A Naive Statement by Neil Anderson (Freedom in Christ Ministries)
Quite a number of years ago we had some of Neil Anderson’s books and tapes in our church library, and we used them in a couple of our classes. I hope that Neil has “wised up” by now and withdrawn his statement I am referring to in this article, but I cannot say because we removed this material from the library years ago.
In one of his audio lectures, Anderson said (I am paraphrasing, but this is an accurate representation of his point) – “I am convinced that no matter who you are, if I truly, really got to know you in depth, I would like you. I really would.” He then went on to relate a story of an experience he had with a very ornery, mean person in a church he worked at, and how he started to develop some bad attitudes toward until he told himself, “Neil, the real problem here is with you. You are the one who needs to make some changes in your own heart and love this person.”
Ok? Think about these kinds of statements. What are they communicating?
- At the very foundation and bottom of every human being is a likable person
- Any outward nastiness or “difficulty” in a someone’s personality can be explained and understood if you just get to know them and their “story” well enough
- The real sin we always need to deal with in any situation is our own sin, not that of the other person, and we will always find sin in us that is contributing to the problem
- There are no evil people, really. We must approach them just like Luke Skywalker dealt with Darth Vader, assuming that if we try hard enough we will eventually find good in them.
Anyone who knows much of anything about sociopaths, psychopaths, abusers, and narcissistic abusers will shudder at this kind of thinking. Just imagine what is going to happen if an abuse victim goes for help to someone who embraces these ideas. They are necessarily going to come away from the meeting wearing false guilt, pressured to go look for “good” in their abuser (in whom there is no good), convinced that they are responsible for helping Vader come out of the dark side and into the light.
And it is all lies. A big pack of lies. Let me re-write the above four bullet points in “truth-form” –
- At the very foundation and bottom of an abuser is an evil, wicked person who repels the righteous
- The outward nastiness and abuse in the abuser’s personality IS the fruit of his personality — of who he really is. His wickedness cannot be blamed on anything in his past
- The real sin that needs to be dealt with is the abuser’s sin, not the victim’s. The Lord Jesus Christ was the spotless, sinless Lamb of God, yet He was wickedly abused and killed.
- There are many evil people in whom there is no conscience, no empathy, no love.
I can only hope that Neil Anderson and all the people his teaching has influenced over the years have come to see the fallacy of it. Somehow I doubt that is the case. I suspect we are living with the expected bad fruit of that bad teaching.