“Swallowing the camel of self” by David F. Wells

“What is central to the Bible is the true and the right, sin and grace, God’s wrath and Christ’s death; what is central to so many people today is simply what offers internal relief. Much of the Church today, especially that part of it which is evangelical, is in captivity to this idolatry of the self. This is a form of corruption far more profound than the list of infractions that typically pop into our minds when we hear the word ‘sin.’ We are trying to hold at bay the gnats of small sins while swallowing the camel of self. It is idolatry as pervasive and as spiritually debilitating as were many of the entanglements with pagan religions recounted for us in the Old Testament.

That this devotion to the self seems not to be like that older devotion to a pagan god blinds the Church to its own unfaithfulness. The end result, however, is no less devastating, because the self is no less demanding. It is as powerful an organizing center as any god or goddess on the market. The contemporary Church is whoring after this god as assiduously as the Israelites in their darker days. It is baptizing as faith the pride that leads us to think much about ourselves and much of ourselves.”

–David F. Wells, Losing Our Virtue (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 203-4.

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Filed under Christian Theology, David Wells, Quotable Quotes, The Church, Worldliness

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