Speaking the Truth in Love

Peddling False Hope

See the source imageDr. William Bennett hosted the radio show “Morning in America” for more than a decade. One morning I heard him say that Democrats could sell freezers to Eskimos easier than Republicans could sell them blankets. He said this was so “because Republicans tell the truth.”

I can’t agree that politicians of either major party consistently speak the truth, but the freezer/blankets analogy intrigues me – especially when applied to spiritual things. Have you ever noticed that wolves dressed in sheepskin can peddle false hope easier than faithful gospel preachers can persuade the lost to embrace true life? A charming and eloquent preacher, full of smiles and lies, comes to town, and boom! In no time at all, “his church” (that’s how he himself describes it) grows to a membership of hundreds or even thousands. But when an equally gifted man comes along and preaches only Christ and him crucified, the congregation he plants may experience comparatively modest numerical growth.

See the source imageWhy is it easier to sell Eskimos freezers than blankets? The apostle Paul warns Timothy that “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). In other words, most people vastly prefer to hear what is appealing, even if it’s false. This explains the success of financial scams. Suppose that you get a check in the mail for $5,000. To claim it, all you have to do is wire $2,000 to someone in Nigeria. Which is more appealing – the prospect of winning $3,000 or the possibility of being cheated? And which is more appealing – the false doctrine that no one can ever fall from grace or the biblical truth that Christians must be faithful until death (Rev. 2:10)?

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