By David Cox
My Tract on PC50 Narcissism versus Love
Narcissism is defined in dictionary.com as being…
1. inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity.Synonyms: self-centeredness, smugness, egocentrism.
2. Psychoanalysis. erotic gratification derived from admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development.
Narcissism is a concentration self-love that is very easily recognizable, and most false prophets clearly evolve into this narcissistic model. If you wish to stay away from the bad influence of a wrong, bad, unfit church leader, you need go no further than compare him with the elements of Narcissism to see how he stacks up. Maybe not every single false prophet will be recognizable by his narcissism, by much more than the majority will.
The Narcissist is a person who is totally focused on himself/herself which puts their own person, benefit, pleasure, and glory above everybody else.
Narcissism’s Connection with the False Prophet
What is really a false prophet? A false prophet in Bible terms is simply a leader who has decided within himself to not content himself with things the way God has ordered them. He sets about to reorder his world and the church where he is by the order that he thinks best.
Some elements of a false prophet are a lowering of respect for the authority of Scripture. He himself becomes the divine authority, and this he cannot defend with scriptural exposition, because if he could, he would not be a false prophet, just a man of God. But his discernments, dictates, declarations, and imposition of his own will on life around is based in this elevated view of himself. He is right, and the rest of the world is wrong, and he will argue and fight for that “rightness” he perceives in himself, and if the Bible and Scripture gets in the way of his purposes, he will trample over the Bible and anybody that upholds or defends the Bible. In the end, his will is exalted, and when it is, he will declare his will to be God’s will. Instead of his submission to God’s will, he rebrands and spins God’s will to be his will.
In the discussion, argument, and general tug-of-war fight with false prophets in general, there is a great battle over authority, and it always breaks down to the same. The false prophet is right, and nobody can tell him nor his followers otherwise, and what God has declared has only been truly captured BY THE FALSE PROPHET and no others.
The general understanding of revelation of Scripture being given to all men in a non-changeable “fixed” format in Scripture correctly interpreted by set standard rules is rejected. For if it was followed, then it would be again a man of God fighting for God’s position. But this thing revolves around a central point, the strong, belligerent will of the false prophet in affirming his “rightness”.
True Biblical Transmission of God’s Will
True biblical transmission of God’s will communicates it in such a way that every man submissive to God through the ages, and in different places and cultures essentially comes to the same understanding.
The Key to Discerning a False Prophet
People want to know a secret, or a key to discerning who is a false prophet and who is not. The false prophet says, anybody that disagrees with me is wrong, and anybody who agrees with me is right. This in itself is narcissism friend. There is a ego-centricity about the false prophet that is easily recognizable.
The true man of God does not say this. He says, anybody that agrees with God’s will as revealed in Scripture, is right. Anybody who disagrees is wrong. So truth is independent from me and my stand, my understanding, my church. We can be standing in the center of truth, but truth is not defined by what I believe, but what God has revealed. The Scripture, and a person or group’s view on Scripture, their submission to it, their exaltation of Scripture to be a divine authority over them is key in identifying good men of God from false prophets.
So often the battle for control of people’s minds and lives comes in the exposition of Scripture. Eventually a false prophet will break from Scripture. That is what makes him “false”.
Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes. The term originated from Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.
Narcissism is a concept in psychoanalytic theory, which was popularly introduced in Sigmund Freud’s essay On Narcissism (1914). The American Psychiatric Association has had the classification narcissistic personality disorder in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) since 1968, drawing on the historical concept of megalomania.
Narcissism is also considered a social or cultural problem. It is a factor in trait theory used in various self-report inventories of personality such as the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory. It is one of the three dark triadic personality traits (the others being psychopathy and Machiavellianism).
Except in the sense of primary narcissism or healthy self-love, narcissism is usually considered a problem in a person’s or group’s relationships with self and others. Narcissism is not the same as egocentrism.
Is there a “healthy” self-interest in one’s self? Actually everybody is at least a little Narcissist. When a person decides that he is a sinner and accepts Jesus as his Savior, he is looking out for his own self interests. He doesn’t want spend eternity in hell (a bad thing), and he wants a good thing, to spend eternity in pleasure with God in heaven.
Okay, so we have to admit that at some point, a person needs to recognize his own efforts and priorities he sets in protecting and seeking self benefit. This is not necessarily wrong, and it is what God desires us to do. What is wrong is when this self-love becomes so overwhelming that it absorbs a person’s life, and he becomes obsessed with self.
Narcissism is Just Love
When we understand things this way, we can see that narcissism is just love. It is self love.
1John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
The very essence of God is love. These verses define the very essence of God. So God’s essence is love. But God never defines this “love” as self love, but love towards others. If God’s essential love character attribute was self love, then God would not have done anything to save the world from its sin. He would have loved himself such that Jesus would not have sacrificed his formal glory as God to become a man, and much less to suffer and die the cross.
Love has to be defined as love towards some other outside of one’s self.
Narcissism condemned by God
2Tim 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
In this passage, we see God condemns the way that the world is at the end of this age. This passage or list of ungodly, un “God pleasing” elements begins with “men shall be lovers of their own selves”. As I was studying this passage, I realized at some point that the entire list is a single profile of a narcissist, which is captured in this biblical phrase. All of these elements are the out workings and the “has-to-be-this-way”s of this self loving.
While a narcissist doesn’t have to have all of these traits to be dominent in them to be a narcissist, but in general all narcissists begin forming these same traits in them, some very strongly, some not so strongly, but they form up under these traits.
Narcissism is forming oneself in Satan’s Mold
The narcissist is a person that has captured the very essence of Satan’s personality and character, and is imitating it exactly. –by David Cox
This quote by me sets things in a different light! Narcissism is the very essence of Satan, and it is the very opposite of God. God’s being is given over to serve and be beneficial to others, and Satan’s very game plan is to please himself.
Careful! To please yourself is a mantra today, even in the Christian world, because pleasure has become our God. Work is ugly. Duty is horrific! And sacrifice of one’s self for others is simply not even mentioned it is so rejected in our world.
Biblical Definition of Love
Love is my sacrifice for you benefit. –David Cox
God’s concept of love costs a lot. It cost God to give his love to us. That is the very essence of what love is. It is not love if there is no sacrifice. Even within love between two humans, love is the sacrifice of my will (pleasure, desires, aspirations, etc) in order for your will to be fulfilled.
When we begin to get a handle on these concepts, we understand God’s principles, and when we apply these to false prophets, things become much simpler. A false prophet is about control the will and lives of others such that he can fulfill his own desires and will.
Recognizing Narcissist False Prophets
Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Acts 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Acts 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Acts 20:33 I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Acts 20:34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
In this passage we clearly see how Paul set up the authority of Scripture in his followers as a key element in defending themselves against false prophets. But here we also see the reality of false prophets preying upon the brethren. Paul repudiates his taking of income, essentially excessive income, not an income like everyone else to just live normally, but Paul identifies the false prophet as usually having an economic gain factor to what he is doing.
Paul again shows his anti-narcissist side as he exalts his service of the brethren, he himself working to be able to help others. This refusal of self glory, self luxury is a key element in identifying a false prophet. At the heart of it is the attribute of self-love.
You see, the narcissist believes he is at the center of the universe, not God. This is key to understanding the narcissist. He glories in exalting himself. He MUST LIVE IN LUXURY above and beyond what the normal person has. The world must worship him in essence, and by this, I mean the world serves HIS PURPOSE OF LIFE (showing his own greatness). All of this revolves around a key element that Paul deduced is in the false prophet. This element is that in order for the narcissistic false prophet to truly glory in self exaltation, pleasure and luxury must come into his life. This only happens with money, and this is a key component of his thinking. Why does he have this obsession with controlling others? It is because only with control does he get the economic benefit that is so deserving of his own self.
When we compare the narcissist false prophet to Christ’s moral example, we see Christ being God and deserving all glory, honor and exaltation, refused it in coming to earth. He lived humbly. His moral pattern that he gives us to follow is the direct opposite of the Narcissist!
In the posts labeled “Narcissism”, I will look at each of the character attributes Paul mentions in 2Tim 2:2-4 in depth, looking at how each one affects or revolves around the false prophet in the church context.
P.S. Some modern examples of Narcissistic False Prophets
Every wonder about a “prophet” telling you that you must live in luxury and pleasure if you truly believe in God? They equate “belief” in God with benefit, luxury, pleasure, excesses normal people only dream about. This is the essence of a narcissistic false prophet speaking.
Every wonder about a preacher that cannot get off of the beat “We are the greatest”, “We are the best”, etc.? This self promotion has a cloke of humility (it is our church), but in essence it is promoting of one’s own self as the head of that ministry. This is the same.
Church Planting Articles: Handling Gossip is a short article on considerations of Pastors being married and having children. These are requirements that God places on pastors. For those who do not think they need to be married, yet qualify for being pastors, the Bible sternly states otherwise.
See my Tract: pc29 Don-t be a Gossip.