We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Deception by Investment

This morning I was catching up on my mail from yesterday, and I read the monthly MRM Update newsletter from Mormonism Research Ministry. The lead article was about a survey of Mormons as to what they would do if they learned Brigham Young really was behind the Mountain Meadows Massacre. The results were not surprising, yet they were sad nevertheless. Most of those surveyed wouldn’t change their view of the Mormon Church because they “have a testimony.”

The most interesting part of the article was an excerpt from an e-mail by a Mormon who said, “If Thomas S. Monson [current LDS president and prophet] were to announce in an address in front of the world that it was all a joke, a fraud, a conspiracy, etc. it would not change my testimony in the slightest because he did not give me my testimony or have anything to do with it.” The author of the article correctly pointed out that, “This is what happens when your worldview is shaped by subjectivism and not biblical truth.”

People in cults and followers of other false teachers all have the same problem: they are deceived by their investment in the false teachers or cults. If they admit that the teacher or cult is in error, then they have to admit they were deceived and their self-pride couldn’t take that. I’ve seen it right here on my blog with the followers of Beth Moore - they can’t admit her teachings are rife with error because that would make them realize all they invested in her teachings was more to their detriment than to their betterment.

In a way I have a difficult time understanding this thinking; I’ve never had that problem. Whenever I discover my beliefs are in error, I want to leave the error behind. That’s why I left the Mormon Church when I learned what a fraudulent origin it had, and that it’s teachings didn’t line up with Scripture. I once thought abortion was okay because it wasn’t a baby until the last couple months - something I learned as an unbeliever. When I began maturing in my faith and learned about life really beginning at conception, I immediately discarded my old beliefs and told people I was wrong. There have been teachers I heartily subscribed to as a new believer because I trusted Christians around me, but as I matured in the word I was able to recognize where some of these teachers were in error and admitted I was wrong to follow them.

Truth is what I am always looking for, not subjective feelings, ideas, beliefs, etc. I want to see objective truth. Why is that so difficult for others? I have so often encountered people who do not want to know the truth because it doesn’t go along with their beliefs. It doesn’t matter if the issue is theology or politics, people will go with what feels good whenever it conflicts with truth.

The person cited in the MRM letter demonstrates exactly why the Emergent movement and mysticism are invading the Church - people invest their time and effort into them because the teachings feel good, and they don’t want to admit they are wrong when they are given the biblical truth.

“Deception by investment” holds people prisoner to false belief systems. We need to work hard at breaking that hold by boldly proclaiming the truth.


Anonymous said...

Hi Glenn,

I linked to this post from Elizabeth Prata - she referenced this post in her 1/4/14 blog. Anyhow, your post is very well said (as was hers)!

I think you hit the nail on the head, at the end (last three paragraphs): most people WANT subjectivity. Subjectivity makes it easier to stay in sin. Truth always pinches sin.

I had a similar experience to you when I was first saved - there were teachers I followed as a new believer because I trusted my Christian friends, but as I matured, saw the error in those teachers, came to reject them, and admitted it was wrong to follow those error laden teachers.

...I also learned to more carefully examine what my friends recommend. :)


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Carolyn,

I read Elizabeth's post and even posted it on my Facebook and never noticed that link to this post.

As I noted on her blog, that phrase isn't original with me; I heard it several years ago by G. Richard Fisher. It is so apt!