(I will be traveling and internet will be less available for the next couple of weeks. Please enjoy these posts from the archives. It’s Narcissist Friday posts will continue with new posts during this time. Thanks for being here!)
I have tried to avoid speaking about specific teachers or ministry groups on my website because I really want people to think about the whole concept of performance spirituality and I know that some become very closed when anything negative about their favorite teacher or group is presented. There are many of these, of course, and there have been since the time of the Pharisees. It’s the way of thinking that’s wrong and hurts people. When they focus on “standards” or performance, they blind people to the truth and the joy of God’s love.
It was that “focus on standards” which blinded the Pharisees when Jesus came. He was the God they claimed to worship with all of their standards, but they missed Him because their focus was wrong.
I could certainly begin a list of these teachers and organizations. Some of them are churches. Some are parachurch ministries. Some are homeschooling support groups. By preaching “standards” and teaching the people to feel superior to others but never quite acceptable to God, I think they do serious damage in many lives. But I can’t really blame the teachers, for the most part. They are usually just as deceived as those they teach. The problem is the lie, the same old lie told in the Garden. Satan promised Eve that she would be “like God” and could make decisions for herself instead of just walking with the Lord and trusting Him. In the same way, these teachers and groups tell folks that high standards and right living will somehow make them good. They don’t promise salvation, but they insinuate that those who are “really saved” will do these things. Those who don’t live this way, by these standards, are inferior in some way. And, as they focus on the standards, they don’t really seem to need the Lord.
This kind of thinking is not only wrong according to Scripture, but is damaging to individuals, families, and churches. I have heard from so many people about how their church split because of some leader’s teachings. One young man tells how his family is broken up because some accept a certain group’s leader and others don’t. A young wife wrote me and told me that she “lost Jesus at church” because of all the competition, criticism and judgment.
On the other hand, I get email after email telling me how people have found peace in just trusting Jesus. I even get notes from pastors. One recently wrote to tell me that he believes he can go on in ministry because what he found on our website brought him back to trusting in Jesus rather than in the performance standards of ministry. That’s good stuff to me!