We Cannot be Careless About Who we Allow Our Children to be With

Mat 19:14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

When I was a youngster I was put in many situations that could easily have resulted in me being victimized by a pedophile or some other abuser. I remember once when there was a record-breaking flood in Southern Oregon. We lived along the river and the water got into our house, so we had to stay with the neighbors. The mother was a very kind woman – she may even have been a Christian. Her husband was a foul-mouthed man and so were her two sons who were in their early 20’s.

One evening when the flood waters were receding a bit, just enough to permit driving on the highway into town, my parents let me accompany one of the sons to the grocery store with a list of things to pick up. He had a car and off we went. On the way, right out of the blue, he asks (I was only 12), “so Jeff, are you masturbating yet?” Needless to say I was taken aback because we didn’t talk about such subjects in our family. But he kept pressing for an answer. I don’t know what I said, I must have mumbled something. But then he proceeded to tell me how his first ______ was one of his high school teachers.

Now, here is my point. Even though nothing else happened, the fact is that my parents, in their naivete, allowed me to be placed in a dangerous and harmful situation. They did not know this young man really. Yet they carelessly assumed. And then they sent me off with him.

I could tell you many similar stories. I had an older relative who kept pornography in his room and my parents often left me there while they were on vacation. Oh, and this was a “Christian” family you know. His parents were very active in their church. He went on in life to embrace homosexuality. Then there was the female relative, a few years older than me, who as I look back on it now was certainly being sexually molested by her much older brother. Yet, again, my parents very often just turned me loose with these people, unsupervised.

Almost all of you, I suspect, could tell very similar stories of your childhood. Some if not many of you probably never told your parents about some molestation episode because, well, you never talked about such things in your family. Besides, would they believe you? Would they think it was really all that serious? Maybe they would be angry with you and tell you it was your fault. And, in your childhood thinking, maybe it was your fault?

Moms, dads, you cannot assume. You must not allow your children to be turned loosed to run unsupervised with the neighbor kids, with some classmate who wants them to spend the night, with those children of your  own siblings (ie, your children’s cousins), with coaches or teammates, school teachers – ANYONE! If you think that I am exaggerating the case, then I would tell you that you are naive and careless.

Evil lurks. Evil dwells in the heart of man. It is all around us.

And woe, woe, woe to the evil ones who cause the little ones to stumble.

 

The Mortal Danger of Living as if Evil is Non-Existent

As a contributor to the Yale Review has pointed out, [Winston Churchill’s appeal for a recovery of moral health] was his way of saying that the English after Munich had to learn all over again to recognize evil. They had lost the sense of villainy; they had no solid principles, unshakable convictions.” [William Manchester]

But [Neville] Chamberlain still did not believe in standing up to Hitler. All evidence to the contrary, Chamberlain remained convinced that if the Fuhrer were treated with generosity, he could become Britain’s best friend. [Ibid]

In politics the squeaky wheel gets little grease. This is particularly true when a public figure challenging the leader carries a controversial reputation in train. The mass distrusts controversy. Reluctant to reconsider its convictions, superstitions, and prejudices, it rarely withdraws support from those who are guiding its destinies. Thus inertia becomes an incumbents’ accomplice. So does human reluctance to admit error. Those who backed the top man insist, against all evidence, that they made the right choice.” [Ibid]

As is evident in just these three quotes from Manchester’s wonderful book on the life of Winston Churchill (these taken from the second volume covering the decade before World War 2 when Churchill as a lone voice was trying to warn of the growing Nazi menace] naivete and ignorance regarding evil can be catastrophic. In this case, it led to some 60 million people dying. SIXTY MILLION! In some ways I regard Chamberlain as guilty as Hitler.

If you really want to gain wisdom regarding evil, read at least this second volume of the series (The Last Lion, William Manchester). If you are at all aware of the nature and tactics of domestic, spiritual, and sexual abusers who hide in sheep’s clothing in churches, I assure you that as you read you will find yourself very often exclaiming, “that is exactly what we are up against in the church when we try to point out evil!”

You have three perfect examples of this in the quote above:

  1. When Christians live in an isolated Christian “bubble,” when children grow up all their lives in such a place, they lose all sense of, as Churchill would put it, “villainy.” “Goodness gracious!” is about as strong of language as they hear. Bad guys are always dressed in black and in the end the good guys in white always win. And all this leads such people to this….
  2. If we just treat even the most nasty people with generosity, if we appease them and give them their way whenever we can, then surely eventually they will be truly thankful to us and become our bestest friends.
  3. When evil is uncovered in, for example, a local church, institutional inertia demands that it be discounted and ignored. Everyone is quite reluctant to admit that they have been duped by saintly old deacon Smith who, it turns out, has been sexually molesting children or abusing his wife all these years.

As for those who report these evils, such as the victims of it all, well, as Manchester put it, “the squeaky wheel gets little grease.” In other words, victims are ignored or told to stop squeaking! Why? Because they are upsetting the momentum of the institution that has been running oh so smoothly for a long, long time. To receive and believe the victim’s report of evil in the pews would demand a total reboot of, well, of just about everything that is held dear.

Willful ignorance of evil on the part of pastors and church members, counselors and popular Christian writers, has been enabling evil and oppressing its victims for far too long. Just as Neville Chamberlain and his “peace in our time” crowd had been provided with mountains of evidence that Hitler was arming Germany at an astounding rate, so Christians have been given God’s own Word that clearly exposes wickedness. How it hides among us. What its schemes are. What our weapons are. Paul reminds us-

2Co 2:11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

Eph 4:14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

But we are children. We are ignorant of his designs. There is a multitude of reasons for this. Sometimes we are taught by leaders who do not belong to Christ at all. Sometimes professing Christians plug their ears to the truth when it is preached and cry “no more!” like the Israelites at Mount Sinai. And often we have carelessly embraced the traditions of men as the Word of God because we have not searched the Scriptures carefully ourselves. But whatever the cause, the widespread willful ignorance to the nature and tactics of the evil that has crept in among us in the church is permitting and even empowering wicked, ungodly men to parade as eminent holy men while all the while they feed on the flock.

Wake up, Christian. Listen to the victims. Believe them. Admit your ignorance about the devil and his methods and start taking serious steps to correct that ignorance. World War II never needed to have happened! There were scores of opportunities and years of time to stop the enemy without a shot being fired or a life being lost. So it is in your church and your family when it comes to protecting Christ’s people from the wicked.

1Th 5:4-8 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. (5) For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. (6) So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. (7) For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. (8) But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

 

It is a Great Error to Assume that Even the Devil is Open to Negotiation

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (Joh 8:44)

We who genuinely know and love Christ desire good. In the end, every Christian longs for peace, for right relationships, and for reconciliation.

The wicked are not so. And when we think that our enemy and his servants desire the things we desire, we err greatly and we err dangerously. Christian, Satan does not long for the things you long for. He does not desire the good that you desire. He longs ONLY for death, for destruction, and for the utter annihilation of the Lord Himself. Always. Only. He longs for these things. And so it is with his servants.

Listen to William Manchester (I am still reading the biography of Winston Churchill, The Last Lion by Manchester) describe this kind of insane and horribly destructive thinking. In 1936 as Hitler continued to militarize Germany in open defiance of the treaty of Versaille, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin….

Called for his fiddlers three – Samuel Hoare (now first Lord of the Admiralty), Lord Halifax (lord privy seal), and Neville Chamberlain (Exchequer) – and moved toward what they thought was firmer ground.

It was quicksand. Their new mantra was diplomacy — negotiation as a sensible alternative to war. Britain’s honor, they told the public, would be preserved; the negotiating table, not the battlefield, was where differences between England and Germany would be resolved. They were convinced that Hitler had his price. Some of them believed this even after all their assumptions, and much of London, lay in ruins. Devoted to peace, they could not understand that the ruler of Nazi Germany disdained negotiations, enjoyed bloodshed — including the shedding of German blood — and therefore preferred military conquest. [The Last Lion, Volume 1, pp 205-06]

This is precisely where much busyness (no, I didn’t misspell it) we do in the church goes so wrong. Consider “Biblical Counseling” for instance. The mass of those propelling this movement insist that there is “redemption” for everyone. That through counseling, through reasoning, and thus through “negotiation” with even the most vile and wicked person, redemption will draw nigh. Like Baldwin and his fiddlers three, they are viewed by the wicked as fools – and indeed, fools they are.

Like Hitler, there are many, many people around us today who are not at all interested in “negotiation” or listening to “reason.” They have no conscience. They only desire to kill and destroy and oppress. Secular psychology knows this full well. Such people are called sociopaths or psychopaths. We meet them in the church as they parade behind a facade of “saintliness” while in reality they are domestic abusers or sexual predators or simply people who would be like “The Most High.”

Largely, local churches and pastors and “biblical counselors” are handling such evil ones in the same manner Baldwin and his puppets tried to deal with Hitler. Rather than standing up and using the overwhelming military might they and the allies still possessed at that early date, they plunged the world into a virtual apocalypse that slaughtered 60 million people all over the globe.

Appease the evil one? Reason and negotiate with him? How is that going for you? Look around the visible, professing church today and you will have your answer. Do you hear the victims crying out?

 

 

“No Trap is so Deadly as the One You Set for Yourself” (William Manchester, The Last Lion)

2Co 11:4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

Listen to the following quotes and see if you can guess who their subject is:

“The central fact today is that he does not want war and is prepared to renounce it as a method of settling disputes with his neighbors”

“He seeks our friendship. If we fail him, he will turn elsewhere and we shall be sorry to have refused him.”

“He is the greatest living [citizen of his nation] and I told him that to his face.”

“He is a born leader, a magnetic, dynamic personality with a single-minded purpose…to keep the peace.”

“With this man at the helm, [his country] will never invade any other land.”

“I only wish I we had a man of his supreme quality at the head of affairs in our country today.”

Well, you have probably guessed that all of the lauds were spoken of none other than Adolph Hitler by leading members of the English government – Lloyd George the famous Prime Minister being one of the most outspoken. And perhaps the most mind boggling of all was this statement that came from leading Anglican churchmen:

“[We have] boundless admiration for the moral and ethical side of the National Social (Nazi) programme, its clear-cut stand for religion and Christianity, and its ethical principles, such as its fight against cruelty to animals, vivisection, sexual offences, etc.”

You can find all of these quotes and more in William Manchester’s second volume of The Last Lion, pp 79 ff, Bantam books.

All these people and more wanted to believe that Hitler was for peace because peace is what they wanted. They wanted peace so much that they were willfully blind to the facts, embraced fables, and in the end had the furious firestorm of this despot unleashed upon their homeland, nearly to its destruction. Oh perhaps some of them more noble than others truly sought peace because peace is good, but the mass of them acted out of purely selfish reasons. Their self-serving motivation became increasingly evident as more and more facts about what Hitler really was came out.

2Co 11:14-15 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (15) So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

All during this time of Hitler’s rise to nearly unstoppable power, there was one voice issuing warnings – that of Winston Churchill. He was not only disregarded, he was mocked and put out to pasture, relegated to a mere back bench in Parliament. He saw the rising evil tide, he warned of the consequences of this blind quest for a disarmed world in which there would never again be war. But for the most part, no one listened. As Manchester summarized, “no trap is so deadly as the one you set for yourself.”

The state of the visible church today is very much the same. For the most part, pastors and professing Christians, churches and their members, simply do not want to be troubled by reports of evil in their midst. It seems to me that one of the quickest ways for a pastor to insure that he is “back-benched” and regarded as “finished” (“too bad. The fellow had so much promise you know”) is to declare that all is not well in the pews nor in the pulpits.

Micah 2:6 “Do not preach”–thus they preach– “one should not preach of such things; disgrace will not overtake us.”

But disgrace did overtake Israel. Because they would not listen.

Let me close with one final sobering illustration of willful blindness to evil. While Winston Churchill was poring over facts and figures in reports from Berlin which showed what Hitler was really up to, Americans also entered into the fantasy of Hitler as “good guy.” Here it is:

The most painful toast to Hitler, for Americans, is a Walter Lippmann column which appeared in the New York Herald Tribune on May 19, 1933. Lippmann had heard a speech by the new chancellor (Hitler) and described it as a “genuinely statesmanlike address,” providing convincing “evidence of good faith.” He told his readers, “We have heard once more, through the fog and the din, the authentic voice of a genuinely civilized people. I am not only willing to believe that, but it seems to me that all historical experience compels one to believe it.” He went further. Persecuting the Jews served a purpose by “satisfying” Germans’ yearning to “conquer somebody”; it was “a kind of lightning rod which protects Europe.” Walter Lippman was a Jew. [ibid, p 81]

Willful blindness to the obvious. A willingness even to sacrifice  one’s own countrymen in order to persist in a selfish fantasy that “all is well in my world.” And so it is in the visible church today. If you doubt it, just look for example at how victims of sexual or domestic abuse (abused even by pastors and/or church members) are treated in most local churches and denominations when they report what happened.

Such acceptance of evil is evil itself. Those who embrace it eventually become unable to discern truth and they will believe the lie instead, to their destruction.

 

Clear Signs that Pharisees are Controlling Many (most?) Churches

The more I read about the Pharisees in Scripture, the more certain I am that many, many local churches, seminaries, and other “christian” entities are controlled by them today. In fact I conclude that the Pharisees (along with their libertine anti-types) have been controlling the evangelical church for quite some time. Just read the following Scriptures. I noted (bracketed) what specific evil quality each Scripture identifies:

Matthew 16:12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. [They do not teach the true gospel and doctrine of Christ that sets people free. Their teaching enslaves]

Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. [When a victim of injustice and oppression comes before them, they do not deal out mercy and kindness. Their emphasis is on the letter of their law]

Mark 7:5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” [They teach traditions made by man, claiming it has the authority of God’s Word]

Luke 11:43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. [They crave praise and glory and worship for themselves]

Luke 16:14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. [Like Balaam, they are motivated by greed. The are not teachable and they ridicule the true Word of God]

Matthew 12:14 But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him. [They actually hate Christ and His servants. His Word is light that exposes their evil, so they desire to destroy a true Christian]

Matthew 15:14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” [Once again, they teach darkness, they do not desire to see light, they are not teachable]

Luke 11:46 And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.  [They seize unlawful authority over God’s people that the Lord has not given them, even when they disagree among themselves about the point they are enforcing]

Alright then, there is not much more that needs to be said by way of application, is there? These descriptors of Pharisees match the so-called “christianity” being taught in so many churches, and they match the habits and characteristics we see in so many of the leaders of those churches.

Let me give you an example. For years now through the A Cry for Justice ministry, pastors and seminary professors and other “notable” leaders in the visible church have been called to repent of the injustices dealt to victims of domestic violence abusers in the church. And what is the most common response received? Hard heartedness. Arrogance. Refusal to learn. Even hatred for Christ’s truth put before them. And then they have continued right on dealing out their oppression to victims and enablements to the wicked.

If that does not describe a Pharisee, I do not know what does.

Another example is how so many churches and church leaders seize for themselves unlawful authority over Christ’s people. You need not look very hard to find examples. Who, for instance, ever gave churches the authority to say yea or nay to a divorce? Certainly churches are to exercise Christ’s authority over unrepentant, ongoing, flagrant sin in the church, but where did this notion come from that the Christian must seek permission from their church to divorce a wicked, abusing spouse? Yet that is common practice today,

And one more example. Pharisees never agree among themselves. They set up their own peculiar systems of nuanced legal interpretations, like the rabbinic schools in Jesus’ day. Once more, you don’t have to think very hard to see that this is the exact situation we are in today in the visible church. How many positions, for instance, are we ordered to follow in regard to marriage, divorce, and remarriage? This confusion is another typical trait of the Pharisees, yet they insist that people must obey their particular take on Scripture.

If this be the case, if in fact as I am suggesting you that many if not most local churches and Christian entities are controlled by Pharisees, then the fact is that the mass of professing Christians today are enslaved to a false gospel, led by false shepherds, reading false books, and worshiping a false God. Yes, the situation is indeed that serious. Just as serious as it was in the dark days before the Reformation.

Ezekiel 34:1-4 The word of the LORD came to me: (2) “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? (3) You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. (4) The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.

If You Refuse to Acknowledge Evil, You Don’t Believe God

And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” (Isaiah 6:9-10)

Willful blindness leads to further darkness. When human beings refuse to acknowledge and give thanks to God, He steps back (Romans 1). The darkness increases because God is Light. Christians are no exception. When God’s people close their eyes to the light of God’s truth in His Word, they too can expect darkness to overshadow them.

Literally everyday, and I say this with no exaggeration of the facts, I read or see or hear real life examples of professing Christians (are they Christians at all??) willfully choosing ignorance and falsehood rather than Christ’s light. Want some examples? Here:

  • Hugh Hefner, porn king who led millions of people into wickedness and used and abused how many women, died recently. What did some “christians” have to say when Hefner’s evil was pointed out? “We must not and cannot judge him. He was someone’s son. His life should be celebrated. He too was one of God’s children.” Really. I am not making this up. They said it and were incensed that anyone would be “judgmental” about Hefner.
  • A sermon is preached in a mega-church by an “expert” on marriage. He says that every marriage – EVERY marriage – is a garden that, if properly tended, will be beautiful and bear good fruit. The only reason the garden goes bad, says this “doctor of ministry,” is because the husband and wife let it go to weed through neglect. He makes no mention of the fact that there are many spouses who are sociopaths, conscienceless workers of evil whose intent is to deceive and destroy.
  • A wicked and evil man is confronted for his unrepentant and ongoing reviling of the righteous and enabling of the wicked. He is put out of the church. He simply drives down the road the next week, plugs into another “church,” wearing his facade, and within two years is appointed to a leadership position there. The pastor and other leaders never bother to look into his history.
  • A growing, “happening” mega-church wannabe boasts about how many new people are swelling its ranks and how many “baptisms” are being performed. “It’s the Lord at work! We are kingdom-minded and He is going to do a huge work through us!” When a church member involved in the women’s ministry cautions the pastor that there are numbers of men who are domestic abusers parading as Christians who are members of this church, the pastor scoffs. He accuses the lady of being paranoid and asks her rather mockingly, “do you want us to go on a sin-hunt in a church this size?”
  • As judges will testify if you ask them, when a pastor or “saintly” church member appears in their courtroom, charged with rape or child molestation or some other unspeakable evil, the courtroom seating will be filled on the defendant’s side. Filled with other church members who have come to “support” their fellow “brother in Christ” who they just know could not possibly be guilty. Oh, and who is on the victim’s side of the courtroom? No one. None. Empty.

And on and on we could go. The climate in most local churches is one which accepts as valid virtually anyone’s claim to be a Christian, regardless of how they are living their life. They can be walking in immorality. We must not judge them. They can be people who mistreat their employees, who regularly look at porn with no remorse, who love the world and the things in the world, and yet “grace abounds,” for them we are told. The only really heinous sin it would seem is to call sin, well…sin!

But there is more. If you take the time and have the opportunity to chat with the average, typical member of local churches today, you will very commonly find an astonishing degree of biblical ignorance. The Apostle’s words are spot on for our day:

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)

Take particular notice of the very last phrase here. “…who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Did you think that “spiritual maturity” was something else? Like knowing lots of verses by memory, or winning attendance badges in Sunday School, or reading your Bible through in a year? Those can be good things, but the fact is that spiritual babies can and do accomplish those things if tantalized by the right bribes. No, real spiritual maturity is the ability to distinguish good from evil.

Therefore, my thesis is this: The light of God’s truth is exceedingly dim in most local churches and individual professing Christians today. And the proof of this statement is the plain, evident fact that the large (very large) majority of church members cannot or will not distinguish good from evil. Instead, this is what we are seeing:

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)

Do you want to grow up? Do you want to be someone who loves righteousness and hates evil, who is sick and tired of the name of Christ being blasphemed because of the actions and teachings of those who claim to belong to Him but do not? Then stick with us here at Light for Dark Times as we contrast what God’s Word says with the darkness being preached in the visible church.

Remember, anyone who refuses to acknowledge evil is a person who necessarily refuses to believe God.