“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)

If We are to Walk in the Light, We Must See the Darkness

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. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7)

Christ is the Light of the world and the truth of His Word is the lamp that guides our feet along the path He calls us to follow – the way of faith in and obedience to Him.

Light illumines the darkness so we can see what is lurking in it. Peter says we are to give careful attention to Christ’s Word as if it were a flashlight shining in a dark cave:

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, (2 Peter 1:19)

A Day is coming when Christ’s Light will be gloriously unveiled in all creation. His truth will shine fully in our hearts and minds. But right now, in this dark world, we must take care to pay close attention to His Word. Most people who claim to be Christians are not. So they are stumbling around in the darkness, blind to the enemy’s lies and unable to discern truth from error. Are they even Christians?

Now, here is a very important example of the Light of Christ illuminating evil hiding among us. If this all is starting to sound familiar to you, well then, very good! I have written about it before and will keep doing so. Alright, listen to this:

These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption.

For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:17-22)

This Scripture is having a very powerful effect on me lately and I hope that it will do the same to and for you. Do you grasp what Peter is telling us here about the false prophets (the creeps who creep in among us, see Jude 1:4)? It is rather incredible actually and reveals the amazing deceptive abilities our enemy has. These are people who:

  • Claim to be servants of Christ
  • Say they are teachers of Christ’s Word
  • Actually demonstrated apparent “new birth” through a repentant and reformed life
  • Have “known” Christ in some way
  • But have then turned away from Christ’s truth, denied the Master who bought them (see 2 Peter 2:1)
  • Who, it turns out, were never really regenerate at all and have now once again embraced evil, preaching a sensual, flesh-pleasing false gospel, deceiving many

Now get a firm grip on all of this and its implications. Peter is telling us that there are people among us in the visible church who even appear to have had remarkable and powerful “conversion experiences.” People who left off their old evils and appeared to become zealous servants of Christ. But, eventually, if you watch them, these ones who “washed” themselves “clean” like a pig in water always return to the muck and mud. Turns out they were never changed at all. But they keep right on teaching and preaching, all the while wearing the holy disguise.

What does this mean for us? It means that the Light of God’s Word is shining upon a great evil that we all must be on careful guard against. It means we must all STOP listening to the false gospel of our day that is telling us the lie that it is wrong for us to judge anyone. It means that we must be skeptics when we hear of some notorious and even famous sinner “getting saved” and the masses in the visible church start calling for that person to go on a speaking and conference and book writing tour.

Because Peter is carefully and plainly warning us that the enemy is quite capable of amazing caricatures of saintliness. Listen to him again:

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. (2 Peter 2:20)

I can tell you from years of personal, firsthand experience with these evil ones and in speaking with their victims, there are many of these in the visible church today. In fact, I suggest very pointedly to you that the darkness of their evil is continuing to increase rapidly and as a result the counterfeit “church” is very much on the rise.

If we are to walk in the Light of Christ, then we must necessarily acknowledge that darkness and evil exist, always working to creep in among Christ’s people. Don’t look for “spirits.” Evil always comes to us embodied. With a face and a name. Looking, always looking and sounding, ever so pious and “Christian.”

Fail here and the darkness will sweep over you and your church. Christ will depart and you will become Ichabod.

 

 

The Light is Dim in Goshen

I have selected the name for this blog very purposefully. It is my judgment that the evangelical church of our present day has a bad eye and that therefore our Lord’s words apply directly:

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. (Luke 11:34)

Many professing Christians will disagree with my assessment. They will accuse me of overstatement and exaggeration. “It’s not that bad” they will insist. But I insist as well. The lights are very dim in the land of Goshen when that is the very place Christ’s light of truth should be shining most brightly.

So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was pitch darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the people of Israel had light where they lived. (Exodus 10:22-23)

By Goshen, of course, I mean the visible, local church. This is the darkness of which I speak. Spiritual blindness to the truth of God’s Word, varying from pitch black in some cases to a partial eclipse at noonday in others, all designed by the Prince of Darkness to obscure the glory of Jesus Christ.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)

The Apostle Paul of course was speaking of unbelievers and yet because of creeps creeping in among us, the false teachers Jude warns us about, the light of the glory of Christ has grown very, very dim in the church as well.

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)

The articles I plan to publish here are primarily written then for people who claim to be Christians. No, I will be more specific than that. They are written for people who are real, genuine Christians, for people who are Christ’s sheep and who hear His voice and yet they are in bondage to wicked ones who put themselves forward as pastors or elders or “eminent saints” and yet whose greed and lust for self-glory leads them to savage the flock of Christ, driving that flock further and further from Jesus the Good Shepherd. If some unsaved folks happen to come along and the Lord uses the articles here to open their eyes to Christ, that will be wonderful as well.

Who I am not writing for are the creeps themselves (I take that name from Jude 1:4 above). That is to say, I am not writing to correct them. These kind never receive correction. I write in respect to them only to expose them, and thus my title, Light for Dark Times.

How do I know? Where is my evidence that the darkness in the church today is really this prevalent? My evidence has been gathered these past 34 years in which I have served Christ’s church as a pastor. In addition, I have spent the last six years, as some of you know, dealing with a specific kind of evil that is hiding in the spiritual darkness of local churches – domestic abusers. I have written two books on this subject. I have spoken to and corresponded with scores (if not hundreds) of Christians who were the targets of these kind of abusers and I have heard their stories of how their pastors and church leaders and fellow Christians treated them. The level of blindness in churches to such evil is remarkable.

Therefore, it is now my purpose to broaden the subject of my writing. While I will still refer to domestic abusers on occasion in order to illustrate evil and the blinding darkness it casts over churches, I want to address this subject of evil more broadly. I want to shed light, the Light of Jesus Christ, on it and thereby dispel the darkness and help Christ’s people see clearly once again. The portrait painted by the sentimental old hymn is a facade behind which evil is lurking and darkness prevailing:

There’s a church in the valley by the wildwood
No lovelier spot in the dale
No place is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown church in the vale.

Light for Dark Times. For dark times in the church. May the Lord bless His truth and use our labors to bring such a blazing of His glory among us that evil will simply not be able to remain, the eyes of our minds and hearts will be enlightened, and we might once again be taught by the Spirit of Jesus to discern His perfect will. Here is our prayer:

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:9-10)

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