The Deceitfulness & Destructiveness of Half-Truths (Dated 6 October 2020)
“Let me begin with a question which all preachers will ultimately have to answer for themselves: “What does it mean for us to engage in preaching God’s Word in the church in a way that is true to the Bible?” The Apostle Paul warns the Ephesian believers not to be like infants “tossed to and fro by the waves” of false teachings that can take place in two ways: (Eph. 4:14) First, believers can be deceived by “human cunning.” This is the power of human persuasion; a smooth talker can wield influence over others.
Second, a person can be deceived by “craftiness in deceitful schemes.” These are evil plans that may appear good but actually promote something false. These deceptive techniques are not new; it dates back to Genesis 3, where the serpent manipulates Eve through a series of misleading and half-true statements to eat the forbidden fruit, then makes Adam do the same by offering him the choice through a trusted source. Half-truths always have a destructive intent wrapped up in the other half of their proposition. The problem lies in that it is difficult for us to clearly discern the intentions of the preacher. Someone said: “Satan has a Ph.D. in confusion and deception; and the Church has another in selective misinterpretation.”
As Christians, we are not called to a life of half-truths and deception. The rampant expansion of digital world and online platforms has enabled deceitful content to spread more rapidly and disguise itself more effectively. Today we have laws against fake news but what laws do we have in the church to rid-off the fake gospel, other than the Word of God and her faithful preachers of the Truth.
Let me paraphrase the October 2019 Understanding Information Disorder report that describes what information manipulation looks like today: “The term ‘half-truths’ doesn’t begin to cover all. Most of the content isn’t even fake; it’s often genuine, used out of context and weaponized by people who know that falsehoods based on a kernel of truth are more likely to be believed and shared. And most of this can’t be described as ‘truths’. It’s good old-fashioned rumours, it’s memes, it’s manipulated theology and hyper-targeted ‘sermons’ and old doctrines re-shared as new.”
Rev George Ong spends hours in research and studies to faithfully provide the truth as a shepherd of God’s flock (1 Peter 5:2) with his excellent biblical teaching to speak out against Joseph Prince’s heresies, which are both dangerous and deadly to the Church of Jesus Christ, namely,
First, Misinformation: false content that the person sharing doesn’t realize is false or misleading.
Second, Malinformation: genuine information shared with an intent to cause harm.
Third, Disinformation: shared content that is intentionally false and/or misleading and designed to cause harm.”
Rev Tan Cheng Huat
True Way Presbyterian Church, Singapore