You know that the “North won the war,” but do you know how? Sure, the Union Army had well-trained troops and advanced weaponry, but there was yet another tool they wielded during the American Civil War.
And this one, while highly effective, never even saw the battlefield.
For thousands of years, countries have sought to destabilize their enemies by circulating counterfeit money; the Civil War was no different. During the bloody conflict, northerners undermined the South’s slave-based economy by spreading counterfeit Confederate money.
Jefferson Davis, president of the southern states, told the Confederate Congress in 1862, “Soldiers of the invading armies are found supplied with large quantities of these forged notes as a means of despoiling the country people by fraud.”
One legislator in the Confederate Congress declared, “Wherever their armies have invaded our country…these notes have been scattered! This is one of the most destructive blows made against our government. The aim and tendency is to destroy all faith in the currency of the country.”
By devaluing the Confederate’s money, the North hastened the South’s defeat.
And the same trick is being used against today’s Church.
“Counterfeit gospels” are being slipped into our spiritual economy at every turn. Far too many people are willing to substitute the real Gospel with fakes. (Trevin Wax outlines six of the most frequent fakes in his book Counterfeit Gospel.) On the surface, the counterfeits look just like the genuine Gospel proclaimed in the Bible, but upon closer examination, they prove to be hollow and useless.
But this isn’t exactly new. The devil has been using this trick for at least 2,000 years. Look at the warning Paul gave the Galatians in Chapter 1, verses 6-12:
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
Don’t make the Galatians’ mistake. Analyze your gospel closely so you don’t buy a lie.
Counterfeit Gospels by Trevin Wax. Moody Publishers, 2011, Pages 11-12.
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