If I Were Satan, by Thom Rainer


If I Were Satan, by Thom Rainer
If I were Satan . . .

I would focus on the church­es. I would get mem­bers to demand their own pref­er­ences. I would urge them to com­plain about the length of the pas­tor’s ser­mons and the color of the car­pet. I would set mem­ber against mem­ber to fight over the right wor­ship style. And I would make the busi­ness meet­ing the time where the most car­nal mem­bers spoke and fight and destroyed.

If I were Satan . . .

I would encour­age church mem­bers to avoid high lev­els of com­mit­ment. I would remind them that they are there to get their needs met. I would whis­per to them that they shouldn’t be involved in min­istry, because that’s why they pay the pas­tor and staff. And I would urge them to fight one anoth­er over ter­tiary and minor doc­tri­nal issues. I would encour­age Chris­tians to iden­ti­fy them­selves by their ter­tiary doc­tri­nal stand and to exclude any­one else who does not match their pre­cise stan­dards.

If I were Satan . . .

I would let the lead­ers know that it’s okay to min­i­mize and avoid the truths of God’s Word. I would encour­age them to preach less Bible and deal with more rel­e­vant issues. I would make cer­tain that small groups bare­ly dealt with Scrip­ture, but instead spent most of their time talk­ing about sports, gos­sip, and pol­i­tics. I would sug­gest that mem­bers do not need to spend time in the Bible on their own; a thir­ty minute ser­mon each week is suf­fi­cient time.

If I were Satan . . .

I would make cer­tain church mem­bers under­stood that evan­ge­lism is not rel­e­vant in today’s soci­ety. I would tempt lead­ers to stay away from urg­ing mem­bers to be engaged in gospel shar­ing lest they offend some­one. I would dis­suade every­one in the church to think about hell. It’s real­ly bet­ter to keep it at as an abstract con­cept rather con­tem­plat­ing the eter­nal con­se­quences of reject­ing Christ. And I would tell church lead­ers to send their called pas­tors and mis­sion­ar­ies to sem­i­nar­ies where evan­ge­lism is an after­thought.

If I were Satan . . .

I would whis­per to Chris­tians in the church not to think about abor­tion. It is polit­i­cal­ly incor­rect and unpop­u­lar to broach the sub­ject. I would tell them not to focus on the real­i­ty that over one mil­lion babies are killed each year in the Unit­ed States alone. I would make sure they didn’t know that, in the time of a one-hour wor­ship ser­vice in church, more than 130 babies were killed in the Unit­ed States. I would let them know that it’s okay not to dwell on the great­est slaugh­ter of human­i­ty in the his­to­ry of our nation.

If I were Satan . . .

I would keep church mem­bers so busy that they wouldn’t have time to pray. I would make cer­tain that the lead­ers are dis­cour­aged from ever men­tion­ing prayer as a pri­or­i­ty in their con­gre­ga­tions. I would assure the mem­bers that a brief time of prayer dur­ing a brief wor­ship ser­vice is suf­fi­cient for the total­i­ty of their prayer lives. I would indeed do all I could to keep peo­ple from prayer, because it’s such a threat to me and my power.

If I were Satan . . .

And if I could do all these things, I am sure I would see church­es across Amer­i­ca void of power. I would see most church­es in both spir­i­tu­al and numer­i­cal decline. I would see Chris­t­ian fight­ing Chris­t­ian. I would see apa­thy, dis­cour­age­ment, dropout, and dis­il­lu­sion­ment. And I would look over the land­scape of Amer­i­can church­es, and I would see all of my vic­to­ries. Then I would roar with plea­sure at the new church order I see, and I would declare:

“It is good.”

“Indeed, it is very good.”


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