How Local Churches Become Enslaved to Evil – Part 4

3Jn 1:9-10 I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. (10) So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.

This is the fourth installment in this series. It may have many, many parts because I have 36 years worth of stories to tell about evil in the local church. I say “local” church because in Christ’s true church which consists only of His genuine, regenerate people, such evil does not exist. In this present world, sure, there will be flaws and sin in the lives of the saints – but these we confess and repent of. The things I speak of here however are a different beast entirely.

In every single local church that I have served as pastor, Diotrephes has always shown up. It is in yielding to the offspring of Diotrephes that churches typically become enslaved to evil. It is this kind of thing:

2Co 11:20 For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.

There is something in the typical professing Christian that clings to a false idea of “greatness.” A worldly concept of it, you see. Greatness is power and exaltation. Greatness is authority. Greatness is the guy or gal who just seems to be the one who tells others what to do and “strikes them in the face” if they balk at obedience.

So here is what it looks like.

Continue reading “How Local Churches Become Enslaved to Evil – Part 4”

The Cognitive Dissonance Created by Hypocrites

The following is taken from a note from a friend. It is an example of how the Lord opens our eyes to the confusion and fog cast by those who claim to be fine Christians but aren’t. Let me define “cognitive dissonance” for those of you who may not be familiar with the term. Or rather, let’s call on good old Wikipedia for a definition:

In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who holds two or more contradictory beliefsideas, or values. This discomfort is triggered by a situation in which a person’s belief clashes with new evidence perceived by the person. When confronted with facts that contradict beliefs, ideals, and values, people will find a way to resolve the contradiction to reduce their discomfort.

In other words, for the genuine Christian in a local church, the contradictory beliefs are 1) The claim of those around me that they are also real regenerate people, but 2) Their attitudes and behaviors do not square with the Bible’s statements about who a real Christian is. Therefore I have this stress, this tension in myself which I try to resolve. And the way we usually resolve it until we understand what the truth really is, is to assume that my observations and judgments either about the people or about Scripture, must be wrong.

Now, here is what my friend said:

At times it has been an almost crushing weight of truth to realize that people (many people) are not who they portray themselves to be. You’ve probably heard of the term cognitive dissonance – our mind’s attempt to mesh together opposing beliefs or values into something that makes sense for our reality. That term probably sums up for me much of the last 25 years of my life.  My husband was not who I thought, members of my family, practically my entire church – none were who I thought them to be- and in ripping away the veil which had shrouded those people, it’s as though God ripped away a bigger, wider veil.  He has shown by so many examples that the majority of people who call themselves believers and attend church are fakes. It’s been shocking and incredibly painful.

Yet truly God has been kind at the same time by also bringing a few wonderful, genuine believers to come alongside us, and for us to bear their burdens in return. What He has made more clear to me is that there really is an ultimate and continual conflict between good and evil – there always has been since the Garden.  It’s everywhere and all around us and yet I didn’t see it, not really, not like this, until the evil of my husband and my church was exposed.

But as G.K.Beale says [in his commentary on Revelation]  there is a remnant. A small part which faithfully maintains its witness, thanks be to God. This is also what I had begun to feel as the dust settled a little and I looked around. There are those who truly and sincerely love God and want to please and obey Him. They’re real.  We may be scattered, but we’re never too far apart, never without hope and encouragement.  God never fails to give it.

And there you have it. The cognitive dissonance created by hypocrites and the shocking yet refreshing experience that comes to us when the Lord takes away the veil, opens our eyes to reality, and sets us free of the enemy’s deceptions.

Southern Baptist Leaders are Merely Slapping More Whitewash on the Tomb – Don’t be Duped

Mat 23:27-28 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. (28) So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

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.

I just read SBC President JD Greear’s notes for a presentation to all the SBC pastors and seminaries and the whole big crowd. At the end, he spoke about the very recent expose of widespread sexual abuse and predation that has been going on in SBC churches for decades. Decades! After reading his notes I was struck with the fact that his presentation was just like some CEO giving a pep talk to his executives. It was devoid of the Spirit of Christ.

I want to warn everyone not to be duped by all the talk we are going to be hearing from people like Greear who try to con us into believing that real change, genuine change and repentance are happening. I see no signs of it. Why am I so negative? Because the remedies they are proposing and which they are trying to sell to us as real change are absolutely devoid of the Spirit of Christ. They are the inventions and devices of man. Let me explain.

Greear proposes all kinds of changes and programs. One chief one is that he is calling together a group of 10 “experts” on abuse to put together a 12 part training series to educate the churches on abuse. Fine, but these kinds of tools are powerless in themselves. We are not dealing with the weapons of flesh and blood. That is not the nature of this warfare. Our enemy is spiritual and this calls for spiritual weapons – the Word of God which is the sword of the Spirit wielded by people who are indwelt by the Spirit. But Greear’s notes would indicate that he is entirely ignorant of these things. Another indicator of the absence of the Spirit in him is no indication of brokenness and grief over the evils perpetrated and covered up.

All that is going to happen if Greear’s game plan is followed is the same thing that happened to the 7 sons of Sceva at Ephesus. Satan’s response is “who are you?” He laughs at such devices that know nothing of Christ. Furthermore, fleshly corporate world “fixes” are only going to clean the house to make Satan and his minions seven times more comfortable in it than before. That is to say, if this is going to be the SBC’s game plan, then they are going to end up 7-times the son of the devil that they already are. Satan will have a victory and he will be enabled to use the SBC even more effectively for his wicked deeds. Practically, this means that sexual abusers will end up being all that more enabled and at home in those churches because everyone will think that everything has been fixed.

Don’t be duped. Don’t be drawn into the pre-game hype that is going to be coming out of the head offices of these Spiritless places. Don’t let the wicked get away with scamming us with false repentance and false changes that invoke the name of Christ falsely. More coats of whitewash are not going to clean the inside of the tomb.