Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Great Christian Mask Deception

Although this seems obvious, I think I will state it anyway: the worst kind of deception is the one that is very deceptive. The worst kind of fake Rolex watch, when it comes to being tricked into buying one, is the one that looks the most like a Rolex watch. The most dangerous kind of counterfeit hundred dollar bill is the kind that looks the most real. The most dangerous kind of self-focus is the kind that hides behind the mask of religious terminology and artificial piety. Sometimes we wear the mask so long that we begin to believe it's actually real. We, following our heart, convince ourselves that our Christianeese and Jesus Jargon actually makes us legit. I guess Jeremiah was right when he said the "heart is deceitful above all things" (Jer 17:9)

Vinoth Ramachandra wrote this: "The Good News is packaged and marketed (using, uncritically, all the techniques of modern advertising) as a religious product offering 'peace of mind', 'how to get to heaven', 'health and prosperity', 'inner healing', 'the answer to all your problems' etc. What is promoted as 'faith in God' often turns out, on closer inspection, to be a means of obtaining emotional security or material blessing in this life and an insurance policy for the next. This kind of preaching leaves the status quo untouched... This kind of "gospel" is essentially escapist, the direct descendant of the pseudo-gospels of the false prophets of the Old Testament. It is simply a religious image of the secular consumerist culture in which modern men and women live."

If you "accepted" Jesus primarily based on the lie that He would fix your relationships, remove your problems, guarantee your promotion, and promise you "your best life now" than all you have accepted was self-promotion and self-glory. There are many in the church who have been given an extremely comfortable sheep costume and taught how to ba-aa-aa very well. Even the apostle Paul, in his day, said this: "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel." (Gal 1:1-7). Paul is so agitated because the kingdom of self is the most dangerous, deceptive and destructive when it cloaks itself with the kingdom of God.

As Paul David Tripp puts it: "It is quite possible for you to be convinced that you are living for the transcendent glories of the kingdom of God when you are, in fact, living for yourself... Selfishness is its most dangerous when it masquerades as service. Self-focus is most powerful when it dons the costume of love. Earthly treasures are most seductive when they take on the appearance of spiritual need. Idols do their nastiest work when they wear the latex mask of God." Is the gospel an end for you or a means to an end? Are you excited about the gospel or just the "stuff" that you think it will give you?


Liisa said...

That is such a powerful post! It really makes me do some self- examining. How far the church has fallen from teaching the true gospel. I love reading your posts! You are such an awesome writer. You should write a book on Masks someday!!!!(:

Love you!

Jodi Kruse said...

Excellent Post. May God help us to see the truth and remove the mask we are hiding behind. May He create in us clean hearts. How desperately we need Christ. Praise God that He is our righteousness, our salvation, our all in all.

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