It Is All About Me

There is a hilarious parody on YouTube that offers a collection of songs with titles such as, “I Exalt Me,” “I Am Why I Sing,” “O Come Let Us Adore Me,” and others. The sad thing about this bit of foolishness is its proximity to the truth. The church meeting and other Christian gatherings seem to be comfortable places for “me worship.”

We have recently looked at the subtle nature of gnostic thinking and pointed to its ability to permutate and modify. Gnostic an ancient-sounding word, descriptive of something from the second century. Yet it carries its baggage right through the front door of today’s evangelical church, comfortably parks itself in the front pew, shakes hands with the visitors, hugs little old ladies, and kisses babies. The gnosis—or knowledge that saves—is an elitist faith. At its root it is narcissistic, exclusive, and self-absorbed.

Valentinus, a second-century mystic and teacher of gnostic thinking, writes as though he stepped into our time and addressed a large audience at the downtown civic center. Here he is quoted by one of his followers:

“Spirit is present in man, but it is dormant. Only the word of Christ, which awakens and reveals it, can lead to self-knowledge . . . Valentinus provided us with a very original approach (to Christianity) which is not the Word and the Spirit, or the Word and the Sacrament, but the Word and the Self.” [1]

Maybe it’s not such a bad idea to usher in the Christmas season on the heels of Thanksgiving. The prophet Isaiah called upon the whole of the human race race to consider how spiritually self-admiring we really are.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
(Isaiah 53:6)

It’s really all about Him, isn’t it?

Steve Fazekas, AiG–U.S.

[1] Valentinus, as quoted by Quispel, as cited in Philip J. Lee, Against the Protestant Gnostics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), p. 10.