The Reason Churches Protect Abusers and Cast Out Victims is that they do not Fear a Holy God

Most all of you know the sickening pattern. Wicked, evil person hiding in the church behind a disguise of “saint.” He victimizes the innocent who then cry out for justice. Victims are marginalized, disbelieved, silenced, and even thrown out of the assembly. The evil one? He is not only allowed to remain in the church, but he is often coddled, pitied, and even put into a ministry position?

Why? Why this same evil mantra pattern? Over and over it happens. Why?

Let me tell you. I believe I know the answer. First, read the following account of two deceivers in the early church – Ananias and his wife Sapphira.

Act 5:1-11 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, (2) and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

(3) But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? (4) While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” (5) When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last.

And great fear came upon all who heard of it.

(6) The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him. (7) After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. (8) And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” (9) But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”

(10) Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.

(11) And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.

I am not sure where to begin, so I will simply begin. Over a decade ago, a great evil occurred in our church. Initially, as it was the first time most of us had had to deal with such a thing, it took some sorting out. Immediately we informed the perpetrator he could no longer be present in our church (for the protection of the victim). We reported the matter to the police. He and his family left our church.

Subsequently, I studied this matter of abuse (in its multiple forms) and eventually preached a 22 sermon series on the specific subject of domestic abusers hiding in churches, exposing not only them but the typical ways local churches and pastors covered for the wicked and oppressed the victims. That sermon series is still available at sermonaudio.com/crc. And ultimately I wrote my first book on the same subject, A Cry for Justice.

What was the outcome? Justice for the perpetrator. Validation for the victim. All’s well that ends well, right? Not so fast.

Ultimately many people left us. Our church now has about 30 people in it. One or two people became so hostile that we did not “forgive and forget” the whole matter that they became antagonistic and divisive and eventually had to be put out of the church. We are labeled. Unforgiving. Mean-spirited. Made a mountain out of a mole hill.

In other words, standing for righteousness proved to be quite costly.

But only in the short term. On that Day it will not be those who stand for victims of oppression who are going to pay the real price.

Now, back to our original question. Why is it that people – church members, pastors – normally champion the cause of the evil man and not that of the victim? Why is it the victim that is so typically oppressed, silenced, and put out of the church? I said I know the answer, and here it is:

Professing Christians in large part do not fear the Holy, Holy, Holy God. They look upon sin quite lightly and convince themselves that God does as well. They think, in the end, that Ananias and Sapphira got a rather raw deal, and that their case was not the norm.

You see, if we deal with sin in the church as Christ has commanded us to do, if we do not even eat with a person who says they are a Christian but lives like the devil (1 Cor 5) then suddenly sin rattles our world. Old Mr. Smith the deacon who, it turns out, has been abusing his wife for years, is suddenly put out of the fellowship and his evil exposed. The business is scary. Earth-shaking. Uncomfortable. Why, if I do what he did, I just might be the next to be expelled.

That is how it was when this young man decided he could treat God as no more than a man:

Jos 7:19-20 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the LORD God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” (20) And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I did:

Jos 7:24-25 And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver and the cloak and the bar of gold, and his sons and daughters and his oxen and donkeys and sheep and his tent and all that he had. And they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. (25) And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The LORD brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones.

Whoa! Poor Achan. Man, he said he was sorry. Today (you know this was Old Testament stuff) we hug Achan and tell him everything is ok. We tell him he is forgiven and no one is to ever mention what he did again. Grace that is greater than all our sin, you know. Makes us feel really warm and fuzzy and good.

But then there is that troublesome account of Ananias and Saphhira. Hmmmm….book of Acts. I think that is in the New Testament. Maybe things haven’t changed quite as much as so many professing Christians would like?

And that is exactly right. God has not changed. God is holy, holy, holy today and always. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sows, that he shall also reap.

Professing Christians today (and I say “professing” purposely because far more who claim to be Christians are in fact unconverted) do not fear the holy God. That is why they want to treat even the most evil sins in the ranks of the church so lightly. It is why they want to forgive and restore a pastor who has been involved in shocking or even criminal sin. Because if in fact we are required by God to tell such people they should fear God’s wrath, if we seriously hear the Apostle Paul tell the Corinthians that a number of them are weak and sick and some are DEAD! for mocking the Lord’s table, then – well, hold on just a minute….

Heb 10:26-31 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, (27) but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. (28) Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. (29) How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? (30) For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” (31) It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Most professing Christians do not believe this. This is not their god. They have no fear of the Holy One.

And THAT is why they will not act in holy obedience to the Lord when an Achan or an Ananias or a Sapphira crops up in their midst. Like the Corinthians whom Paul chastised, they arrogantly boast of their “graciousness,” embrace the wicked man, tell the victim to embrace him too or leave, and everyone sings another chorus of Jesus Paid it All.

 

Watch Out for People Who are Running to the Head of the Table

Luk 14:10-11 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. (11) For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

I am suspicious and pessimistic when it comes to jumping up and down for joy when some Christian leader announces that the lights have come on for them and they are launching into efforts to expose abuse in the church. We see this fairly regularly of late. The “nouthetic counselors” (now the ACBC) are suddenly hosting conferences on dealing with domestic abusers, calling us all to come to them to learn. We will see similar actions among the Southern Baptists now, and we have seen it before in the CCEF crowd.

One lady stated it very, very wisely and precisely recently on a website I visited. She said, regarding a Christian celeb type leader who has launched into the issue of abusers in the church,

He is looking which way the parade is going and jumping in front. So he appears to lead. A farce.

Bingo! Nailed it. Rather than going to the back of the line, humbling himself, admitting that in his ignorance he has added to the oppression of victims and enabled abusers, suddenly here he is in the lead! An expert, you know. But our Lord told us plainly – go to the back of the line. Don’t seek to be first, else you will find yourself humiliated.

So here for many, many years, we have had Christian counseling organizations, Christian authors, pastors, seminaries and mega/happening churches, in their ignorance and arrogance (and far too often in their willful allying with evil) refusing to hear us. By “us,” I mean the few authors and blog writers and a pastor here and there (and of course the victims themselves) who have been speaking out like voices crying in the wilderness, only to be dismissed as ignorant theological hicks who know nothing. Now, these very same groups who have refused to listen and who have hardened themselves against the pleas of the victims for so long, suddenly, here they are jumping into the head of the parade!! Why? We are quite justified in questioning their motives. Frankly, I think most of them have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar of abuser-enabling and victim-oppressing, and they are suddenly acting as if they have been experts “in the know” all along.

I suppose to some extent we should acknowledge the Apostle Paul’s take on such things:

Php 1:14-18 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. (15) Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. (16) The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. (17) The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. (18) What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,

Yes, we rejoice that the issue of abuse in all its evil forms hiding in the church is increasingly being addressed. But like the Apostle Paul, we still can realize that some of these sudden “experts” are motivated by selfish, self-glorifying, ambition. And to that extent, I do not and will not trust them.

Shunning is Not Always Wrong

Many times I have heard people criticize churches and Christians for “shunning” someone. And in many of those cases the criticism is valid because the person being shunned is in fact a victim of some evil which the church refused to confront. Instead, they blamed the victim and threw them under the bus.

Somehow the idea of “shunning” someone has become something that is thought to be always evil and wrong. But that is not so. The Bible is quite plain that there are people with whom we are to have nothing to do. People we are to shun. Here are some scriptural examples:

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.”

Rom 16:17-18 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (18) For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

2Th 3:6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.

I could go on citing more, but this certainly should suffice to prove that the Christian is to keep away from, avoid, and not even eat with certain people. Namely and especially, people who claim to be Christians but who are walking in evil and therefore are servants of the devil.

This idea that shunning is always wrong and evil in itself is something that is often used to justify keeping the wicked in the church, enabling them in their evil. But to do so is to refuse to obey the clear commands of the Lord. For myself, I simply cannot understand why any real Christian would want to continue in fellowship with a counterfeit believer who has crept in among the brethren to destroy and harm. We are light in the Lord. Why would we want to associate and be bound together with darkness?

Notice once again (you see it in the verses quoted above) that it is not the average, normal unbeliever that is the most serious threat to the church, though of course we are not to be intimately connected with them either. I count numbers of unsaved people as my friends. But I wouldn’t marry one. I socialize with them (as Jesus ate with sinners) but I realize that we are not at all on the same page when it comes to ultimate truths of God’s Word. Nevertheless, the greatest evil, the most wicked and dangerous person, comes to us disguised as a sheep, yet is a ravenous wolf. If someone claims to be a brother in Christ but in fact bears evil fruit as a regular pattern of his life, then that is the person to shun.

So, yes, I shun certain people. Our church shuns certain people. And in doing so we are obeying our Lord’s command.

You Cannot Appease Evil – It Will Just Grow Stronger

Pro 22:10 Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease.

A widespread, common, and dangerous fallacy rampant among Christians is that if victims of evil just submit to it, if they work harder at not provoking it, if they look within themselves and try to see that they have a share in the blame for the abuse, then eventually the evil oppressor will be satisfied and back off. Appeasement is the word for all this. Appeasement of evil by giving it what it wants.

If you study the buildup in the 1930’s to the second world war and watch the policy of appeasement toward Hitler and the Nazis at work, you will have a real lesson in wisdom. The leaders of Britain, with very few exceptions, embraced the policy of appeasement by giving Hitler what he wanted time after time. Even France held back at critical times when they should have been preparing for war because they didn’t want to make Hitler mad. Chamberlain and others embracing this fantasyland philosophy of appeasement sold out Czechoslovakia, Poland, and other countries all with the goal of giving Hitler what he wanted to appease him. Eventually, they insisted, he would be satisfied with what he had and his aggression would cease.

Wrong. WWII. Near destruction of all democracy in Europe if not in the world.

You cannot appease evil. You must not appease evil. Evil sees appeasement as weakness. Hitler viewed Chamberlain and his crowd was wimps and fools, which actually they were.

The same kind of appeasement policy is being pushed for by today’s political liberals. Don’t do anything to upset the tyrants. Give them piles of money. Promise to stay out of their business. Wear the blame for all that is wrong in the world. Believe their promises. And all the while they continue to secretly arm themselves for world domination. Hitler, you know, had specific plans for invasion of England and it included rounding up all males of age and shipping them into Europe to serve the Nazis as slaves. It very nearly happened. And then he planned to come for us here in the U.S.

In churches today, evil is being “dealt with” by a policy of this same kind of appeasement. “Don’t push his buttons,” abuse victims are told. “Submit even more and eventually he will change for the better.”  And we in the church, well, we are supposed to love, love, love the unrepentant evil man or woman with the same kind of insane foolhardiness that Chamberlain used on Hitler.

Evil is never appeased. Never. The devil never has enough slaves, never tires of working his wickedness. He is a murderer and the father of lies by nature, and so are his children (see John 8). We must stand up to evil. We must call it out. We must expose evildoers who are parading as Christians in our churches, and we must never, ever tell abuse victims that they must work to appease their abuser. That is spiritual malpractice. It is to ally with the wicked.

 

How Most Evangelical Churches and Ministries are Selling Indulgences, Just Like Rome

Galatians 1:6-8 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– (7) not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. (8) But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

My thesis in this article is just as stated in the title: Many if not most evangelical churches, teachers, and counselors are teaching a system that is a false gospel. A system of rules and methods which, it is promised, will “redeem” the soul – both your own soul and the souls of others, even the unrepentant! Let me explain. First, some background.

I am currently re-reading Roland Bainton’s wonderful biography of Martin Luther, Here I Stand. Early on, Bainton describes the world Luther grew up in and the “church” he was taught to believe in before Christ opened his eyes. Rome has not changed, by the way nor has she ever repudiated the doctrines taught in the 1500’s. How can she? After all, Rome is infallible, right?

Well, listen to some things Luther was taught:

Luther simply had not the capacity to fulfill the conditions [ie, of the holiness of God]. But if he could not, others might. The Church, while taking an individualistic view of sin, takes a corporate view of goodness. Sins must be accounted for one by one, but goodness can be pooled; and there is something to pool because the saints, the Blessed Virgin, and the Son of God were better than they needed to be for their own salvation. Christ in particular, being both sinless and God, is possessed of an unbounded store. These superfluous merits of the righteous constitute a treasury which is transferable to those whose accounts are in arrears.

The transfer is effected through the Church and, particularly, through the pope, to whom as the successor of St. Peter have been committed the keys to bind and loose. Such a transfer of credit was called an indulgence.

Precisely how much good it would do had not been definitely defined, but the common folk were disposed to believe the most extravagant claims. No one questioned that the pope could draw on the treasury in order to remit penalties for sin imposed by himself on earth. In fact, one would suppose that he could do this by mere fiat without any transfer. The important question was whether or not he could mitigate the pangs of purgatory.

During the decade in which Luther was born a pope had declared that the efficacy of indulgences extended to purgatory for the benefit of the living and the dead alike. In the case of the living there was no assurance of avoiding purgatory entirely because God alone knew the extent of the unexpiated guilt and the consequent length of the sentence, but the Church could tell to the year and the day by how much the term could be reduced, whatever it was. And in the case of those already dead and in purgatory, the sum of whose wickedness was complete and known, an immediate release could be offered.

There were places in which these signal mercies were more accessible than in others. For no theological reason but in the interest of advertising, the Church associated the dispensing of the merits of the saints with visitation upon the relics of the saints. Popes frequently specified precisely how much benefit could be derived from viewing each holy bone. Every relic of the saints in Halle, for example, was endowed by Pope Leo X with an indulgence for the reduction of purgatory by four thousand years. The greatest storehouse for such treasures was Rome. Here in the single crypt of St. Callistus forty popes were buried and 76,000 martyrs. Rome had a piece of Moses’ burning bush and three hundred particles of the Holy Innocents. Rome had the portrait of Christ on the napkin of St. Veronica. Rome had the chains of St. Paul and the scissors with which Emperor Domitian clipped the hair of St. John. The walls of Rome near the Appian gate showed the white spots left by the stones which turned to snowballs when hurled by the mob against St. Peter before his time was come….Another had a coin paid to Judas for betraying our Lord…able to confer an indulgence of 1400 years.

The false Roman gospel, you see. It still stands today. None of these things have ever been pronounced error by Rome.

But the spirit of this same false gospel is alive and well not only in the Vatican, it is thriving in the evangelical churches as well. Indulgences are being announced and sold. How so? Let me show you.

If you could be a fly on the wall in the pastor’s study or counseling room in most evangelical churches today, listening in on what victims of domestic violence are being told (or rather, “commanded”), you would hear over and over again this very scenario:

  • Even if your husband is abusing you, God does not permit you to divorce him
  • If you will become a more “Excellent Wife” [the title of one of the most notorious books promoting this nonsense] then you will be able to redeem your marriage.
  • Read this book that I wrote. It will teach you things that you can do in order to save your husband’s soul, and more importantly, save your marriage. God hates divorce, you know [that’s not in the Bible by the way]

In other words, even though the domestic violence victim is in a hellish purgatory of suffering and perhaps even death, she is a sinner just like her abuser and God has called her to pay for her own sins by humbly accepting this suffering. But there is hope. Through the books and counseling and teaching of this self-proclaimed priesthood, the abuse victim can go on a kind of pilgrimage, visit the fabled relics of saintly women who have suffered before and gone on to their reward. And if she will do all of this, these mini-popes will grant to her an indulgence, pronouncing her justified before God.

As soon as the gold in the coffer rings; the rescued soul to heaven springs

You say that I am exaggerating? I differ with you. These false Christian leaders are setting the price, selling the indulgences, and pronouncing all who drop the coin in by doing their programs to be “redeemed.”  Oh, and for those who will not pay? Off to purgatory with them! Ex-communication! Hand them over to Satan!

These evangelical indulgences are just as worthless as those sold by Rome. Christ alone is our Redeemer. Reject all who tell you that you must “do” and “don’t” to mitigate God’s wrath against you. Jesus really has paid it all. We simply embrace Him by faith alone and His righteousness, full and complete comes to us while our sin, full and complete, goes to Him on the cross to be paid in full once and for all.

Martha Peace. Jim Newheiser. John Piper. Voddie Baucham. Are you people listening? Nope. You will just get angry at what I have said. But then, I didn’t really write this for you anyway.

 

 

Local Churches are Giving Standing Ovations to the Wicked (Part 3)

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. (1Co 5:1-2)

As we have seen in this series of posts, local churches are giving standing ovations to unrepentant (or falsely repentant) wicked people. As you can see from the verses quoted above (which I quote very, very frequently), this is the very same sin that was pervasive in the church at Corinth. Boasting about how “merciful” they were, pronouncing a grossly evil man among them to be one of the saints. Paul nailed them.

Here then is still another instance which took place recently. Once again, in the absence of any repentance, people walking in sin who claim to be Christians were give a hearty round of applause from the congregation. This is how it went down:

An unmarried couple who have been living together for quite sometime have several children. They profess to be Christians and have been attending the church regularly.  After meeting with another “mentor” couple, also members of this church, the couple appeared on the platform of the church sanctuary at the Sunday morning worship service. The man got down on his knee and asked the woman to marry him. She accepted and a ring was given….and the whole place burst out in applause. No mention of sin. No mention of repentance.

Now, not only is there the issue of fornication, but it turns out that this fellow has been in jail several times this past year. Professing Christian. Living in sexual immorality. Committing crimes. He did mention to the congregation that he had had “a difficult year for him.” To which the pastor replied in front of all, “This is what God’s grace is all about.” Applause.  Shouts of “that was so beautiful!” That pastor, in his sermon, went on to chastise “nit-picky” Christians who are ungracious and unforgiving.

Now, if you have experienced abuse at the hands of the typical conscienceless, deceiving, sociopathic abuser, red warning lights are going to be going off in your head already in regard to this man. It is quite probable that this church just handed this woman over to an abuser, serving as his ally in evil. And the pastor and church are culpable. They are guilty. They are arrogant and they are presenting a false gospel. They are pronouncing a wicked man, who has been walking in habitual sin, to be justified and righteous in God’s sight. In addition, other abuse victims who are sitting out there in the pews will be further enslaved, confused, guilted, and shamed by all of this.

Do you realize that a wicked, evil person – even the devil himself – can easily stand up in front of a church audience and weep and wail in fake repentance, pleading for forgiveness, “confessing” his sin, and all the while be lying in every single word he utters? But, you see, so many people today who sit in church pews and claim the name of Christ for themselves, love this message of cheap forgiveness. Why? Because they know that if this is true —

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, (1Jn 2:4)

–then they stand condemned before God and their claim to Christ is false.

Local Churches are Giving Standing Ovations to the Wicked (Part 2)

Php 2:19-21 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. (20) For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. (21) For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

We continue now in this series of articles to expose the evil in local churches that, as in the case of one “Pastor” Andy Savage, enjoys a comfortable place among those who claim to know Christ. That claim, of course, is very dubious and highly suspect. How can Light abide darkness, or righteousness dwell with unrighteousness?

You will notice the experience of the Apostle Paul as he describes it here in his letter to the church at Philippi. He is alone. Almost all alone. This is the APOSTLE Paul! The Apostle commissioned personally by Christ. The ex-Pharisee met by the glorious, risen Jesus on that road so long ago. The “certain man” who had been caught up into heaven, seen and heard things that he could not even put into words for us. Paul, apostle to the Gentiles, whose apostleship and gospel were affirmed by the Lord’s signs and wonders. And he is alone. Except for Timothy and a handful of others like Epaphroditus, he stands alone.

Consider the experience of the Lord Jesus Himself on this earth. Or the experience of Peter and the other apostles. Think about what we see all through Scripture to be the experience of God’s faithful ones.

Mat 23:37a “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!

Elijah wasn’t the only one left, as he wrongly concluded. Nevertheless there were very few who remained faithful to the Lord and they had to be in hiding:

1Ki 19:9-10 There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (10) He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”

The Lord Jesus told us very, very clearly what we must expect if we take up our cross and follow Him:

Joh 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. (19) If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

If you are chosen by Christ then you dwell now in a foreign land that hates Christ and all who follow Him. Therefore, as the Lord told us, we can expect to find ourselves standing alone, or at best with a small remnant of those who truly belong to Him. That has been the experience of ALL the genuine people of God, people who are circumcised of heart, not just players at external religion. No exceptions.

Now, what has all this to do with evil in the visible church? Simply this:

Whenever we see a “ministry” that is popular and highly spoken of by people whose lives are conformed to this present world, we can be certain that such a place protects the wicked and that it proclaims a “gospel” that is anathema in God’s sight.

Let me give you a contemporary, real life account of this false gospel played out in a local church. It is not just an example, it is the norm in the large majority of so-called evangelical christianity today. This one belongs to the Southern Baptist denomination [the SBC is notorious for embracing the wicked as “brethren in Christ”].

Mike and Ashley profess to be Christians. They are members of a “fine” SBC “church” that is a happening place, offering all the bells and whistles people expect when they choose a church “home.” Ashley was raised up in a Southern Baptist “christian” home in fact and both she and Mike “walked the aisle to receive Jesus” many years ago.

So Mike and Ashley are getting married. Big wedding plans. In the church of course. Invitations sent out. Met with the pastor already and received his blessing. Everyone is so excited, you know.

Well, almost everyone.

Ruth has known Ashley for several years, having met her in a Bible study group. Ruth was invited to the wedding and since she lived some distance away, she came a few days early. Upon her arrival, she was immediately troubled. Mike and Ashley, you see, were living together. Shacked up. Sleeping in the same bed. Fornicating to put it in God’s language.

And that is not all.

It was evident for anyone with eyes to see that Mike and Ashley were living very, very worldly lives. Take Ashley’s appearance for instance – in public – with Mike’s full approval. Ashley dressed like…well…like so many men and women of the world today dress. Sexually. Very revealing (emphasis on “very”). We aren’t pushing some pioneer/Puritan era head-covering, dress to the floor modesty code here. Nope. Ashley’s – and really Mike’s as well – appearance in all things was “look at me.”

When Ruth confronted Ashley about these things, both she and Mike dis-invited her to the wedding and told her to leave.

Now, let’s think this through. Why are people like Mike and Ashley so perfectly comfortable in their “church”? Why has no one ever confronted them with their blatant, shameless sin? Why has the pastor agreed to perform their wedding ceremony in the church building in the name of Christ, when repentance for their sin is completely absent?

I can tell you why.

Because that “church” is no church. That “pastor” is no shepherd called by Christ to oversee His flock. The whole thing is counterfeit. Antichrist. Evil is comfortable in that place. It remains unexposed and even boasted about because such a “gospel” attracts crowds and money and notoriety. If Mike and Ashley, and others like them in that church, were to be confronted for their sin, all hell would break loose! The fangs would come out. Either the pastor who confronted them would be fired, or the wicked themselves would “take their money” and march out the door. And yet this is exactly what needs to happen.

Let me say it again:

Whenever we see a “ministry” that is popular and highly spoken of by people whose lives are conformed to this present world, we can be certain that such a place protects the wicked and that it proclaims a “gospel” that is anathema in God’s sight.

And we see it everywhere today. Everywhere.

Isa 1:11-17 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. (12) “When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? (13) Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations– I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.

(14) Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. (15) When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. (16) Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, (17) learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

At the root of all of it lies the unconverted, wicked heart of people who have been assured that they are “saved” no matter how they live. And the experience of every real Christian who dares to confront this false gospel is going to be the same as that of Christ, of Paul, and all the other faithful ones. Alone. Surrounded by people who mouth a confession of Christ but whose hearts are far from Him. People who seek their own interest.

Every once in a while you will find a Timothy. Or a Mary. Or an Epaphroditus. And when you do, be encouraged. You have found the real Body of Christ.

 

 

 

Local Churches are Giving Standing Ovations to the Wicked (Part 1)

Every single week, if not every single day, Christians who are either victims of evil in their local churches or witnesses to that evil, contact me and tell their stories. Over and over again. If you have been watching the news this past week, you may have read the report of one “Pastor” Andy Savage, a pastor in Memphis, being given a standing ovation by his large congregation after he “confessed” (under pressure of course) to a certain “sexual incident” 20 years ago while he was a youth pastor. It was neatly covered up by the other pastors of that church, the 17 year old girl sodomized by him being told to shut up about it. Standing ovation. Yep. You can get one too. Just commit a heinous evil and then be sorry about it. Or say you are sorry at least. If you are caught that is.

You can read the details here: “Pastor” Andy Savage’s Sodomy of a Teen

NOTE: Sodomy is the correct term according to Oregon Law. Oral/Anal sex forced are defined as “deviant sexual intercourse” and that is sodomy in our legal code.

We can no longer simply encourage people to “go to church on Sunday” and assume they will be better off than if they did not attend the services of a local supposedly Christian church. In fact, we may be sending them to a den of robbers and perverts worse than we find outside the local church.

1Co 5:1-5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. (2) And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. 

Do you think that I am overly pessimistically critical? I am not. Let me give you some real life examples of what is going on in most (I used to say “many”) local churches. They have ceased to be true churches if they ever were at all. Here you go. Case #1-

Prohibited by the Court, Permitted by the Church

In this first case, “Randy” we will call him, is divorced from his wife. She divorced him because he is a wicked, abusive drug user showing absolutely no repentance. He continually degraded and verbally demeaned her throughout their relationship. Randy (as so many of these kind do) claims to be a Christian. The court agreed with the charges of his abuse, and ordered that he only be allowed to visit his children ONLY in the presence of his ex-wife.

But that is not all. Oh no.

Randy likes his drugs. In fact, recently he was caught red-handed in his work van high as a kite on cocaine. He had been involved in the church’s drug and alcohol recovery ministry for years and claimed to have been sober from drugs. After he was found out, he told his ex-wife, “Well, I have to live my life!” No sign of repentance or remorse,. He was just as he had been throughout their marriage.

And there’s even more.

Randy has been “ministering” in his local church children’s ministry, in violation of the orders of the court. Randy is not supposed to be around ANY children unsupervised. The church did not take the wife’s word that he was not supposed to be around their daughter unless supervised by her, claiming she was being a vindictive ex-wife. So, what did Randy’s “church” do when they finally read the court papers? What was their response when they found out that they had failed to do an adequate background on this guy before handing children over to him? Well, here is what they did. This is an email sent to Randy by one of the pastors:

After informing Randy, in a tone of “I am so sorry we have to do this,” the children’s pastor told him: “Thanks for meeting with me. Your openness is so refreshing to me. Unfortunately the court documents leave no room for you to continue as a children’s ministry volunteer. I know you did not mislead us intentionally or maliciously, but this is what we must do to protect the church from liability. I am sorry, especially since you have been a faithful volunteer. Of course, Randy, this church is still your home. We love you and welcome you to be involved in one of the many other ministry opportunities here.”

Through several other emails, this pastor referred to Randy as “bro,” using apologetic and friendly language. This pastor even had breakfast with Randy! Apparently God’s Word  means nothing to this pastor:

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. (1Co 5:11)

The pastor never met with the ex-wife, asking her side of the story, or apologized to her for their failure to keep her child and the children of the church safe. In fact, this same pastor called her and berated her, using a condescending tone, saying she was at fault for not producing the divorce papers earlier.

And Randy IS continuing in ministry there. In what capacity you say? Well, Randy is helping lead the drug and alcohol recovery group, in “Jesus’ name” of course.

Oh, and what of Randy’s ex-wife and children, the victims of his evil? Well, you know, because they just aren’t as gracious and merciful and forgiving as Randy and his wonderful, loving church home, they have left that place. She was the only one who was a member of the church for a long time, very involved in a women’s Bible study group, and her daughter attends the school at the church. She feels hurt and betrayed, since she lost her close group of Christian women friends, and her daughter misses the only church she has ever known.

In reality this mother and child were driven out of their church. Why? Because that counterfeit, wicked “church” parading as Christ’s church, embraced the evil one and arrogantly boasted about how gracious they are. If victims of rape and abuse and child molestation cannot forgive their oppressors and sit side by side with them in church, I suppose that is their problem. So sad you know, that after Randy said he was sorry, they just wouldn’t let bygones be bygones.

And THAT is a peek into the typical goings on every single day in most local churches.

I was going to give you more examples, but that will have to wait for part 2, and part 3, and part 4, and…….

Evil is Darkness – It Always Pressures Us to be Quiet

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (John 3:19)

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. (1 John 1:5-6)

This post is about a subject that most all of you have experienced if you are a true Christian and have worked to expose evil, particularly evil hiding within a church under a “christian” disguise. This is still another tactic that is so commonly evidenced by wicked hypocrites because it proceeds from the very Prince of darkness himself. It is no surprise that his servants reflect it as well. Here is our topic:

Servants of our enemy, so often parading as servants of Christ, always work to silence those who would expose evil. You’ve heard it all before I bet, and certainly if you have seen wickedness masquerading as a saint in your church:

  • You need to be quiet. It isn’t “christian” to say such things about a brother in Christ.
  • You need to stop saying such things. You are trashing Christ’s church.
  • That is gossip.
  • All church members are required to never talk to the media about what has happened in our church.
  • Stop being so arrogant. We are all sinners.
  • The church leadership did not tell the members about Fred molesting his children because there is no need for everyone to know. So you be quiet about it and if you don’t we will discipline you.
  • No, we didn’t report this to the police and you must not either. Jesus wants us to handle this within His church and not get the state involved.

And on and on the list goes. You could easily add many more such wicked statements all designed to silence the light of truth.

Now, what we all need to do is totally blow off such intimidating threats (and that is precisely what these bullying tactics are – threats) and shout out the truth with even more clarity. We must have confidence, knowing that we are doing what Christ would do. “Woe to you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites!!” Jesus commands us to call out evil that has crept into His church and put it out from among us. See 1 Corinthians 5 on that as a clear example.

And here is something to add to our confidence. We can know with certainty that anyone who is working to expand and maintain the darkness rather than exposing evil with the light of Christ’s truth, does not know Him nor belong to Him. Oh sure, we might initially (in the days of our naivete) be confused and uncertain and wonder if we are to speak out or not. But if you are a Christian then the Spirit of Truth indwells you and He is going to turn on the lights for us and guide us into all truth. The truth in these cases is, “here is an evil person hiding in the church, claiming to be a Christian, but in fact his deeds reveal that he is still in darkness and is actively working to remain in that darkness. He has crept in among us. He is to be exposed and put out.”

Just read the verses quoted above once more. Pull out your Bible and read 1 John for instance. You either ARE or you AREN’T in Christ. And if you love the darkness rather than the light then I know everything about you that I need to know.

Our little church here in Oregon knows these things are true. We have, by the Lord’s gracious leading, exposed darkness and evil numerous times. As a result we are a small band. We are hated by many who claim to belong to Christ, and the fellowship of churches we used to belong to detests us for speaking out. Lo and behold one of their own “pastors,” Tom Chantry, was subsequently arrested on multiple felony charges and yet they still insist we must all defend him. We parted company with them years ago. And we can see that their persistence in walking in darkness and protecting others who do evidences exactly who they are.

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.” (Acts 4:18-20)

Nope, not going to shut up. Do your worst.

 

 

You Will be Cast Out – The Counterfeit Church Expels Christ’s True People

I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. (John 16:1-3)

If you are a Christian and if you have either been the victim of an evil one parading behind a false facade of “saintliness,” then you most likely have felt the very common sting of being viewed with contempt or even driven out of your “church” for daring to expose the domestic or sexual or spiritual (sometimes all 3 wrapped up on one) abuser. Well, let me encourage you by showing you evidence that the visible church is far more apostate and corrupt than most professing Christians even want to know. In other words, let me show you that it was not Christ’s true people who cast you out, but counterfeits – wolves in wool.

The Lord Jesus spoke very plainly. His words, as quoted above from John 16, tell us that the true remnant of God can expect, increasingly as the Day of the Lord approaches, to be “put out.” Speaking to Jews, He specified “put out of the synagogue.” In other words, the clergy, the visible church that claims to be the church of God, cannot and will not tolerate a genuine Christian in its midst. And, as Jesus goes on to say, when they ex-communicate Christ’s people, they will boast that they are doing it all in the name of the Lord!

Now, what is really going on? That is to say, so many of you who have been shunned or ex-communicated or accused or shamed by your local church for daring to speak out about the evil that is going on behind the scenes, were treated this way because those pastors, those elders, those church members, do not know Christ. Oh, I know that can be hard to believe. They put on such a show. Perhaps you were in such a “church” for many years and were quite active in serving there. Surely, you thought, these people are Christians. And yet, Jesus tells us that we can know that when the righteous are cast out of such places that place is in fact a den of robbers, not His Body. Read His words above again. That is exactly what He said.

God’s Word repeatedly, and I mean VERY repeatedly, records this very thing – the casting out of the righteous from among those who claim THEY are the church of Christ, but are not –

Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (John 9:35)

(His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) (John 9:22)

Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; (John 12:42)

See it? Why should we be so surprised when it happens? Let’s not be confused by this fog the enemy likes to hide behind. These words of the Lord in Scripture blow that fog away and enable us to see what is truly going on. YOU were put out of your church when you reported a wicked, counterfeit “christian” abuser because you are light and they are darkness.

This is still another Scripture on this matter. I really love this one:

Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word: “Your brothers who hate you and cast you out for my name’s sake have said, ‘Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy’; but it is they who shall be put to shame. (Isaiah 66:5)

Your brothers. Of course in the Old Covenant that meant fellow Israelites. But we can surely apply it to our situation in the New Covenant where we so often (and nowadays typically) are surrounded by “brothers and sisters” who aren’t. So, what do these fine “christian brethren” do? Same thing as Isaiah said – they hate every real Christian and cast Christ’s people out, claiming to do so for the Lord’s name’s sake!  That is exactly what Jesus said in John 16. They cast out Christ’s people and then boast that they have brought glory to the Lord. But…

it is they who shall be put to shame.

Why is it that most all of the hundreds and thousands of domestic and sexual abuse survivors, whose abuser targeted them in a local church, are no longer in such a place? Why do the majority not attend a church like they used to? Because, whether formally or informally, they have been cast out by the wicked counterfeits who do not know the Lord. And they are finding the real Body of Christ in some pretty unconventional places. It has always been that way you know. Catacombs. Caves.

Therefore, like the blind man healed by Jesus in John 9, when we are put outside the temple, we will find the true temple – Jesus. And we are seeing this very thing play itself out more and more in our day. We really can rejoice when this happens to us. It’s not fun, but it really clears things up.