There is No Neutrality, No “Innocent” Bystander When We See Abuse

John 7:12-13  And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.

Let us hear what Judith Lewis Herman says about this kind of silence which is, in practice, a kind of neutrality:

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Church Associations/Denominations – How they enable Abusers in churches

NOTE: This post was originally published at my Light for Dark Times blog (lightfordarktimes.com) January 11, 2019 but I am also publishing it again here to be certain all our readers see it. It is a very important subject.

I am going to make a statement here that 10 years ago I would have argued against. No way would I have agreed with it. But hard experiences and further thought on God’s Word have turned me around completely on this. And I will show you how the subject at hand relates directly to all of us, especially to victims of those wicked abusers carrying on the Unholy Charade in a church. Here it is:

Local churches are not to band together into formal associations with other local churches. They are not to form what we call denominations. There is no biblical warrant for such practices and the result is inevitably the facilitation for the more rapid spread of evil, the furtherance of bondage to self-exalting men, and more intense oppression of the innocent.

Have you ever wondered for instance, how Rome became Rome? How the Pope became the Pope even though he puts his pants on one leg at a time like everyone else (I guess he wears pants)? I can tell you. Local churches began to meet together. Their elders and pastors had “convocations.” Pretty soon the head honcho bishop of the capital city got to thinking he should be acknowledged as top dog by the other churches and he sold them on the idea. Voila! The devil’s church is formed and everyone in all the other churches had just better do what Papa says, or else. After all, he is Christ on earth. Just ask him and he will tell you.

But I am not writing this morning primarily about Rome. That is just the classic example from the history of the church. No, I am writing to you to recommend some serious thinking about the common practice of churches forming and joining formal associations with one another. Writing up a doctrinal statement that all must adhere to. In some cases (church of England) putting together a Prayer Book that regulates worship in all the churches. Merging finances to fund denominational enterprises like missions, seminaries, and so on. The Southern Baptist Convention. The Independent Fundamental Baptists (IFCA). The Conservative Baptists. The Orthodox Presbyterians. The Presbyterian Church in America. The Association of Reformed Baptist Churches in America (ARBCA) (nearly defunct now due to their cover up of the evils of one Tom Chantry). CJ Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace group. On and on the list can go.

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The Abusive Marriage Wrongly Seen as Pious Asceticism

Colossians 2:16-23 ESV Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. (17)  These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. (18)  Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, (19)  and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. (20)  If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations– (21)  “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (22)  (referring to things that all perish as they are used)–according to human precepts and teachings? (23)  These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

One of the reasons Christians so often pile a huge and even dangerous burden onto the victimized spouse of an abuser is the crazy notion that her suffering is somehow pleasing to God.  Asceticism is the “severe treatment of the body” that supposedly helps a person defeat their temptations and sins — whipping one’s back, crawling up stairs on one’s knees — that sort of thing.  Scripture counters any such notion — “they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”  When the Lord Himself brings trials into our lives, trials from which at the moment there is no escape, that is one thing.  He means this for our good and for His glory.  Paul’s thorn in the flesh, whatever that was, is an example.  Paul however would have escaped this thorn if the Lord had made it possible.

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Beware of the Popular Domestic Abuse “Advocates” Who insist they can Fix Abusers

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.”

One of the reasons I am not very popular with the “bigger” names in the domestic abuse ministry realm is because I maintain that we are not to waste our time and energy with programs and “ministries” designed to “fix” abusers. In fact, I maintain that abusers as we have defined them here in this blog do not change. They do not repent. And, in fact, they play us for fools when we try to “save” them.

And yet this is not the message most professing Christians want to hear. They like a “they all lived happily ever after” ending to the story. That is why things like this gain popularity for their practitioners:

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Who do we Really Want in our Churches? – Is “Everyone” Welcome?

Rev 2:14-16 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. (15) So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. (16) Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.

How many times have you seen those church signs as you drive along?

“Everyone Welcome”

And so it seems in most local churches, everyone is welcome. “Come on in. Feel the love.” How foolish (or just plain rebellious) can we be!

Just a few moments of serious thought about what the Lord has written in the Scriptures will show us that in fact, not everyone is welcome in the Lord Jesus Christ’s church. Certainly not by Him. Why aren’t we following His lead?

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A Reminder – Sunday Sermon is Now at Light for Dark Times

Just a reminder for everyone that from this point on the Sunday morning sermon will be posted at Light For Dark Times instead of here at Unholy Charade. This is in keeping with our “remodeling” of LFDT’s to make it a, well, “virtual church” of Christ Reformation Church here in Tillamook. You will find a link there which will take you to Sermon Audio where the sermon is posted both in PDF format and Audio. The Audio will not be uploaded until Sunday afternoon PDT. 

As we have mentioned, we are making plans to enable us to upload a video recording of the sermon and you will already find our Sunday morning Order of Service at LFDT’s to help you participate with us.

If you consider us your church, which we invite all of you to do (if you are church homeless), please email us and let us know. That way we can keep a (private) roster of our extended fellowship. Feel free to use an alias for anonymity if you wish and no physical address or other identifiers is necessary.

False Teaching About “Gossip” Frequently Silences Victims

A few years back I received a copy of a small book written by Pastor Marc J. Grimaldi entitled Gossip: The Church Killer. It included a letter from Pastor Grimaldi which indicated he had sent out a copy of his book to pastors such as myself. He said in the letter:

For the ten years that I have served in the gospel ministry, I have found gossip to be one of the deadliest sins, which eats away at the life of Christ’s church. It is amazing to see how a single conversation even, can bring a wave of disruption, with many hearts being infected by the spread of gossip, leading to major problems in the local church. Sadly, gossip is so underrated and precautions must be taken to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, by inoculating our church members with a thorough understanding of the nature and danger of gossip….It is my hope that this short work will be a valuable tool for bringing the awareness of the danger of gossip to the local church, so that we might consciously seek to put this venomous asp to death, counteracting it with words that actually build up the body, rather than tear it down.

Now, I have no reason to believe that Pastor Grimaldi’s goal here is anything but what he has stated — to protect the church. However, most all of our readers  will agree that abusers absolutely love to accuse their victims of gossip if the victims tell anyone about the evils being done to them. And pastors and church members often do the same when an abuse victim comes forward to expose the evil and ask for help. “You are gossiping. Go home and respect your spouse.”

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