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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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.

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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.

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