I have had the opportunity recently to watch an ongoing debate (to put it lightly – “war” is probably a better word for it) between professing Christians. I read what they write and listen to them speaking, and I have observed something that just makes me shake my head in amazement. There is an unwritten tradition, a rule if you will, that says that in the church we all must speak “nice” to one another. After all, so goes the assumption, we are all Christians and therefore we are all “good.” Oh, someone here and there might get off track and be mistaken, but we must never stop believing that their motives are good. That’s the thinking, you see. And so in these battles you see the participants calling one another “brother” or going on at lengths to be sure everyone knows that no matter what they say, they don’t doubt the heart of their opponents and everyone just loves one another. In such settings, it is an absolute no-no to speak of an action or a motive or a person as being evil.
And that, I am proposing, lays fertile soil for the wicked to practice their wickedness unmolested.
You see, the fact of the matter is that the Bible tells us over and over and over and over again, in both Old and New Testaments, that we MUST be on guard against the enemy. We are warned repeatedly that the devil is out and about, prowling around, sending his secret agents in amongst us in the church in disguise. He brings false doctrine, he abuses people, he lords power and control over them, he works to bring us away from Christ and into bondage. You know the classic warnings about wolves in sheep’s clothing, right?
So why is it that we are required, it seems, to never ever call a wolf out? Why is it that we talk a lot in the church about wolves and how we must be cautious, but we never are? We are required to function and speak and write as if wolves in the church are an extinct species, or at least so rare that most of us will never see one in our lifetime? Why is that? It is because we simply think too highly of ourselves and because we are entertaining unbelief in Christ’s Word. Throw in the incredibly deceptive nature of the wolf in wool and you have the blind leading the blind.
Not everyone in the visible church is good. Let me say that again. There are wicked, evil, counterfeit “Christians” in most every local church. They are not rare. Some if not many of them are church leaders. They are like a household fungus which, if not combated continually, will always crop up amongst us.
Do not call them good. Do not use “nice” to them. Do not proceed in your dealings with them based on the assumption that they are real Christians, brothers or sisters in Christ, who have simply gotten off course. They are not. All you need do is read, for instance, Paul’s letter to the Galatians or his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, and as you read think carefully about how Paul describes these wicked ones who had infiltrated these churches. Paul does not make nice with them. And you all know well that our Lord Jesus Christ didn’t either – “Woe to you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites!”
So let’s stop being naively nice. Let’s call wolves what they are. Let’s be wise as serpents in discerning evil, and innocent as doves in regard to its practice.