Evil Recognizes Evil

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, , 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 received a letter once from a person who I had past dealings with. They were not positive experiences. The person was divisive, accusatory and hyper-critical. But this time the letter I received claimed to be a help to me. In it, the person said that they had observed certain ongoing behaviors of another person I dealt with and warned me that those behaviors evidenced a plot to do me harm. Not physical harm, but harm to my ministry. The person warned me that I was being targeted by a narcissist.

Now, what complicated this situation and what caused me to disregard the warning is that the person giving the warning had a track record of being pretty evil themselves. So I didn’t believe the warning. But guess what? The warning was right on target as I had to learn later the hard way.

As I have thought about that dynamic and wondered what in the world was going on there, this thought occurred to me. Could it be that evil recognizes evil? If you look at the Scripture quoted above, notice how many of them (in bold) describe trouble caused by jealousy and envy. I think that the person who sent me this warning was motivated not by any concern for me, but by their own jealousy. They saw one of their own kind working for position and self-glory and recognized what was going on. How? Because I believe that evil is able to see itself. To recognize itself operating in another evil person.

Many of the dissensions and fights in local churches are just this. Not the righteous vs the unrighteous, but the wicked vs the wicked. Each party vying for power and jealous of the other because they see their own power lust in the other.

A kind of confirmation of this theory that evil recognizes evil comes from my experience as a pastor. More than once we have had a party of wicked people banded together in an effort to “take over” the church. They walk into a church meeting all in a group, sit in a group, waiting for a moment to announce their pre-decided slate of demands. But what happens to this party of evil once the battle is over? Let’s say they failed in their hostile takeover attempt. What happens to them?

Well, sometimes they go off and start another “church.” But even then those efforts most frequently end with the same outcome. They all go their separate ways. Why? Because they hate each other. They serve themselves. Their dark alliance was only temporary. They will never work together over the long haul because they are envious of one another. They see the power lust in those of their own ilk and the jealousy rages. Dissensions. Divisions. Devourings.

Herein is a sober warning to those who would be wise. Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin would never have worked together in harmony after the War even if the first two had survived it. They go their own way. And so it is with these counterfeits in churches. They spread out like a black plague. This one goes to that church, that one goes to still another, and the most industrious of them starts his own house “church.”

Do you begin to see why we all MUST proceed with caution when that nice, saintly, most holy appearing fellow and his family show up at our church one Sunday? Oh, your church is the best they have ever been in. And the sermon? Absolutely fantastic and biblical. Not at all like the church they have come from where they were treated so badly you know.

Yeah, right. We’ve heard that before. The truth is that evil saw evil, was intensely jealous of its practitioners, and struck out on its own to sow more seed of the enemy somewhere else.

What Does a Waterless Cloud Look Like?

Jud 1:12-13 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; (13) wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

Joh 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

If we are to do battle with evil in the strength of the Lord, protected by His armor and advancing with His weaponry, then we must be wise in regard to the schemes and lying deceptions of our enemy. How successful is any general if he is ignorant of the enemy general he wars against? Patton, it is thought, read Rommel’s book, and we must carefully read the Book given us by the Lord which exposes the evil one we stand against.

Notice here in the opening of the little letter of Jude, that we are warned about “creeps” (as I like to call them) who secretly and deceptively creep into the church:

Jud 1:4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

“Unnoticed.” That means that they wear some kind of disguise – wolves in wool – that kind of thing. Some of them, as Jude mentions, are all the time talking about “grace.” Grace, grace, grace. But it is a perversion of the grace of Christ because their message is one of presuming upon the Lord’s grace in order to indulge in sensuality and evil. If you want to build a fake “church,” this is a pretty good message to preach.

Continue reading “What Does a Waterless Cloud Look Like?”

Many Churches Teach a Roman Catholic View of Pastoral Authority

Mat 7:15-16 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (16) You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

In this passage, the Lord Jesus was exposing the hypocrites. Specifically, the hypocrites who were the “clergy” of the day. Scribes. Pharisees. That crowd.

Are we to understand that Jesus would have us submit to the authority of false prophets? Of course not. He is teaching the very opposite here. Even when He said:

Mat 23:1-3 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, (2) “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, (3) so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.

…He cannot mean that we are to submit to the evil commands and teachings of false shepherds. Yes, do what they “say” because what they “said” was the Law of Moses which they read. But as to the application of that Law? Nope. They preach but they do not practice. Don’t do as they do.

And yet very commonly in today’s churches we are being told by pastors and other teachers that we must obey them. Without qualification being added in their teaching. Let me show you their favorite verse to pervert:

Heb 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

What I mean “without qualification” is that they commonly emphasize the “obey and submit” part of this text while ignoring the qualifier – “for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.” In other words, TRUE pastors of Christ’s flock are genuine. They are not false shepherds. They really do watch over our souls and they do so with the constant awareness that the Chief Shepherd is the one who has appointed them and therefore to Whom they must give an accounting.

False shepherds do not watch over our souls. No. They devour the sheep. They use the flock for their own glory and gain. We are not to obey and submit to such men, but rather we are to expose them and put them out of the church.

Now, as you probably know, Rome teaches that no matter how corrupt a pope or priest might be, their office as dispenser of sacraments and so on is still genuine. The pope is the pope. The priest is the priest. So really, in the end, it’s all good.

And this is the same kind of thing I think that we see in Protestant churches so often. He is the pastor. Submit to him. They are the elders. Obey them. But the necessary qualifier is ignored – IF they are true shepherds. IF they are truly watching over the souls of the flock.

When an oppressed and downtrodden person comes to their pastor or other church leaders for help and is told, essentially, “suck it up and trust God,” then that so-called shepherd is not speaking for Christ. He is not watching out for and caring for the soul of the poor widow or abuse victim or the target of the sexual predator. He is giving false counsel and at least in that realm is a false shepherd.

I think that one of the most common ways to identify a false shepherd is by holding them up to this standard:

1Pe 5:1-3 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: (2) shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; (3) not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

False shepherds always, always, always “lord it over” the people. Oh they may put on some pretty convincing shows of “humility” at times, acting the “nice, kind” role and “washing the saints feet” while having trumpets blown, but in reality, when the mask is off, they are bullies. False shepherds are always bullies. Watch for it and you will see the bully make an appearance when the guise goes down in unguarded moments.

The Lord is in the business of taking bullies down. Stop fearing them. Pick up your sling and let fly at Goliath. But do not think that the Lord requires you to obey and submit to such an evil. He does not.