Earlier on I found myself running through some of my old notes from the first time I read Jonathan Edwards’ The Religious Affections. I came across a portion of his work that I wish I had discovered before writing The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment. In that book I wrote about counterfeiting and missed the point that Edwards makes so clear: “It may be observed that the more excellent anything is, the more will be the counterfeits of it.” And of course this is true. Nobody counterfeits copper or aluminum! Instead, people counterfeit what is precious and what is desirable. Edwards continues to say that because love is the chief of the graces and the source from which all true affections must flow, it is love that is most often counterfeited. “So there are perhaps no graces that have more counterfeits than love and humility, these being virtues wherein the beauty of a true Christian does especially appear.” I suppose the application is clear. We must be on guard against counterfeit love and counterfeit humility; we must watch for their presence in our own lives and be aware that they may be present in the lives of those who appear to be the most humble, most loving Christians. Such godly traits are always prone to counterfeits.
A couple of years ago I listened to an interview with a critic of Christianity. He was a person who claimed to love Christ, yet who seemed to have little use for Christ’s church and little good to say about Christ’s people. There was one critique that especially stood out to me