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”
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.
“For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the LORD. (Jeremiah 6:13-15)
The false prophets of Jeremiah’s day kept announcing “peace and prosperity and God’s blessing on everyone” even though the thing was a fallacy. They minimized the seriousness of what was the real cause of troubles among them: “They have healed the wound of my people lightly.” They didn’t acknowledge the depth of their evil and be ashamed. They were arrogant.
I would suggest to you that this kind of thinking and utterance is characteristic of an evil heart. And I will suggest something else to you. Namely, that all of the minimizing and discounting of abuse victims in the “church” by leaders and members is a plain example of the very same cry of “Peace, peace” when there is no peace. There is NO peace in the victim’s life because her abuser is at war with her. But what is she met with when she calls for help? “You exaggerate.” They pronounce peace, you see, when there is no peace.
Continue reading “Don’t be One of These False Prophets Promising False Peace”