How Local Churches Become Enslaved to Evil – Part 5

Gal 5:19-21  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,  (20)  idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,  (21)  envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

I suppose this could be titled “my experience with evil in the local church.” In this ongoing series of posts my purpose is to show how I have seen evil being allowed to come into the church and take control, enslaving all who yield to it. This kind of thing is, of course, the subject of much of the New Testament epistles as the apostles warn Christ’s people of how the enemy will come against them.

I became a pastor in 1983 when I accepted a pastoral position with a tiny church in the mountains of western Montana. I could tell many stories of the operations of evil there (though I loved Montana and still miss it in many ways), as I could in my experience at my second church in Alaska. But in this series I am just going to focus on the evil that I met in our present church which we came to 26 years ago. The stories I can tell would fill books.

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What do we do when a “good” teacher goes “bad”?

1Timothy 1:18-20 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, (19) holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, (20) among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

1John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

What should be our response when people we have learned from, whose teaching seems to have been sound…go bad?  What are we to think?  Just who is such a person in reality?

Many people have the mentality of ‘eat the meat and spit out the bones.”  In some situations that may be wise.  But in the case of a professing christian whose actions and teaching now show a pattern of falsehood and heresy do we continue to go to them for direction thinking that we can just ‘eat the meat and spit out bones’ of their works?

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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.

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