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

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2009 / Paperback

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Product Description

Think you've ever deceived yourself? Then this book is for you.

Think you've never deceived yourself? Then this book is really for you.

Scripture is peppered with talk of self-deception and its poisonous effects on the pursuit of holy living. Christians in the past thought long and hard about the ways we deceive ourselves. They called on self-deception to explain a wide range of problems in Christian experience. Strangely, though, self-deception has all but disappeared from our consciousness today. We rarely admit to the possibility of deceiving ourselves in any area of our lives.

In I Told Me So Gregg Ten Elshof reintroduces readers to self-deception and offers an explanation for its recent neglect in Christian thought. He describes conditions that tempt us to deceive ourselves and points out where they exist in contemporary Christian life. He explains the most successful strategies we use in self-deception and offers practical advice on how to confront and eliminate them. But readers will be surprised to discover that self-deception isn't always such a bad thing. Ten Elshof shows how sometimes it can even be a useful, God-given gift.

Honest and incisive, consistently wise and frequently funny, I Told Me So So offers fresh insights on how we deceive ourselves and smart strategies to combat the deceiver in all of us.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 144
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2009
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0802864112
ISBN-13: 9780802864116
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Think you’ve ever deceived yourself? Then this book is for you.

Think you’ve never deceived yourself? Then this book is really for you.
 

Author Bio

Gregg A. Ten Elshof is professor of philosophy at Biola University, La Mirada, California. His book I Told Me So: Self-Deception and the Christian Life won the Christianity Today 2009 Book Award in the Christian Living category.

ChristianBookPreviews

Gregg A. Ten Elshof’s self-help text, I Told Me So: Self-Deception and the Christian Life, serves a mountain of mental meat to digest. In a series of personal experiences, analogies, and parables, Elshof dives into untapped areas of struggle for mature Christians. Always a professional, Elshof is the first to admit his faults before attacking those same issues his readers may struggle with, and offers realistic solutions and hard-hitting truths. The material is heavy and, at times, hard to grasp (with a definite aim toward an adult audience).

Elshof is talented in artfully weaving Scripture verses into his writings, using them liberally and consistently. Rarely does a chapter pass without three or four biblical references followed by scriptural examples.

However, I Told Me So is not without its faults. Readers may be offended by crude abbreviations quoted in the book, as well as bothered by repetitive opening chapters. Sentence variation is sparse, and some words become overused. The book also takes a little more time getting to the solutions, focusing more than four chapters on describing the plague of self-deception when a single chapter would have been adequate.

Yet, even with its blemishes, I Told Me So is a powerful book that forces the readers to analyze themselves honestly and to cast away the lies they may have been holding onto. Elshof eagerly wishes for his readers to develop a stronger and more intimate relationship with Christ, and mature Christians from any denomination could find growth in his book. The author is relatable, sincere, and open, making this book an enjoyable text in spite of a few trouble spots. – Nan Johnson, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com

Library Journal

Ten Elshof (philosophy, Biola Univ.; Introspection Vindicated) writes here with the subtlety one would expect from his vocation; his methodical and understated book takes on the difficult problem of self-deception (most usually, an artificially elevated sense of self-worth) as both a danger to authentic Christian spirituality and an opportunity for reform, death to self, and true growth. Not all readers will be equal to Ten Elshof's challenge, though one wishes we all were. VERDICT This ultimately uplifting but difficult work is best suited for the mainstream Protestant or Catholic reader and, as such, is strongly recommended. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Editorial Reviews

James K. A. Smith
 — 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." /

David Naugle
— 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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