The Ills of Self-isms

I decided it would be profitable to write down some of the excerpts from some of the messages given at the “Together For the Gospel” conference last week. The first one that I’m going to share was from Al Mohler’s message. Now Mohler in the last two years has become one of my heroes of the modern faith. Like Dever has said multiple times, “I’m glad he’s on our side. We usually don’t get guys like him.” He is very adept at discerning where the culture is and what we are to make of it. While he doesn’t exactly study the culture, he’s excellent at applying biblical principles in deciding how we are to react to movements and shifting thoughts.

He gave a message on how to preach to our culture and was saying it is difficult to define because it is always changing and forming into something else at a great pace. He ended his message with a list of ‘self-isms’ that people in our culture deal with and hold to and we should have in mind when we are preaching the gospel. here they are:

1. Self-Fulfillment- this is a radical individualism and a quest for the true self. Everything is viewed as it affects the self. It is normal to think that self is the center to everything. This really affects the logic of the cross because people don’t see that the problem lies within themselves. They see the problem as being an alien problem calling for an internal solution. The reality is that it is an internal problem calling for an alien solution. People see the problem are things that have happened to them, not things that they have done.

2. Self-Sufficiency- man possesses everything within him that is necessary. But the gospel isn’t about depending on one’s self, but realizing that self can’t get you anywhere.

3. Self-Definition- we have teh ability to define ourselves, how we are man and woman, what marriage is, gender, sexuality, authority, etc. Man is controlling his own evolution and can redefine what it means to be human.

4. Self-Enhancement- extending life as long as possible, making the human body into art. man is coming up with so many ways to reach the perfect state of looks and condition, and that is where their concentration is.

5. Self-Transcendence- hearing our presentation of the gospel as another spirituality. That it is just another belief that will do well for us to believe, but not the only ‘truth’. The emphasis is on beliefs rather than truth. Mohler said that it is here that we need to be clear about the mono in monotheism. And I don’t know he transitioned into it, but it is here that he stated what may have been the line of the conference: “in the Bible, “When you see an angel, you wet your pants! They say, “don’t die! We bring good tidings.”

6. Self-Security- we believe that we are safe because of a military or hospitals, financially, spiritually. This makes the gospel difficult to understand because there is no impending danger that they can see.

Thought that these might be of interest to you all. I know they were very insightful for me.

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4 comments on “The Ills of Self-isms

  1. Beth says:

    Did he talk about if this is an emerging philosophy or if it was around in the past and is reemerging?

    I’m reading a book written by a midwife in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s and what strikes me is how there is no room in their lifestyle to be very self-centered. There was no consumerism not self-dependency. Your family worked as an home industry producing goods to barter for other family’s goods. There were no bridal or baby showers- the family sat around and made everything. It’s almost as if the industrial revolution allowed people to bring focus on self to a new level.

  2. T-Bone says:

    Mohler was saying as sort of the product of the evershifting culture, from modernism, to postmodernism to whatever it is today. This is just a product of that thinking. But I don’t think that it is a ‘new sin’ or anything. I think they are old problems with new clothes.

    Funny thought on Post-Modernism:
    I know my mom will hate this, but I was watching Simpsons and Moe, the bartender, redid his bar to make it more classy and modern. Homer and the guys walk in and everything is in bright colors, there are pictures of eyes on the walls, and rabbits were hanging on straps from the ceilings. The guys asked him what it was all about and he said, “it’s POMO”. They looked at him with blank faces, and he says “It’s Post-Modern”. They still are confused and he says, “It’s weird for the sake for being weird.” I thought that was a good description of it.

  3. Beth'sMomToo says:

    The idea BEHIND postmodern is that there is no truth, there is no meaning (hence, Moe’s décor…and you were watching The Simpsons? And you preach to your kids about filling their minds with god-honoring things?! It’s OK to watch LOST, of course. 😉

    In the US today we just have too much disposable income and time. And we have plenty of people telling us what products we need to use to reach the Nirvana lifestyle we think we all deserve. But the sinfulness of man and our natural rebellious attitude toward God is nothing new, that’s for sure. You often hear people say they believe in “God” or love “God”, but it’s THEIR concept of God they love, their man-made god, not the God who has revealed Himself to us in His Word. That’s why it’s so important to use the Bible when witnessing the Truth to people. And often you have to first establish that there IS indeed Truth, for which we are all accountable.

    Can’t wait to hear those CDs! Rick and Dean Mangum want to listen, too. Are you having them sent directly here?

  4. Beth'sMomToo says:

    I’m enjoying the CDs! Thanks! Mohler really synthesizes some of my thinking on this. I, too, am finding a change in the way people respond to the gospel. The issues aren’t the same as they used to be.

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