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Roman Road to Brainwashing

By Amy -- 

I am not sure how many people heard of the “Roman Road”, a set of verses found in Romans which neatly points the way to salvation. I was thinking about this the other day as I came across an article on brainwashing. A psychologist from the 50’s, Robert Jay Lifton, studied former prisoners of war from Korean and Chinese camps. He compiled a multistep list that seemed common in successful brainwashing attempts. The list is as follows:
  1. Assault on identity
  2. Guilt
  3. Self-betrayal
  4. Breaking point
  5. Leniency
  6. Compulsion to confess
  7. Channeling of guilt
  8. Releasing of guilt
  9. Progress and harmony
  10. Final confession and rebirth

And lo and behold, these steps look an awful lot like the path to Christian “salvation. I have melded the Roman Road with the steps of brainwashing (as identified by Lifton), and have thrown in a few more supporting verses, just for fun. The numbered items are the steps of brainwashing. All other items are biblical verses.

Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

1. Assault on identity
This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one fate for all men. Furthermore, the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives. Afterwards they go to the dead. Ecc 9:3

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Psalm 51:5

2. Guilt
All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Rom 3:12

3. Self-betrayal
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Jer 17:9

Romans 6:23a "...The wages of sin is death..."

4. Breaking point
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, Rom 1:18

The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor. Prov 15:33

The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matt 13:41,42

And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, Mark 9:47

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him. John 3:36

Romans 6:23b "...But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Romans 5:8, "God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!"

Romans 10:13 "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved!"


5. Leniency
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Eph 2:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom 5:8

Romans 10:9,10 "...If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."


6. Compulsion to confess
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Prov 28:13


7. Channeling of guilt
And as a penalty he must bring to the priest, that is, to the LORD, his guilt offering, a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. Lev 6:6

To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices Mark 12:33

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1


8. Releasing of guilt
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor 6:9-11

Revelation 3:20a "Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him..."


9. Progress and harmony
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Heb 4:16

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. John 1:16
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, John 1:12

10. Final confession and rebirth
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.

"You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. John 3:1-15


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