It is a Great Error to Assume that Even the Devil is Open to Negotiation

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (Joh 8:44)

We who genuinely know and love Christ desire good. In the end, every Christian longs for peace, for right relationships, and for reconciliation.

The wicked are not so. And when we think that our enemy and his servants desire the things we desire, we err greatly and we err dangerously. Christian, Satan does not long for the things you long for. He does not desire the good that you desire. He longs ONLY for death, for destruction, and for the utter annihilation of the Lord Himself. Always. Only. He longs for these things. And so it is with his servants.

Listen to William Manchester (I am still reading the biography of Winston Churchill, The Last Lion by Manchester) describe this kind of insane and horribly destructive thinking. In 1936 as Hitler continued to militarize Germany in open defiance of the treaty of Versaille, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin….

Called for his fiddlers three – Samuel Hoare (now first Lord of the Admiralty), Lord Halifax (lord privy seal), and Neville Chamberlain (Exchequer) – and moved toward what they thought was firmer ground.

It was quicksand. Their new mantra was diplomacy — negotiation as a sensible alternative to war. Britain’s honor, they told the public, would be preserved; the negotiating table, not the battlefield, was where differences between England and Germany would be resolved. They were convinced that Hitler had his price. Some of them believed this even after all their assumptions, and much of London, lay in ruins. Devoted to peace, they could not understand that the ruler of Nazi Germany disdained negotiations, enjoyed bloodshed — including the shedding of German blood — and therefore preferred military conquest. [The Last Lion, Volume 1, pp 205-06]

This is precisely where much busyness (no, I didn’t misspell it) we do in the church goes so wrong. Consider “Biblical Counseling” for instance. The mass of those propelling this movement insist that there is “redemption” for everyone. That through counseling, through reasoning, and thus through “negotiation” with even the most vile and wicked person, redemption will draw nigh. Like Baldwin and his fiddlers three, they are viewed by the wicked as fools – and indeed, fools they are.

Like Hitler, there are many, many people around us today who are not at all interested in “negotiation” or listening to “reason.” They have no conscience. They only desire to kill and destroy and oppress. Secular psychology knows this full well. Such people are called sociopaths or psychopaths. We meet them in the church as they parade behind a facade of “saintliness” while in reality they are domestic abusers or sexual predators or simply people who would be like “The Most High.”

Largely, local churches and pastors and “biblical counselors” are handling such evil ones in the same manner Baldwin and his puppets tried to deal with Hitler. Rather than standing up and using the overwhelming military might they and the allies still possessed at that early date, they plunged the world into a virtual apocalypse that slaughtered 60 million people all over the globe.

Appease the evil one? Reason and negotiate with him? How is that going for you? Look around the visible, professing church today and you will have your answer. Do you hear the victims crying out?



Co-Dependency as Bondage to (and participation in) Evil

The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother. (Pro 10:1)

The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. (Pro 29:15)

“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!
(Luk 15:17)

There is a pattern of sin that I have personally experienced or dealt with over the years that is quite common. It is a trap and snare which all of us must be on guard for. And in particular, my experience indicates that it is a snare which commonly catches mothers, sometimes in regard to their daughters but more often in respect to their sons.

Motherly love is a wonderful thing. It is very powerful. It protects, nourishes, grieves for, rejoices with, takes pride in, instructs, and sacrifices for. A mother’s love is a great blessing given by the Lord.

But when that powerful love goes wrong….it ceases to be love and can turn into a prodigal child’s greatest hindrance to repentance. A mother can, if she is drawn into this snare, become her son’s or daughter’s biggest enemy.

Real love seeks the genuine welfare and good of the object loved. Real love therefore includes discipline when required:

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Heb 12:6)

But when this sinful dynamic (often called “co-dependency”) engages, a destructive “I cannot be happy if you are not happy and therefore I must always make you happy” mechanism comes into play. It is a malignant kind of symbiosis with each person feeding off the other one. It is really not about love, but about getting. It is selfish. Let me illustrate:

Mary is 52 years old, married to Jack, and they have a 30 year old son, David. David is a grief to his parents. He is selfish and lazy. David is, you might say, a parasite. A black hole who sucks from everyone who comes near him.

And David is a master at playing his mother for all he can get. Though Mary often loses her temper with David, is disgusted by his sin, Mary just cannot and will not say “no.” Mary sends him money when he calls (which is frequently). David says he lost his latest job, but it wasn’t his fault. If he had a decent car he would have made it to work on time. Besides, everyone at work was against him. David is thinking about suing for wrongful termination. Mary lies awake at night fretting over his situation. Mary, in fact, is more worried about David than David is worried about David!

Jack wishes Mary would stop it. He has told her so, but he knows that if he presses the matter Mary is going to blow up. She will accuse him of not caring. Of not loving. Of not forgiving as a real Christian should.

And David is on drugs and alcohol. It isn’t really his fault, says Mary. Because he was so traumatized when he was younger. The other kids picked on him, she didn’t spend enough time with him, and he eventually just fell in with the wrong crowd. Mary feels very guilty about it all, blaming herself, and spends hours every day trying to make David happier – so she can be happier.

Fundamentally, Mary thinks that the father of the Prodigal Son in Luke’s Gospel should have chased after his son, found him in the pig pen, rescued him and brought him home. Or at least wired him some more money when he called. Of course the father in that parable represents God the Father, and the Prodigal represents the sinner who flees from the Lord and goes after the world in sin. Therefore, though she doesn’t really see it, Mary thinks that her method of dealing with David is superior to that of God’s. She just could never let her son wallow in the mire with those pigs.

And yet, it is in that very muck that the Prodigal came to his senses and repented.

My own mother, my maternal grandmother, numbers of people I have known over the years – all of them professing Christians – have been snared by this trap. And I can tell you – no good came from it in any of these cases. I can tell you something else – only one of these cases ever showed any kind of repentance. Marriages were damaged or destroyed. The prodigals never came to their senses. And the “Mary’s” persisted in believing they had done a good thing. To the day they died.

Surely this is a favorite trap of Satan to take souls to hell and to blaspheme the name of Christ.

Sometimes (even often) genuine love walks away, let’s the prodigal go his own way, prays often and intensely, and leaves the outcome to the Lord.

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mar 10:21-22)


“No Trap is so Deadly as the One You Set for Yourself” (William Manchester, The Last Lion)

2Co 11:4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

Listen to the following quotes and see if you can guess who their subject is:

“The central fact today is that he does not want war and is prepared to renounce it as a method of settling disputes with his neighbors”

“He seeks our friendship. If we fail him, he will turn elsewhere and we shall be sorry to have refused him.”

“He is the greatest living [citizen of his nation] and I told him that to his face.”

“He is a born leader, a magnetic, dynamic personality with a single-minded purpose…to keep the peace.”

“With this man at the helm, [his country] will never invade any other land.”

“I only wish I we had a man of his supreme quality at the head of affairs in our country today.”

Well, you have probably guessed that all of the lauds were spoken of none other than Adolph Hitler by leading members of the English government – Lloyd George the famous Prime Minister being one of the most outspoken. And perhaps the most mind boggling of all was this statement that came from leading Anglican churchmen:

“[We have] boundless admiration for the moral and ethical side of the National Social (Nazi) programme, its clear-cut stand for religion and Christianity, and its ethical principles, such as its fight against cruelty to animals, vivisection, sexual offences, etc.”

You can find all of these quotes and more in William Manchester’s second volume of The Last Lion, pp 79 ff, Bantam books.

All these people and more wanted to believe that Hitler was for peace because peace is what they wanted. They wanted peace so much that they were willfully blind to the facts, embraced fables, and in the end had the furious firestorm of this despot unleashed upon their homeland, nearly to its destruction. Oh perhaps some of them more noble than others truly sought peace because peace is good, but the mass of them acted out of purely selfish reasons. Their self-serving motivation became increasingly evident as more and more facts about what Hitler really was came out.

2Co 11:14-15 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (15) So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

All during this time of Hitler’s rise to nearly unstoppable power, there was one voice issuing warnings – that of Winston Churchill. He was not only disregarded, he was mocked and put out to pasture, relegated to a mere back bench in Parliament. He saw the rising evil tide, he warned of the consequences of this blind quest for a disarmed world in which there would never again be war. But for the most part, no one listened. As Manchester summarized, “no trap is so deadly as the one you set for yourself.”

The state of the visible church today is very much the same. For the most part, pastors and professing Christians, churches and their members, simply do not want to be troubled by reports of evil in their midst. It seems to me that one of the quickest ways for a pastor to insure that he is “back-benched” and regarded as “finished” (“too bad. The fellow had so much promise you know”) is to declare that all is not well in the pews nor in the pulpits.

Micah 2:6 “Do not preach”–thus they preach– “one should not preach of such things; disgrace will not overtake us.”

But disgrace did overtake Israel. Because they would not listen.

Let me close with one final sobering illustration of willful blindness to evil. While Winston Churchill was poring over facts and figures in reports from Berlin which showed what Hitler was really up to, Americans also entered into the fantasy of Hitler as “good guy.” Here it is:

The most painful toast to Hitler, for Americans, is a Walter Lippmann column which appeared in the New York Herald Tribune on May 19, 1933. Lippmann had heard a speech by the new chancellor (Hitler) and described it as a “genuinely statesmanlike address,” providing convincing “evidence of good faith.” He told his readers, “We have heard once more, through the fog and the din, the authentic voice of a genuinely civilized people. I am not only willing to believe that, but it seems to me that all historical experience compels one to believe it.” He went further. Persecuting the Jews served a purpose by “satisfying” Germans’ yearning to “conquer somebody”; it was “a kind of lightning rod which protects Europe.” Walter Lippman was a Jew. [ibid, p 81]

Willful blindness to the obvious. A willingness even to sacrifice  one’s own countrymen in order to persist in a selfish fantasy that “all is well in my world.” And so it is in the visible church today. If you doubt it, just look for example at how victims of sexual or domestic abuse (abused even by pastors and/or church members) are treated in most local churches and denominations when they report what happened.

Such acceptance of evil is evil itself. Those who embrace it eventually become unable to discern truth and they will believe the lie instead, to their destruction.


Just Give me that Old Time Religion – And Don’t Bother me with Truth

Joh 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Because the devil is the father of lies, whenever he speaks – he lies. There is NO truth in him. None. Even the half-truths he uses to deceive are lies because a half-truth is no truth at all.

Now, one of the most common characteristics of the evil one and his agents is that in their lying they avoid coming directly at a subject. At least at first. Satan told Adam and Eve for example “you shall not die,” but only after he had first fogged their minds with “has God said?” The serpent is quite slippery and so are his servants. Let me give you an illustration and then I will show you how the very same avoidance of truth and facts is the spirit of the age in most every local church.

In the years prior to the second world war, Sir Winston Churchill stated facts and truths head on with directness. Those who did not love the truth (and that was the majority) rejected what he said and sometimes even mocked him. So it was when he was warning the English people that if India were given dominion and Britain largely withdrew from the country, a horrible bloodbath would ensue. Winston of course was “the last lion” as William Manchester called him and wanted the British empire to endure. But whether you agree with him or not on the issue of self-government for India, you must acknowledge that Churchill put it right out there, saying plainly what he meant. With that background in mind, listen to the historian Manchester [The Last Lion, Visions of Glory, 1874-1932]:

No one can doubt that he (Churchill) was moved by genuine conviction. That cannot be said of those with whom he was parting company. The Tory leaders were uninspired by Indian nationalism (ie, India’s desire to be free of Britain). One searches in vain for ringing affirmations of freedom or admiration for Gandhian saintliness in their speeches, letters, and diaries. What comes through, like the pounding on a wall of a man who wants the party in the next apartment to quiet down so he can sleep, is a determination to avoid discord, unpleasantness, or any rude interruption of long serene weekends in the country.

Confused in mind about everything, except the main chance – its own preservation – it survived from year to year, from month to month, from day to day, by blurring the clarity of all issues, even the most dangerous – that of the nation’s safety; it maintained its enormous majority by electoral trickery, it spoke and perhaps thought in the language of humbug, it hoped to stave off conflict….by offering appeasement.”

When a victim of evil steps forward in a local church (or in most any setting for that matter, but then, the church is supposed to be different from the world, right?)…the very same dynamic and mentality kicks in. Here a poor, oppressed woman cruelly abused by her wicked hypocrite husband, or someone who blows the whistle on a child molester hiding in sheep’s clothing, comes forward. They speak the truth. What happens?

Church leaders and members show that they do not hunger and thirst for righteousness. They do not race forward to effect justice for the victim and upon the perpetrator. Rather, they are motivated by what so many of Churchill’s countrymen were – their own preservation. The preservation of the entity they call “the church.” There are no ringing affirmations of truth and justice as Jesus declared in the Sermon on the Mount. No. They simply want the party to quiet down so they can sleep. They crave to avoid discord, unpleasantness or rude interruption so that they can continue enjoying those serene weekends in the country that characterize “the Lord’s work” they claim to be doing. “Go away, victim. Stop complaining and be quiet. You are being quite too specific here. You exaggerate.”

The exposure of evil, you see, requires specifics. Facts. Definiteness. Names must be named, times and places identified, and charges stated in detail. Evil does not like such blinding light of truth, you see. Sermons are quite fine as long as Pastor Pleasant skirts around the specifics adequately so that any mention of sin from the pulpit could apply to all, or to none. The serene weekends are enabled to continue undisturbed. “Wasn’t that a great sermon” the people remark as they head home to their pot roasts.

I have been contacted more than once by professing Christians who complain to me that I am too judgmental. They do not like me to say “thou art the man” by naming names, no matter how idolized those names might be. To such people, I say just as I am sure that Winston Churchill would respond – “You simply want the noise of the party next door to quiet down so you can go back to sleep. You have determined to avoid discord, unpleasantness, or any rude interruption of the fantasy land which you call ‘Christianity.'” And in the end, such people have resolved to reject God’s truth. They become a hot tub society where evil thrives while their only real concern is that the temperature of the water stay constant and those jets keep caressing their flesh. Scripture has a sober warning for anyone of that ilk-

2Th 2:11-12 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, (12) in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

In other words, choose to remain in your truth-rejecting hot tub religion long enough, and the day will come when you will no longer be able to discern the delusion of Satan from the truth of the Lord.



What if we all just Stopped………?

Psa 46:8-10 Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth. (9) He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. (10) “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Busy, busy, busy. This seems to be the widely accepted trait of a “successful” church and the life of a “successful” Christian. Most people select a church that has plenty of things happening.

  • Men’s ministries
  • Women’s ministries
  • Youth and children’s ministries
  • A network of cell groups
  • Choir
  • Worship team
  • Missions
  • Committees
  • Social activism programs
  • Denominational membership and leadership
  • Conferences and seminars
  • Counseling departments

Those pastors who head such structures are deemed to be “doing the Lord’s work” and are touted as models of success for all the rest to emulate. See what the Lord has done, they say.

But over the years I have come to doubt that the Lord is in much of this kind of thing at all. That the vast bulk of it is the work of man’s hands. Why do I say this?

I say it because of the fruit that I have seen these things produce. I have seen what goes on “behind the scenes” in the ruling council meetings. I have seen how such places treat abuse victims and enable abusers. I have seen how the wicked, wearing a cloak of wool, find such environments very easy to hide in. And I have seen how God’s truth is discounted and rejected by people who claim to be steering a flagship of the faith.

And I have seen something else that leads me to these conclusions.

I have seen that entities such as these churches stand in graphic contrast to what we see in the Scriptures. People and churches truly raised up, indwelt by the Spirit of Christ, are humble places. Often quite small. They are people hated by the world and persecuted by the counterfeit church. The real deal is a place where Christ’s people fully know that unless the Lord builds it, man labors in vain. The true body of Christ is characterized by contented waiting for the Lord in faith rather than a constant “we must stir it up. We must make something happen.” Because the true church is energized by the Holy Spirit, not by man’s own doings.

Is this not true? Do I exaggerate? I think not:

Heb 11:35-40 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. (36) Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. (37) They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated– (38) of whom the world was not worthy–wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. (39) And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, (40) since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Christ’s real people walk by faith, not by sight. They do not need to be constantly pushed and re-booted by “new things” with catch-phrase names stamped with some leader’s assurance that “it is all of the Lord.” They do not demand a sign like an evil and adulterous generation craves. No. Faith simply trusts and waits, assured that in His time the Lord will surely act.

The hypocrite, who is devoid of faith, cannot abide by such quiet waiting. He will, in short time, leave such a place and search out the beehive of activity offered by Babel. In such places, evil finds a reception.


Let Me not be Put to Shame

1Pe 2:6-7 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” (7) So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”

One of the favorite weapons of the wicked is shame. Shaming its victims. Shame has a proper role (for the guilty who repent), but evil ones never use it properly. They, the ones who should be ashamed, work to shame the innocent. Reviling. Slandering. Accusing. Humiliating. They are of their father the devil who is known as the accuser of the brethren.

But Scripture affirms that the righteous will not be put to shame. Ultimately, on that Day when Christ comes in judgment, it will be the wicked who are shamed in front of all creation. Shamed for their shameful deeds. Shamed as they are exposed and judged for what they truly are. Any thread of honor and glory they may have enjoyed in this life will be taken away. We see a glimpse of it in this account given by Isaiah:

Isa 14:3-17 When the LORD has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, (4) you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: “How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased!

(5) The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of rulers, (6) that struck the peoples in wrath with unceasing blows, that ruled the nations in anger with unrelenting persecution. (7) The whole earth is at rest and quiet; they break forth into singing. (8) The cypresses rejoice at you, the cedars of Lebanon, saying, ‘Since you were laid low, no woodcutter comes up against us.’

(9) Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations. (10) All of them will answer and say to you: ‘You too have become as weak as we! You have become like us!’

(11) Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers. (12) “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!

(13) You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; (14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ (15) But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit. (16) Those who see you will stare at you and ponder over you: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, (17) who made the world like a desert and overthrew its cities, who did not let his prisoners go home?’

The prayer of the righteous, so often falsely shamed in this life by the wicked, will be answered in full:

Psa 25:1-3 Of David. To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. (2) O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. (3) Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Surely, as our Lord has promised, the first shall be last, and the last first.

Why was Billy Graham Popular with Presidents, Popes, and Other World Leaders?

As most all of you know by now, Billy Graham died this week. You can find any number of news reports detailing his evangelism crusade achievements throughout the world for these many, many years. I remember attending one of the crusades in Portland, Oregon with my grandmother in about 1969.

This post is not written with the intention of criticizing Graham, though there certainly were methods he used that I strongly disagreed with. I concur with Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones who refused to participate in Graham’s London crusades because Graham had Roman Catholic bishops or cardinals seated up on the platform with him, thus endorsing them as Christians.

But I simply write this post to encourage all of us to think about how the Bible portrays the relationship of God’s spokesmen (prophets, apostles, and God’s Son Himself) to kings and rulers. Is there a typical pattern? In other words, how do we see the Old Testament prophets, the New Testament apostles, and the Son of God speaking and relating to the civil, pagan rulers of their time?

I address this issue because Billy Graham was known as “the” preacher, the “go-to” Christian leader who met with (generally at their request) just about every United States President during Graham’s ministering lifetime. I saw a picture of him sitting with Bill Clinton when he was President, and there was Hillary right beside him. Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, the Bushes – Billy mixed it up with them all. Politicians of course are always after votes, and Billy Graham was seen by them no doubt as a man with a considerable voting following.

Now, I don’t know what Billy Graham told these Presidents in these meetings. But I do know what God’s prophets and apostles and Son told the kings of their day. Here are some examples:

1Ki 18:17-18 When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” (18) And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals.

1Ki 22:8-9 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so.” (9) Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, “Bring quickly Micaiah the son of Imlah.”

Mat 14:2-4 and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” (3) For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, (4) because John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”

Luk 13:31-32 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” (32) And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course.

Need I go on? I certainly could. But you see the point. In Scripture and down through the history of the church (think of Martin Luther, John Bunyan, Wycliffe, William Tyndale, and on and on) the norm has been for God’s preachers to be hated and imprisoned and even killed by the kings of this world. Why? Because they confronted these rulers with their evil, and the kings hated them for it. This is the norm. This is what God’s preachers are called to do. Such confrontation of evil in high places is part of preaching the gospel, you understand? You cannot call someone to faith in Christ unless you first show them their sin and call them to repentance.

And so I wonder. I just wonder, and I think it is quite a fair question for me to ask. How is it that Billy Graham was “the Presidents’ preacher”? How is it that he enjoyed audiences with bishops and cardinals and even with the Pope who are leaders of a counterfeit church that has murdered countless true Christians? Why wasn’t Billy hated by them? Did he actually call out their sin and tell them God commands them to repent?

This blog is about evil. Evil hiding in churches disguised as a saint. Wolves in wool. And I can assure you that whenever Christ’s people are popular with the world, something has gone quite wrong. In such an environment, evil wrapped in wool thrives in the pews and in the pulpit.

1Co 2:6-8 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. (7) But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. (8) None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.



If We are not Wise About Evil, Evil Will Conquer Us

Joh 15:19-20 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (20) Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.

Joh 16:1-3 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. (2) They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. (3) And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me.

My old friend Henry disappeared last December 11th. Weeks later, his body was found in the river. All indications point toward suicide. Henry had been persecuted at work and, as he had said in the days before his death, “my dream job has become a nightmare.”

Henry was a very kind person. I met him in Bible college many years ago. Henry loved people. He grew up in a Christian family on the family farm, surrounded by Christians.

But I believe that Henry was naive about evil. And it seems to me that as a result, evil conquered him. I believe Henry is with the Lord right now – I never doubted is profession of Christ and I still don’t. I do not believe that suicide is the unpardonable sin. I think that somehow, when confronted with the evil of this world, Henry’s worldview, his paradigm for processing things, came up short. Henry was not wise about evil and it undid him. That is what I think happened. It is just my opinion.

The Lord Jesus, in the verses quoted above, clearly and plainly warned us about this evil world. He gave us a heads up. He said that the world hated Him and that is why it will hate all who follow Him. The world HATES us. The world tries to destroy us. To shut us up. To put out the light of Christ’s truth that is shining in us. And the god of this world, the devil, has many agents available to aid him in this diabolical work.

What we absolutely must understand is that not only does the world hate us, the world most often operates as wickedness clothed in righteousness. As the Lord put it, the wolf comes dressed in sheep’s attire. Human beings are not “basically good.” The human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, as the Scripture says. The mouth of the wicked is an open grave spewing forth deadly, destructive poison. And most often, that poison is aimed at Christ’s people.

Notice in particular the sentence I have highlighted in the verse above. Jesus tells us WHY He warns us about the hatred of the world. To keep us from falling away. So that we are not surprised. So that we will understand that we have done nothing wrong. That being hated is not our fault. Rather, it is all due to the fact that the world hates Jesus Christ and thus all who belong to Him. But if we fail to fully grasp what Jesus meant in this warning, well, when the hostility and hatred come our way, there will be a danger of “falling away.” That is, of giving up and no longer following Christ.

I don’t think that Henry fell away in the sense of his soul being lost. I do not believe that a real Christian can ever be lost – “no one can pluck them out of my hand.” But I do think that a Christian can become very, very confused when the devil comes around with his lies and persecutions. We can fall away from the truth of Christ and start wondering, and even believing the devil’s filthy lies. We can grow depressed and hopeless. And yes, I think in such a condition a Christian could even choose death.

Therefore, Christian. Do not be ignorant of the devil’s devices. Do not assume that this world is basically a nice place populated with nice people. Do not be surprised when the world hates you. Because if we do not get these things right, if we fail to heed Jesus’ warnings on all this, then when the pit of hell touches us, we will have no adequate life lens through which to see what is really happening. It will be blurred to us. We will be confused, And we will feel like just giving up.


When we Call Evil Out, We Will be Accused of being “Radical” and Faithless

Joh 8:12-14 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (13) So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” (14) Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.

Years ago when I was a police officer, smoking was allowed in the workplace. The chief’s secretary had ashtrays on her desk right outside his office and chain smoked there throughout the day. So it was all through city hall and even in the police cars. You went home having breathed all that corruption and your clothes smelled like stale smoke.

One day a lieutenant approached me (himself a non-smoker) and asked me if I would like to sit on a city-wide committee that was being formed to formulate a new policy about smoking in the workplace. I said that I would, but that the fact was the solution was plain and simple – no smoking would be allowed in offices, in city vehicles, or anywhere else that second hand smoke would be sucked up by others.

He told me that I was way too radical and that he had better find someone else.

Years later, what conclusions have we arrived at? No smoking in the workplace, unless it is at some designated area out of breathing shot from others. My “radical” idea was in fact the solution.

My point is not to tell a story showing you that “see, I was right,” but to illustrate for you what happens when an issue is seen for what it really is and a real, proper solution is proposed. Those who are, shall we say, ahead of their time and who understand what must be done are typically criticized and shut down for being “too radical.”

And this is exactly what you can expect is going to happen when we call for substantive, corrective action in dealing with evil among us. Let me give you another example.

Winston Churchill understood early on in WWI that the horrid policy of winning the war by “attrition” (ie, wearing down the enemy over the long haul) was totally wrong and would lose the war for the allies if persisted in. He called for action to break the stalemate in the trenches on the western front. He wanted tanks designed and built. He wanted new weaponry for cutting through the barbed wire. He wanted a new air ministry established. But at each point he was shut down – for years. All the while over one MILLION English soldiers (not counting the French or Americans and other allies) perished, went missing, or were horribly wounded.

Guess what was ultimately one of the key factors in giving the allies success (besides the arrival of the American “doughboys”)? Tanks. Tanks that were finally built. Tanks that should have been built years before. The tanks for which Churchill was called a crazy man.

And I will give you still another illustration. Years ago I told our church that we needed to have armed (yes, armed) security in our building, particularly on Sundays. Having been a police officer, I was quite comfortable with this measure and I implemented it. We had one elder at the time who loved to play the “most holy saint” role (we removed him years ago and sent him down the road). He mocked. He criticized. He accused us of not “having enough faith” or of being “afraid to die for the gospel.” He said, in other words, that we were too radical. But what has time demonstrated? It has vindicated our policy as we read far too often not only of school shootings, but of murderous invasions of church services where people find themselves at the mercy of an evil devil set on killing.

And here then is my point in the article. You can expect, when you confront evil and call it out and call for proper measures to deal with it, to be accused of being foolish and extremist. When this happens, you must not yield to those charges. You must cling to what you know is right and proceed. Evil uses these accusers to protect it and let it continue to have unhindered access to innocents. You will run into the very same thing when you call for your church to do background checks on newcomers, especially those who want to “serve the Lord” and work with children. We have had some newcomers never come back once they learned that we do such background checks. “It just isn’t faith. It isn’t Christian” they say.


1Jn 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

A Common Accusation Made by Evildoers Against the Righteous

1Co 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

Isa 28:13 And the word of the LORD will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little, that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

In my three decades plus years as a pastor, I have experienced a particular phenomenon numbers of times. It took me quite a long time to sort it out and see it for what it really is. It is evil.

Let me explain. Listen to “Jack” as we will call him as he comes into my office. “Pastor, you are very difficult to talk to. You won’t listen to me. And I am not the only one in this church who feels this way.”

There it is. Jack would lay that same accusation on me in a hallway, at a social event at church, sometimes at an elder board meeting. But generally he would level this charge when I was the only person there besides himself.

Now, when you are young and you really want to serve the Lord, when you want to be humble and be a true shepherd of Christ’s people, you are open to examining yourself. To hearing criticism. But this can be taken way, way, way too far. In fact, this is what I was taught in seminary, in “Christian” books I read by supposedly experienced and godly people and so on. Always listen, they said. There is always, always, always something of truth in any criticism that comes against us. No matter who is saying it, you need to listen.

And so, I did. For years. And years. And years. Just like so many of you who have been targets of wicked, evil, domestic or other kinds of sociopathic abusers. We listened. And that was our problem. The result? Discouragement. Feeling like you just want to quit. Feeling like a failure.

It makes me angry at myself now when I think how foolish I was to listen to that garbage for so many years. But then, evil is quite deceptive, isn’t it?

Ultimately as the Lord “turned on the lights” in my mind (in the course of my study of domestic abusers hiding in the church), I realized what was really going on. YES! I WAS hard to talk to! At least it was hard for Jack. Why? Because I would not just obey him. I would not do what he said. There was still within me this dissonance between the words he spoke and how I felt about what he was saying in my spirit. That is to say, Jack was not able to control me like he wanted. And that is why he would regularly accuse me of being “hard to talk to.” What Jack really meant, let me translate, was – “Jeff, why won’t you just do what I tell you to do?”

Ultimately, as so often eventually happens, Jack’s real motive spilled out of his mouth. We had to deal with a wicked sin in our church that was very devastating. As I look back on it, I know we did what was right. But what we did was not what Jack had insisted we do (namely, feel empathy for the perpetrator and tell the victim to suck it up and get over it). And as is so typical in such situations in a church, some people (already alienated by Jack) left the church. At a subsequent meeting, Jack announced to me and the rest of our leadership team, “You never listen to me. You never do what I say. If you had only listened to me and done what I said, everything would be much better now.” Yeah, right, Jack. The victim would be further blamed and victimized and the perpetrator would be embraced and “forgiven.”

See it? Jack’s habitual accusation that I am difficult to talk to stemmed from several planks of Jack’s worldview rolling around in his head:

  • Jack knows.
  • Jack is more godly than anyone else
  • Therefore, everyone must listen to and obey Jack

A “Jack-o-Centric” worldview, you see.

The righteous are indeed hard for the unrighteous to talk to. Our words are stinging to the wicked. The truths of Christ’s word that we proclaim expose the darkness of evil.

And the Jacks of this world hate us for it. Do not listen to their accusations.