Monday, August 29, 2005

The Heart of Darkness

For a long time it will be quite impossible to remove spirituality from his life. Very well, then; we must corrupt it. No doubt you have often practised transforming yourself into an angel of light as a parade-ground exercise. Now is the time to do it in the face of the Enemy. The World and the Flesh have failed us; a third Power remains. And success of this third kind is the most glorious of all. A spoiled saint, a Pharisee, an inquisitor, or a magician, makes better sport in Hell than a mere common tyrant or debauchee."
- Screwtape Letters, #23

I had a brief encounter with legalistic fundamentalism - for two summers in grade school, at a church-run day care while my parents worked. What happened there in even that brief time was bad enough to keep me out of the Church for almost 12 years after that point, and to twist my conceptions of God and Christianity for many years after that.

But James Spurgeon, a friend and acquaintance of Phil Johnson, has *lived* in this heart of darkness. I've been reading through the online version of his autobiography of college life at a fundamentalist "school", and grim reading it is. I think churches like what he describes are the "pet projects" of the Devil - where he has been able to perpetrate the most perverse evils in the name of his Enemy, Christ Himself. That Spurgeon came out of it as well as he did is, as Phil put it, a trophy of God's mercy and power.


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