Week 41 in the year of our Lord 2020

Flatterers, false teachers & fighting

11 minutes to read

A culture of flattery is crippling people, especially single women. Here’s how:

Flattery is false praise.

Flatterers offer praise, not because it’s deserved or rooted in reality, but because they believe it will gain them some personal advantage.

Why is this crippling?

Flattery perverts a person’s self-assessment.

A flatterer doesn’t only over-praise and over-state a person’s virtues. They also recast a person’s vices as virtues.

In doing so, the flatterer inflates the person’s self-opinion and clouds their vision.

An accurate self-assessment is essential to living well. You must see yourself as God sees you. Not only is it the basis of humility but, practically speaking, it allows you to push hard towards your limits without exceeding them.

Icarus could fly until he got too close to the sun.

But we live in a culture of flattery:

  • The tone-deaf are told they’ve got a beautiful voice
  • The obese are told they’ve got an impressive physique
  • The mentally unstable are told they are brave and stunning
  • The fool is told that they are wise beyond their years

And on and on…

Flattery courses through the veins of every facet of our culture.

The education system, corporate America…and church pulpits. It’s everywhere.

It’s also especially on social networks.

Yes, there is also a lot of hate on social networks—but remember flattery is a form of hatred:

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Proverbs 27:6)

People who love are appropriately critical. Sometimes those criticism sting. But they help you.

People who deceive, people who shield you from the truth, are using you. They don’t love you. “The mercy of the wicked is cruel.”

Let’s talk about how this is crippling single women in particular. Take the example of Tomi Lahren’s “all men are trash” rant:

https://tinyurl.com/y2wtmnzz

She says all her single female friends (24–36) are “attractive” and “successful,” but not one of them can find a good man.

Lahren, of course, blames men. She says she is a “woman of value.”

She seems incapable of contemplating the possibility that she and her friends over-value themselves.

How could they? So many men praise them for their beauty, success, etc.

But here’s the thing…a lot of that praise comes from men who are just flatterers—what some people call simps. These are men who flatter for female attention and validation, and often for some sexual attention. Women despise these guys—and in fact, these guys despise women too.

He who hates disguises it with his lips, But he lays up deceit in his heart. When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, For there are seven abominations in his heart. Though his hatred covers itself with guile, His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly. He who digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him. A lying tongue hates those it crushes, And a flattering mouth works ruin. (Proverbs 26:24-28)

We know that nice guys hate women not only from Proverbs, but also from seeing how they themselves speak about them when they bare their hearts. Proverbs says his wickedness will be revealed before the assembly—and today, it is before the internet: https://www.reddit.com/r/niceguys/

While women despise simps, the inordinate amount of praise they lavish on them does have an effect. It gives women an exaggerated sense of desirability. This in turns makes them see themselves as above men who are of a similar or even higher status.

About 15 years ago, Michael began to notice this in the church over and over again.

He’d see very average women repeatedly pass on above average guys—and then complain how there are no good men. Except they’d replace good with godly.

He wondered, “What is going on with these women?”

A decade and a half later, it has become clear that the “culture of flattery” in and outside the church has inflated single women’s vanity to completely self-destructive levels. It is leading them to hold out for a man truly “worthy” of their (over-inflated) sense of value—and then, when they start to realize that they’ve been had by the culture, their simp pastors compound the problem by hating them further. They say…

“No. You’re not the problem. Reject the idolatry of marriage and family. Singleness is a gift and the church is your family.”

This, of course, is a lie that the pastor tells to:

  • Get praise from women
  • Avoid the emotional whirlwind from them realizing they were deceived

These men are flatterers. They don’t love single women. They hate them and use them. Bnonn has seen first hand how cynically, yet obliviously, white knight pastors will use women in general. They will especially use their tears to get their way, yet simultaneously be utterly callous about mistreating other women who get in their way, remaining quite unmoved about their tears.

1 Timothy 5:11-15 is speaking of widows specifically, but certainly applies to other single women also:

But refuse to put younger widows on the list, for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married, thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge. At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention. Therefore, I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach; for some have already turned aside to follow Satan.

What happens to such women? Paul warns Timothy in his second letter:

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. (2 Timothy 3:1-8)

Something that is innate to flatterers is that they are gutless. That is why they are flatterers; they say what people want to hear because they fear disapproval and crave the praise that comes from man, rather than from God. Many pastors are flatterers; therefore many pastors are gutless. Many pastors are gutless, therefore many pastors are hirelings:

He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. (John 10:12-13)

Because of this, churches will be more and more overwhelmed with older single women as time wears on, their beauty fades, and finding a husband becomes much harder.

Plutarch was wise:

The surest prophylactic against the evils of the flatterer is a just opinion of oneself that will reject, as untruthful, the flatterer’s insinuations.

Truth is pride-killer, and humility gives life.

May God raise up a generation of truth tellers!


Unfortunately, while the Lord Jesus instructs us to be shrewd as serpents but innocent as doves, modern Christians have abandoned shrewdness wholesale, because being astute often sounds mean. Thus their innocence becomes naivete—and false teachers with flattering tongues are easily able to take advantage of this.

People who have been genuinely changed by the Spirit naturally want to hope the best of people. They naturally have a hard time conceiving that someone they know, who professes faith and has a respectable position as a pastor, could be the kind of evil man or impostor who will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

But this is why God repeatedly warns us how to identify false teachers: because they disguise themselves—and because we are prone to fall for it.

Scripture is so clear about this. The defining feature of ravening wolves is that they are good at talking the talk, dressing in sheep’s clothing, and using smooth words to placate people—but we can know them by their actions.

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (Romans 16:17–18)

This is why we are told to test everything—so that we won’t be taken in. It’s not as if we have reason to think that such men are rare. Quite the opposite:

For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. (2 Cor 2:17)

Flatterers are insincere. Insincere men are hard to identify through their speech, which always sounds sincere, but easy to identify through their actions, because they despise God’s law in service of themselves, and hate their neighbors in the kinds of ways we’ve discussed.

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:3–6)

False teachers routinely rely on the naivete of Christians, who are dazzled by the appearance of sincerity. But insincere people almost never appear insincere. Scripture warns of

deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.

The entire reason that God continually and repeatedly warns us about how to identify false teachers is not because they are easy to spot, but because they are so well camouflaged. They are deceivers who take advantage of our reluctance to believe that they really are what we suspect they might be. With tricky speech, they manipulate the faithful, taking advantage of our desire to believe the best. And today, even otherwise well-taught Christians are falling for it, hook, line, and sinker. They ignore the blunt facts on the ground and in Scripture, in favor of sentimentalism.

Brothers, we say this not as a rant, but as a warning. False teachers have been breeding in the respectable institutions of evangelicalism for decades, and today they are wriggling their way out, sheep-skins carefully groomed.

The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. (Proverbs 27:12)

Jesus warns us, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you” (Matthew 7:6). But this requires you to be able to identify the swine.

Here’s a simple tip for that:

Scripture uses harsh, mean-sounding language to warn that false teachers camouflage themselves with smooth, flattering speech. So an easy and effective strategy is to watch out for people who use smooth, flattering speech to warn that false teachers expose themselves with harsh, mean-sounding language.


Our brother Adam Robles brings some fire in his video, Keller and MacArthur - Two Kinds of Prophets

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4ObLSdKOIc


Nine times out of ten, the coarse word is the word that condemns an evil, and the refined word the word that excuses it. (G.K. Chesterton, The Victorian Age)


That’s all for this week.

Faithfully,

Michael & Bnonn

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