The title is not mine but comes from a series of articles I discovered late last year. While reading through the “Letters to Stagnant Christians,” I found them both convicting and insightful. The author, David De Bruyn, is a Reformed Baptist pastor in South Africa. Though the context in which he ministers might seem a world away, his “letters” prove that the same spiritual struggles stymie Christian growth and maturity across ethnic, national, and cultural boundaries.
I thought Pastor De Bruyn had stopped at the sixth but guess not! I will repost these letters as long as he keeps writing them. Here is a sample of the ninth, followed by a link to the original article:
Sometimes our spiritual problems come from unexpected places. We expect that people who disagree with the doctrine, preaching, and teaching of the Word will not grow much, and that is certainly the case. But unexpectedly, some people fail to grow because they agree too much. I think this is your situation.
Now by the term “agreeing too much”, I do not mean that it is possible to agree too vigorously or too often with revealed truth. Like love, it is impossible to love what is good too much, provided we do not love it as a substitute for God.
Instead, I mean it is possible to adopt a kind of “agreeableness” that never reflects on what it is agreeing with. Your default response to every teaching, comment or admonition is “I know”.
Every doctrine meets a nod, and a knowing smile. But I fear the problem lies just there: there is not as much knowing behind the smiling as there ought to be.
Lana, it is possible to mistake broad agreement with the church’s position for actual agreement about particular applications of truth in your life. In your case, I happen to know that there are some habits and practices which you have not tackled or changed in twenty years of church attendance. Yet you are able to see everything under the visage of “I know. I agree.” You would likely say that you have found the sermons incredibly challenging and convicting. But you have been able to sidestep their demands for change for decades.
This is where I believe you have managed to fall prey to a particular form of the deceitfulness of the heart. The world sometimes speaks of ‘confirmation bias’. Confirmation bias is the tendency to hear what we are looking for, to interpret information according to what is familiar and comfortable, and to judge something’s importance based upon what we have already decided…