No matter the organization, there are dictators and tyrants who want control so badly that they will resort to fear tactics in order to control the population. Often, the strategy is a divide and conquer methodology that pits different groups against one another. This stirs up conflict and confusion, thus allowing someone with a strong hand to come along and offer a solution to the problem.
You see this in US politics. Each side uses fear tactics in order to win people over to their side. I examine in “How fear preys on a society” how this manipulation is nothing new and has been the strategy of choice for tyrants down through time.
Christians need to understand how governmental leaders are attempting to manipulate the population. Prophecy makes it quite clear that a time of great deceit is coming, and there will be a “beast” power that will control events and populations in order to gain power. In addition, there will be a false religious system that will not only use the same tactics but will support this beast power and cause people to worship it. It will a revived Holy Roman Empire, in which emperor worship will re-emerge as the required religious system.
However, fear and intimidation are also used by some extreme falsely-called Churches of God. David Pack and Gerald Flurry have no qualms with spreading fear that people will not go into the Place of Safety because they do not follow their unbiblical doctrines.
What does God say about fear?
6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
If there is anyone or anything we should fear, it should be God!
17 Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God:for I am the LORD your God.
This was a command to ancient Israel, but does it apply any less to us today? Absolutely not! Notice in particular that they were not to oppress one another! Does the so-called “Philadelphia Church of God” oppress others? How about the Restored Church of God? Do they encourage people to cash in their retirement so the human leaders can build monuments to themselves? Yes! These are Churches of God in name only!
24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.
25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
There is a spirit that does deal in fear, however. If the Spirit of God drives away fear, then it should be obvious which spirit causes fear and confusion.
So, is it a contradiction that one should fear God? No, because the real question is who should fear God and how much. We are instructed to fear our parents, but should a mother and father terrify their young? Hopefully, you can see that is not the case, but if you do believe they should, I hope you either have no children or are busy seeking psychological help.
5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
So, a Christian should fear God, Who chastens us as His children, even as a child would fear their parents. And when does that occur? When they disobey! Therefore, as long as we are obedient, what is there to fear?
However, God should terrify some. The wicked have every right to be terrified of God.
19 And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
~ Isa 2:19
This is why the perfect Christian has no fear but only perfect love.
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
This is why the mature Christian is not easily manipulated by governments or heretics either one. The fear mongers cannot control the one who has no fear.