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  • Writer's pictureLES HENSON

Christian Narcissism

Les Henson

History shows that when the Church unthinkingly accommodates culture, it weakens it. Individualism, which has been at the heart of Western civilisation for three hundred years, has slowly evolved into a culture of narcissism. Thus, we live in a narcissistic society, and we must recognise that Christian people, and indeed the Church itself, are not immune from its narcissistic tendencies. Rodney Clapp, in the Forward of Christoph Blumhardt's book, Action in Waiting, p. vi, writes:

'"A prominent pastor of our day concludes one of his books with these words:

I'm enjoying God these days. He answers my prayers. He empowers me. He gives me insights from his Word. He guides my life. He gives me loving relationships. He has wonderful things in store for me.

"I," "my," "me," "me," "me." Is this what the kingdom of God come in Christ is about? God catering to and pampering individual Christians? Is God's rule centred on "me" and "mine"? And on an inner life of insights and guidance set off from the vicissitudes of the world? If so, then I can only sound alarm and paraphrase the apostle Paul – then we Christians are "of all people most to be pitied" (1 Cor. 15:19)."'

Clapp's critique rings true; to focus on how I'm doing more than what Christ has done is Christian narcissism. We must be realistic about this instead of pretending the Church is unaffected by narcissism. Particularly because narcissists understand themselves to be faultless, one of the places evil people are most likely to be found is within the Church. The fact is that a misunderstanding of the biblical doctrine of holiness can easily lead to or enhance narcissism in the life of a believer. Christianity and narcissism should have little in common, but unfortunately, they too often intersect.

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1 Comment

Aug 29, 2022

Les, glad you are feeling a bit stronger. I think it is good for us to be challenged by these thoughts and to be encouraged to remember that we are saved by grace and are called to be servants. To have compassion on all of those around us and weep for those who do not know the precious gift of salvation.

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