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.

Really?

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.

 

Evil Has no Shame – An Identifying Mark of the Evildoer

Jer 6:15 Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the LORD.

Rom 1:32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

The wicked have much to be ashamed of. The domestic abuser, for example – particularly the one who has claimed all along to be a Christian yet has carried out years and years of constant abuse upon his victim. How, we ask, can such a person even show his face at church? And yet he does. He even seems to thrive at doing so.

It is because he has no shame. If you have been the target of such an evildoer, you know this very well. Shamelessness. Just like the wicked ones Jeremiah rebuked, such people do not know how to blush. God promises that in the Day of the Lord you can be sure that these creeps will finally experience true shame. Oh, not for repentance, but they will be shamed by the Lord for all creation to see.

Over the years, I have seen this shamelessness in domestic abusers and other wicked hypocrites. Once they are called out – perhaps by a victim whose eyes are cleared of the fog abuse produces – they often grow even more bold. They have no shame to keep them from demanding court appearances where they stand up in front of the judge and lie and deny and accuse. They have no shame to prevent them from persevering in contacting their victim – even after the divorce. They have no shame to dissuade them from marching into the local church on Sunday, standing and weeping and praying and using the Lord’s name in efforts to deceive and garner pity for themselves.

These evildoers will insist on contacting their victim. Proper shame would cause a person to hang their head and be too ashamed to push themselves upon the person they had wronged. But not so with these shameless ones. They email. They telephone. They send cards. They insist on seeing the children. Understanding this, I myself always mark “return to sender” on any such shameless communiques I might receive without ever reading them.

On one occasion long ago a person who had acted very, very wickedly – to the point of being put out of the church due to unrepentance – telephoned me and began to question me, carrying on in conversation as if nothing had happened at all. I finally interrupted and said, “you have no shame.” Click. End of conversation.

This shamelessness is a common and regular mark of evil. Think of the pastor or elder who is an abuser for instance. How in the world could anyone, you ask, stand in a pulpit and preach every Sunday when all the while he is cruelly abusing his wife behind the scenes? Answer – no shame. No conscience. In fact, not only is he unashamed of his evil deeds, he is proud of them. As Paul told the Romans as quoted above, he even encourages others to jump right into the pool of evil with him.

Where there is no shame you can be sure evil is lurking and practicing its wickedness. When you see someone who has done great evil, who it turns out has been walking habitually in that evil for years without repentance yet all the while masquerading as a Christian, you can be sure that shamelessness will evidence itself. This is still a further confirmation of the kind of person you are dealing with.

 

Many of Today’s “Christian” Counselors are Descendants of the Sons of Sceva

Act 19:13-16 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” (14) Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. (15) But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” (16) And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Like these strange Jewish exorcists, we have many people in our own day who claim the name of Jesus Christ for themselves and their “ministries,” but who are unknown to Christ and whose “power” is non-existent as the devils well know. As a result, they are not empowered by Christ’s Spirit and all of their works are a sham, leaving the oppressed in worse condition than before. Let me illustrate.

One of the words I watch for is “redeem.” You see it thrown around all the time, particularly in the “Christian” counseling arena. Redeeming marriage. Redeeming anger. Redeeming finances. Yada, yada, yada. Words like this are so over-used in so many areas that they become meaningless. So it is with the word “redeem.” Modern day counselors (or better, conjurers) publish their books and give their conference talks on “redemption.” Their purpose, they say, is to redeem your domestic abuser or your sexual predator child molester. Listen to them. Follow their formula and incantations and you will be redeemed from….whatever. Are you listening CCEF bigwigs?

But Jesus does not know them. And even the devils know they are powerless fakes.

Redemption is effected only by Jesus Christ – and He has already pulled it off on the cross. Christ died to redeem, to buy back, to set free, HIS people. The Christian is redeemed. Fully and completely. But Jesus did not die on the cross for your marriage. He did not shed His blood for your reconciliation with your rapist. He did not give Himself on the tree for your finances. No, He died for YOUR redemption from sin, from bondage to the devil, from the power of death. He redeemed you by effecting a perfect righteousness that becomes your righteousness through faith in Him. That is redemption.

Christ alone is our Redeemer. Christ alone is THE Redeemer. No one else.

So when these “biblical” counselors come along, as they so often do, promising to exorcise most anyone from their various ills, they come preaching a different gospel, a different Jesus, evidencing a different Spirit. Jesus does not know them. The devils laugh at them.

Only in this case they aren’t the ones who end up naked and wounded. Oh no. It is the oppressed, the downtrodden, the victims of evil that are injured. Of course, say these Scevites, it’s not their fault. The victims didn’t follow their incantations and formulas correctly. Guess these “redeemers” better write some more books for us so we can get it right next time. Oh, that will be $19.95 plus shipping.

The Bible Emphasizes “Being” – We Must not be Satisfied with “Doing”

Eph 4:20-24 But that is not the way you learned Christ!– (21) assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, (22) to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, (23) and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, (24) and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Consistently the New Testament reminds the Christian that he/she is a new creation and therefore is to live consistently as that new creation. Be who you are. That is the Bible’s instruction to us. Realize who you now are and don’t live like the person you used to be. Being, you see. Not just external doing.

The false Pharisaical religion of course was all about doing. Do this. Don’t do that. The heart remains hard and unchanged, desiring evil but man-made religion says “I know that is what you really want down in your heart, but don’t do it. Do this instead, even though you would rather not.”

It is this second false religion that is characterizes most professing Christians today, and that is a main reason they turn out to be dens of evil.  And most churches are satisfied with it. Let me give you an example.

Let’s say a local church decides steps should be taken to prevent pedophiles from molesting the children. That’s a good thing to do. Yes it is. Background checks are required for volunteers in various ministries. Windows are installed in classroom doors. More than one adult is required to be present in a class. Staff is trained in these procedures. All well and good.

The problem is, everyone is satisfied. “There, we have placed constraints in our programs so that molesters cannot harm our children.”

Or, another example. To help ensure that adulteries and fornications don’t flame up among church members, certain rules are put in place. Some formal and written. Some unwritten and informal. A man is never to be along with a woman not his wife. A woman is never to be alone with a man who is not her husband. Husbands and wives are to have full access to one another’s email accounts. Computer software is to be installed that will prevent going online at a porn site. Women are to dress in a certain way. The “six-inch” rule of no touching is taught and enforced among the youth.

And again, the problem is, everyone is satisfied. “There, that should do it.”

But it won’t. In fact, if the power of sin is the law (as Paul told the Corinthians) then these kinds of rules often simply dump gasoline on the fire.

So what is the biblical way of handling such things? Be who you are. This is who the Bible says you now are, Christian. Be that person. Be led by the Spirit. Put to death the deeds of the flesh, by the Spirit. Any other means of “mortifying” the flesh simply feeds the flesh.

This requires, therefore, a congregation of Spirit indwelt people. In other words, a church where the people are actually Christians!! Pretty radical, huh? But that is NOT the case in most local churches. No. Someone is a Christian if they say a prayer and get baptized, either as an infant or adult. No matter really how they are living the days of their lives (none of us are perfect, after all) or whether they show any spiritual growth or not. They are pronounced Christians. But you’ve just got to keep these “christians” in tow – and thus the rules like the ones I mentioned above. John may be an adulterer at heart (well, in his “flesh” as they say) but as long as we make John follow the rules, he won’t adulterize. If he does slip, well, we are a forgiving bunch here, you know.

And the child molester? The rules. Make everyone follow the rules and all will be well – they say. But, let me ask – “just how well is that working for you all?”  Answer: It isn’t. Why? Because your “church” is full of people who aren’t saved at all – they don’t know Christ and He does not know them. They are still slaves to sin and Satan.

And this is why I am always highly suspicious of local churches that seem to grow in numbers so easily. What this most always means is that the unsaved are being pronounced saved, welcomed into the church, and held to a very low standard of holiness in the name of “love and grace and forgiveness.”

The proper course? The biblical one? People who claim to be Christians must evidence they are Christians if they are going to be in the local church. Well, there is one other category that is welcome – those who openly confess they do not know Christ but are seeking Him. NO third category of person is to be in the church!! Have your rules for children’s ministry and so on, but if anyone thinks that the key to Christ-honoring local churches is “be sure everyone follows the rules,” you are grievously mistaken.

1Co 5:11-13  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. (12) For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? (13) God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

“But,” you say, “that will mean that local churches will be quite small in number.”

Yep. They will be. They should be. That, in fact, is what you consistently see in Scripture. A body of believers that is called, “the remnant.”