Tag Archives: False Teachers

The Cake Is a Lie

My son, the self-professed video game geek, has been playing a video game called Portal in which the player is trying to solve various puzzles to escape from a testing facility. Throughout the game there is a computer named Glados who talks to the player and tells him he is testing a portal gun, a device that creates a portal in a wall leading to another room somewhere else in the facility. Glados seems to be very friendly and promises that at the end of the tests there will be cake and a party in the player’s honor.

As play progresses, the player encounters rooms called the Ratman’s dens where there is written on the walls “The cake is a lie,” referring to the cake that Glados has promised. Eventually, the player discovers that Glados intends to kill him after the testing of the portal gun is complete and before he can escape from the facility. He discovers that the cake is, indeed, a lie, a false promise to try to prevent the player from realizing Glados’ real intentions.

My son and I were talking about this game the other day and he commented that “The cake is a lie” reminded him of Satan and his promises. Just as Glados promises cake at the end of the testing, Satan promises great things. But just as the cake is a lie, the promises of the devil are a lie. He promises that happiness is found in fame and fortune, in partying and drugs, in business success, or in any one of a number of worldly options. Satan makes promises to try to keep us from even trying to escape his grasp and to prevent us from realizing his real intentions of claiming our souls as his own. Just as Glados tries to distract the player from his true purpose of escaping the testing facility, Satan tries to distract us from our true purpose and goal in this life, which is to seek freedom in Christ.

As I thought about this, I realized that the apostles who came before us are like the Ratman who came before the current player in Portal and wrote the warning “The cake is a lie” on the wall. The apostles wrote the Gospels and epistles of the New Testament to warn us that “The cake is a lie.” 

Speaking of the devil, Jesus said, “He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 (NLT). As part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned of liars who would come: “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.” Matthew 7:15 (NLT).

Paul warned that “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness.” 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 (NIV). He also warned about those who had believed the devil. “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” Romans 1:25 (NLT).

Peter also warned of false teachers. “These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed. They scoff at things they do not understand, and like animals, they will be destroyed.”

John, the beloved disciple, warned that some who claim to speak for God would nonetheless be liars. “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.” 1 John 4:1 (NLT).

Finally, Jude warned of those who would perpetrate a great lie upon the church itself, leading many astray:

Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 1:3-4 (NLT).

We have seen the warnings. The cake that Satan and those who have been deceived by him offer is a lie. Just as the player of Portal would be well to heed the warnings of the Ratman and disbelieve anything Glados says, we would be well to heed the warnings of the apostles and disbelieve the lies of the devil.

It is possible to escape the Portal testing facility, though the player must dodge the attempts of Glados to kill them and must ultimately destroy Glados to do so. Thankfully, we do not have to destroy Satan in order to escape his grasp. Jesus has already done that for us when He died on the cross in full payment for our sins, and rose again defeating death. Once we understand that all Satan’s promises are lies, and trust in Jesus only, we are home free.


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Remembering the Reformation

Tomorrow is Reformation Day, the day we remember and celebrate the work of Martin Luther and others to expose non-Biblical theology and practices of the church in the 1500s. It is an important day to be grateful for the fact that we have God’s Word available to us and for the gospel of grace that His Word shows us.

My Lutheran Book of Prayer includes Luther’s prayer for the Reformation Festival, as he called it, and I wanted to share that prayer because it remains a good prayer for the church today, 400+ years after the Reformation.

Lord God, who after long ages of darkness delivered the Church from the bondage of error, we thank You for those faithful witnesses through whom You restored the Gospel of Christ to men, and we praise You that this blessed light has been preserved for us to this present age. We thank You for making known among us the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, our only Mediator. Defend Your Church against all her foes. Seek and save the lost and all who have gone astray. Preserve among us the pure Word and the holy Sacraments, turn our hearts from false and pernicious doctrine. Direct and strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that we may abide in the confession of Your Word all the days of our lives and in the end, by Your grace, obtain everlasting life. This I pray in the name of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

We cannot become complacent about the teachings of our churches. We must continue to pray that Jesus defend His church against those who would set aside His Word and lead God’s children astray. We must rely on the direction and strength of His Holy Spirit to help us stand firm on the truth of scripture. We must cling to grace and lift high the cross of Christ as the only means of salvation.

The Reformation was an important stage in the history of the Church, but that doesn’t mean we can sit back on our laurels and not remain vigilant. False and pernicious doctrines still creep in from time to time. We need to guard our hearts against them.

We need to guard against the doctrine of the progressive Christian  movement that says that other religions are just other paths to God and that Jesus is not the only way. We need to guard against the doctrine of legalism that says we need to follow all the rules in order to be saved, essentially requiring that we save ourselves. We need to guard against doctrine and theology that says the Bible is not the inspired and inerrant Word of God.

There are many warnings in the New Testament about false teachers within the Church. Heresies were not new when Martin Luther and the other reformers fought against them in the 1500s, and they will always be something we must guard against until the Day of Christ Jesus. The Apostle Peter warned:

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. 2 Peter 2:1-3.

When asked to recant his faith in Christ and the Gospel, Luther said, “Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.” Let us stand firm as Luther did and not follow the shameful ways of false teachers. This I pray in the name of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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