These paragraphs were taken from a church’s web page. Read them, and then I want us to think about how a “church” like this is fertile soil for the wicked, including abusers:
Our Core Beliefs: If you were to ask 10 different people at Our Savior’s Church their individual beliefs about heaven, sin, free will, or any other theological issue, you would probably get 10 unique answers! Nevertheless, there are certain core beliefs which we share that define who we are and who we understand God to be. A good way of explaining these core beliefs lies in the name of our national church body.
We believe in the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and understand forgiveness and faith as radical gifts from God that are given no matter who we are or what we do.
We are “church.” That is, every member is bound together in the Body of Christ, gifted by the Holy Spirit, and empowered to be a doer of the Gospel.
We life, work, and serve our American context knowing what we do here also impacts the world.
Now, think carefully about these words. Let me translate them for you:
You can be a member of this church and believe anything you want about any theological issue. That is, you can be a member if you hold to our core beliefs, which is headed up by the insistence that God grants us forgiveness no matter who we are or what we do.
Notice that last phrase is in the present tense. It isn’t, “God will grant us forgiveness no matter what we have done.” Nope. These words are quite intentional. No matter who you are or what you do now, God forgives you. Notice there is not mention at all of repentance. I can assure you that even though these words include “the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” if you would pin these people down with precision, you would find out that their idea of the gospel of Jesus Christ is in fact, another gospel.
Why does this all promote evil and abuse in a local church? Because it creates a climate in which evil is excused. It permits people to be called Christians when in fact they are not new creations through faith alone in Christ alone, and then protects them should they ever be confronted with their sin. The confronter will be the bad guy.
This, in fact, is what God’s Word has to say about such a place:
Galatians 1:8-9 ESV But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (9) As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
The actual rule seems to be that abusers, revilers, liars, drunkards and rapists are forgiven, no matter what they do, but anyone who calls out those sins and seeks repentance and justice is worthy of intense punishment and hatred.
I think Jimmy Hinton had a podcast that talked about there being no love without justice.
If people are not justice-loving, then confronters will be seen as the enemy. Victims and confronters being seen as the ones who upset the apple cart, instead of the perpetrators.
There has also been a move past truths. There’s a creeping philosophy of there are no hard truths, there are only differing perceptions. But there are hard truths. Some things are not open to endless interpretation. Perceptions can be wrong. For example, perps lie practically all the time. They don’t have ‘differing perceptions’ or ‘alternative truths’ but rather self-serving lies. But this ‘everything is open to interpretation’ mindset is culturally creeping in everywhere. Makes perps happy and comfortable and aids them in their weaseling/lying.
Also, someone said the devil is the author of confusion and while it sounds very nice and welcoming for their to be a recognition of 10 unique perspectives in 10 people, it’s not a safe place to be for victims.
J. D. Gallé
Post-modernism’s relativisation of truth and falsehood. Ideas have consequences.
Run far away from a ‘church’ like this. It will be full of false imposters, false brethren, wicked people, and hypocrites.
I hate it when pastors do a sermon about all of us being hypocrites!! That gives abusers a thumbs up to keep on doing their evil deeds— they will never be expected to behave like they are saved.
I found this true in a para church evangelical organization. When the goal is numbers of people coming to the organization and how many people say the sinners prayer evil is given the red carpet treatment to come on in and devour the lambs.
No real expectation of repentance.
We may very well be all hypocritical at times; however, when I’ve found myself confronted with the reality that I’m being hypocritical, I feel awful and resolve to fix it immediately, if at all possible. Not so with the wicked.
Yep, that last statement (i.e., you can continue on being a real crum-bum) raised a red flag.
How do you respond to people that tell you the same things I read here? We had dealt with a situation concerning a family at a previous church, after a year of putting up with it, turning the other cheek, not causing further escalation we had enough. We then became the problem and to avoid having to continue being forced to interact and be all buddy buddy with them we left the church. Now, they’ve shown up at the new church. We have no desire to be around them or interact with them, we know what they are like but we are also not going to run to the Pastor or other Leaders and bad mouth them right off the bat. We have talked to a couple trusted friends and the reactions have been mixed. Again with the, you need to love them and bring them back to a rightful relationship with the Lord. Spend time with them, and stop praying that the Lord would deal with them. If I hear, be a doormat essentially one more time I’m going to say some very unchristian language to voice my opinion. Its frustrating, I’m not looking for everyone to pat us on the back and say poor you, J want to know how to deal with people that mean well but have absolutely no clue as to what they are saying…
Evil is deceptive and many professing christians don’t want to see it anyway. If a church member/ professing christian is characterized by sin, walking in it habitually with no repentance then they are not born again. See I John on that. Such a person is to be put out of the church. If a church refuses to do so, they are arrogant and if they persist in “loving the sinner” then they are demonstrating that they are counterfeits. I would not be part of such a place.
That is exactly why we left the last church. This one, we’ve been going to for several years and these people just showed up here within the last 2-3 weeks so they have no history here.
I have found that when I try to warn a pastor about such people, the pastor won’t listen. I have tried over the years and I don’t try anymore. I know pastors who readily receive new people into their church without ever looking into their history. They base their evaluation of them solely upon what the people tell them, and the wicked are experts at deception and disguise. There is an arrogance in churches that insists “we know better than you. We are more loving and accepting than your church is.” And that is the very kind of arrogance that Paul rebuked the Corinthians for (see 1 Cor 5)
I haven’t gone to the Pastor, its just other people we know at the moment. I don’t want to be “that guy” running to the Pastor to bad mouth people the moment they step through the door. But neither am I just going to say, hey, come on over, let’s hang out and BBQ either. My middle ground is, be polite, say hi, but that’s it. There was no accountability, no expected change on their part, just us being told that we are the problem. We needed to just let everything go back to “normal” and be good little Christians, love them, have parties and everything is wonderful. When we wouldn’t do that, I was told I was probably not saved, and not a man of integrity as I wasn’t going to do what the Pastor said without question. So now, when they show up at our new church, years later, no attempt at a sorry for our past actions, no attempt at even saying hi, I have no reason to believe that anything has changed. Anything we’ve said to a very small number of people not in leadership has already gotten us comments like them coming here is such a great thing. They will hear the truth, etc…
Iv’e had to deal with this type before in church also. The one woman was so evil that my Pastor would not even go into her hospital room but stood outside of the room talking to her husband. Of course she blamed me for that episode. I politely told her that Pastor has a mind of his own and I had no idea why he made the choice that he did.
If I were in your shoes there are two choices you can make. Be polite say hello and then stay far, far away from the imposters (Jesus said the tares will grow with the wheat), or leave the church for yet another one away from these wolves. You may not be the type to run to the Pastor to tip him off of the imposters, but in my experience they will most likely tip off the Pastor about you and telling him all kinds of lies and slander. If this happens, you will suddenly get strange looks from the Pastor and treated like a leper, which in turn you will most likely leave at that point anyhow. I will pray for you to have peace in this decision. When I went through something similar the Lord gave me this scripture.
The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, but the naive go on, and are punished for it. Proverbs 22:3
What you say is so true, WalkinginLight, “but in my experience they will most likely tip off the Pastor about you and telling him all kinds of lies and slander. If this happens, you will suddenly get strange looks from the Pastor and treated like a leper” and almost every time the victim is clueless this is going on. It makes the victim all the more alienated and isolated and feeling like they are the problem, or are defective, or are a leper of sorts.
Thanks for writing your comment as it helped to make sense of things for me, too.
As bad as it feels to leave, to be the one to change churches, (or switch jobs or move to another city or state), it’s better to flee. Reading the Bible verse, that very Proverb, hit me so hard, because it is wise to flee, to hide oneself, than to persist/’stand strong’/fight because evil wins, in the here and now, that is, and they work in packs, so the victim is going to lose and suffer no matter how strong or resolute they might be. Better to not waste one’s strengths or efforts. Better to leave and change and flee. The whole ‘don’t quit/be strong/never give up’ mantras are foolish and hazardous to one’s health and well-being.