As criminal investigators often say, “follow the money” if you want to get to the crooks. In this post I want to expose a chief and leading motive which explains why “christian” entities (denominations, seminaries, churches, missions organizations, Bible colleges, pastors, etc) so typically abuse the abused. Why do they cover up the evils of the wicked? Why do they try to silence the victims? Why is the wicked man so often allowed to remain in a church while his victim is ostracized? I think the answer is largely right in front of us and it is far more base and disgusting than we might realize when all the fog of excuses is blown away.
Consider these verses (and there are more):
1Pe 5:2-4 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. (4) And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
Tit 1:7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain,
1Ti 3:8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain.
Isa 56:10-11 His watchmen are blind; they are all without knowledge; they are all silent dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber. (11) The dogs have a mighty appetite; they never have enough. But they are shepherds who have no understanding; they have all turned to their own way, each to his own gain, one and all.
Pretty plain, isn’t it? I have doubts, increasingly as the years pass, that Christians should ever organize beyond the local church level. Even at that stage it is a task to keep evil in check as it constantly works to creep in among us, but at least in a local church of manageable size (I reject the mega church as a model) there is a chance that evil can be recognized, exposed, and put out from among us. Of course this requires that Christ’s real people are wise in His wisdom and that they are courageous in His strength, ready to fight and oppose wickedness. If you do that, you won’t have to worry about your church getting to large to manage!
Now, the Lord repeats over and over in Scripture that no one is to be allowed to shepherd His flock if they are a lover of money. “Filthy lucre,” as the KJV puts it. And it is my thesis here that the love of money is….well:
1Ti 6:9-10 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. (10) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
It is my proposition to you here that the love of money (and the associated love of the power and worldly prestige that money brings in) is one of the core evils that promote the toleration of evil in the visible church and the oppression and abuse of the victims of that evil. Yes, I am saying that the majority of pastors and other supposedly Christian leaders today in the various “christian” organizations, are in fact motivated not by a hunger and thirst for righteousness and for the love of Christ, but by greed. If that sounds like an overstatement, go back through Scripture and read all the additional verses like those quoted above and let the emphasis the Lord puts upon this evil soak into your thinking.
Luk 20:46-47 “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, (47) who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
I am not proposing that this thing is present among us here and there. I am saying that the shameful treatment of abuse victims and other oppressed people in Christ’s flock is an iceberg tip that tells us 90% below the surface is all corruption.
Anything or anyone that threatens the cash flow and the sinful glory that goes with it is going to be disregarded, minimized, accused, shamed, and if none of that works, cast out. And understand this:
The more money and earthly magnificence an organization has, the less likely it will be willing to risk that wealth by standing with a victim, exposing evil within the ranks. Not just because of the amount of wealth and luxury it has, but because the facade of false holiness must be maintained to keep that money rolling in.
Rev 17:4-6 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. (5) And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” (6) And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her, I marveled greatly.
The love of money produces power structures and power structures produce money. A group of churches, for instance, gather together to discuss how they can associate to more effectively do “the Lord’s work.” That may be the real motive at the beginning for some, but you can be sure that as the new bylaws are penned, officers elected, home office facilities rented, fund-raising campaigns started….inevitably wicked greedy people who parade as the Lord’s servants will come to the fore. They will be the ones so willing to work and sacrifice. Surely there are none more godly than they.
How do you think Rome got started in the religion business? It was in just this way.
Rev 3:17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
Abuse survivors – why are you treated so shamefully by your church, by your denominational leaders, by your pastors and elders and by the big name personalities in Christendome? Why? Because the machine is fueled by money and those who are in power are greedy for gain, for money, for power, for a name. But they are not Christ’s shepherds and there is literally going to be hell to pay when they stand before the Chief Shepherd and He calls them to an accounting.