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I Told Me So: Self-Deception and the Christian Life Paperback – June 22, 2009
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— Calvin College
“Socrates famously asserted that the unexamined life is not worth living. But Gregg Ten Elshof shows us that we make all sorts of little deals with ourselves every day in order to stave off examination and remain happily self-deceived. Most provocatively, he suggests this is not all bad! While naming its temptations, Ten Elshof also offers a ‘strange celebration’ of self-deception as a gracious gift. In the tradition of Dallas Willard, I Told Me So is a wonderful example of philosophy serving spiritual discipline. A marvelous, accessible and, above all, wise book.” /
— Dallas Baptist University
“In this wise, well-crafted work Ten Elshof helps us to identify, evaluate, and respond to our own self-deceptive strategies, as he probes — with occasional self-deprecation and unavoidable humor — the bottomless mysteries of the human heart. His reflections on interpersonal self-deception and ‘groupthink’ are especially helpful. To tell me the truth, I’m glad I read this book. You will be too — I promise.”
Dallas Willard (from the foreword)
“Ten Elshof’s discussions are erudite, biblical, searching, and laced with soul-restoring wisdom. All of this together means that this book is solidly pastoral. What it brings to us is appropriate to individuals, but it especially belongs in the context of small groups and local congregations.”
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Top customer reviews
"...with very few exceptions, no one has any trouble acting out their beliefs. You DO act in accordance with your beliefs. More likely, you just don't believe what you've thought of yourself as believing. Rather than trying to work up behavior consistent with what we think we believe, we should be begging with the man who wanted desperately for Jesus to free his son from the demon that possessed him, 'I believe; help my unbelief!' (Mark 9:24)"
I would give the book five stars, if it would just stop here, at the very beginning - and it is not sarcasm or disrespect that motivates me so. "Helping" people to deal with the deepest questions of their existence instead of leaving them alone with God is quite questionable itself and, paradoxically, can be less helpful in some - if not many - cases. As a former philosophy student, I do appreciate Dr. Elshof's philosophical reintroduction of a fundamental existential problem to the modern internal Christian discourse, but, as a believer, I've got an impression that his explanatory attempt tends unobtrusively to "soften" (even without being distinctively "liberal" in its theological tone) the painful - and, for that very reason, potentially saving - truths it initially raises.