The Ego-centric Religionists Have Created God in Their Own Image.
The wolf among us.
Churches have chosen to re-invent God, to justify their selfish desires.
Perusing social media recently, I came across a young lady speaking on the subject of self-love and addressing the phenomenon as being prevalent for the last 5 to 10 years. I had to sadly chuckle at her statement, for this self-love movement has been a stalwart within church circles for at least the 50+ years I have been a Christian. Her take on this self-love idea was very sound, being that it is not scriptural and is a very unhealthy approach for the believer. Though Paul Vitz in his book, The Cult of Self-Worship, blames prominent psychologists of the 3rd quarter of the 20th century: it has been the bible schools and seminaries that have done the damage within the Church.
Explicit selfishness as a desirable end and moral good was also marketed during this period by the writer Ayn Rand, who called her philosophy Objectivism. Anton LaVey, founder of the church of Satan and author of the Satanic Bible acknowledges Ayn Rand's objectivism as his source for LaVeyan Satanism, which holds self above all else.
In my research I came across an unfamiliar term, Christian hedonism. It is a Christian doctrine found in some evangelical circles, particularly those of the Reformed tradition as espoused by Reformed Baptist pastor John Piper. To quote Piper from an article he wrote:
By Christian Hedonism, I do not mean that our happiness is the highest good. I mean that pursuing the highest good will always result in our greatest happiness in the end. But almost all Christians believe this. Christian Hedonism says more; namely, that we should pursue happiness, and pursue it with all our might. The desire to be happy is a proper motive for every good deed, and if you abandon the pursuit of your own joy, you cannot love man or please God — that’s what makes Christian Hedonism controversial.
This is a doctrine that elevates self; sadly there are a great many pitfalls awaiting the unwary.
Notice how psychology has become the foundation of modern Christian counseling.
Let the buyer beware.
During the mid-nineties, I was attending a conservative Baptist church, when the pastoral staff stated that the church was not only endorsing the book Inside Out by Dr. Larry Crabb, but would have classes based upon the study of the book. Initially, it meant nothing to me until a friend expressed some very serious allegations concerning the book and its author. This friend was an in-law of John MacArthur of Grace church and Master's college, and related to me the incident behind Dr. Crabb being fired from Master's staff where he was teaching Christian psychology and counseling.
John was going on a speaking engagement and asked Dr. Crabb if he would take Grace's pulpit for the Sunday he would be out of town, to which Dr. Crabb agreed. Upon returning to Grace, John reviewed the tape of the service. He never finished the tape; immediately called Dr. Crabb into his office and fired him on the spot. He then requested that his staff retrieve all copies of the sermon and have them destroyed. This incident was the basis for his book The Sufficiency of Christ; which is a great read by the way.
After hearing this tale, I took it upon myself to read the book by Dr. Crabb. I could not finish it, for when I came to a paragraph that basically stated the following: when the Holy Spirit is not sufficient for the spiritual need of the individual, then one must seek the help of a mental health professional. Shortly thereafter, at my request, I had lunch with the head pastor concerning the dangerous direction the church was taking. He couldn't understand my reservations until I showed him the same passage in the book. He asked if we would put together some information about our fears and present it to the pastoral staff, of which we did. They called for a meeting with us and we took our wives, one of which is the sister of John MacArthur. Immediately we knew they had not reviewed anything we presented to them and had already deemed us as potential trouble makers. Their final authoritative directive was that we were to shut up, do as they say or get out: my decision was not difficult.
Quotes that reveal:
Dr. Crabb's foreword to David Benner's, Sacred Companions,stated - "The spiritual climate is ripe. Jesus seekers across the world are being prepared to abandon the old way of the written code for the new way of the spirit."
Dr. Crabb excerpt from his book The Papa Prayer - "...in today's church, therapy should be replaced by another, more ancient practice—spiritual direction."
Is anybody listening: a pack of wolves not only lives among us but they have achieved a prominent status as well?
The world loves to love itself.
Selflessness is the basis of true Christianity.
The Gospel of Self, the new image of God.
The megachurch Willow Creek, the vanguard of the New Gospel has a tarnished image these days.
Chicago Tribune - Willow Creek Community Church, lead pastor Heather Larson and other church elders resigned Wednesday and apologized for mishandling allegations that church founder Bill Hybels engaged in improper behavior with women “It has become clear to me that this church needs a fresh start,” Larson said. Per CT Magazine "Steve Carter, the church’s lead teaching pastor, had already resigned on Sunday, saying he could no longer continue at the church in good conscience.”
Since when is a man a founder of a church; this is the foremost form of hypocrisy in the light of the Word, but truly the Pied Piper of the world's theology of self..."tell me what I want to hear". I also wonder how anyone could have a good conscience when they were a proffering a false gospel.
Sadly, the world has always needed a more man centered religion; one that does not speak of judgment or accountability for holiness. As Scrooge in the Christmas Carol pleaded with the ghost of Christmas future that he would speak words of comfort and that the impending doom need not be: we have the many heaping to themselves, those who are more than eager to tickle the hearers ears. As there is a Trinity which governs the true Gospel, there is an evil trinity that seduces the masses.
Does evil exist?
Love, esteem and righteousness.
The evil of self-love – the godfather of psychology’s inroads into the church:
In today’s psychobabble found within many a congregation, you hear that you cannot truly love another until you learn to love yourself. It is kind of strange that the Word of God states that no man ever hated himself, but yet it is being preached and taught in Christian circles that depression and suicide are the results of hating oneself. If one truly hated oneself as an enemy, they would rejoice in their own calamity. The truth is that those who suffer deep depression or suicidal thoughts are so consumed with themselves, they can think of no one but themselves. I have been there, both depressed and suicidal but by the grace of God, my hand was stayed at the last moment and I was set free. We are not to be consumed with ourselves, but to have our minds staid on that which honors others and as a Christian, brings glory to God. There are many good sources of authentic counsel available that deal with this self-love lie and how to deal with one's self-pity party.
The evil of self-esteem – the offspring of the godfather who learned his lesson well and has made himself a household word:
Whole ministries have been created and fortunes made by eliminating the concept of the word SIN. Again, that crazy Word of God tells us that we are to ESTEEM others as better than ourselves yet does not neglect the SIN issue in both a believer’s or non-believer’s life. What a wonderful doctrine for those who desire a kinder, gentler gospel that leaves off that terrible word – SIN. This monkey is more wicked than his mentor and has been able to infest the whole society: families, schools, businesses and government; it is the politically correct lie.
The evil of self-righteousness – the godfather's protégé', a most wicked master of deception, dragging hell itself in his wake:
This self-righteousness in not what you may think it is; this is where people have been deceived into believing they have a righteous standing with the Father. Megachurches are entertaining people on their way to perdition and the sheeple are happy to follow. A quote from CT Magazine concerning Willow Creek from 2008 demonstrates from their own perspective, their failure:
“We made a mistake,” he told the crowd gathered for the 2008 Global Leadership Summit (GLS). A detailed Willow study had found that the church had helped many people find new faith in Jesus, but had failed to teach them how to practice the spiritual disciplines needed to grow their faith. He vowed the megachurch would do be better in the future."
What amazes me is how did they come to this conclusion and what did they use as a standard for success?
Megachurches are just one example, for this disease of self-righteousness dwells in a countless number of “churches” where easy believism is the message of choice.