Thursday, May 29, 2014

When that which should be my first devotion becomes subordinate to a cause I am passionate about.

In C.S. Lewis' book The Screwtape Letters, Screwtape, a senior devil explains how to corrupt Christians and frustrate their discipleship.  One letter explains how any “extreme devotion” can lead Christians away from the Lord and the practice of Christianity and Christlike compassion, forgiveness and perspective.  Lewis gives two examples, extreme patriotism or extreme pacifism, and explains how either “extreme devotion” can corrupt its adherent.
“'Let him begin by treating the Patriotism or the Pacifism as a part of his religion. Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important part. Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely part of the ‘cause,’ in which Christianity is valued chiefly because of the excellent arguments it can produce in favour of the British war effort or of pacifism. … Once you have made [one of] the World['s causes] an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing
~C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
Which Screwtape passage reminded me of this:
And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority.. of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.  I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified...that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."  

~Paul, to the Corinthians

Which reminded me of this:

"It is plain that we are not called to teach the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture"  

~Hartmann Rector Jr., "You Shall Receive the Spirit", Ensign, January 1974
see also Lance Wickman, "Wisdom and Great Treasures of Knowledge", BYU Speeches August 17, 2004

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