The Church Must Stop Being So Easily Taken In
“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” We’ve created our own celebrities and we long to be fooled. It’s not about living a suspicious life or never trusting people. It’s about a willingness to slow down, not jump in the conga line, it’s about not being taken in by appearances and claims. And it’s not a charismatic problem, it’s a Church wide problem as we look at people through the world’s grid and define success by appearances, bluster and bullying. It’s not a new problem but it is a problem.
Jesus said something like, “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.” – (Peterson, The Message)
We all want to get patted on the back so we keep patting each other on the back, promoting each other without asking simple questions, honest questions. This may be because those who do ask questions are called judgmental, pharisees and “hard to receive”. I have a friend who does hypnosis and I’ve been given a hard time because 1) he’s my friend and 2) I don’t tell him it’s a sin. I then watch folks who’ve given me a hard time engage in “revival” and “outpouring” services where the hypnotic method is employed to get people into a suggestible state. Saying or singing “Jesus” over and over for 20 minutes will set you up the same way a swinging watch or candle’s flame will prep you for hypnotic suggestion.
Never been hypnotized at church? If you’ve ever been told, “Say to your neighbour, “and that’s the truth!” (or some variation thereof) and you DID IT, you’ve been swayed and at the very least proved your susceptibility to suggestion. You didn’t spontaneously choose that action, you went along with the suggestion. Should we burn people at the stake who do this? No, that’s sort of crazy. We just need to be aware of it, own it, and evaluate things based on what is true, not what we’re told is true.
Here’s some real and imagined examples: