Are you disappointed that someone you believed in, that the doctrine s/he espoused, the stand taken, all crumbled before their new understanding? The most recent crumbling of the edifice, at least for us Christians, is Josh Harris, he of l Kissed Dating Goodbye fame. I have nothing to say about Josh, nor to him, nor about him specifically. I will leave that to my betters. He’s apparently changed his mind about some vital things, maybe has some new understandings. We have known people like that, he’s hardly unique, every democrat politician, at least those running for any kind of office, can proudly debate their new understandings. I don’t know about Josh, but politicians, especially Democrats, seem to get new understandings whenever their wet fingers sense a change in the wind.
Few things blind and deceive us more than the vested interest. That’s the crux of the problem of trusting in your own understanding. I think of the case of a conservative pastor who led a church in San Francisco. His message was so uncompromising, “truth is not a matter of what the majority wants to be true, but what scripture says is true,” that many people were attracted to it by that idea. His vested interest was building a congregation. Did he promote the gospel? Yes. Could that have been his primary goal? It could have, if his message survived a change in vested interest. One day, his eldest son confessed to his homosexuality. It wasn’t long before the truth message of the church changed. It became, “what the majority wants to be true is the truth, regardless of what scripture says.” What happened? His new vested interest was protecting his son from having to repent.
What if the vested interest deception were responsible for race hating? What if White Christians who were slave “owners” (though no one can own anyone else), or worse, slave traders, really knew that the melanin content of a person’s skin couldn’t possibly be related to intelligence, or industriousness, or morality, but took up their stupid and ignorant beliefs about negroes because slavery was in their vested interest, and they could not continue in it if they believed otherwise? Or if they believed the Bible. Or if they believed, “all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator….” Obviously all men are not created equal, but since their rights are endowed by their Creator, their rights are created equal. Could any decent and intelligent person justify “owning” another human being, or trading in their lives, unless they deceived themselves about the humanity of their captives?
When protecting yourself and your family from the tyranny of the Nazis was your vested interest, could you stand against Hitler and his minions? When protecting your privilege and perks is your vested interest, could you stand against the communist party? When avoiding the gulag, the labor camp, the re-education camps, could you stand against Stalin, Castro, Pol Pot, Mao Tse-tung? It might be argued persuasively that the vested interest deception is responsible for more evil, and going along with evil, than any specific person or philosophy in history. Maybe it’s the root of evil, along with pride. Maybe it’s another name for pride.
So beware these “new understandings.” The Old understandings were either true or the product of the vested interest deception. The new understandings are the same. Only something that doesn’t change, the Lord himself, is true understanding.