“Propriety” and “Protocol” are Often Used to Protect Evildoers

Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” (Mat 15:12-14)

Evildoers and those who protect them often create “protocols” in order to silence anyone who would seek to expose wickedness. As we work to shine light upon evil that is hiding in churches, we see this tactic very frequently.

As you can see in the verses above, Jesus smashed through the niceties of the day and confronted the wicked in broad daylight. The Pharisees were the “clergy” of the day. The exalted church leaders claiming God’s authority, yet they did not know Him at all. They misused God’s Word to keep people in bondage and to exalt themselves. Power and self-glory were their goal.

And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” (Mat 15:10-11)

He called the people to him. He told them publicly. So that not only the people, but the Pharisees could hear. He said that the theology and doctrines of the Pharisees were bunk. And everyone knew exactly who he was talking about.

The disciples, bound to some degree by the evil-protecting etiquette of the day, cautioned Jesus that he had offended these holy ones. “Too bad. Forget about them. They are destroying people along with themselves.” That was Jesus’ reaction to “protocol.”

We have the same false, binding, evil-protecting rules laid upon us today. For example:

  • Oh my goodness, you said these men who are our brothers in Christ covered up for a child molester. Yes, I see there is a possibility they did, but it just isn’t right for you to say so where everyone can hear.
  • You must not speak of your husband that way. Sure, what he is doing is wrong, but a wife must obey her husband.
  • It is wrong (Bill Gothardism here) to “take up an offense of someone else.” You must not speak of a sin or crime committed against another person besides yourself.
  • A Christian must never, ever say something negative about a fellow Christian. Especially in public.
  • That man is a great, holy Christian who has accomplished magnificent deeds for the Lord. And YOU dare criticize him?
  • Ok, ok, he did that. But now is not the proper time to say so. What you say may be true, but I don’t like the way you are telling it.
  • In response to a news article about a wicked man who claimed to be a Christian, charged with murdering his wife and two children, one commenter said: “There isn’t enough information to even tell if he’s guilty or not. It shouldn’t be guilty before being proven innocent. There are no details at all about the crime and why they think that he is guilty.” So we must not speak of it, you see.

People who expose injustice know that if they “play by the rules,” nothing is going to change. They are not going to be heard. Because “the rules” are most typically loaded in favor of the wicked. Of those holding abusive power. Think for example of the civil rights movement. Protocol said that a black person was not to drink from a “whites only” water fountain, or sit in a whites only seat on a bus and so on. These were the very things that civil rights workers did. It got some of them killed. But it was right. The protocol was what was evil and wrong. Or think of the women’s suffrage movement which sought to get the vote for women. They did not always concern themselves with “propriety” so as “not to offend.” Because the propriety was what was wrong in the first place. It silenced the righteous.

And so it is in the church today, just as it was in Jesus’ day. If we are going to expose domestic abusers hiding in the church, or pedophiles creeping in among us, or power and control junkies like Diotrephes (see 3 John), then we cannot “play by the rules.” Like Jesus, we must be willing to be hated by the powers that be and press right on in announcing that they are leading people into a pit.

But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Act 4:17-20)

When Victims of Evil Become Evildoers Themselves

Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. (Numbers 11:4-5)

As we confront wickedness, one of the chief reasons we do what we do is for the benefit of its victims. We confront domestic abusers hiding in the church because we want their victims set free. We oppose false teachers who bring another Jesus, another gospel, and another spirit because we do not want people deceived by them. And many times we receive deep and sincere thanks from these victims.

But not always.

Over the years I have seen more than one wife of a wicked husband choose to stand with him. To be his defender. For a time it seemed that perhaps these women were starting to see the bondage they were in. A couple of them even asked for help and we poured our lives into them in an effort to confront the wickedness and get them free.

But then they made a choice.

Just like the wavering Israelites longing for “the good life” in slavery in Egypt, these victims chose to defend their own “Pharaoh” and they became very abusive themselves toward those who had tried to rescue them. “My husband is a good man. How dare you speak against him!” They chose up the side they were on and became allies of evil themselves.

This is important for all of us to understand and expect. That sometimes the very people who are targets of evil, the people we are trying to help, will turn against us and become our enemies.

Why? How can this be? I will suggest a few possible reasons:

  • They did not want to give up the material benefits they enjoyed. Some were married to wealthy men and they had grown accustomed to that wealth. To stand for truth and against evil would require them to give at least some of that up.
  • They enjoyed a widespread “reputation” as a fine Christian couple and family. The wickedness which is so often hidden and secret, behind closed doors, was something not many people knew about. The facade of saintliness had its benefits.
  • Others allowed fear to drive their choices. Certainly it is fearful to be the target of an abuser, but most often, eventually, victims will conquer that fear and go to freedom. But not all. I have known several who chose to stand on their abuser’s side, defending him against anyone who would confront him with his evil. In this way, they believed, they could remain in good graces with him and escape at least some of the abuse.

In each of these instances, the victim becomes an ally of evil and eventually exercises evil toward others herself. This decision, this change of attitude toward those who she was once warm toward and who she saw as her rescuers, can happen as quickly as you can throw a switch. One day she is your appreciative friend, perhaps having even come to you for help. The next day the warmth is gone, replaced by a cold distance, as if you had never been a friend at all. The years of friendship are over and soon fade into a distant memory until eventually it is as if you had never known one another before.

Knowing these things will provide us with wisdom. When we are working to help victims of evil, it is wise to proceed with some caution. We must realize that one day this person who is so appreciative toward us now may turn against us and choose the abuser’s side. Whatever things we have discussed or shared with such a victim in the past may well then become common knowledge to Pharaoh once she is back in Egypt.

The fact is that we simply cannot set someone free from evil if they are not willing to be free of it. Not even the angels who came to rescue Lot and his family could help Lot’s wife. She yearned for Sodom, she looked back, and she was salt. So let us be wise in these things.

 

When a Church Becomes a Man’s World it has Strayed from Christ’s Model, And from His Blessing

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well. Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. (Rom 16:1-6)

but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. (Joh 19:25)

Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. (Luk 8:1-3)

I suppose that in some ways this is one of the most important articles I have ever written. It is the result of realizing something that is so pervasive in the church, so much the air which we breathe in typical Christianity today, that we cannot see the log right in our eye. Let me explain.

I recently watched the memorial service at St. Andrews Chapel for R.C. Sproul. I wanted to watch because Sproul taught me so much, even though I never met him personally. I absorbed his teaching tapes some 30 years ago and still have them all in our church library. I have steered many people to them over the years.

But as I wrote in last week’s post, published at A Cry for Justice, addressing the fact that Sproul changed his view on abuse as a grounds for divorce, I did not always agree with him. He taught, you might recall, that domestic abuse was not a biblical grounds for divorce. We documented for you all that he in fact changed that position at least by 2012, but never publicly announced that correction.

This morning, I listened to the Ligonier broadcast of Renewing Your Mind, entitled Spiritual Father: Remembering R.C.  It was very interesting and I appreciated the testimonies given by two of his long time friends who were led to Christ by his ministry.

But something really struck me as I listened. What I am about to say, I do not say in a critical way, but simply as an observation of what I would call “the obvious log” that so many churches and church leaders have in their eye – the one they do not see. Here it is:

Conservative, evangelical churches and organizations, pastors and elders and church members, often (even typically) become so male oriented that they almost forget about women. Women become secondary, even to be seen and not heard. The men lead. The men hold office. The men are the theologians. The men serve the Lord’s supper. The men preach and teach. The men are even told that they are the priests of their homes. The men, the men, the men.

I am not here proposing that women are to be pastors and elders in the church. That is not a subject I even want to address here. But what I am stating is that men in the church so typically develop a mindset in that climate of trivializing their sisters in Christ. You will notice from just the Scriptures quoted above that women were very, very active and prominent in the ministries of Jesus, of Paul, and of the New Testament church. In fact, Scripture records for us that sometimes when the men bailed, the women stayed.

What does this have to do with my viewing of R.C.’s funeral and listening to Renewing Your Mind today? Well, if you watched the funeral (you still can see it on YouTube), what you saw was:

  • Men who were friends of R.C. giving eulogies
  • John MacArthur, Jr. gave a eulogy as well, which I very much appreciated
  • Robert Godfrey, a theologian and I believe current President of Ligonier, spoke
  • At least two men, pastors I assume, offered prayers
  • The primary message from Isaiah 6 (the basis of R.C.’s great book The Holiness of God) was delivered by Sinclair Ferguson, pastor and theologian.
  • Both the choir and the congregational singing were directed by men

And then you have the Renewing Your Mind program for today (Dec 22, 2017) which focused on R.C. as a personal evangelist. Two of his long time friends told how they were led to Christ through his ministry. Both of them were men. Furthermore, as they related their stories, they described how they met R.C. at the golf course and especially at the locker room where R.C. spent time almost daily writing and studying after a round of golf. They told about all the other men that R.C. influenced in that place over the years.

And that is why this all struck me today. I know that the funeral service and the RYM program cannot and did not present a comprehensive view of the entire ministry of R.C. But nevertheless, what struck me is that in such a world that R.C. ministered in, in such a church and in his professional contacts, and at Ligonier, at the seminaries and Bible College, the climate appears to me to have been one of male….what? Male leadership. Male emphasis. Male ministry. Men of God. Brothers.

And where does such an atmosphere leave the women?

Oh yes, I have no doubt there are some kinds of women’s ministries at St. Andrews. We know that men and women both attended the Ligonier conferences. And yet as we pointed out in our article last week, when it came down to dealing with men who are hypocrites, men who abuse women, men who are church members but who cruelly oppress their wives, R.C. taught that a woman cannot divorce an abusive husband. In addition, even after he changed that view (or at least “broadened” his opinion on it as he wrote to me), R.C. never did make it a priority to publicly correct his error. Why? Why did he not feel the burden of those many victims in Christian churches, including his own? Why did he seemingly just blow off our pleas to announce his changed position? Why?

Well, think about it. If you live and move and have your being in a structure that is so male dominated, a place where elder meetings and presbytery meetings and General Assembly board meetings consist pretty much solely of men, just how likely is it that such men are inevitably going to end up rather deaf to the needs and pleas and talents of their sisters in the Lord? How do such men view a woman, for instance, who comes into their office asking for help?

Compare this with Jesus and Paul. Look at their writings and the accounts of  their dealings in the New Testament in ministry. What do you see? You see men called as Apostles, but you see women mixing it up right in there with them. You see a church where women’s names in the registries are as prominent as those of the men. You see stories of women clinging to Jesus when men abandoned Him. You see Jesus coming to a screeching stop in order to heal a poor woman who dared touch His robe. You see Jesus nailing the male hypocrite clergy of the day with a pronouncement of divine woes!

And I submit to you that all of this male-emphasis not only had an effect on R.C. Sproul, but it has had a significant effect upon all of us in the church today as well.

And that effect has not been a good one.

You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, (Exo 22:22-23)

 

Most Local Churches Today are Dominated by a Plague of Legalism and Taught by Legalists

Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. (1Ti 1:6-11)

Most local churches, though they speak much of things like mercy and grace and forgiveness, in actual practice betray the fact that they are legalists. How can we say this? Because all you need to do is watch how they deal with people who are oppressed by the wicked – domestic abusers, sexual abusers, and so on. Let me show you.

Most of you know what happens when the victim of domestic abuse goes to her pastor or church leaders for help. So often her abuser spouse is a member “in good standing” in her church. She is not believed or the wickedness against her is minimized….you know the old sick story. And what is she told? LAW (that really isn’t God’s law at all) –

  • Divorce is forbidden. You shall not divorce
  • You shall forgive your abuser
  • You shall reconcile with your abuser
  • You shall look at your own sin as a cause of this abuse
  • You shall not speak to others about the abuse
  • You shall not call the police
  • You shall…
  • You shall not….
  • And if you do not abide by these laws, you will be cursed

See it? This is law, not gospel. This is treating the victim as if she were an ungodly, lawless, disobedient, unholy, profane person rather than the spiritual new creation in Christ that she actually is. A person with God’s Law written upon her heart, indwelt by the Spirit, guided and directed, taught and led by Christ. Such pastors and church leaders and even individual members who claim to be Christians preaching the gospel are in fact, right out legalists preaching another gospel with the intent of enslaving people.

This, says Paul, is what is at the root of this evil:

desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions

I say again, most churches are actually driven by law, not by Christ and the Spirit. They believe, like the Pharisees, that unless law is brought to bear upon Christians, all hell will break loose. Everyone will run to sin. Open the floodgates and the divorce rate will skyrocket. Their remedy? Law. They treat Christians like unbelieving pagans and they handle unbelieving pagans like Christians! The latter error is carried out when such churches tell the abuser “Yes, you have sinned. But Jesus will forgive you.” Understand – the typical abuser hiding in a church is anything but repentant! No matter. He is promised divine forgiveness anyway.

Martin Luther wrote much about law and grace and how vital it is that we understand their realms and purposes. In particular, he emphasized that every person who believes they are called by God to serve the church as a preacher, must be absolutely certain of that calling. Because if a man is not called to preach or teach God’s people, if his “calling” is one of his own imagination, the inevitable result will be that his preaching will kill and destroy, not give life and build. He will enslave Christians because he does not know the proper use of the Law, and he will enable the wicked because they love to hear how they can in themselves merit God’s acceptance.

I submit to you that a primary, foundational reason local churches are abusing victims of domestic and sexual abusers and enabling the wicked is because they are teachers of law, not of gospel. Furthermore, I maintain that a chief reason for this evil is that many, many pastors and preachers and elders are not called by Christ to those positions.

So what does the gospel look like in such situations? I can tell you. When we are dealing with, for example, a Christian wife who is oppressed and abused by an evil husband, the gospel approaches her as a new creation in Christ. A person indwelt and led by the Holy Spirit. A person who has been taught by Jesus and who possesses therefore the ability to discern righteousness from unrighteousness. We do not thunder laws to her and command her to obey, “or else.” That is Sinai, not the New Jerusalem:

For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
(Heb 12:18-24)

We do not fear that she will run to evil if we do not bind her with the Law. Why? Because she is a new creation. Because grace in the believer does not promote sin. In fact, it is the LAW that is the power of sin! So we pray with her. We tell her she has the right to separate from and divorce her abuser. We stand with her and tell her that we will support her in her decision. We stand ready to bring the Law of God and the law of the civil authorities to bear upon her abuser when it can be done so without violating her safety. In other words, in accordance with Scripture, we give her the freedom that is hers in Christ to heed His leading in her life. And then we pronounce God’s blessing, not his curse, upon her.

 

 

R.C. Sproul Changed His View on Abuse as Grounds for Divorce – but to our knowledge he never publicly announced that change

As you know, R.C. Sproul died December 14th, 2017. Barbara Roberts and myself had interaction with him in 2012 on the subject of abuse and now that he has passed away, we thought it was appropriate and necessary to share with you the details of that interaction with him.

While R.C. privately claimed to have broadened his views, allowing divorce for abuse, he never to our knowledge publicly made that change known. And that was to the detriment of justice and mercy to the oppressed. You can read our article HERE at the A Cry for Justice blog.  It includes a picture of the letter I received from R.C. in which he states that his views on abuse as grounds for divorce had “broadened.”

Evil is Darkness – It Always Pressures Us to be Quiet

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (John 3:19)

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (1 John 1:5-6)

This post is about a subject that most all of you have experienced if you are a true Christian and have worked to expose evil, particularly evil hiding within a church under a “christian” disguise. This is still another tactic that is so commonly evidenced by wicked hypocrites because it proceeds from the very Prince of darkness himself. It is no surprise that his servants reflect it as well. Here is our topic:

Servants of our enemy, so often parading as servants of Christ, always work to silence those who would expose evil. You’ve heard it all before I bet, and certainly if you have seen wickedness masquerading as a saint in your church:

  • You need to be quiet. It isn’t “christian” to say such things about a brother in Christ.
  • You need to stop saying such things. You are trashing Christ’s church.
  • That is gossip.
  • All church members are required to never talk to the media about what has happened in our church.
  • Stop being so arrogant. We are all sinners.
  • The church leadership did not tell the members about Fred molesting his children because there is no need for everyone to know. So you be quiet about it and if you don’t we will discipline you.
  • No, we didn’t report this to the police and you must not either. Jesus wants us to handle this within His church and not get the state involved.

And on and on the list goes. You could easily add many more such wicked statements all designed to silence the light of truth.

Now, what we all need to do is totally blow off such intimidating threats (and that is precisely what these bullying tactics are – threats) and shout out the truth with even more clarity. We must have confidence, knowing that we are doing what Christ would do. “Woe to you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites!!” Jesus commands us to call out evil that has crept into His church and put it out from among us. See 1 Corinthians 5 on that as a clear example.

And here is something to add to our confidence. We can know with certainty that anyone who is working to expand and maintain the darkness rather than exposing evil with the light of Christ’s truth, does not know Him nor belong to Him. Oh sure, we might initially (in the days of our naivete) be confused and uncertain and wonder if we are to speak out or not. But if you are a Christian then the Spirit of Truth indwells you and He is going to turn on the lights for us and guide us into all truth. The truth in these cases is, “here is an evil person hiding in the church, claiming to be a Christian, but in fact his deeds reveal that he is still in darkness and is actively working to remain in that darkness. He has crept in among us. He is to be exposed and put out.”

Just read the verses quoted above once more. Pull out your Bible and read 1 John for instance. You either ARE or you AREN’T in Christ. And if you love the darkness rather than the light then I know everything about you that I need to know.

Our little church here in Oregon knows these things are true. We have, by the Lord’s gracious leading, exposed darkness and evil numerous times. As a result we are a small band. We are hated by many who claim to belong to Christ, and the fellowship of churches we used to belong to detests us for speaking out. Lo and behold one of their own “pastors,” Tom Chantry, was subsequently arrested on multiple felony charges and yet they still insist we must all defend him. We parted company with them years ago. And we can see that their persistence in walking in darkness and protecting others who do evidences exactly who they are.

So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:18-20)

Nope, not going to shut up. Do your worst.

 

 

Why Evil-doers are Enabled and Welcomed in Local Churches

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. (1 Cor 5:1-2)

A very, very common “slogan” found in the “happening” local churches of our day is this: “Imperfect people serving a Perfect God.”  Pretty catchy, right? Feel it tug at your heart and warm your inner fuzzies? Well, those inner fuzzies are more accurately called the flesh. This motto is a perfect example of a biblically imperfect heresy. What? Let me show you why.

We know, if we carefully and regularly read God’s Word, that a typical quality found in the preaching of false teachers (the creeps who creep in among us according to Jude) is sensuality. Read 2 Peter or Jude and you will see it. The way they gather a large following (“many” will fall in with them says Peter) is to do what Paul calls “tickling itching ears.” That is to say, they preach a message which is all cloaked outwardly in “Bible,” but at its core it is worldly wisdom that is totally opposed to Christ’s truth. It is darkness. A shadow casting itself over the blinded eyes of the foolish who crave to hear a message that tingles their flesh. “Ohhhh, yeah, right there, that’s the spot. Feels so goooood.” We are imperfect people serving a perfect God.

The result? Not only are ears tickled and crowds swelled, but most every sort of evil is welcomed to the pews. If you don’t believe that, just talk to Christians who have been the targets of these evil ones. Domestic abusers, sexual abusers, pedophiles, revilers. Talk to the victims about how they were treated when they went to the church leaders for help and blew the whistle on their wicked oppressor. What happened? Almost every single time, what happened? The evil one was protected, excused, “loved and forgiven.” The victim? Chastised and even expelled from the church. Why?

You see the very same thing in the church at Corinth and Paul is taking them on for it in unmistakable terms. “What? Are you kidding me!!?? You have a man sitting in your midst showing off his disgusting and vile sin, defying God, and are you grieved about it? No! You are ARROGANT.”

What did Paul mean?

Here were these Corinthians who claimed to belong to Christ. But they had bought into a message pretty much like our contemporary jingle: We are imperfect people serving a perfect God. That is to say, and here is the heart of the heresy – the grace of God is magnified by our sin. Therefore as we continue to sin, God continues to forgive us and so WE embrace the very same “grace” toward one another. We forgive. No matter what. We are a sanctuary of non-judgmental “love.”  And rooted in all of this jibberish is arrogance. Pride. Go online and check it out for yourself. You will see it on these “church’s” web pages. In their name. In their slogans and preaching. The result of it all is that evil is not only permitted in the lives of the people, it is boasted about in the lingo of twisted “grace.” The only real sin in such places is calling sin, “sin.”

Now, you may be asking yourself “but isn’t it true that Christians in this present life are imperfect? So why is it that the slogan is a heresy? Certainly God is perfect, right? Doesn’t that add up then to the phrase – imperfect people serving an imperfect God?

No.

Do you know what happens when imperfect people stand before the perfectly holy God? They don’t. Dead in their sins they are cast out of His presence forever. God is holy, holy, holy and His eyes are too pure to even look on sin. Only the perfectly holy can be in His presence. The gospel is good news for us because – now hear this – Christians are indeed perfectly holy  people!  Because of Jesus Christ we are perfectly righteous, without guilt, seated in the heavenly places with Him right now! We were sinners. Now we are justified by faith alone in Christ alone. That is why the Bible calls us “saints.” Holy ones. The whole thrust of the New Testament is that we must be who we are.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16)

So the slogan “sinners serving a sinless God” would actually be more in step with what the false teachers really are preaching, but to put it that way is too revealing. Why? Because the Bible does not call Christ’s people “sinners.” So they disguise what they really mean in this flowery language of “imperfection.” Sin is my fault. Imperfection is not. Don’t blame me. It’s how God made me.

And then this brings us down to the real essence of the evil in this ear-tickling heresy. Peter tells us in 2 Peter 2 –

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1)

That is to say, “imperfect people serving a perfect God” is a heresy that denies Jesus Christ. It denies His person and His work. It tramples under foot His blood shed for us at the cross. It says, you see, that His sacrifice for sin was unnecessary. After all, if imperfect people can meet the perfect God and thrive, then what is all the fuss? “The cross must have been misinterpreted by “stiff-collared” judgmental types all these centuries,” say the mega-church wannabes.

The glory and power of the cross, of the Son of God given for our sins, is that in him we become perfectly righteous, able to stand on that Day before the blazing glory of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, see Christ as He is in His ascended glory, and live.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

So the next time you hear “imperfect people serving a perfect God,” don’t be duped by its appeal. See it for what it is – another gospel, another spirit, another Jesus, pronounced anathema by the Lord.

 

 

You Will be Cast Out – The Counterfeit Church Expels Christ’s True People

I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 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. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. (John 16:1-3)

If you are a Christian and if you have either been the victim of an evil one parading behind a false facade of “saintliness,” then you most likely have felt the very common sting of being viewed with contempt or even driven out of your “church” for daring to expose the domestic or sexual or spiritual (sometimes all 3 wrapped up on one) abuser. Well, let me encourage you by showing you evidence that the visible church is far more apostate and corrupt than most professing Christians even want to know. In other words, let me show you that it was not Christ’s true people who cast you out, but counterfeits – wolves in wool.

The Lord Jesus spoke very plainly. His words, as quoted above from John 16, tell us that the true remnant of God can expect, increasingly as the Day of the Lord approaches, to be “put out.” Speaking to Jews, He specified “put out of the synagogue.” In other words, the clergy, the visible church that claims to be the church of God, cannot and will not tolerate a genuine Christian in its midst. And, as Jesus goes on to say, when they ex-communicate Christ’s people, they will boast that they are doing it all in the name of the Lord!

Now, what is really going on? That is to say, so many of you who have been shunned or ex-communicated or accused or shamed by your local church for daring to speak out about the evil that is going on behind the scenes, were treated this way because those pastors, those elders, those church members, do not know Christ. Oh, I know that can be hard to believe. They put on such a show. Perhaps you were in such a “church” for many years and were quite active in serving there. Surely, you thought, these people are Christians. And yet, Jesus tells us that we can know that when the righteous are cast out of such places that place is in fact a den of robbers, not His Body. Read His words above again. That is exactly what He said.

God’s Word repeatedly, and I mean VERY repeatedly, records this very thing – the casting out of the righteous from among those who claim THEY are the church of Christ, but are not –

Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (John 9:35)

(His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) (John 9:22)

Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; (John 12:42)

See it? Why should we be so surprised when it happens? Let’s not be confused by this fog the enemy likes to hide behind. These words of the Lord in Scripture blow that fog away and enable us to see what is truly going on. YOU were put out of your church when you reported a wicked, counterfeit “christian” abuser because you are light and they are darkness.

This is still another Scripture on this matter. I really love this one:

Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word: “Your brothers who hate you and cast you out for my name’s sake have said, ‘Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy’; but it is they who shall be put to shame. (Isaiah 66:5)

Your brothers. Of course in the Old Covenant that meant fellow Israelites. But we can surely apply it to our situation in the New Covenant where we so often (and nowadays typically) are surrounded by “brothers and sisters” who aren’t. So, what do these fine “christian brethren” do? Same thing as Isaiah said – they hate every real Christian and cast Christ’s people out, claiming to do so for the Lord’s name’s sake!  That is exactly what Jesus said in John 16. They cast out Christ’s people and then boast that they have brought glory to the Lord. But…

it is they who shall be put to shame.

Why is it that most all of the hundreds and thousands of domestic and sexual abuse survivors, whose abuser targeted them in a local church, are no longer in such a place? Why do the majority not attend a church like they used to? Because, whether formally or informally, they have been cast out by the wicked counterfeits who do not know the Lord. And they are finding the real Body of Christ in some pretty unconventional places. It has always been that way you know. Catacombs. Caves.

Therefore, like the blind man healed by Jesus in John 9, when we are put outside the temple, we will find the true temple – Jesus. And we are seeing this very thing play itself out more and more in our day. We really can rejoice when this happens to us. It’s not fun, but it really clears things up.

 

Evil Reigns in “Churches” When the Spirit Departs

Revelation 2:7a He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Christ’s letters to the seven churches in Asia are recorded for us in the second and third chapters of Revelation. In each one of them, the Lord signs off with this formula. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

It is increasingly evident today that the Holy Spirit is not present (perhaps never was?) in many, many local churches, pastors, and members. How do we know this is the case? Because they will not (can not) hear what the Spirit is saying to them.  That is to say, they are deaf to the Word of God. Show them Scripture, plain and simple truths right in front of their eyes, and they cannot see or hear. They can not because they will not. He who has ears…let him hear.

The real Christian has “ears.” The Spirit indwells the believer and illuminates his mind’s eyes to see and warms his heart to love Christ’s truth. But not all who claim to know Christ really do and therefore they are deaf and blind. It is a willful blindness of course. They choose to reject His Word and therefore they cannot be given sight.

That all these things are true become plain not only from the Scriptures but also to anyone who shows God’s Word to “Christian” people. In my case, not only as a pastor but as one who ministers in exposing domestic abusers hiding in the church, I have seen this over and over again. The Lord repeatedly, literally from Genesis to Revelation, instructs His people to protect the oppressed from the wicked. The widow, the orphan, the stranger in the land.

Exodus 22:21-24 “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. (22) You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. (23) If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, (24) and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.

James gives us the same thing in New Testament terms:

James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Don’t miss how huge this is. Hundreds of verses in the Bible repeat this very command and warning. Hundreds. This is why I continue to tell people (most won’t listen) that the subject of domestic abuse, particularly in the church, is one of the acid tests of whether a church or pastor or member even belongs to Christ or not. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, not oppression. There are ears to hear, not deafness. There are eyes to see, not blindness to the plight of victims of evil.

And yet the vast majority of professing Christian churches today do not have ears to hear these things. They do not have hearts softened by the Lord to love His Word and His people. Instead, they enable the wicked and ally with them just like the counterfeit church of Martin Luther’s day. God says that such religion is defiled. Filthy. Disgusting. He says that His curse, not His blessing, rests upon such places and people.

Do you doubt that things are as grim as I say? Well, here is a real-life example of what is pandemic in the churches today. Listen to this Christian abuse survivor tell it firsthand:

All that you say about the vast majority of churches not hearing truth is so true. I’m about to be basically excommunicated from my church while for more than a year they preach sermon after sermon about how “we can never know if someone is a Christian or not based on their lives” — a very encouraging message for my abusive husband of course.

See it? Everyone is a Christian, no matter how evil their deeds. We must never judge. We must assume. And yet anyone who knows anything at all about God’s Word in truth knows full well that the Bible reiterates over and over and over that it is by a person’s fruit that we can know what the are. James says, “look at their works.” The Old Testament prophets said “you claim to be My people, you come to My sanctuary with your sacrifices, and yet your hands are covered with blood and injustice, adulteries and robberies. Close the doors of My house!” Yet today we have these pastors in pulpits, claiming to speak from the Lord, who tell us that no matter how a person is living, if he says he believes in Jesus, he is a Christian and we are bound to treat him as a real Christian.

Well, alright then, Mr. false preacher. Let me point something out to you. You say that the wicked “Christian” is on his way to heaven and that we must love and embrace him. Let’s say he is a Christian (which he is not). The Bible says that it is the one who claims to be our brother who is to be put out of the church and avoided like the plague he is. Here it is right smack in front of your eyes:

1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

2 Corinthians 6:16-18 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (17) Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, (18) and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

But put these commands of Christ in front of so many “Christians” today and you will be told “I don’t agree with your interpretation of that verse. Besides, God does not want us to go on some ‘sin hunt.’ Everyone is welcome in our church.”

Everyone may be welcome in such “churches,” but they are not welcome in Christ’s church. Coming back again to those letters in Revelation 2-3, just take note of how many of them include instructions to expel the wicked from among the congregation and in fact the Lord “has it against” the churches who have not put such evil out.

Where the Spirit has departed, evil sweeps in and reigns. It is my conclusion that in our day many (and actually I believe, “most”) local churches are not the temple of the Lord at all, but mere facades with nothing behind them like those fake Hollywood western town movie sets.

Depart from such places. Find Christ’s real remnant.

Matthew 15:14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

Clear Signs that Pharisees are Controlling Many (most?) Churches

The more I read about the Pharisees in Scripture, the more certain I am that many, many local churches, seminaries, and other “christian” entities are controlled by them today. In fact I conclude that the Pharisees (along with their libertine anti-types) have been controlling the evangelical church for quite some time. Just read the following Scriptures. I noted (bracketed) what specific evil quality each Scripture identifies:

Matthew 16:12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. [They do not teach the true gospel and doctrine of Christ that sets people free. Their teaching enslaves]

Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. [When a victim of injustice and oppression comes before them, they do not deal out mercy and kindness. Their emphasis is on the letter of their law]

Mark 7:5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” [They teach traditions made by man, claiming it has the authority of God’s Word]

Luke 11:43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. [They crave praise and glory and worship for themselves]

Luke 16:14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. [Like Balaam, they are motivated by greed. The are not teachable and they ridicule the true Word of God]

Matthew 12:14 But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him. [They actually hate Christ and His servants. His Word is light that exposes their evil, so they desire to destroy a true Christian]

Matthew 15:14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” [Once again, they teach darkness, they do not desire to see light, they are not teachable]

Luke 11:46 And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.  [They seize unlawful authority over God’s people that the Lord has not given them, even when they disagree among themselves about the point they are enforcing]

Alright then, there is not much more that needs to be said by way of application, is there? These descriptors of Pharisees match the so-called “christianity” being taught in so many churches, and they match the habits and characteristics we see in so many of the leaders of those churches.

Let me give you an example. For years now through the A Cry for Justice ministry, pastors and seminary professors and other “notable” leaders in the visible church have been called to repent of the injustices dealt to victims of domestic violence abusers in the church. And what is the most common response received? Hard heartedness. Arrogance. Refusal to learn. Even hatred for Christ’s truth put before them. And then they have continued right on dealing out their oppression to victims and enablements to the wicked.

If that does not describe a Pharisee, I do not know what does.

Another example is how so many churches and church leaders seize for themselves unlawful authority over Christ’s people. You need not look very hard to find examples. Who, for instance, ever gave churches the authority to say yea or nay to a divorce? Certainly churches are to exercise Christ’s authority over unrepentant, ongoing, flagrant sin in the church, but where did this notion come from that the Christian must seek permission from their church to divorce a wicked, abusing spouse? Yet that is common practice today,

And one more example. Pharisees never agree among themselves. They set up their own peculiar systems of nuanced legal interpretations, like the rabbinic schools in Jesus’ day. Once more, you don’t have to think very hard to see that this is the exact situation we are in today in the visible church. How many positions, for instance, are we ordered to follow in regard to marriage, divorce, and remarriage? This confusion is another typical trait of the Pharisees, yet they insist that people must obey their particular take on Scripture.

If this be the case, if in fact as I am suggesting you that many if not most local churches and Christian entities are controlled by Pharisees, then the fact is that the mass of professing Christians today are enslaved to a false gospel, led by false shepherds, reading false books, and worshiping a false God. Yes, the situation is indeed that serious. Just as serious as it was in the dark days before the Reformation.

Ezekiel 34:1-4 The word of the LORD came to me: (2) “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? (3) You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. (4) The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.