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?
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?
Who does the Lord not welcome in His church?
- The willful unbelieving with hearts hardened against Him
- Hypocrites who put on wool to hide their wolfness
- The unrepentant man who claims to be a Christian but habitually walks in sin (check 1 Cor 5 on that one)
- False teachers
Who does the Lord welcome in His church?
- Genuine Christians, born again, indwelt by Christ’s Spirit
- Unsaved people who the Lord is bringing under conviction of sin and of their need for Christ
What has all of this got to do with the subject of domestic abuse hiding in the church? Plenty. A “church” where everyone is welcome is a place where domestic abusers are welcome. Where the wicked don’t have to worry about being “judged.” As I have written numbers of times before, a church that calls people Christians who habitually walk in sin, without repentance, and insists that the targets of these wicked people need to exercise more “love, mercy, patience” toward them becomes a den of evildoers.
Every single church that I have been a pastor of in these past 36 years shared one thing in common when I first arrived. They had tolerated rank hypocrites and insisted on embracing them as Christians for years.
- A devilish husband and wife team who had driven off the previous pastor were allowed to continue to revile others who did not “measure up” to their legalism (they were Bob Jones University grads by the way). No one ever challenged their salvation.
- Drunkards and sexually immoral people all of whom professed to be Christians made up a good majority of the congregation of still another church that called me. They were considered to be Christians by the rest of the church
- A large number of individuals, once again professing Christians, hated others in the church. They were envious, contentious, and hungered for power and control. And the church leadership knew it. T leaders’ response? “Well, we must just love them anyway since they are fellow Christians.” But of course, they were not Christians at all.
People like this are not welcome by the Lord in His church. In fact, He commands us to confront them and put them out if they will not repent (and the kind I had to deal with so many times never repent. Why? Because they had been playing sheep for decades and had become completely hardened in their evil). In the 36 years now that I have been a pastor, not a single one – not one! – of these counterfeits who we ultimately confronted have ever repented. Not a single one has ever contacted me to ask for forgiveness.
Any previous pastor who permitted these people to continue in their sin, being too cowardly to confront them and call them to repentance, bears a huge amount of responsibility for their sin. Years ago after first coming to our present church, two of these hypocrites had a blowup between themselves. I phoned the previous pastor (who everyone “just loved” by the way) and told him about the situation, asking if he had any insights as to how to handle these men. His answer? “Oh, you know, those guys and their wives have been fighting and quarreling for years. It isn’t surprising.” But he insisted they were Christians.
Oh really? And what, pastor, did you do about it? I didn’t need to ask him because I already knew – nothing. He did nothing. He just let them float along and reassured them that they were true Christians and therefore should try to “get along.”
Is that what the Bible says? Doesn’t the Apostle John say something like this? –
1Jn 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. (8) Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Yes, John does say that. In fact he says it over and over and over again. And so did Jesus (see John 13:34ff).
Do you see the point? Churches are welcoming domestic abuser hypocrites into their midst, allying with and enabling them by continuing to teach that such evil ones are still our brothers in Christ. But everyone is not welcome in Christ’s church. If your church has one of those signs out front, ask you pastor why? Ask him to show you from the Bible that everyone is welcome. Ask him if he would shake hands with the devil and welcome him on in if that serpent ever showed up on a Sunday morning.
Oh, wait. You already have the answer to that one. He has been hand-shaking and back-slapping the devil for years. “Come right on in, brother. The water here is just fine!”
And love is hatred of evil. We aren’t unloving when we hate evildoers. Love must be sincere. And the fear and love of the LORD is hatred of evil.
It is very common to see signs out front of churches that read, “All Are Welcome;” being a survivor of childhood domestic abuse and a former therapist for survivors of sociopathic abuse, I cringe every time I pass by them. I understand the intention isn’t to attract abusers, or to suggest evil is welcome in the congregation, however knowing that abusers sit next to us in the pews- wolves disguised as sheep, I have come to find these signs to be naive and dangerous. Many pastors and elders believe that no one is truly a reprobate, all are capable of change, therefore the Holy Spirit can deliver the most vile among us. They too are welcome, with the hope that a sermon will move them to true salvation and Holy change.
I have mentioned before the pastor who said to me, “The Holy Spirit invites who it wants, and can change any heart,” when I approached him about a man who began attending our church who had stalked me and my family and had a harassment order against him.
Years of tolerance for my own abuser by the church, has damaged my relationship with Jesus…
Should I hope for the Holy Spirit to change the most evil among us too? If I pray to have a heart like Jesus, shouldn’t I also want none to be lost? What a beautiful example of God’s power and mercy if they were to change, how dare I not want that witness for the Lord!
Vile, sadistic, torturous behavior towards me and others for 16 years has greatly formed my perceptions of God, Man and Evil. All are not welcome in my life.
Church is a sanctuary in the literal sense to me, a place to be vulnerable and open, so thank you for your continual advocacy to inform and protect us.
Joy- Do not doubt yourself on this. You are precisely correct and your conclusions are in agreement with the Lord. This nonsense of allowing everyone in because the Lord “can change anyone” is a lie that is nowhere taught in Scripture. In fact what we see in the Word is that the Lord commands His people to “come out from among them and be separate” and (1 Cor 5) to not even eat with a person who claims to be a Christian but who walks in sin. Do we see the Lord telling Israel to mix it up with the Canaanites because He is going to save them? Nope. 1 John 5 (referring to Jeremiah) says that there are people the Lord does not require us to pray for (I conclude these are reprobates/apostates who falsely profess Christ but walk in sin).
So you are absolutely correct. Those signs make me cringe too. The Lord is good. He is for the oppressed. He hates the wicked and we are people blessed by Him because we hunger and thirst for righteousness.
When I’ve seen these signs, they usually have a rainbow flag beside them, indicating the church is welcoming of the openly LGBTQIA population. The use of the rainbow to represent anything other than what God decreed in Genesis saddens me, especially when “churches” adopt is as so. You’ve done well to widen the berth of this sign to include other unrepentant believers/unbelievers. I do hope that before we cast out the degenerate, we’re using Godly discernment when determining whether someone is bearing good or rotten fruit.
Leanne – thank you. I haven’t so much noticed the rainbow symbol on these signs, though I am sure some have them. Around our area there is just the wide open “everyone welcome.” Oh, and when we talk about not welcoming the wicked in our churches, I mean that we are applying texts like 1 Cor 5 that tell us to expel people who claim to be Christians and yet who are habitually walking in and characterized by evil. We aren’t talking about Christians who sin and who repent. Nor are we talking about unbelievers who come wanting to hear about Christ. Nope. It is rather those who are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Those are the ones. Thanks again.
Absolutely! It is refreshing to hear of a church that practices the 1 Cor 5 manner of expelling. One of the most useful passages I’ve read is in Proverbs 2, where wisdom calls repeatedly, but eventually turns a deaf ear to the complacent. It provided much insight as to how we can, with God’s blessing, give up trying to call the wicked fool to repentance. It flies in the face of the current church climate of timeless overt acceptance of the unrepentant sinner.
I referred to the 2nd chapter of Proverbs in my last comment, but I stand corrected. The passage is the last half of Proverbs chapter one.
Pastor Crippen, I listened to your sermon last night about just stop being “nice”. I sat on my couch and all I could say was Amen and Amen!! I see what you wrote here pretty much lines up with the sermon. I could not agree more. A pastor knows the difference (if he truly is indwelt with the Holy Spirit) from a unsaved person and a evil imposter ( after a while they show rotten fruit) who is only interested in stirring up trouble and a wolf in sheeps clothing. Many years ago a seventy one year old pastor “knew” that someone I was bringing to church was unsaved without me saying one word to him. He mentioned this to me and I nodded in agreement. I think these kind of pastors are far and few between in these last days. Most churches are in rank apostasy practicing all kinds of occult techniques disguised in “Christian” terminology. And also I have learned from you the past four years, on top of that they do not follow the Lord’s word about letting all of this evil in. I even have family members who witness evil in the family but want to “look the other way” and ignore what needs to be confronted! I get so darn angry at this stuff. I always ask the Lord to keep me in the right spirit with all of this witnessing of lawlessness. You are one of the very few pastors I have known in my life who not only SPEAKS THE TRUTH, YOU DO THE TRUTH ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF GOD. You do not know how refreshing this is to someone like me. Oh, if I could only move to Oregon!!
Thank you walkinginthelight. It really is true, isn’t it? Churches in most cases willfully disobey Scripture and call just about anyone a Christian.