There probably aren’t too many American adults who have never played the game Monopoly. In fact, people from all over the world have experienced hours of fun (and in some cases friction) rolling dice, buying properties, and generally trying to bankrupt their closest friends and family members. But if you have ever stepped out of your immediate family group and tried to play with others, you probably heard someone say, “We don’t play that way.” While the official rules remain the same all over the world, “house rules” can change drastically depending on who is playing. In Christianity today, we see that many churches have added “house rules” that appear nowhere in the official playbook of the Bible. Christian deception has become pervasive, and people are adding to and taking away so much that they really aren’t even still playing the same game.
House Rules Can Make the Game Easier
Monopoly has lots of rules about loaning money. Properties can be mortgaged to pay debt, but the money must be paid back with 10% interest. Houses may be sold for quick cash, but they go back to the bank for half the price. And, no loans may be made to other players outside the banking system. I don’t know about you, but we never played by any of those rules at all. We bought and sold property and loaned money to each other, but the bank never saw a penny above what it loaned to us. Houses were sold back to the bank at full value.
Some people in the church world today are making Christianity easier by ignoring what the Bible says. Greasy Grace says that sin is inevitable, but that’s okay because the more you sin, the more grace God has for you. Once Saved Always Saved says that if you said the “Jesus prayer” one time in your life, you are saved forever no matter what your conduct is or how much or little fruit you produce. The idea of the “Carnal Christian” says that people can live like the world six days per week but go to church on Sunday and they are still on the narrow path to heaven. This is Christian deception. Christianity is not supposed to be easy, and all of these bypass God’s mandate for holiness to the Lord. We must take up our crosses and follow after Him. We must seek Him and submit to His will for our lives.
House Rules Can Make the Game Harder
But while some people make up rules that give more money and chances, others make up rules to make the game harder. Some people play that you can’t buy property your whole first way around the board. This is in direct opposition to the rules that actually state that no property, once landed upon, will remain unsold. If the person who landed on a property doesn’t have the money to buy it, there must be an immediate auction to sell it to the highest bidder. For those who allow the property to remain unsold, some make up additional punitive rules past that. They actually bar players from future purchases if they can’t pay the first time.
In the church world today, the Hebrew Roots movement has a large and growing following. In it, people are going back to the Old Testament and obligating themselves to follow as many of the 613 rules found there as they possibly can. All those old rules were supposed to do was to show us how impossible it is to be perfect by the hand of man. We need God to make us perfect, so Jesus’ sacrifice for us took away our sins in a way that the blood of bulls and goats could never do. Our righteousness now depends on our relationship to Him. Going back to the Old Testament laws takes things back out of God’s hands and puts it into the hands of man to be right with God. It is also in complete opposition to most of the book of Galatians in which Paul warns us not to go back to that particular yoke of bondage. This is Christian deception. Their success can lead to pride and independence instead of humility and submission. Their failure can lead to hopelessness and takes away the power of Jesus Christ to save them.
House Rules Can Make the Game More Fun
When I was growing up, the first order of business for the banker after passing out the money was to put a crisp $500 bill in the center of the board for “Free Parking.” All fees and taxes went to the center too, and when someone landed on that space – payday! It was like a built in “lottery,” and every time we went around the board, we crossed our fingers that we would land on that space. This is the way we always played, and it was fun. But did you know that the rules actually explicitly say that no money will be paid for Free Parking? It is just supposed to be a place to rest.
Today in the church world, there is a whole group of people who are capitalizing on the very idea that God is holding some sort of lottery system. The Prosperity Gospel or Word of Faith movement says that God always wants His people to be healthy and wealthy. All you have to do is have faith, they say, and all your physical and monetary troubles will be over. God is obligated to give you money and prizes if you will just believe hard enough for them. Name It and Claim It is an offshoot of this. It cuts God out of the equation completely. All you have to do is SPEAK what you want into existence, and it’s done. No praying is even necessary. This is Christian deception and ignores God’s sovereignty. Sometimes it is God’s will for His people to suffer lack or physical illness. It is in this way that we can learn the lessons necessary to fulfill our calling or do His will. He is, however, our resting place, and He will never leave us or forsake us.
House Rules Can Change the Object of the Game
One game of Monopoly can take hours and hours to complete since all players but one must go bankrupt. People who don’t have time for the whole process but want to get in a quick game often change the object of the game. Some people use a timer and count up holdings at the end of the time limit to see who has the most money and property. Some people set a monetary amount, and the first person to hit the goal wins. Changing the object of the game changes the decisions one makes in the game. Instead of investing in properties for the long term, players can instead choose options that raise cash flow.
Kingdom Now Theology, often called the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), Joel’s Army, or Seven Mountain Dominionism, has completely changed the object of the game for believers. The object of the game is no longer winning souls for the Kingdom. The object is to take over as many of the seven spheres of societal influence as possible. Those are: religion, family, education, government, media, arts and entertainment, and business. According to them, when Adam and Eve sinned, God lost control of the world to Satan. It is up to a special elite group of Christians, many of whom have supernatural powers, to “take back” the world in order to hand it over to Jesus when He returns. Systems are now the goal instead of souls. This is Christian deception and completely ignores the book of Revelation. In it, we see that Satan will increase his control over all seven of those areas. Believers are not the champions of the story, and they will even be overcome for a time. Jesus is the hero and the star of the show. He will vanquish the devil at His coming.
House Rules Can Change the Attitude of Players
Some people play friendly games. My family always played that when we landed on someone else’s property, we dutifully handed over the rent. The first time I played with a family that went by the actual rules, I thought they were being mean. They did not just immediately hand over the money. Instead, they waited to see if the person who owned the property would notice and ask for the money. This is actually in the rules. It says that if the next person rolls the dice before the landlord notices rent is due, the person who landed there does not have to pay. This changes the responsibility from the person who lands on the property to the property owner him/herself.
Today in Christianity, some churches are so interested in making people happy that they forget that there are rules about where responsibilities actually lie. Churches that affirm and even celebrate homosexual lifestyles just want to please the people. They want to “love” them and support them and affirm them. But, they are disregarding what the Bible says about the matter. They are also ignoring the sinner’s responsibility to turn away from sin once accepting the Gospel message. This is Christian deception. While in the natural, it can feel “mean” to tell someone he/she is not right with God because of behavior, it is actually the most loving thing we can do. Truth will save the person from the consequences of continuing to live in sin.
House Rules Can Change the Pieces of the Game
Playing Monopoly using the Boggle timer would be tough. The sand rushing from one chamber to another would speed up all actions of the game, changing the whole atmosphere. Imagine the possibilities if you added a Twister Spinner or Scrabble tiles. As kids, bored on a summer day before video games and good TV, the possibilities were really endless. The only limits were that of our own imaginations, and we could come up with some wacky versions of the game. Someone wandering by and seeing the pieces might have still thought we were playing Monopoly, but up close, the games bore little resemblance.
Today, some churches are adding pieces of other religions and still calling it Christianity. Grave sucking is necromancy, in which people try to “suck up” the anointing from a dead Christian by lying on his/her grave. Angel cards are just tarot cards, asking demonic entities for advice on love, life, and the future. Both of these are occult practices, but Christians don’t stop there. Lots of churches hold what they call “Christian yoga” sessions. This is using pieces from the Hindu religion with poses that venerate other “gods” and breathing and thought patterns that open people up to demonic connections. This is Christian deception. Slapping on a Christian label and changing mantras to Bible verses doesn’t negate the harmful practice. In all cases, the people are opening themselves up to demons and making themselves inhospitable to the Holy Spirit of God.
Whether in Monopoly or Christianity, some people just play the same way they learned, never bothering to read the rules. Others have read the directions but have made up their minds to follow their own “house rules” anyway. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the Bible says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” People can play Monopoly any way they agree to play, and it is totally fine. For Christians, though, the Bible is our playbook. Adding to or taking away from it is a dangerous move, and it really isn’t a game at all. It is Christian deception, and it’s deadly serious. For Christians, there really is only one way to “play,” and that’s by the Book.
Do you like analogies? Try reading It’s Not the Machine That Makes Us Clean. It’s an article that compares a dishwasher to aspects of the Christian life. Or, try Born Again: All About That Butterfly Life. An article about being born again using the analogy of metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly.