In my last post, I discussed how Satan uses the words “assurance” and “security” to trick people into believing that God intended us to have 100% certainty about where we’ll spend eternity, and I argued that viewing Heaven as something we can have a lock on in this life is actually detrimental to our souls. In so arguing, however, I do not want to leave the impression that I believe there is nothing in the Christian life of which the individual believer can be sure. He may not be able to assert with absolute certainty that he’ll make it to Heaven (which is actually a good thing because it helps him to stay humble and “keep on keeping on”), but he can know—with the certainty of faith—what the teachings of the Christian faith are so that he can do his best to live his life in accordance with them. Satan doesn’t like that kind of “assurance,” though, and he’s got at least one code word to try, yet again, to deceive us into settling for less than what God wants for our lives. That word, which seems very popular right now, is “dialogue.”
As with “assurance” and “security,” “dialogue” at first blush sounds completely positive. Who could object to “dialoguing” about matters of faith? The problem, however, is that Satan does his best to get people to think of “dialogue” as an end in and of itself—rather than as simply a means of getting closer to truth. In so doing, he helps contribute to his other current project of convincing people that “just love Jesus” adequately captures the totality of the doctrinal content of Christianity, a topic I’ve discussed before here.
Because Satan is quite intelligent, he realizes that the “dialogue” ploy is particularly well-suited to our post-modern age that purports to reject the idea of absolute truth. Speaking for myself, once I began to realize that the Protestant fundamentalism of which I’d been so “certain” when I was younger didn’t work, “dialogue” sounded great. For this reason, I for a time was very taken with the “emergent church” folks like Brian McLaren who so powerfully indicted the inconsistencies of modern American evangelicalism and did a great job “deconstructing” the evangelical project. In place of the insupportable “certainties” of my previous fundamentalism, people like McLaren offered a smorgasbord of Christian experience and “dialogue” across the Christian spectrum. It was mighty attractive.