Playing God with Your Own Heart
In the latter part of 2010, my family began attending Radford Fellowship, a church plant by Paul Washer and the HeartCry Missionary Society, and around the Christmas holiday of 2012, after weeks of prayer and struggling with the decision, I removed my family from that fellowship for doctrinal reasons. It was not an easy decision. I thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship, had made new friends and had the privilege of hearing guest speakers I might not otherwise have had. All of that is good and well, but a decision had to be made for the spiritual betterment of my family, and we made the voluntary decision to leave.
Let me be upfront with all speculators and tell you I have no personal beef with HeartCry or Radford Fellowship. Quite the contrary, I have the utmost respect for Paul and the HeartCry gang. Paul Washer, Marc and Matt Glass, Brad White, Shannon Ayers, Kevin “the great white hunter” Hite, Holden Barry, Jon Green and Don Currin are stand-up fellas and a more sincere, godly (yet human) group of men you will be hard-pressed to find. [If you’re reading this Matt, thanks again for the weed-eater – it’s still going strong!]
Anyway, in January 2011, we had a mini-conference of sorts on biblical marriage led by counselor Andy Wisner. You can hear and watch a portion of the same message we attended here.
In that conference, we received numerous handouts which all had to do with diagnosing and identifying personal “heart idols” and so forth. Now, here is where I saw the first of other red flags of concern regarding our attendance at Radford Fellowship.
In short, the breakout sessions/conference focused on identifying or diagnosing “heart idols.” Basically, examining and knowing your heart better so you could get to work ridding yourself of said heart-idols.
My concern from the start was that accomplishing such a goal is biblically impossible. Why? Simple, you and I are not God. We can’t do that because we’re not able.
Brethren, at the heart of the whole idea of identifying and diagnosing heart-idols is the presupposition that you can know your own heart. But according to Scripture, you can’t. Only God can know your heart that well.
then hear from heaven your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways, for you, you only, know the hearts of the children of mankind – 2 Chronicles 6:30; I Kings 8:39
If that’s true, and it is, then it is impossible for you to search your own heart and know it well enough to completely rid it of “heart idols.” Yet, that is precisely what Wisner advocates, and by extension, those who invited him to teach this doctrine, namely, HeartCry.
Brethren, we need to decide whether we are going to believe Scripture, or the psychology of Christian men. I choose the former.
Knowing our hearts is something only God can do. You and I are not qualified, nor do we have the ability. Acts 1:24.
The entire idea of our searching our hearts, and identifying idols of it with the purpose of reaching a higher level of anything, much less a more pure worship of God is nothing more than a self-centered, self-focused attempt to a more morally pure existence by our own efforts. Think about it. It reminds me of Martin Luther beating himself for the same goal.
You can’t fully know your heart, much less change it. And what you do know of it, we all must admit, is still attracted to sin.
Yes, we are told to examine ourselves by the Apostle Paul, however, we need to read the entire passage to see the why of self-examination:
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. (emphasis mine). – 2 Corinthians 3:15
It does not say for us to identify and know our heart-idols. Scripture simply does not teach that.
Jesus says in Scripture, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself” (Matthew 16:24).
Does this verse point the reader toward self-analysis and the searching of heart-idols with the goal of a more pure worshipping of God? No, it doesn’t.
To deny oneself involves our denying any reliance whatsoever of ourselves. That includes reliance on whatever findings we may discover of our own hearts.
The bottom line is this:
Only God can know the heart of man (1 Samuel 16:7, 1 Chronicles 28:9, Jeremiah 17:9-10, Psalms 26:2, 44:21, 51:6, 139:23).
Scripture always places the focus on Christ, not your ability or success in searching out and ridding yourselves of heart idols.
It all comes down to whether you desire the worlds psychological self-help improvement by diagnosing and identifying your “heart idols” vs simply trusting in the finished work of Christ.
If anyone tells you that you can become more godly, a better Christian, more holy, etc, by searching your heart, knowing it better and diagnosing/identifying your heart idols, then brethren, you need to first of all find evidence of that teaching in Scripture itself.
Evidence you will never find. Ignore that fact and you are playing God with your own heart. That being said, comments are open.
Just wondering Joel if you were able to challenge the presenters with your thoughts and Scriptures and what their response was.
Wow…another spiritual practice that sounds good and pious to human ears….but does not pass the “where’s that in the bible” test! I fear I would have fallen for that one, even knowing that scripture tells us only God knows the heart. It shows me that I not only need to know scripture, but I also need God to give me wisdom to be able to apply it in all situations.
Thanks for the pearl.
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Amen. A heart-sin of Heart Cry?
Jer. 17:9f ~ The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.