Evil invariably manifests itself in the guise of the good.
I was reading a chapter entitled “The Antichrist” in a theology book by G.C. Berkouwer [The Return of Christ, Eerdman’s Publishing], and came across that quote above. It struck me as true truth. Evil invariably manifests itself in the guise of the good.
The Antichrist (and all of his servants at work even now, see 1 John 4:1ff), will most likely emerge from within the church. Paul warned the Ephesian elders that after his departure savage wolves would arise from among themselves (see Acts 19 on this). Jesus told the Pharisees that they were of their father the devil, even though they put themselves off as models of holiness. Satan showed up in Eden supposedly speaking truths about God and if you follow the New Testament (and the Old for that matter), you will soon find that the creeps, the wolves, the antichrists, which we are warned of are to be found wearing a “Christian” mask.
Many of you have seen this very thing up close and personal. Your abuser, that reviler and even sociopath who targeted you did so in a “saintly” context. He (or she) presented himself as a fine Christian, a church member, or even a pastor or elder. Evil manifests itself in the guise of the good.
Now, I want to ask this question – why is it that Christians are so typically in ignorance about or in denial of this truth? Why are they so quickly deceived? Some of this blindness is intentional – “I just want to look on the sunny side of life.” Other cases are due to faulty and false teaching dished up to them.
- Don’t judge
- Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven
- We are all sinners
- Love them anyway
And on and on the list could go. Paul was amazed that the Galatians could so quickly abandon the gospel he delivered to them and embrace the false gospel being served up to them by false teachers. Numbers of the seven churches addressed by Christ in Revelation 2-3 had wicked ones among themselves leading people astray.
Rev 2:20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.
Duped by the disguise. By evil masquerading as good. What would the Lord say about churches today who tolerate wicked people practicing their dark trade, putting themselves off as sons of righteousness? “Saints” when abroad, devils at home.
That’s a great quote … very true.
I heard the “love them anyway” line directly. When I confessed to the minister of our church that my husband (who didn’t attend, the minister didn’t know him) had a serious anger problem and treated me abusively on an ongoing basis, he smiled, cocked his head, and said condescendingly, “Ah, but you love him anyway, right?” As if all I have to do is keep loving him and it will all be okay, case closed. Needless to say, I never told anything personal to that man ever again.
Such pastors are, at least in regard to that specific teaching he gave you, false prophets.