Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Frog in the Kettle

The Pyromaniac’s postings on the state of evangelicalism have been excellent and he has articulated the issues well. He discusses the issue of how the church has become obsessed with constantly following the latest fads. I agree with his assessment. However, while it is true that these fads eventually run their course and fade away, they nonetheless do their share of damage to the church. The church does not go unscathed, and suffers damage with each successive bout of pragmatism.

A famous experiment was once conducted that involved placing a frog in a kettle of water. Don’t know who ever thought up this experiment, but it serves as an excellent illustration. If the frog were placed in a pot of boiling water, the frog would immediately jump out so as not to be scalded. Then the frog was placed in the water while it was yet cool. As the frog sat contently in the water, the water was heated one degree at a time. The frog adapted to the gradual changes in temperature until it boiled to death!

The church can be likened to that frog. Christians sit nice and comfortably in their churches, while the leadership implements changes devised by the latest “experts” and popular authors. The changes are so subtle and incremental that Christians adapt to each successive round of change until they eventually boil to death in heresy!

Suddenly springing heresy on people does not work well since people will immediately resist and cry out. But introduce subtle changes over the course of time and Christians will incrementally adapt to the new environment. Of course, spiritual apathy on the part of believers plays an important part as well.

Satan uses a clever strategy in order to dilute the truth. Satan used this successfully back in Genesis 3:1-5, with the statement “yea, hath God said?” He subtly introduces doubt on the Word of God. He does not launch an outright attack on God’s Word, but introduces an apparent clarification, with his own little twist. He promises “enlightenment”.

This is how Satan distorts the truth. The Corinthians were in danger of succumbing to this tactic in 2 Corinthians 11:1-4 prompting a heartfelt warning from Paul. The most deceptive lie is the one that comes closest to the truth. The truth tends to mask the error.

It is crucial that believers immerse themselves in the Word of God. The more they know the truth, the more they will be able to spot the error when it comes along. We need to be like the first century Bereans in Acts 17:11, who “searched the scriptures daily” to discern whether the things taught were true.


Bryan said...

Good post. This stuff needs to be said more!


RobertF said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RobertF said...

I think the point in your post is valid, and I'm not trying to diminish the point. I would like to state that I don't believe that Satan's approach to Eve in the Garden was subtle at all.

Gen 1:4-5
"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Satan in a direct manner claimed that God did not tell her the truth.

Again, I think your main point is valid and the fact that Satan uses subtle arguments at times is also true. I just don't believe he was subtle in his temptation of Eve.

AuthenticTruth said...

I understand your point. It certainly does not seem very subtle when you read that passage. I often think, “How could she have been so naive?” But the words used in the text of Scripture carry that meaning. For instance, in Genesis 1:3, the Hebrew word, “aruwm” translated “subtil” in the KJV, “cunning” in the NKJV and “crafty” in the NASB, carries the meaning “subtle”, “crafty”, “sly”. When Paul warns the Corinthians in chapter 11: 1-3, he uses the same term, comparing the situation to what occurred in Genesis 3. In 2 Corinthians 11:3, the word “craftiness” in both the NKJV and NASB, is translated from the Greek word “panourgia”, which means “craftiness” with the sense of being specious, meaning that it merely possesses a look and feel of truth, but is in reality false wisdom. Satan made his argument seem plausible, but it was indeed false.

I think another point that we need to understand is that Eve really did not fully understand what God commanded. Notice that Eve misquotes God’s command. In Genesis 2:16, God commanded Adam, “16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”” (NKJV). However, in Genesis 3:3, Eve adds to that, “nor shall you touch it”. But God did not say that they could not touch it. Could it be that Satan with his inquiry detected that she really did not understand what God said? He very well could have thought “Aha, she really does not understand what God said, now’s my chance!” I think that there is something to be learned here.

We need to understand fully and thoroughly God’s Truth so that we are not taken in by such arguments. Many of the arguments given today are far “craftier” than what Satan gave Eve. Sadly, a growing number of Christians barely possess even a cursory understanding of Scripture.

Anonymous said...

In the last days many shall depart from the faith. And fallin into many lies and temptations. Thank you for the beautiful word of TRUTH. It is not only the words of the devil that deceived Eve but we must remember that his delivery is subtle and smooth.