2 Thessalonians 2:7
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work…
MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): The mystery ushering in the man of sin is a mystery of iniquity. It is not open sin and wickedness, but dissembled piety, specious errors, wickedness under a form of godliness cunningly managed that is here meant…It doth exert and put forth itself, but secretly, as a mole which worketh underground.
J. H. MERLE d’AUBIGNÉ (1794-1872): There is a spirit of error that conspires against the cause of truth, beguiling by subtlety.
R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): It is one of Satan’s great aims to seduce the children of God and the servant of Christ into error.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Another aspect of this subject is the danger of being obsessed by one aspect of the truth. I use the term “obsessed” deliberately because there is no doubt about the reality of the obsession which the devil produces in certain people. He does so when he fixes their attention upon one aspect of the truth only. The truth is very large and comprehensive. It is one of the glories of the truth that it is so vast and profound in its height and depth and breadth and length. But the devil persuades a man to fix on one thing only, and as he goes through the Bible he sees nothing else. He is always speaking about it, always writing about it, always underlining it, always putting it forward. To such a man there is nothing in the Bible but this one thing. His obsession is a clear manifestation of the success of “the wiles of the devil.”
RICHARD CECIL (1748-1810): A man who looks exceedingly at one thing cannot see another.
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Almost all doctrinal error, is, really, Truth perverted, Truth wrongly divided, Truth disproportionately held and taught…Beauty is, primarily, a matter of proportion. Thus it is with the Word of God: its beauty and blessedness are best perceived when its manifold wisdom is exhibited in its true proportions. Here is where so many have failed in the past. A single phase of God’s Truth has so impressed this man or that, that he has concentrated his attention upon it, almost to the exclusion of everything else. Some portion of God’s Word has been made a “pet doctrine,” and often this has become the distinctive badge of some party. But it is the duty of each servant of God to “declare all the counsel of God,” Acts 20:27.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Take any doctrine, and preach upon it exclusively, and you distort it. The fairest face in the world, with the most comely features, would soon become unseemly if one feature were permitted to expand while the rest were kept in their usual form.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: There is nothing so dangerous as to exaggerate a part of truth into the whole of truth.
GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): Whatever parts of truth are made too much of, though they were even the most precious truths connected with our being risen in Christ, or our heavenly calling, or prophecy, sooner or later those who lay an undue stress upon these parts of truth, and thus make them too prominent, will be losers in their own souls, and, if they be teachers, they will injure those whom they teach.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Every heresy that the church has ever known has been introduced by men who were sincere and who thought that they were promoting God’s interest and God’s kingdom by teaching what they taught. It’s the subtlety of it all…The really dangerous man is the man who introduces some very slight or very subtle change. Now you will forgive me for giving an illustration out of the story of the church in the United Kingdom. It is, of course, the story with which I am most familiar, but the same thing could be demonstrated in the history of the church in America and other countries. There was a teacher in Scotland called A. B. Davidson. This is the kind of man who really did the harm. He was a professor in Old Testament and Hebrew, and he did the harm in this way. He was a very pious man, a very kindly man, and a very good man, with the result that most of his students did not realize that he was introducing a new element into his teaching as a result of accepting the Higher Criticism. Now this is the sort of man who has generally done the greatest harm because, to all appearances, and if you looked simply on the surface, you could not see any change at all. It was the little things which he kept introducing which were the real danger.
WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): All engineering proceeds upon the principle of reaching great heights or depths by almost imperceptible inclines. The adversary of men works by this wile.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Nor is this all. There is something further to point out as we look at the history of the church throughout the centuries. It is that this process of change is never a sudden one. It is always a subtle and slow process. You remember our Lord’s own comparison about the moth and rust? Rusting is a very slow process and if you do not watch out it will have developed in such an insidious manner that the first you know about it is that a girder on a bridge, or something like that, is broken. The change is almost imperceptible, and it is the same with the effect of a moth in a piece of clothing.
C. H. SPURGEON: Gentle decline is the devil’s favourite piece of engineering, and he manages it with amazing skill…Our dear brother, Doctor William Arnot, of the Free Church, illustrates this very beautifully by supposing a balance. This is the heavy scale loaded seeds, and the other is high in the air. One morning you are very much surprised to find that what had been the heavier scale is aloft, while the other has descended. You do not understand it till you discover that certain little insects had silently transferred the seeds one by one.
WILLIAM ARNOT: Certain diminutive but busy insects had, for some object of their own, been transferring the material from the full to the empty scale. Day by day the sides approached an equilibrium, but no change took place in their position. At last a [single] grain more removed from one side and laid in the other, reversed the preponderance, and produced the change.
J. H. MERLE d’AUBIGNÉ: To mingle any portion of error with truth is to throw a grain of poison into a large dish of food. The grain suffices to change its whole nature, and death ensues slowly, it may be; but yet surely.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): The progress of error, like that of sin, is from small beginnings to awful and unthought-of consequences. Gospel truth, like a bank opposed to a torrent, must be preserved entire, to be useful.
A. W. PINK: The hardest thing of all, perhaps, is to maintain the balance of truth.
C. H. SPURGEON: Proportion, I take it, is beauty, and to preach every truth in its fair proportion, neither keeping back any nor giving undue prominence to any, is to preach the whole truth as Christ would have it preached. On a Gospel thus entire and harmonious we may expect to have the blessing of the Most High.