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Moving imperceptibly into the flow of pretense

Posted by on May 1, 2012 in blog links | 7 comments

Moving imperceptibly into the flow of pretense

The title of this post was penned by John (Aussie John) from “Caesura” in his post “Gnats and Camels.” (except I changed to the American spelling of “pretense”) It is a great read, and I would encourage you to take the time to read the whole article.

John looks back on his on “training” and experience and recognizes that he was often trained in “straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel.” He says that he was taught how to separate from others over the minute details of various “ologies” while ignoring the grace and love of God for all his children.

Consider how he concludes this very insightful post:

Under our tutors we become very careful that what we really are is masked by the outward show, little realising that by unthinkingly, and uncritically, receiving their teaching and lead we have been thrown into the stream, in the still waters near the shore, and, imperceptibly at first, we move into the current, and move more easily into the flow of pretence, even deceiving ourselves that the deception we are in is not sinful.

Paul, in Romans I 24-25, wrote “God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!

We have no trouble applying that to the pagans of Paul’s day and agreeing that God is just to give them over to their hearts’ desires, and their insistence in gratifying those desires, but great difficulty in applying any question regarding ourselves.

Causes me to think deeply about what we are seeing today in much of what is professed to be Christianity.

I have noticed this tendency also – both in myself and others. We assume that what we think and do and plan and believe is correct, while those who disagree with us must necessarily be wrong – and obviously wrong. “Why can’t they just accept their own failing and follow my wisdom – which is obviously from God while there’s is not. If they refuse, then I want nothing to do with them…”

oh my…

Of course we all believe that we are hearing God correctly and obeying him, but then so do I brothers and sisters in Christ. Guess what? You know how you trust God to lead you and change your mind and heart by his grace? We can trust him to do the same with others… and we can continue to fellowship with them in spite of our disagreements.

Otherwise, as John says, God may simply turn us over to the desires of our heart and surround us with people who think and act and believe exactly like we do.

hmmm… perhaps he’s done that already in some cases.


7 Comments

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  1. 5-1-2012

    Nice, wisdom from an elder thanks John.

  2. 5-1-2012

    Alan, Thank you for sharing this bit of wisdom. I remind myself often that I too am in process. Dear held beliefs fall away, with new dearly held beliefs replacing the old ones.
    I love this statement, “Under our tutors we become very careful that what we really are is masked by the outward show, little realising that by unthinkingly, and uncritically, receiving their teaching and lead we have been thrown into the stream, in the still waters near the shore, and, imperceptibly at first, we move into the current, and move more easily into the flow of pretense…”
    I am meditating and sketching out some notes about this very subject. The youngest believers are most likely in the greatest danger, of wholeheartedly, abandoning their own reasoning, in deference to their new tutors in church. After all, church leaders set themselves up as teaching the Way to know Christ. Authoritative leaders by design teach well enough, they teach in sermons, but most importantly they teach by the example of the herd. This makes control of many by the few possible. If some asks question that threaten the movement of the held, they are singled out for “training”. There are numerous helpful scriptures to get the stray back into the herd, typically involving coercion or fear tactics. If that fails the right foot of fellowship can not be far behind.

  3. 5-1-2012

    Of course we all believe that we are hearing God correctly and obeying him, but then so do I brothers and sisters in Christ. Guess what? You know how you trust God to lead you and change your mind and heart by his grace? We can trust him to do the same with others… and we can continue to fellowship with them in spite of our disagreements.

    Amen Alan as it states in Romans 14:1-4. So thank you for bringing this up and let us all share what God is as well as has taught us, for I know god through our one anothering can show each of us together gold nuggets, that continue to set each of us deeper into the understanding that god is showing all of us, in differant stages
    Howard

  4. 5-1-2012

    Marc Winter I like your reply. there is a lot of deception floating around in this present darknes of a world, and it can be easy to forget that we are not of this world, just in it as ambassadors, trusting God to do the work needed in and through each believer
    Howard

  5. 5-1-2012

    Hutch,

    Yes, I’m always challenged and encouraged by John’s posts.

    Marc,

    I love to learn from younger followers of Jesus… even brand new ones.

    Howard,

    Yes, God can teach us through any of his children… and anyone else if he chooses.

    -Alan

  6. 5-1-2012

    Alan,

    Thank you for your gracious words.

    I have to confess that, at times, I am caused great anguish when I remember that, along with the truths of Scripture, I taught the traditions of men which prevented my brethren from being responsible, under the Holy Spirit, for growing into spiritual maturity and being “joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love”.

    We would be very foolish to dismiss any thought that the strongly fortified defensive structure of traditionalism is easy to dismantle, as it is a part of being a natural human being, who are creatures of habit.

    The brilliant poem by Sam Foss describes very well, how traditionalism was born, and changed course at a fork in the road,losing sight of the Head of the Church:

    The Calf-Path

    One day through the primeval wood
    A calf walked home as good calves should;

    But made a trail all bent askew,
    A crooked trail as all calves do.

    Since then three hundred years have fled,
    And I infer the calf is dead.

    But still he left behind his trail,
    And thereby hangs my moral tale.

    The trail was taken up next day,
    By a lone dog that passed that way;

    And then a wise bell-wether sheep
    Pursued the trail o’er vale and steep,

    And drew the flock behind him, too,
    As good bell-wethers always do.

    And from that day, o’er hill and glade.
    Through those old woods a path was made.

    The whole poem can be found here :

    http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/21413

  7. 5-1-2012

    Aussie John,

    I’ve read that poem. It’s quite true. Even those of us who are in Christ and desire the best for others can find ourselves caught by habits and traditions. May God help us all grow in our love and understanding of him even when (especially when) it requires that we jump out of those ruts.

    -Alan