False Teachers: Hubris or Narcissism?

Napoléon Ier en costume du Sacre
Napoleon is often the fantasy target of people afflicted with delusions of grandeur

One of Satan’s most deceptive and powerful ways of defeating us is to get us to believe a lie. And the biggest lie is that there are no consequences to our own doing. Satan will give you whatever you ask for if it will lead you where he ultimately wants you.

~ Charles Stanley

Some time ago, I read an article by an anti-COG author that the problem with the COGs is “hubris”.  I actually disagree.  I think the problem is worse, at least in the more extreme COG organizations.

hu·bris  [hyoo-bris, hoo-]
excessive pride or self-confidence; arrogance.

As I wrote yesterday, Lucifer’s problem began with unjustified pride, which became arrogance.  After that, it became something far, far worse, however.  Even arrogance does not explain trying to kill God!

First, I want to repeat the notion that there is a distinction between pride and arrogance.  The difference is sort of like the difference between a road and a highway.  A “road” can actually be applied to passageways of various sizes, but a “highway” assumes the pathway can easily handle a certain amount of traffic.

Of course, some passageways might struggle to even be a road.  Here is a photo by Kevin Philpott in the UK, who says the Ordnance Survey team in the UK classifies as an “other road, drive or track”:

To call the above a path might be a compliment!  Is it any wonder that Philpott says it has “delusions of grandeur”?

However, delusions of grandeur is a very real condition.  It is sometimes called “grandiose delusions“, but it is considered to be different than grandiosity.  Someone suffering from grandiosity can usually understand that their behavior is unusual.  However, if that reality meter totally gives way, the distinction may be difficult to see.  Sometimes, the difference may be the type of false reality the person creates for his or herself.  It is speculated that the “grandiose self” is simply a normal stage of growing up but rather than humility tempering grandiose ideas, they become separate features of the personality.

Both are subtypes and can be associated with various mental illnesses, including bipolar, especially during the manic state.  Both are associated with or considered subtypes of narcissistic personality disorder.  However, unlike grandiosity, grandiose delusions (GDs) are sometimes caused by schizophrenia, although not always.

Even narcissism in itself should not be viewed as a separate, independent disorder.  It usually has a root cause in some other disorder or illness.

GDs are characterized by fantastical beliefs that one is famous, omnipotent, wealthy, or otherwise very powerful. The delusions are generally fantastic and typically have a supernatural, science-fictional, or religious theme. There is a relative lack of research into GD, in comparison to persecutory delusions and auditory hallucinations. About 10% of healthy people experience grandiose thoughts but do not meet full criteria for a diagnosis of GD.

~ Wikipedia, “Grandiose delusions“, emphasis added

It is important to realize that not only are the abilities, talents and what-not inflated for narcissists, but they almost never carry through with any of it.  On the seemingly abandoned blog Narc Attack, in the article “Narcissism’s Delusions of Grandeur“, we read:

Normal people’s fantasies take the form of narratives (stories) about what they would like to do. They are fantasies in which the dreamer dreams of doing something great.

Dreams of DOING SOMETHING great.

Narcissists have no such fantasies….

The author then points to another website where author Joanna Ashumn makes several observations of narcissists, including the fact that “Narcissists don’t see themselves doing anything except being adored, and they don’t see anyone else doing anything except adoring them.”  IOW, while many of us have occasional fantasies of doing some great thing, the narcissist simply has fantasies of being adored no matter what they actually do, but rather from what they imagine they do.  To them, there is no connection between actual behavior and actual consequences!  Compare that notion with the opening quote from Dr Stanley, and you can see just how dangerous that it can be!

Ashumn also writes:

As Freud said of narcissists, these people act like they’re in love with themselves. And they are in love with an ideal image of themselves — or they want you to be in love with their pretend self, it’s hard to tell just what’s going on. Like anyone in love, their attention and energy are drawn to the beloved and away from everyday practicalities.

In practical terms, they are not really “in love with themselves” but in love with this false image of self they have created in their mind.  Furthermore, they expect the rest of us to be in love with this false self as well, ignoring the real self at all costs.

Moreover, they don’t see these images as potentials that they may some day be able to live out, if they get lucky or everything goes right: they see these pictures as the real way they want to be seen right now (which is not the same as saying they think these pictures are the way they really are right now, but that is another story to be discussed elsewhere). Sometimes narcissistic fantasies are spectacularly grandiose — imagining themselves as Jesus or a saint or hero or deity depicted in art …

Or, as an apostle, or a prophet, or one of the Two Witnesses…

As the Mayo Clinic points out, however, narcissists are covering up a fragile self-esteem, which leaves them “vulnerable to the slightest criticism”.  This obviously can lead to overprotectiveness of their ego.  Perhaps it can cause kicking others out of their group who do not agree (disfellowshipping or marking others)?

Just cherry-picking a few of the traits with commentary of narcissism from the Wikipedia article:

  • An obvious self-focus (focus on the leader and the mantel he has inherited, respect all his decisions no matter what)
  • Difficulty with empathy (mistreatment of others is “justified” because they are specially gifted by God)
  • Hypersensitivity to any insults or imagined insults (see criticism and narcissists, narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury)
  • Flattery towards people who admire and affirm them (narcissistic supply)
  • Detesting those who do not admire them (others outside group are “Laodicean”, they are worse than pagans, etc.)
  • Using other people without considering the cost of doing so (it’s just your retirement fund/home, but this is “God’s work”!)
  • Pretending to be more important than they really are (taking on titles)
  • Claiming to be an “expert” at many things (insights into biblical knowledge, “new truth” and other stuff)

I think this comment from the Narc Attack blog already cited sort of paints the picture:

The narcissist CAN be rather amusing when you aren’t too intimately involved with it. One narcissist I used to know believed she was a brilliant scientist who was destined to change the world as we know it into a technological spiritual utopia, or something like that.

The narcissist had an elaborate fantasy life in which extra-terrestrials had been visiting her since childhood because they needed to collaborate with her scientifically. Now, this person didn’t so much as posess an undergrad degree in science and when she tried majoring in physics, failed miserably. But, still, ETs needed HER. Not Stephen Hawking. Not NASA scientists. Her.

The comments seem to be filled with accounts of temper tantrums, etc., when they are confronted with reality.  Sort of how when people get tired of “ministers” interfering in their lives for the smallest of things and complain, they are tossed out of a group without explanation.

It should be evident by now that there are entire groups which do not meet to worship God.  They meet to adore their leader.

Whose spirit is this?  Who wants adoration, even worship, who exaggerates his abilities and capabilities to rule and reign all of Heaven and earth?  The answer should be obvious!

I have often said that there is no being more insane than Satan.  What is more crazy than believing you can overtake God?

It should also be evident the difference between slavery and liberty.  Satan loves a dictatorship!  Satan loves to micromanage and even tell you what to believe!  Satan believes that you and I are not really separate beings but extensions of himself.  Without empathy and with the narcissistic tendency to not be able to distinguish the normal boundaries between himself and others, there is no reason in his mind for you to believe anything different than what he believes!

God gave such freedom to ancient Israel that initially it was very chaotic.  They were not being self-governing and the governmental system of judges did not work because they were not doing their jobs either.  The priesthood was not rebuking either the people or the judges.  However, God allowed it.

In the parable of the talents, one man had a specific idea of the uncaring attitude of his master (Mt 25:14-30).  He claimed his master was “an hard man” and even claimed he was unreasonable!  Did the master correct the servant for his assessment of himself?  Why not?  Because only a narcissistic dictator has the need to take one to task for not believing exactly as he does!  Jesus and God do not operate that way!  Satan, however, does!

Over and over again, we see God wanting human beings to take on certain values and operate according to those values.

How much of Satan’s narcissistic attitude has crept into human thinking?  The inability to see the end result of a dangerous course of action is something I believe all human beings are handicapped with, albeit some more than others.  Adam and Eve allowed themselves to project a false image of what might be if they ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, didn’t they?  They also were not able to admit their wrong to their Creator, but instead blamed each other, the serpent and even God Himself!

Narcissism, then, is just an exaggeration of an unfortunate trait of carnal human nature.  Like I said before, though, narcissism is a result of something else, and far too often its traits either great or small infect us from the ruler of the “power of the air” (Ep 2:2)!

This means we must guard our hearts and minds, but not only of our own thoughts and feelings but from being deceived by wolves who don’t even know they are wolves!

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Mt 7:21-23

Notice how they didn’t even know they were about to be rejected!  They did all these wonderful works, but Jesus says, “I never knew you!”  Why?  Because of lawlessness.

To put it another way, what Laws did they break?  Think about Jesus’ audience.  They would have contained Pharisees, and to the people the Pharisees would have been the pinnacle of righteousness!  They kept the Sabbath!  They kept the holy days!  They would have had all the outward trappings of righteousness, but what did Jesus say of their hearts?  Their insides (Mt 23:27)?

To put it still yet another way: Did the Pharisees that Jesus condemned love their fellow human beings?  Did they really even love God?  Or, were they also inwardly turned?  Did they project a false self so others could adore them?  Jesus called them “hypocrites” which was a reference to actors on a stage wearing masks!  How much more does the falseness come through with that definition?

20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

1Ti 5:20

Gerald Flurry started out his (not God’s) church by putting HWA upon a pedestal.  Once people were worshipping a man, it was easier to transfer that adoration upon himself.  He takes ridiculous titles to himself, claiming he is the “Joshua to the Moses” (referring to HWA as a type of “Moses”), the “Elisha to the Elijah”, and so on.  He then tells his membership to break the fifth commandment, even as the Pharisees did!

7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:

11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.

12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;

Mk 7:7-12

Did you catch that?  The Pharisees were blocking others from keeping the fifth commandment!  Yet, when Flurry forbids having contact with parents and, perhaps more importantly, grandparents, what more can be said of this evil than what Jesus already said?  Few were as puffed up and self-righteous as the Pharisees, so this is a fitting analogy for Gerald Flurry!

Of course, David C Pack has done much the self-same thing, yet his sin is more direct.  How much narcissism does it take to love the sound of your own voice in order to give his infamous three hour sermons?  How high is the delusions of grandeur involved in telling people to mortgage their homes so he can build his monument to his greatness?  How much adoration does he need, seeing as he isn’t satisfied with his current following and always seeking even more, even if he has to make false prophecies to do so?  He cannot conceive of the pain he will invoke when his prophecies fail, as narcissists often cannot connect actions to consequences.  Of course, he is so narcissistic that he cannot fathom that his meanderings are totally wrong and will not come to pass!

Ronald Weinland is so narcissistic that he sits in a jail cell after breaking the law, yet he has no remorse (one of the traits of narcissism) because that just does not jive with the false image he wants you to believe in!  In spite of promises that he would go away if his prophecies failed, and they have over and over again, he cannot admit he is wrong.  In fact, if you read between the lines, it is obvious that he blames God for it all!

Hubris?  Arrogance?  Perhaps for some, but not these three!  These people are far beyond any ordinary human condition!  It’s time to just state the plain truth that they are mentally ill.

18 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

Rev 18:1-4

Most of you are probably familiar with the idea that Babel is related to the Hebrew word for confusion.  Is the above only talking about Rome?  Are we to not leave all false religions and all false teachers behind?

Remember, to not answer is to give an answer by default.  When Christ returns, there will be an accounting for each of us.  If you are attending any of these three churches, you are now in Babylon!

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  1. I read through a couple of “HWA Transcribed” messages this evening (thank you for introducing me to that blog). Some of his sermons began with a good bit of (polite church-speak) self-justification.

  2. John D Carmack on Facebook

    @Richard: I freely admit that many of the problems we are seeing now stem from the fact that as HWA got older, it became more and more about him. So, what sort of people did he attract to work for him?