-4 TPT)

I love the Message Bible’s take on this passage.

“Is this any way to run a country? Is there an honest politician in the house? Behind the scenes you brew cauldrons of evil, behind closed doors you make deals with demons. The wicked crawl from the wrong side of the cradle; their first words out of the womb are lies.” (MSG)

From a biblical perspective, governmental leaders are called to uphold the values of righteousness, justice and truth. Walter Brueggermann, in his book Truth Speaks to Power, writes, “power that has been founded on something other than truth (e.g., deception, violence) is exposed as fraudulent [and] delegitimized.” Power based upon lies and disinformation is fraudulent power! It is the role of our political leaders to uphold truth in the marketplace. If truth is compromised in the political process, corrupt politicians become the target of fiery truth prophets. Jeremiah confronted a situation where truth was sacrificed in the name of political expediency.

“Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond. Say to them, “This is the nation whose people will not obey the Lord their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips!” (Jeremiah 7:27,28 NLT)

When truth is slain in the streets through the dissemination of political disinformation prophets rise up and speak truth to power. The stories of the Old Testament are replete with tales of prophets calling out corrupt politicians and kings. Second in line were the ‘prophets’ and ‘preachers’ who were quick to jump into bed with the politicians. I especially love this prophetic oracle from Ezekiel;

“Your politicians are like wolves prowling and killing and rapaciously taking whatever they want. Your preachers cover up for the politicians by pretending to have received visions and special revelations. They say, “This is what God, the Master, says . . .” when God hasn’t said so much as one word. Extortion is rife, robbery is epidemic, the poor and needy are abused, outsiders are kicked around at will, with no access to justice. “I looked for someone to stand up for Me against all this, to repair the defences of the city, to take a stand for Me and stand in the gap to protect this land so I wouldn’t have to destroy it. I couldn’t find anyone. Not one.” (Ezekiel 22:27-30 MSG)

What an indictment upon the office of the Christian prophet and the Christian preacher if they become nothing more than the spokesperson of the beast! The book of Revelation identifies this total sell-out as the ministry of the ‘false prophet.’ 

In one of his many visions, the apostle John said, “I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons…” (Revelation 16:13,14) 

Seeing Christian prophets becoming the heralds of Christian nationalism is a new low point in the history of the church.  In an age of disinformation, it is time to put some distance between our voice and the voice of earthly political power. It is time to interrupt the silence and to speak truth to power with one clear prophetic voice. Disinformation ought to be called out and exposed in the public square! Truth is at stake! What a troubling state of affairs we are in when the church becomes complicit in the dissemination of deliberate political disinformation.

The Government Will be Upon His Shoulders

God’s government is diametrically opposed to worldly political agendas. Jesus introduced His followers to an entirely different way of establishing His government on earth. God’s government rests squarely upon Jesus’ shoulders. (Isaiah 9:6) In His confrontation with Pontius Pilate, a Roman political governor, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight… but now My kingdom is not from here.” (John 18:36) 

God’s government is established through love, winning one heart at a time to Jesus. It is extremely rare to see a Christian get drawn into earthly political battles who is able to retain love as his or her foremost value. Love usually becomes subordinate to the political agenda and that is an unequivocal sell-out of our birthright as sons and daughters of God. 

We are meant to be known for our love! Jesus rules through truth but truth that is always spoken in love. He spoke truth to power when He said to Pilate; “You say that I am a king, and you are right. I was born for that purpose. And I came to bring truth to the world. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” (John 18:37 NLT) The prophetic mandate of the church is to “speak the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15) But as soon as truth is dislocated from the Spirit of love it loses its efficacy. 

I long for the day when we see a widespread awakening in the church where Christian’s eyes are opened wide to the nature of earthly politics and the spirits that operate in this arena, where Christians can call out the corrupt use of disinformation no matter which political party adopts such abhorrent practices, where Christians are awake to the idolatry of power and to the entanglement of nationalism and where Christians can boldly recover their high calling to speak truth to power. 

The calling of the church in her loyalty to Jesus as King is infinitely greater than a shabby allegiance to earthly political parties. I hear Jesus saying “come up here” to a higher place where we are seated far above principalities and powers, where we can discern the operation of political spirits, of spirits of deception, of Jezebelic strategies adopted by corrupt politicians who are hungry for power. 

We are living in the Age of Disinformation. That has become one of the defining characteristics of the times and the seasons we are living in. The political spirit has infiltrated the gates of the church and that spirit has to be driven out if we are to recover our true prophetic mandate.

In part three of this series, I want to explore more deeply the spiritual dimensions of the disinformation age so we, as the people of God, are thoroughly equipped to discern the times and the seasons and to know how to respond. We cannot be oblivious to the spirits that operate in the machinery of politics and its quest for power. 

I feel as though God has given me some helpful discernment and insight into a number of spirits that are operating in this current political climate, so I invite you to join me on this journey as you read Part Three of ‘Prophetic Discernment in an Age of Disinformation.’