The Dangers & Myths of Personality Tests

Anonymous asked a question:

I’ve followed you for a while. I find solace in your blog. I recently did a Spiritual Gift Test in my leadership group at church. I scored a 23 in Mercy and Administration (out of 25), but I scored an 8 in Faith. The test is a tool to show your best qualities to serve your church. It really struck me hard, as I struggle with what God’s intentions are for me, and what my path is. A lot of the time I feel like I’m just going through the motions. I just don’t know what to do anymore. 

Hey my friend, thank you for sharing your struggle here.

Please know: there are a lot of “spiritual tests” out there, and I wouldn’t trust them all very much. In fact, there are thousands, if not millions, of personality tests and horoscopes and “strengths finders” and “which Marvel character are you,” and while they’re fun, they should never become permanent labels that determine your growth and journey.

I have to ask, who is developing these tests? Is it like every other westernized test with a western bias? Are they evidence-based? And if so, how? How many people have been misled by these things? And in a hundred years when they develop better tests, are we all just doomed today?

The most famous test of all time, the Myers-Briggs, is absolutely not based on any evidence or science at all. It’s also highly binary without any sort of continuum or grey area. And since major companies have been hiring and firing people based on tests rather than interaction, it’s a really big deal that we take a step back from them without condemning ourselves to one singular fate.

In fact, if we take a step back from a lot of books and blogs, many of them can be helpful, but they should all be filtered through skepticism. Authors, pastors, celebrities, and “experts” can offer good-sounding advice that does nothing but sound good. Always, always discern.

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Book Review: You Lost Me

You Lost Me
By David Kinnaman

Summary:
David Kinnaman has written an incredibly honest, important work that conveys the monumental changes in a post-Christian culture where the new generation is telling the church, “You lost me.” He has compiled all the common reasons why youth and young professionals are exiting the church doors. From interviews, research, and personal experience, Kinnaman makes clear the landmark at the crossroads of our faith, where we can embrace the rapid shifts of our world and hold the timeless truth of the Gospel instead of choosing one at the expense of the other.

Strengths:
This is an extremely organized book with informative charts, articulate reasoning, and not a single word wasted. Six common complaints have been made by the three groups of church drop-puts — prodigals, nomads, and exiles — which are Overprotective, Shallow, Antiscience, Repressive, Exclusive, and Doubtless. Kinnaman is careful to present these claims in a nuanced, balanced, well-researched manner without compromising. He treads a fine line here between understanding the overwhelming grip of our interactive society while re-asserting the tenets of orthodox Christian faith; it’s great credit to him that he does this without spiritual vertigo. He is pliable where he needs to be but firm where the Word does not budge.

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