Patricia Hofer

The Christian hazard of “spiritual pride”

ONE WHO KNOWS EVERYTHING AT TIMES DRAWS WATER WITH A BASKET. This comes from the Igbo, an ethnic group found chiefly in Nigeria. Although such prideful knowing finds its way into all areas of life, it causes huge problems for  Christian believers.

When we grow up in a particular denomination or when our adult conversion turns into zeal, our knowing that we know  becomes “Spiritual Pride.” That’s what CS Lewis calls it. We start only wanting to associate with those of our own “sort.” (Screwtape130-132). But the reality is that the waters of Christ’s ever-fresh forgiveness and compassion slip through any “basket” of denominational believing, no matter how we might try to contain them.

Just before his crucifixion, Jesus asks for protection for all of us saying, “I pray for these followers, but I am also praying for all those who will believe in me because of their teaching.” (NCV John 17:20). That “teaching,” that good news, has been spoken and written for over two thousand years. How far it has reached or how many it has reached or in what way it has reached them is, for us, unknowable. So it’s time to stop trying to draw water with a basket.

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