Deception and Truth: The Danger of Staying in Spiritual Diapers
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
Hebrews 5:11-14 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. (12) For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, (13) for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. (14) But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Babies are rather helpless creatures. Especially human babies. And they stay that way for quite a long time. It is the task of faithful parents to raise those babies up to maturity so that they can feed themselves, support themselves, and hopefully, not wear diapers anymore. One sure mark of maturity is coming to a place in life in which we see selfishness progressively fading away. Another mark is developing the ability to see a wolf, to discern truth from lies.
As in the days of the Apostle to the Hebrews, many Christians today are still in diapers sucking on a bottle. They are self-centered and they are foolish and gullible to deception. They are in an incredibly dangerous position.
If the Christian is going to be able to stand against deception, he or she must grow up. Most readers here understand, at least in part, how deceptive and cunning and even charming abusers can be. We have discussed the “fog” of abuse in other articles and many of you have told your stories of many years in confusion of mind. Other readers are still in the process of coming out of that fog. And as we see the deception for what it is, we simultaneously are growing in the truth of Christ. We see the lies for what they are, but only because we are seeing the truth of God’s Word as never before and “connecting the dots” by correcting one lie after another with the Word of God. We are learning to use the armor of Christ: the shield of faith, the breastplate of righteousness, the sword of the Spirit and so on. Flaming missiles are shot at us, but we are intercepting more and more of them before they can do their damage. We are taking every thought captive, increasingly, to Christ –
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. (5) We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
Now, all of this growing up takes the Spirit of God working in us to apply the Word of God and transform our minds. BUT, it also requires effort on our part. Lots of effort. It requires diligent prayer, diligent study of Scripture, and diligent use of other means of grace such as fellowship with other believers, including pastors and teachers given by God to equip us:
Ephesians 4:11-16 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, (12) to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, (13) until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, (14) so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (15) Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (16) from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Many of you faithfully gave yourselves to the fellowship of believers in your churches, and sat under the teaching ministry of pastors. And then you were shamefully treated and in some cases put out of your churches through the deceptions of your abuser and the ignorance of the church. But you must not permit that experience to stop your use of every means of grace you can to facilitate your continued growth into maturity in Christ. We are surrounded with massive amounts of wonderful resources. In addition to the Scriptures, which must remain our primary object of study, we have classic Christian books that faithfully represent God’s Word. Take the works of J.C. Ryle for example, which can be obtained very cheaply. Practical Religion and Holiness, and Light From Old Times and Old Paths are just a few that in themselves will go very far in taking a Christian to maturity even during the time when a sound church is not available.
Don’t be satisfied with spiritual infancy. It is a dangerous condition to remain in. We all need to be prepared to meet that evil “angel of light” when he comes round knocking at our door, and be ready to counter his wiles with the fiery hammer of the Word of God.