Disillusionment and Redemption

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Many years ago, in the middle of a theological argument about what is required for the saving of a man’s soul, I formulated another of what I call Dart’s Laws. This one is, simply stated: Disillusionment Is Necessary for Redemption.

I have little doubt that many of you have experienced disillusionment at one time or another in your life. The mentor relationship is a classic example, as the protégée thinks his mentor has the answer to everything. A careless mentor may allow this sort of error to grow if he doesn’t make it clear that he is not infallible. Sometimes, when the protégée comes to realize that his mentor has feet of clay, he enters what some call The BOOM years: in other words, becoming one’s own man.

Two other classic examples of religious gurus come to mind. They occurred right around the same time. Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, both got caught in compromising situations and were branded as hypocrites. A lot of people got disillusioned about that time. One wonders about the followers of Jim Jones in Guyana who woke up suddenly to realize that the man was a suicidal maniac. For some of them, there was no time for the redemption that can follow disillusionment. There are more examples in politics than I have time to enumerate.

There is one more thing you should know about illusions. I learned this the hard way, and I am giving it to you free. You have no one but yourself to blame. We accept illusions because they give us something we want, need, or think we need. Usually without paying for it. And this may explain why disillusionment comes so hard. People will fight for their illusions. They will defend them to the bitter end. Let’s take a look at what God told Jeremiah to tell ancient Israel when they were desperately clinging to their own illusions.


Ronald L. Dart

Ronald L. Dart (1934–2016) — People around the world have come to appreciate his easy style, non-combative approach to explaining the Bible, and the personal, almost one-on-one method of explaining what’s going on in the world in the light of the Bible. After retiring from teaching and church administration in 1995 he started Christian Educational Ministries and the Born to Win radio program.

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