Every deception has a process of acceptance. In that process and over time a deconstruction of truth will take place making the final acceptance of an error seem reasonable. At first, what is offered as a logical disassembly of our faith will pull apart historic truth and insert just enough doubt into the seam of that disassembly to motivate us to take the first step towards acceptance.
Compromise is gradual. We are led to places of compromise. All compromise begins with doubt. There is a point in the process where we have a choice to believe what God and His word declares as truth or repeat on a personal level Adam and Eve’s downfall where they entertained a question that challenged the integrity of God’s word. “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1).
Once doubt has been inserted into our thinking, the reason for holding on to truth is lessened and we eventually let go assuming we are now free when in reality we have entered a place of bondage.
Unpacking our faith and examining what we inherited as truth can be a positive experience. That unpacking must take place in the light of Scripture and under the guidance of the Spirit. If we allow the wounds from our past or human logic to take the lead, we will compromise the process. Examination is how our faith becomes mature. We just need to make sure that Scripture, historic context, and wise counsel are at the primary interpreters of the process.
Where the danger comes is when we have a predetermined bias against an established biblical truth that has been held by the Church for thousands of years and we allow our bias to become the arbiter of truth. It is too easy to believe that the generation in which we live has somehow finally seen the light.
I have always told people to start a process of reexamination with the person of Jesus Christ and end it with Him. As long as the single truth declared by Jesus “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father, except through me” (John 14:6) is securely in place, we will be able to safely navigate a process of reexamination. If that truth about Jesus are the bookends for a process of faith examination, I am willing to give people as much freedom as they need to reexamine their faith. With that truth about Jesus in place, the Spirit will faithfully lead us into all truth.
If in the process of pulling apart our faith to reexamine its content we have reduced Jesus to just another option for salvation, it is there I must draw the line and call the end product of such a reexamination a well-crafted deception.