Infectious Agents
Not all religious doctrines, operating under  "Christian" banners, are obviously equivalent.  Egregiously,  more than a
few denominations, and non-denominations, are
even at odds regarding selected fundamental Christian tenets,
beliefs and/or practices. The Apostle Paul forewarns in Gal. 1:6-9 to beware of a "different gospel" being preached
than the one brought by the First Century Apostles and we can find derivations of such gospels being rendered today.
Christ clearly alerts followers in Matt. 24:24 against the emergence of "false christs", "false prophets", "lying signs
and wonders" and efforts to deceive "even the elect", during the last days of this 'age'.  As the days of this 'age' enter
their 'latter time' we can expect to witness unprecedented disruption not only in the secular world but also in religious
quarters.  We are already experiencing a marked increase in earth tremors, wars and rumors of war, nations rising
against one another, famines and pestilences (disease, plagues, AIDS, Ebola) like never before.
If you receive internet email then you most likely have contended with a computer-generated virus which comes
unexpectedly from malicious pranksters as well as from malevolent minds bent on clearly damaging another
individual's computing system and/or extracting vital data for illegal purposes.  Viruses are defined in one way as
entities which are "Unable to replicate without a host cell, viruses are typically not considered living organisms".[AHD]
Demonic entities have a similar limitation in not being able to operate without a 'host' to invade (e.g., Mk. 5:11-13).   
Infectious agents will continue to attack the physical body of man until Christ comes again, and the church will have
its share of unauthorized and unwelcome intrusion by disruptive spiritual forces.  Natural and spiritual viral elements
most regrettably are here to stay and on the exponential increase.
Commingling   Elements of the World with The Holy Things
Being infected with a 'spiritual virus' that  emerges from corrupt and/or false doctrines can cause a Christian's belief   
system to be attacked and potentially damaged to such an extent that the  individual's
fund-of-faith may incur
irreparable harm.  The  AIDS virus attacks the physical autoimmune system, rendering the body  susceptible and
vulnerable to an environment of free-roaming bacterial agents, airborne spores and infectious organisms carrying
disease entities which cause the ultimate death of the infected individual. The human body, the body-of-Christ and the
spiritual body-of-faith can all be vulnerable to foreign agents emanating from the dark realm of Satan, the corrupt
teachings of men and/or from various religious systems which have  been spawned by ignorance, superstition,
humanistic/religious traditions or outright witchcraft.  The Christian Church in America, as well as in many other
geopolitical locations, is facing a key question: are there churches and religious centers suffering from a lowered
'spiritual defense system'  brought on by relentless and dogged attacks from the enemy's camp, from willful worldly
associations, from a literal pursuit and desire to include secular trappings throughout church operations (i.e.
entertainment centered services, commingling of the Holy with the temporal, elements of a convoluted gospel) and/or
all of the above?
Several scriptures in the Old Testament  admonish against mingling  "the woolen with the linen", not plowing   
with an "ass and ox yoked together", not sowing "thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which
thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled".(Deu. 22:9-11)    In all these scriptures, the emphasis
is to guard against mixing the 'things of the world'  with the 'things of God'.  The mixing of the two diminishes
the things of God and thereby corrupts the entire entity
: ... 'a little leaven leavens the whole loaf'.  One of the
quickest ways for a church to compromise its sanctified holiness is to incorporate  'worldly influences' into its
ministries and religious practices.  Churches are not
necessarily immune to commingling of 'God's ways' with
the 'ways of the world', nor are they impervious to demonic influences and their corrupting stratagems.
A resultant condition is called a 'church virus when external influences have been able to pierce-the-pale and
enter-in causing disruption, serious disarray and/or to compromise the Truth of the gospel.  Viruses can be
contracted accidentally, through carelessness or by willful participation in activities which are known to be
'host transmitters' (contagions).  There are those who may quickly add "there are no viruses in our church nor
sin in my life!"  The Apostle John reminds us in 1 John 1:10, "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him
a liar, and His word is not in us."[NKJV]
False Unity - One World Religion
There is a reoccurring call from various religious corners to "come let us all join together" (unity), "let us put
aside our denominational and theological differences" (ecumenism), and blend ourselves together into
one-whole spiritual entity (e.g.,   "interfaith community").   "
Unity" is the call from Christ throughout the New
Testament, yet the "unity" of which the Apostle Paul speaks in Eph. 4:13, is "until we all reach
unity in the faith
and in the knowledge of the Son of God
and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of
Christ".  Such  "unity'  is quite different than that foisted by the
synergists (fusion of differing religious systems
of belief in order to make them uniformly homogeneous).   Christian "Unity" here is in the faith and knowledge
of the Christ and  NOT 'unity' for the sake of 'unification' of disparate religious beliefs, practices and systems.  
Christ is the Unity.  "Unity" here is not a religious like-mindedness found in the homogeneous collectivism of
interfaith consortiums or multi-denominational religious organizations.  That type unity in the near-term will be
called "One World Religion".  Viruses can become pandemic and infect the entire religious systemic.
Spiritual Infections
Denial is cited in numerous scriptures as one of the more prevalent factors involved in avoiding the truth and
leading to self-deception.   Frequently the first reaction of someone being diagnosed with AIDS is 'how do I keep
others from finding out about this?'...   'I'll lose my job, healthcare benefits, friends, etc.   Conscious effort is often
expended in attempting to conceal the diagnosis, masking symptoms and denying to oneself that this retrovirus can
and most often does greatly shorten one's life expectancy.   
Spiritual infections in religious systems operate
similarly to those in the natural body, and the attitude toward them is often a parallel denial or defensive reaction in
how to cope with contagious conditions detected or uncovered in the church-body.   The emphasis here is so often
self-preservation   above all else ... there can be a SELF in the church as well as in the individual's psyche and
there is a SPIRIT in the Church as well as a new born
spirit-man in the saved.
A first line of defense for the self often is to project the source or origin of sin, corruption, evil, un-righteousness, etc.
onto objects outside of the
self.   Some religious institutions by structure project the causes for sin   to be totally
outside of their borders, yet we are seeing today certain sinful practices operating on the inside of religious
fortresses as well as on the outside, and there seems to be little difference in their  expression.  The cover-up in the
Catholic church for the apparent longstanding practice of pedophilia, by a minority of priests, is an infection in the
religious-politic of the 'church body'.   Not only is the existence of  such abomination a torturous agony to attempt to
understand, but more difficult to fathom when a conscious effort has been made by some to conceal this
reprehensible activity.  The purpose here is not to condemn, but to recognize a recent set of events which illustrates
the argument that spiritual-viral-infection can surely penetrate a religious fortress and multiply there unabated, if the
superintendent authority is not openly vigilant.  All church leadership should earnestly seek the gift of 'discerning of
spirits' (1 Cor. 12:10) to operate in all their ministrations and oversight responsibility for the assembly, otherwise
unclean spirits can have   undetected access to many portals within the church proper.
Ends Justifies the Means?
The adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", assumes we can determine if something is broken or not, before we consider
fixing the problem(s).   In a recently held national Church Growth Seminar one of the workshop topics addressed  
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'.   The analogy was used to describe corporations with publicly known poor performing stock
portfolios "usually do not attract venture capital"; by extension, keeping the congregation, and in particular the outside
community, unaware of internal church conflicts and/or outright problematic issues will (a) not run-off those who are
here now, and (b) will not discourage new members from joining.   Self-preservation allows the "ends to justify the
means" in the minds of those without practiced spiritual
wisdom.    1 Pet. 4:17 speaks clearly of this day, time and
season the Church is in now
: "For the time has come  for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with
us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?"   Bringing concerns to church leadership
can be a daunting task if the church is a "closed-shop" and does not encourage nor graciously receive inquiry from
the laity.   At times individuals are labeled as having a "critical and fault finding spirit", are "heresy hunters" or just
"rebellious" in character when they ask for clarification of some church practices or doctrinal positions, even if
fundamental doctrinal beliefs are printed in a church syllabus.  While the church's spiritual authority must remain
sacrosanct, if we only take our 'own intramural counsel' we risk developing the myopia-of-Rome.
Glory, Gold, Girls
During a recent replay of   a televised interview with journalist David Frost, the Rev. Billy Graham was asked how he
has kept on the path of
righteousness and not strayed into the lusts of the flesh, appetites of the soul etc. His answer
was a simpleone: "I hold to the 3-G's", he said.   "Those 3-G's being
: to never touch the Glory of God and what He is
doing through you; never touch the Gold that comes in offerings; and never touch the Girls"   Various religious, and
political,  leaders whose fall-from-grace have recently been revealed have all violated one or more of the 3-G's.  This
is not an indictment of the Church, its leadership and/or those continuing in the perfecting work of the Holy Spirit ...
rather, God's house must be set in order before the Church can fully exercise her power, anointing and commission.
 The "3-G's" are as equally applicable to the church and the corporate business sector.
Christ reveals in Matt.   10:26-7, "There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be
made known.  What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the   
roofs."  If God dealt with all of us in the way and manner He did with Ananias and Sapphira in chap. 5 of the Book of
Acts, there would most probably not be one of us alive this day.   We do serve a truly Merciful God, full of Grace and
ever willing to purge our past through the Blood of His Son and His completed work at Calvary.   The keys are a  
repentant heart, a contrite spirit and a full surrender to His purposes in our life, ministry and His Kingdom.    When
these conditions are not met due to willful disobedience or attempts to hide ourselves from His
truth, He will exact
His Word of judgment followed by forgiveness, if we give up our disobedience.  Spiritual infection will always lead to
disobedience, sooner or later.
A 'stronghold' is a scriptural concept which has received wide discussion in recent years and has now almost
become acronymic for a host of strange if not unfamiliar places, things, people, unknowns, pop-genre, and
whatever needs a name in order to be against it.   Francis Frangipane's book  "
The Three Battlegrounds", is a must
read for anyone operating in the ministry of '
intercession'.   The three strongholds highlighted in this publication
The Mind, The Church, and The Heavenly Places.  The local church, independent ministries as well as
outreach ministries which are experiencing a lessening of spiritual defense systems quite often are not able to
rightly identify the origin of the attacks which come from these three domains of spiritual confrontation.
Throughout scripture, especially in Old Testament passages, Strongholds are of two types:   ... those which are of God
(e.g., Rock) and those that are of unrighteous and evil influences.  Prov. 18:10, says it well: "The name of the   LORD is
a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe."   The athletic expression "a good offense is often the best
defense" has yet to be embraced by some of the Church who prefer to wait until disaster strikes before preparing for
battle or calling for reinforcements from other friendly camps.   The enemy is roaring about 24/7/365 seeking who he
may devour (1 Pet. 5:8), while much of the church assembles for its traditional 10-to-20 hours a week ... believing that
is enough to stand in the gap, build the hedges, walk the walls, gather in the harvest and accomplish all they are   
called to perform in the service of His Kingdom. There are churches around the world which operate seven days a
week or co-op with other churches so there are services each night open to all participating congregations as well as
the general public, e.g., in England these co-ops are full each evening and are experiencing a great spiritual renewal.
Now is the time for the Church to evaluate its spiritual health, move away from those things and practices that
knowingly diminish and depreciate its spiritual defense systems, focus on apprehending a greater revelation of
Christ Jesus, willfully submit to the wooing of the Spirit and pray for the
wisdom and discernment which will be
absolutely necessary to identify the counterfeit and fraudulent offerings being prepared by the  "...   principalities,
powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual  wickedness in high places."  (Eph. 6:12)  America is
approaching  her greatest hour of temptation(s) and the church must rise to her call of
intercession, repentance and
prayerful intervention
for the conditions and situations looming on the near horizon.  This is not a doomsday posture,
rather a scriptural one through which the bride-of-Christ in waiting enters her rightful end-time hour of perfection.
Convenient Cannon Fodder
Any church which believes and preaches that it has no areas of spiritual blindness, is without sin in its ranks, is
totally reconciled for its past indulgences and worldly associations is truly a prime candidate for the end-time
onslaught of nefarious attacks coming in the Last Days,  "But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has
gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is   short."  The shorter the time, the greater
the intensity and the ferocity of the attacks on the Church.   Believers' assurance lies in promises such as   "But
where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:" (Rom. 5:20)   In many church settings a purging must come
and come it will   "... that no flesh should glory in His presence."(1 Cor. 1:29)   Diseased tissue must be cut away,
the foreskin of the heart cut back and the fleshly parts which remain in many of today's churches must be removed in
order to present themselves
rightly  before the Lord.  Again, this is not an indictment of The Church, rather a
statement of conditions operating, if not prevalent, in many a Christian church venue ... the likes of which are not   
frequently aired openly, even in the sanctity of the Church herself.  Granted, the commercial media is always on the
hunt for church short-comings and some degree of caution needs to be exercised when working through many of
the current thorny issues facing Christendom.  Religious and church faults are convenient cannon fodder for the
commercial media and quickly seized upon while similar indiscretions in the secular world are often bypassed ...
however, this is becoming less with the spotlight on 'corporate accountability' as of late.
Throughout the United States there are numerous churches and community outreach ministries reaping an
abundant harvest of souls as a result of "
righteous" seed sewn in "good ground" over many years.   Many overseas
evangelical ministries and churches are experiencing an even greater ingathering of souls,   witnessing miraculous
moves of the Spirit and manifestations of the Spiritual gifts, not too often seen in America today.  On the other hand
there are
religious houses and certain independent ministries which appear to be flourishing, if attendance
numbers and building size determine that evaluation, yet their gospel is often abbreviated, their praise may be
muted of worship, and their ministry activities often are the results of   man's doings, and not that of the Holy Spirit.   
These latter day-type religious centers will not pass well under the Shepherd's rod and may be left at the gate, so to
speak, when the great prophesized outpouring  finally comes unless they change their ways and allow the Spirit to
bring a purging, renewal and a fresh new anointing into their ministries.
Antidote for Church Viruses
The antidote for CHURCH VIRUSES comes from Christ Himself, it is His cleansing blood.  The cleansing and
protective quality of Christ's Blood has no parallel nor substitute.  If the churches and ministries which are out of
spiritual balance or are caught in the fowler's snare of a truncated gospel could right themselves, they likely would do
so.   Sadly, those most lost are frequently the most stridently opposed to receiving counsel.   Woe be it to those that
knowingly or even unknowingly lead the innocent astray. There is not a church in America, known to this author, which
would say in public that they preach a compromised gospel (see Gal. 1:6-8), have unanointed praise and worship or
indulge in ministry practices which are contrary to scripture, yet we know there are such places.  '"What you see and
hear is not always what you get'".  If you are in a religious environment where the Holy Spirit is prompting  you to
examine what you believe, why you believe it and what you 'stand' your life on ... take heed to His urging.  Oftentimes
such urgings are because we need to affirm we are standing on the promises of Christ and His finished work at
Calvary, not on tradition and ritual,  and not on the charisma of one man's persona.   The unction of the Spirit is to
assure that we grow in the Lord daily and desire an every increasing revelation of  Christ in our spirit-man.
Get A Second Opinion
"In the twinkling of   an eye... " (1 Cor. 15:52) there will not be time to repent of the misguided beliefs we may have
unknowingly held for years or ask forgiveness for our lackadaisical interest in learning the 'deep things of God'. (1
Cor.   2:10)    If you are not certain about the condition of your spiritual health, '"get a collaborative opinion" ... seek out
church leadership and brethren to jointly review your 'spiritual state of the state' ...   what God is willing and able to do
with the remainder of your life and even beyond, may hang in the balance.   The Ebola virus can kill in forty-eight
hours while the AIDS retrovirus may prolong suffering for several  years.   A
spiritual virus can be just as deadly as
any physical infection and may also take years to come to full force, both individually and corporately.   Be as
concerned about your
spiritual health as you are about your physical well-being.   If most Christians would spend as
much time in the Word, prayer and intercession as they do at the gym, health spa, in their hobbies and pursuing
entertainment indulgences --- the body-of-Christ would be both trim and fit in 'body' as well as full in 'Spirit'.  Do not
take the preceding statement as one of extreme  asceticism, rather one that urges balance in our doings and a daily
commitment to a progressive victory over our own fleshly indulgences through the power and equipping of the Holy
Spirit's ministry in each of our lives. (see 1 Cor. 1:29)   Take a few moments and read Rev. Chapters 2 and 3, with
particular attention to the "Faithful Church at Philadelphia" and the ''Self-absorbed Church at Laodicea".  In these two
chapters, Christ is giving a report and prognosis on the spiritual well-being of the seven churches in Asia Minor
which, many believe, can be interpreted as a preview of His admonition(s) to representative factions in an
end-time-type  Church.   Church Viruses have been around for a long long time; make sure you, your family and your
house-of-worship are  fully inoculated with the precious Blood of Christ, are feeding on the Truth of His Word and are
fully submitted to the ministrations and workings of the Holy Spirit.
"And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment
down to the foot, and girt about the chest with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like
wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if
they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand
seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the
sun shineth in his strength." (Rev. 1:13-16)   "I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he
is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day."(2 Tim. 1:12)  Christ casts no shadow  (Jas.
1:17) for He is the source for all true light and there are no viral agents or conditions which cannot be
eradicated by the Power of His Blood.

Jon D. Hannum, Ph.D.
Amen Ministries of Austin