An Appearance of Godliness: Case Studies in Evil (Part 2)

2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV  But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  (2)  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  (3)  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,  (4)  treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  (5)  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

This is the second installment in this series – which is going to have quite a few installments before we are finished. As I mentioned last time, my intent is to end up compiling these posts, including many of your comments and insights, into a book by the same title – An Appearance of Godliness.

The Apostle Paul warns us here that the last days, that is, the church age in which we live and which will terminate with the return of Christ, is not going to be an easy time for Christ’s true people to live in. There will come times of difficulty.  But the difficulties Paul had in mind are not things like economic downturns, pandemics, car crashes, or broken water lines. No.

Continue reading “An Appearance of Godliness: Case Studies in Evil (Part 2)”

A New Series: An Appearance of Godliness – Case Studies in Evil

I have the outline of a new book sitting here on my desk, which I never seem to have time to get started on. So I thought what I would do is write it here with a weekly installment, and have you all provide your observations and comments and thereby…help me write the book!

Here is the central theme scripture the book title is drawn from and which is really a statement of the purpose of the book:

2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV  But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  (2)  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  (3)  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,  (4)  treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  (5)  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Most all of the wicked people I have had to deal with as a pastor, in the church, were this very kind of person. They had the appearance of godliness, but they denied its power. Let’s see if we can think through what this means.

Continue reading “A New Series: An Appearance of Godliness – Case Studies in Evil”

Some Thoughts on Churches that Abuse the Abused

Recently we watched a movie called A Call to Spy. It was about World War 2 and Britain’s efforts to send agents into Nazi occupied France to gather intelligence and help organize resistance fighters. One out of three of these agents never made it back home.

The movie specificially focuses on the inclusion of women in these ranks and the account is based upon real people who actually operated behind enemy lines. The movie showed the tactics of the Nazis to capture spies and force information from them. It also showed the methods of Hitler’s hordes to control the populace by instilling intense fear into them, along with flooding them with propaganda.

As I watched, I could not help but see similarities between the Nazis and so many of the churches and church leaders who protect abusers and oppress the abused. There is bullying. Threatening. Silencing. False teaching (propaganda). And then there were the scenes in the movie of women spies who had been captured, tortured, and imprisoned.

I know that I will be accused of exaggerating and there will be the angry responses of “how dare you accuse your brothers in Christ of being like the Nazis.” But it’s true. There are definite similarities in methodology.

And I would simply say – if you don’t want to be accused of being like a Nazi, then don’t be like a Nazi.