Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Spiritual Splenda?

Splenda® has taken the artificial sweetener world to a new level, and they've done it in a most unexpected way.

Instead of trying to concoct their own sweetener, the folks who created Splenda® simply changed the molecular formula of sugar itself. Ergo, the tagline that (somewhat truthfully) states: "Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar".

The problem is, it doesn't really taste like sugar...unless it's all you're used to. A few years ago, when Splenda® hit the market, my wife began using it. She loved it. Said it really did taste like sugar. I tried it, but I've always hated any sort of artificial sweetener, so I complained about the aftertaste. Like aspartame (Equal®, Sweet 'n' Low®, etc) it just left a slightly bitter taste, and I could still tell the difference. I hate diet soft drinks, but I gave Diet Coke with Splenda® a try; it still had the same unappealing aftertaste that let me know, no matter how they tried to market it, it didn't taste like sugar to me.

My wife gave me a hard time about my supposed "super-taster" taste buds. She absolutely loves Splenda®, and used it in her coffee, tea, started baking with it, etc. Well, I drink my coffee black, so that didn't affect me; I drink my tea without lemon or sugar so that didn't bother me; the sweets and desserts, well, I just dealt with it. I could tell it was Splenda® but I let her use it.

When we moved to Austin a couple years ago, someone told us to start using local honey to keep the allergies at bay. This was an old trick that we'd learned long ago, but this time, my wife decided to give it a try. So, for the past two years, she's been using honey in her coffee (and tea) instead of Splenda®. Now that she and I have decided to diet, she decided she would have to sacrifice the honey and go back to Splenda®. No big deal, since it's "Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar", right?


Big difference, according to her. The first few mornings she had coffee with Splenda® in it, her nose wrinkled everytime she took a sip. One of our greatest pleasures in life---drinking coffee---became an unpleasant experience. She finally confessed that there were just certain "allowances" she would have to make on this new diet, and using honey in her coffee was one of them. Suddenly, I wasn't the only one with "super taste buds" who could tell the difference.

What made the difference? She had the real thing for awhile. It's hard to get much more "sugary" than real honey. Granted, it's a natural sweetener, and not processed, but the level of sweetness is hard to match. Try going from honey to an artificial sweetener and see if you can't tell the difference!

Here's the rub, though: the makers of Splenda® really do make their artificial sweetener from sugar. Check out their website and you'll discover that the way they do this simply by changing three atoms on the sugar molecule.

They didn't come up with some new formula; they simply took what worked, and changed it just a tiny fraction.

The only problem is, by just changing something on the molecular level, they changed everything.

Not only does Splenda® not taste like sugar (to some of us, anyway) but it doesn't cook like sugar, either. Thus, the reason they created Splenda® Sugar Blend for Baking. This combines the no-calorie artificial sweetener with enough of the genuine so that you still get the consistency, texture, and sweetness of your original recipe, but with a fraction of the calories. Once again, they have built on the original formula (of sugar), to give your recipe the appearance, feel, and taste of the genuine thing but blended it with enough artificial stuff so you don't have the guilt or the calories.

2 Cor 11:3-4; 13-15 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 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.

Satan couldn't abort the birth of this glorious apostolic Church. He could not squelch it in its earliest stages, for every evil deed, every beating, every trial, every stoning, every imprisonment only served to reinforce the faith and the determination of the apostles. Even into the later generations, the apostolic movement endured hardships, horsewhippings, rotten eggs, proclamations against the "oneness" heretics, but still they maintained the substance of a God-anointed, Jesus-centered message of repentance, water baptism by immersion in the Name of Jesus Christ, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost with the initial sign of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance. That initial New Birth experience was built upon with a life of godliness, living pure and righteous in the fear of God and refusing to water down the doctrine of this apostolic message.

Satan couldn't stop it, so he joined it.

He couldn't create a new recipe that didn't leave a bad taste, so he decided to build around the original formula. Leave enough of the real stuff in, change things on a molecular level, and most would never notice the difference.

Diet Salvation.

What are your spiritual taste buds telling you?

Pardon me for being offensive, but I've little use for someone who builds around the apostolic message, but refuses to stand on it. Change the structure just a tiny bit---"We'll baptize you in Jesus' Name, if that's what you want."---and you change the whole formula. Add just enough of the real substance to it, so it holds up under the heat---"Yes, we believe in speaking in tongues, but that may not come at the initial infilling of the Spirit; don't be concerned if it doesn't happen right away."---and you get Diet Salvation.

No requirements. No calories. No substance. No guilt.

And no Jesus, either.
Jesus Himself told his listeners, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Matt 24:24)

It is my opinion that we need not worry about the David Koresh's or the Jim Jones' of the world, but rather those that will draw great crowds of people with swelling words backed by demonstrations of supposed power. The devil has been a deceiver and a great impersonator from the beginning, and when the apostolic church begins to display the power of God moving in our midst, it will be but a very short time before the imitation begins. Like Splenda® it will be built around the original structure of apostolic doctrine, yet with just enough micro-changes so as not to annoy, offend, or make demands on those who can't tell the real from the fake.

I can tell when a cake, a pie, or a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies has been made using Splenda®.

I pray that I will be every bit as perceptive---if not more so---when it comes to the doctrine that I live, preach, and teach.

There's no such thing as Salvation Lite.

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