Days of Deception

Beware the Subtilty
subtilty: Strongs #3834 - panourgia (pan-oorg-ee'-ah) : from 3835; adroitness, i.e. (in a bad sense) trickery or sophistry:--(cunning) craftiness, subtilty.

"What is more common than to hear it said of some false teacher in this day, "He is so good, so devoted, so kind, so zealous, so laborious, so humble, so self-denying, so charitable, so earnest, so fervent, so clever, so evidently sincere, there can be no danger and no harm in hearing him. Besides he preaches such a real Gospel: no one can preach a better sermon than he does sometimes! I never can and never will believe he is unsound." Who does not hear continually such talk as this?

What discerning eye can fail to see that Christians expect unsound teachers to be open vendors of poison, and cannot realize that they often appear as "angels of light," and are far too wise to be always saying all they think, and showing their whole hand and mind. But so it is. Never was it so needful to remember the words,

"(But I fear)...as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ " (2 Cor. 11:4)

....."A young Christian, for instance, brought up from his cradle to hear nothing but Evangelical teaching, is suddenly invited some day to hear a sermon preached by some eminent teacher of semi-Catholic, or semi-skeptical opinions. He goes into the church, expecting in his simplicity to hear nothing but heresy from the beginning to the end. To his amazement he hears a clever, eloquent sermon, containing a vast amount of truth, and only a few drops of error. Too often a violent reaction takes place in his simple, innocent, unsuspicious mind. He begins to think his former teachers were narrow, and uncharitable, and his confidence in them is shaken, perhaps forever. Too often, it ends with his entire perversion, and at last he is enrolled in the ranks of the Legalist, Ritualists, or the liberal Christians! And what is the history of the whole case?

Why, a foolish forgetfulness of the lesson Paul puts forward in this text. "As the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty," so Satan charms unwary souls in our century by approaching them under the garb of truth."
J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2 Cor. 11:15)

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