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I Told Me So: The Role of Self-Deception in Christian Living

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Think youve ever deceived yourself? Then this book is for you. / Think youve never deceived yourself? Then this book is really for you. / 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. Mo Think youve ever deceived yourself? Then this book is for you. / Think youve never deceived yourself? Then this book is really for you. / 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. James K. A. Smith / Calvin College / author of The Devil Reads Derrida / 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, Im glad I read this book. You will be too I promise. David Naugle / Dallas Baptist University / author of Reordered Love, Reordered Lives / Ten Elshofs 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. Dallas Willard (from the foreword)


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Think youve ever deceived yourself? Then this book is for you. / Think youve never deceived yourself? Then this book is really for you. / 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. Mo Think youve ever deceived yourself? Then this book is for you. / Think youve never deceived yourself? Then this book is really for you. / 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. James K. A. Smith / Calvin College / author of The Devil Reads Derrida / 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, Im glad I read this book. You will be too I promise. David Naugle / Dallas Baptist University / author of Reordered Love, Reordered Lives / Ten Elshofs 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. Dallas Willard (from the foreword)

30 review for I Told Me So: The Role of Self-Deception in Christian Living

  1. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    My wife brought this book home for me having picked it up from the random variety of the sale trolley at the local library. I'm not sure if she was trying to say something. The title was not the most enticing: 'I Told Me So: Self-deception and the Christian life', but it had a foreword by Dallas Willard so it gained admittance to my reading list and I put it on my shelf where it sat for more than a couple of years. Recently I was reading 'You Are What You Love' by James K A Smith and some things My wife brought this book home for me having picked it up from the random variety of the sale trolley at the local library. I'm not sure if she was trying to say something. The title was not the most enticing: 'I Told Me So: Self-deception and the Christian life', but it had a foreword by Dallas Willard so it gained admittance to my reading list and I put it on my shelf where it sat for more than a couple of years. Recently I was reading 'You Are What You Love' by James K A Smith and some things he said about our perception of ourselves made me think of this book. I thought about promoting it up the list, pulled it off the shelf and turned it over, only to find that the lead endorsement on the back was from James K A Smith himself. "In the tradition of Dallas Willard," Smith says amongst other things, "I Told Me So is a wonderful example of philosophy serving spiritual discipline." So it was decided - this uninviting little book would be my next read. Wondering if I was about to have my epistemological and maybe even my ontological world rocked, I took a depth breath, took a risk, and began. The author, Gregg A Ten Elshof is Professor of Philosophy at Biola University (and, apropos of nothing, my Google search reveals him to be the wearer of an epic ponytail and goatee). In this book he harkens back to a time when awareness of self-deception was a common discussion point in philosophical discourse and spiritual formation (ie discipleship). He puts forward a very elegant argument for why talk of self-deception might have waned in an (existentialist) era that apparently values authenticity above all. In short: the current era, in highlighting authenticity, ups the stakes, causing us to back ourselves as authentic and leading us to avoid the risk of wondering about our own self-deception. (I think there might be a couple more factors too - differences in our era as opposed to past ones: a common awareness of the arbitrariness of knowing (softening the ground on which we judge), and second, an awareness of the complexity of knowing, in regard to the subconscious functions of the mind. Both these things, I think, make the idea of assessing our self-deception less straightforward. I digress.) Elegance of argument is a feature of the book and the writing is very engaging. The content contradicts the forbidding air of the cover and title. Ten Elshof makes extensive use of story and humour to illustrate his points. He starts off by talking about why we're so keen on self-deception and what it does for us - it's a completely understandable strategy. He then delves into how we think and believe and explores more deeply what self-deception is. In a humorous flip of the self-help mode, he goes on to tell us the best how-to methods for achieving high-functioning self-deception: attention management, procrastination, perspective switching, rationalisation and 'ressentiment'. Chapter 5 is called 'Getting Help When It's Not Working' and is about how to bolster self-deception by moving in certain circles, and the power of 'groupthink'. From there, the rest of the book is about 'How Not To'. This starts by putting self-deception in its place, by demoting it (as per the argument about authenticity mentioned above). In other words, an exaggerated fear of self-deception prevents us from examining our self-deception (excellent general psychological principle there). He discusses how vulnerable we are to a full measure of truth - its potential to completely undo us (in the way that no one can look on the face of God and live) - and so highlights how the same mechanisms that are employed in self-deception are a gift from God to humanity to make our lives more manageable. He therefore invites 'a strange celebration' of self-deception. Then the practical stuff - three suggestions for putting self-deception in its place and moving towards greater truth: 1. The old-fashioned idea of dying to self, and actively seeking an end to our deceptions and addictions; 2. Entering into diverse community - community that doesn't constantly parrot your own beliefs and preconceptions back to you; 3. Fostering communion with the Holy Spirit. He ends with three warnings: 'beware of hyper-authenticity', 'beware of undue suspicion of self-deception in others' and 'beware of undue self-doubt'. Marvellous stuff, and all done in a kind and realistic but incisive and challenging way. One thing the book doesn't do is benchmark or define truth and/or Truth, ie self-deception as opposed to what? That would be (and has been) more than several books in itself... So truth/Truth is taken as a given in the discussion. An excellent book, so worth reading - unexpectedly enjoyable, thought-provoking and awareness-heightening.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alex Strohschein

    According to Gregg A. Ten Elshof, self-deception is a topic rarely explored by modern Christian writers, despite its prevalence in the thought of believers in previous centuries. Ten Elshof thus has done us a favour in addressing the role of self-deception in Christian living, both for good and for ill. The author contends that through the existentialists' elevation of authenticity as the highest value, self-deception thus became the greatest vice for the individual. As another reviewer has rema According to Gregg A. Ten Elshof, self-deception is a topic rarely explored by modern Christian writers, despite its prevalence in the thought of believers in previous centuries. Ten Elshof thus has done us a favour in addressing the role of self-deception in Christian living, both for good and for ill. The author contends that through the existentialists' elevation of authenticity as the highest value, self-deception thus became the greatest vice for the individual. As another reviewer has remarked, Ten Elshof approaches self-deception more from a philosophical rather than psychological angle, but he writes in a pastoral, down-to-earth manner, including insights from his own life. The author provides good tips for recognizing and combating self-deception such as having a diverse community that won't feed each other's self-deceptions due to groupthink but will critically point out potential problems. He also notes that self-deception can play a POSITIVE role at times; the man who doubts he can ever learn how to play the piano or learn Hebrew needs to "self-deceive" himself with the belief that these goals are attainable and this can pave the way for accomplishing these very goals. I suppose by its very nature "self" denotes something done individually but I wish more attention had been given to the Enemy's involvement in self-deception. One interesting quote from this book is: "An interesting thing happened...with the rise in prominence of the philosophical movement called EXISTENTIALISM. Existentialism is notoriously difficult to define to everyone's satisfaction...Only this much of it needs to be understood: beginning with Kierkegaard, the existentialists (including Sartre, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and others) elevated AUTHENTICTY to a place of primary importance in their understanding of the virtues. Due to the writings of the existentialists and other cultural trends, the 'Good Person' was increasingly understood to be the 'Authentic Person.' Being true to oneself became a - or in some cases, THE - chief good. Self-deception...was given a promotion in the ranking of vices. What was once a derivative vice - one whose primary importance was fund in its ability to facilitate other, more serious, vices - became itself the most egregious of all sins" (p. 10)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Laura Fabrycky

    Really appreciated the philosophical take.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Meshach Kanyion

    This is my first intentional appointment with the subject of self-deception. Honestly, the only reason I read it was because I am a huge Dallas Willard fan, and I noticed that he wrote the foreword. Having read it, I must say that I am intrigued by the subject, and a bit shocked that it is not dealt with by more authors. Ten Elshof, though a philosopher, writes in a manner that is easy to understand, and he uses concrete examples to explain what might be difficult for some. One example of this i This is my first intentional appointment with the subject of self-deception. Honestly, the only reason I read it was because I am a huge Dallas Willard fan, and I noticed that he wrote the foreword. Having read it, I must say that I am intrigued by the subject, and a bit shocked that it is not dealt with by more authors. Ten Elshof, though a philosopher, writes in a manner that is easy to understand, and he uses concrete examples to explain what might be difficult for some. One example of this is when he deals with R.D. Laing's "Happy Family Game." Instead of making a non-philosophy student work it out on their own, he gives an illustration of how this works in his own community. So what might have been difficult to grasp is instantly made easy. Also, his explanation of the positives of self-deception are very helpful. Please read the book. I am glad I did. I am also going on to read other works that Gregg recommends on the subject.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Green

    In most circumstances, I'd give this three stars, but I add the one because it's the only book I've seen for the layman on the topic, and it's a topic worth pointing to in the spiritual life. Self-deception is something that I don't think many Christians really look at carefully or consider to have any significance in their lives, but it plays a role, and likely a role larger than most realize or are willing to accept. I'm glad that Ten Elshof took the time to acknowledge it and try to present i In most circumstances, I'd give this three stars, but I add the one because it's the only book I've seen for the layman on the topic, and it's a topic worth pointing to in the spiritual life. Self-deception is something that I don't think many Christians really look at carefully or consider to have any significance in their lives, but it plays a role, and likely a role larger than most realize or are willing to accept. I'm glad that Ten Elshof took the time to acknowledge it and try to present it in a way that makes sense for people. However, he's tackled an issue that is primarily psychological, but from a philosophical perspective. There are moments when what he chooses to focus on reveals a view of human nature that I think is too embedded in enlightenment rationality. He believes that thought is still the most important and most powerful of our faculties, which prevents him from recognizing how other aspects of our hearts affect us and even tie us together in more neat, understandable packages. I think he also sees people as primarily unitive, while I think that unity is a bit more illusory and that God made our hearts a bit more disjointed than we like to admit. These things both affect how we are to understand how self-deception plays out, why it happens in the first place, and how to deal with it in the process of growing to be like Jesus. Still, I appreciate his acknowledgement that self-deception is actually useful at times and even a God-given tool to help us. I would have liked to see a bit more exploration of the role of love in Christian community and God's love for us (not that those were absent), but it's not an incredibly long book, so I can't have it all. One point of clear departure for me, however, was his take on the historical development of self-deception in our culture. He plants the fault entirely at the feet of particular philosophical movements, but then ties those movements to a cultural phenomenon that's centuries apart from them. That seems far-fetched to me. I think he pushes too hard against the rise of the virtue of authenticity. He may have some good criticisms of it, but I just think he's off in connecting it to the seeming rise in self-deception. All in all, it's a decent book, and I'm glad someone's writing on the topic, but I think the author's perspective is a bit amiss at points.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Marone

    This is an incredible book. Ten Elshof explores the dicey topic of self-deception with grace and candor, but also with a philosopher's expertise that is accessible to anyone. The risk of his book is that it flies in face of the modern value of authenticity. That is, because we value authenticity so much, we will be hesitant to admit that we might be self-deceived in some way or another. As a parallel, Ten Elshof points out that in a society where racism is viewed as an ultimate sin, most people This is an incredible book. Ten Elshof explores the dicey topic of self-deception with grace and candor, but also with a philosopher's expertise that is accessible to anyone. The risk of his book is that it flies in face of the modern value of authenticity. That is, because we value authenticity so much, we will be hesitant to admit that we might be self-deceived in some way or another. As a parallel, Ten Elshof points out that in a society where racism is viewed as an ultimate sin, most people will have a very difficult time even considering the possibility that they might harbor some racist tendencies. And if that person were to discover that they do have some problems with racism, they certainly wouldn't want to admit so in public. The book does an excellent job examining some of the key ways in which we deceive ourselves (groupthink, rationalization, and attention management, among others), both as individuals and as groups, in matters both significant and not. His most provocative idea is that self-deception isn't really all that bad. Ten Elshof points out that many of the strategies we use to deceive ourselves can be put to good use. Who doesn't want to manage their attention when driving a car? We are, therefore, created to deceive ourselves, but the trick is to be sure that we aren't using self-deception to fool ourselves in regards to sin and truth-seeking. Because we are easily self-deceived, Ten Elshof's book is timeless, the type of thing I'd press into the hands of anyone willing to read it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Noah

    I am not a Christian but I still benefited from re-reading this book (I read it first about 8 years ago). The writing is clear, thoughtful and uncluttered. The philosophical references are a nice plus (it is not often that a Christian writer cites Sartre or Nietszche). Most of all the book is very wise, giving a simple summary of self-deception and concrete ways to reflect on and avoid it in one’s own life.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Schwab

    A challenging, thoughtful, and hopeful book. Ten Elshof discusses how people in general, and Christians in particular, construct their self-image, and how believers can use that knowledge to pursue maturity.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Luke Magnuson

    A thought provoking and insightful little book on self-deception. At times he lapses into Christianese that I found more annoying than helpful, but overall I enjoyed the book. In particular, his description of "the deal" we take when we deceive ourselves is something that will stick with me. A thought provoking and insightful little book on self-deception. At times he lapses into Christianese that I found more annoying than helpful, but overall I enjoyed the book. In particular, his description of "the deal" we take when we deceive ourselves is something that will stick with me.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jessie Clemence

    An excellent, eye-opening book for Christians. Thoughtfully written, and easy to understand even if philosophy isn't your usual hobby, Ten Elshof helped me reconsider what I think I know, then gave me practical ideas of how to challenge myself to seek the truth in a God-honoring way. An excellent, eye-opening book for Christians. Thoughtfully written, and easy to understand even if philosophy isn't your usual hobby, Ten Elshof helped me reconsider what I think I know, then gave me practical ideas of how to challenge myself to seek the truth in a God-honoring way.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    4.5 stars. A profound challenging and thought provoking book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    Really great So many great points... found some of the book hard to get through. But, I think that’s part of the self -deception, that it should be easy.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    Our culture has so elevated the importance of authenticity that we have become unwilling (ironically) to admit that self-deception plays a role in almost all of our lives. Ten Elshof looks the methods that we use--without even knowing it--to keep ourselves in the dark about our true selves so that we don't have to face the often crippling reality of our failings. I was so pleasantly surprised by how insightful this book turned out to be. I picked it up thinking that it might be a pretty dry look Our culture has so elevated the importance of authenticity that we have become unwilling (ironically) to admit that self-deception plays a role in almost all of our lives. Ten Elshof looks the methods that we use--without even knowing it--to keep ourselves in the dark about our true selves so that we don't have to face the often crippling reality of our failings. I was so pleasantly surprised by how insightful this book turned out to be. I picked it up thinking that it might be a pretty dry look at the subject of self-deception, but as it turned out, the author was quite engaging and punctuated the text with numerous practical illustrations to keep the reader's attention. The author is a professor of philosophy, and I must admit that I enjoyed his ability to stretch the limits of my mind a bit while not exploding it entirely (in other words, this is philosophy for the layman). I certainly recognized many of my own tendencies in the author's explanation of how we go about self-deceiving. It was fascinating (and a bit disturbing) to see what goes on beneath the surface of my mind--little habits of self-deception that I work into my day as automatically as breathing. Some found the "How to solve it" sections lacking. I can't say I was inspired by each and every one of his suggestions, but I did find his section on "The Community of the Holy Spirit" to be very impacting. An excerpt from this section: "The doctrine of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is an invitation to relationship with the Spirit of the Master of the universe. It is the truth--at once unsettling and deeply hopeful--that for disciples of Jesus, God is always in the room. He stands ready to be in relationship with us. We are free to move into greater and greater depths of relationship with him--or not." I would recommend this book as a great read for self-reflection. I feel as if the cover is not particularly inviting, which I find unfortunate. If it's a book that I continue to ruminate on as time goes on, I may end up bumping up the stars.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Josiah

    This was a really good book that served to remind me quite a bit of how dangerous and prevalent self-deception is in the Christian life and how much we need to watch out for it in our own lives. This book had everything: it was short, sweet, and to the point. And man was it convicting. It forced me to wrestle again with my own mind's tendency to get me to believe just what I want to believe instead of honestly pursuing the truth, and reminded me of all the techniques I will tend to accomplish th This was a really good book that served to remind me quite a bit of how dangerous and prevalent self-deception is in the Christian life and how much we need to watch out for it in our own lives. This book had everything: it was short, sweet, and to the point. And man was it convicting. It forced me to wrestle again with my own mind's tendency to get me to believe just what I want to believe instead of honestly pursuing the truth, and reminded me of all the techniques I will tend to accomplish that. The one weakness I saw in it was that his sub-point on how self-deception can sometimes be good (because God uses it to keep us from seeing all of our sins at once and thus being overwhelmed) seemed to be rather mis-focused to me. Indeed, God does use self-deception to keep our sins from overwhelming us. But that hardly seems to be a "positive" use of self-deception that we should promote, but merely how God uses some of our faults for our own good. As a result, I agree that God is gracious in allowing us to do this, but I don't think we should see this as something we should praise as being somewhat-virtuous, which Ten Elshof seemed to get surprisingly close to doing. All-in-all, though, despite this fault, this book was really helpful for me to read, and I'll have to read it again in the future. The heart is deceitful above all things. But the Spirit understands it. And He will guide us to uncover our own self-deceptions. Rating: 4.0 Stars (Very Good).

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    A brief and fine book on self deception in general and particularly the religious kind, that believers tell themselves and one another. "By means of procrastination and attention management, then, we find our way out of the pursuit of perfection which characterizes the great ones in the way of Jesus Christ. We convince ourselves perfection isn't the goal.... and the predictable result is a church full of Christians whose lives are indistinguishable (or worse) from the lives of their non-Christia A brief and fine book on self deception in general and particularly the religious kind, that believers tell themselves and one another. "By means of procrastination and attention management, then, we find our way out of the pursuit of perfection which characterizes the great ones in the way of Jesus Christ. We convince ourselves perfection isn't the goal.... and the predictable result is a church full of Christians whose lives are indistinguishable (or worse) from the lives of their non-Christian co-workers." (47) Aside from procrastination and attention management, he also discusses rationalization, perspective switching, and ressentiment, all offering different means of measuring and judging ourselves and our communities of comparison. Ten Elshof offers advice about dealing with self-deception, including seeing its positive benefits and demoting its "sinfulness" amid the modern cult of authenticity (from the Romantics, to the 60s, to today) and amid the recognition that we do not come immediately to the "whole" truth. He also offers the particularly bracing Christian advice to die to self, to push off groupthink, and live in the community of the Holy Spirit. He ends reminding us we sometimes need self-deception and warning against hyper-authenticity, working too hard at finding self-deception in others, and extreme doubting of the self. A good read for self-examination.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Johannes Ardiant

    First, I have lots and lots of belief. Second, I believe that some of my beliefs are false. We have been wrong many times. Moreover, there are many beliefs we haven’t so much considered them for ages. So there are false beliefs swimming around in our consciousness somewhere or the other. Third, It’s fairly likely that I don’t believe all of the things I think I believe. Thus, how do I know that I really believe in the things I think I believe? Perhaps you've been living deceiving yourself all this t First, I have lots and lots of belief. Second, I believe that some of my beliefs are false. We have been wrong many times. Moreover, there are many beliefs we haven’t so much considered them for ages. So there are false beliefs swimming around in our consciousness somewhere or the other. Third, It’s fairly likely that I don’t believe all of the things I think I believe. Thus, how do I know that I really believe in the things I think I believe? Perhaps you've been living deceiving yourself all this time? Interesting book which made me to rethink many ideas and beliefs -- do I really believe in them all? If so, why do I believe in them? Or have I just accepted those ideas as other people has plainly accepted those before me? My friend wrote a very good summary of this book, here: http://ardianto86.tabulas.com/2010/05... http://ardianto86.tabulas.com/2010/05...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rev Ricky

    I Told Me So provokes thought and good self-reflection. The author writes carefully and builds a convincing case. Strengths: we all know that self-deception rules the human heart. We see it in everyone around us, and if we are honest we know it must live in us too. He shows how deception works and the tools we use to feed our deceptive views of ourselves. Weaknesses: I thought he could have gone much further with prescriptions of how to fight self-deception. Like the typical Christian book, he u I Told Me So provokes thought and good self-reflection. The author writes carefully and builds a convincing case. Strengths: we all know that self-deception rules the human heart. We see it in everyone around us, and if we are honest we know it must live in us too. He shows how deception works and the tools we use to feed our deceptive views of ourselves. Weaknesses: I thought he could have gone much further with prescriptions of how to fight self-deception. Like the typical Christian book, he uses at least 2/3 of his space to talk about the problem and is weak on the answers. His answers tend toward the pietistic, I would have like to have seen more. He criticizes teaching on grace as a tool to allow deception to grow untouched. While that can be a problem, the gospel rightly understood frees us from the condemnation of sin allowing us to address our sin more honestly. All in all, I liked the book but it left me feeling like he didn't fulfill his potential.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Charity

    As a philosophy dabbler, I kept reading....hoping the author's methodical uncovering of how we self-deceive would eventually stop and he'd provide the counterbalance. He did, that's the good news. The bad news is that there are plenty of arguments he did not cover in the first section (for philosophy dabblers), and there is plenty to feel bad about, and I don't know if he would be sufficiently encouraging to many readers in his 2nd half (which was te encouraging section). All in all, it was a good As a philosophy dabbler, I kept reading....hoping the author's methodical uncovering of how we self-deceive would eventually stop and he'd provide the counterbalance. He did, that's the good news. The bad news is that there are plenty of arguments he did not cover in the first section (for philosophy dabblers), and there is plenty to feel bad about, and I don't know if he would be sufficiently encouraging to many readers in his 2nd half (which was te encouraging section). All in all, it was a good book. I compare him to Dallas Willard and find he's a good deal less valuable to me at this point in my life for Willard has more spiritual depth and is a good deal finer in his arguments. Still, writing a philosophy book for the average Christian is a difficult task--I applaud him for it!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    I haven't read much non-fiction lately, but I am profoundly grateful to Denise for bringing this book into my field of vision. How does someone write a book on self-deception and not sound overly humble or overly guilt-tripping? TenElsoff does a fantastic job and has a wonderful tone. It's not a difficult read, but is not a dumbed down Christian Bookstore staple by any means. I never would've thought to read this book, as "self-deception" isn't a topic that pinged my interest, but the experience I haven't read much non-fiction lately, but I am profoundly grateful to Denise for bringing this book into my field of vision. How does someone write a book on self-deception and not sound overly humble or overly guilt-tripping? TenElsoff does a fantastic job and has a wonderful tone. It's not a difficult read, but is not a dumbed down Christian Bookstore staple by any means. I never would've thought to read this book, as "self-deception" isn't a topic that pinged my interest, but the experience reading it was exceptionally rich and I very heartily recommend it all around. (Sorry, Facebook Friends, this is a duplicate review!)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    I'm going to demonstrate one of the author's points of caution and say every Christian in today's church should read this. With kindness Ten Elshof reveals how the culture of the church can affect it's members in a manner that distances them from what they treasure most and how so. Even as contemporary churches react to what they perceive to be a "self"-righteous church history a new form of pretentiousness develops. This book gently points out these tendencies while inviting no shame. I'm going to demonstrate one of the author's points of caution and say every Christian in today's church should read this. With kindness Ten Elshof reveals how the culture of the church can affect it's members in a manner that distances them from what they treasure most and how so. Even as contemporary churches react to what they perceive to be a "self"-righteous church history a new form of pretentiousness develops. This book gently points out these tendencies while inviting no shame.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chris Weems

    Wonderful book that tactfully presents numerous issues that have deception of self at their root. Some are quite obvious issues--some so much so we have completely overlooked them--and some are pertinent problems that do not occur to the vast majority without introspection. He ends with a clear map of how to step out from all the new found problems and also presents possible setbacks in that process so as to avoid them.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Good book, although I did struggle a little bit with the philosophy parts. The author writes about how some self-deception is good, and some isn't. He also gives good advice about how to practice good self deception. Good book, although I did struggle a little bit with the philosophy parts. The author writes about how some self-deception is good, and some isn't. He also gives good advice about how to practice good self deception.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tom Cannon

    The value in Ten Elshof's book is as much in what he looks at as much as how he does it. With a brutal degree of honesty he exposes and dissects the number of ways we chronically and effortlessly delude ourselves. Written in an easily accessible/non-technical way. The value in Ten Elshof's book is as much in what he looks at as much as how he does it. With a brutal degree of honesty he exposes and dissects the number of ways we chronically and effortlessly delude ourselves. Written in an easily accessible/non-technical way.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Wilkins

    This book was really interesting! Very insightful look at how/why we constantly are deceiving ourselves. Good ideas into how we can live lives based on the actual truth and not our version of it. Quite short but best read in small chunks as it gives the reader a lot to think about.

  25. 4 out of 5

    John F.

    Faith vs. Works righteousness I found this book intriguing at first. However, the theology presented goes against my beliefs of Scripture. Man can do nothing to know God or believe in Jesus. Jesus reveals Himself to the sinner through His Word.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    good book. enjoyed it. insightful.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    This book deals with self-deception, and the author writes in an interesting and engaging style. However, the book is relatively short and doesn't really engage the subject matter in depth. This book deals with self-deception, and the author writes in an interesting and engaging style. However, the book is relatively short and doesn't really engage the subject matter in depth.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Fantastic. I struggled through the first few chapters but flew through the last several while hoping for more. Looking forward to discussing this with my peeps.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tim Pollock

    Fantastic. I struggled through the first few chapters but flew through the last several while hoping for more. Looking forward to discussing this with my peeps.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tom Buratovich

    This book explores the hidden aspects of self-deception. If is a fascinating bit of research. While it could have gone deeper it is a very good introduction to the topic.

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