Will We Justify Child-Sacrifice to Baal?

Psalms 106:37-38   They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood.

The charge that Christians are sacrificing children to Baal (demons) occurred to me again this week, and I thought I recalled having written on this subject once before. Sure enough, I wrote this article way back in early 2012 and it remains true today. It is worth repeating. Not because I wrote it, but because it is true. Local churches, pastors, writers, and many Christians in general are guilty of this evil when they demand that an abuse victim and her children remain in bondage.

Israel became conformed to the pagan idolatry in the Land.  They did what the Psalmist describes — they sacrificed their children to the demons (Satan is behind all idolatry).  They made them “pass through the fire.”  Now, here is quite an incredible thing.  The conservative church today decries abortion (and so do I).  We call abortion the slaughter of the innocents, and so it is.  The enemy is behind it.  But…

Continue reading “Will We Justify Child-Sacrifice to Baal?”

Marriage is Made for People, Not People for Marriage

The teaching of the church has compounded much of this hurt rather than alleviating it. Victims of continued abuse have been told they must stay married, and if they do get divorced, they have been told they cannot remarry until their former partner has died. And sometimes those who have divorced and remarried are told by their church that they must now divorce their new spouse because in God’s eyes they are still married to the person who abused or neglected them. Thus the church makes them a victim for a second time. (Instone-Brewer 2003, [Kindle] Location 1795)

One of our readers asked if we could post the following paragraphs from my book, A Cry for Justice*, pp202-4 as she found them so helpful.  So, here they are! Thanks to her for typing them up for us:

Continue reading “Marriage is Made for People, Not People for Marriage”

How to Create an Abusive Church

I don’t like to think about spiritual abuse, or abusive churches, or abusive pastors.  I don’t like it.  For one reason, this is because the abusers I have had to deal with over the years as a pastor LOVE to accuse me and our elders and our church of having abused them.   So I am sensitive to this subject.  Sometimes when it comes up, my self-doubts kick in.  Maybe I am guilty?  Maybe we have abused people?  But then, and I think it is the Lord helping me at those moments, I go back and remember what those abusers did and how they abused.  And I realize that the mere fact that I am presently anxious about the horror of us as a church abusing people is probably not an attitude to be found in a truly abusive church.

I think we are a church, and I am a pastor, who has certainly made mistakes in handling people in the past.  There have probably been instances in which we have even sinned – and in those cases I hope that we have confessed to anyone we have wronged.  No pastor can truly study the subject of domestic violence abuse and not conclude that there were instances in the past that he would have handled at least somewhat differently – and in some cases, entirely differently.  Oh, and one other thing that comes to my mind when I study abuse and think about abusers in the church and how they are to be dealt with – I realize that we were blind to them far too long and let them do their evil far, far too long.  If anything, I think that has been our major error in this regard.

I don’t like to think about spiritual abuse.  But we MUST think about it, see it, and reject it, lest we become like it.

Well, that’s the rather rambling prologue to the subject – How to Create an Abusive Church.   Listen once again to those verses in 1 Cor 2 –

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 ESV And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. (2)  For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (3)  And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, (4)  and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, (5)  that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

I highlighted verse 5 because that is the one I want us to think about.  How do you create an abusive church?  How do you build a “thing” that has all the “Christian” exterior frills, but is devoid of the presence of Jesus?  Well, Paul says that one way to do it is to build it on a man’s (or woman’s) personality.  Charm.  Charisma.  Call in Pastor Golden-Tongue.  Team him up with Pastor Novelty.  What will happen is that as this cult of personality expands, the faith of the populace will be based upon (have its object as) – these ring leaders.  The church bookstore will be filled with Golden Tongue’s books and sermon tapes.  He has plenty to say on any subject you can think of.  The youth group and children’s ministries and even the senior ministry will have that flair that only Pastor Novelty can pull off.

And it will grow.  Oh, how it will grow.  And the money?  The buildings?  Who can argue with success, right?

Yet none of it, NONE of it is of God.  The “faith” there rests upon the so-called wisdom of man (which is foolishness in reality), and is totally devoid of the saving, regenerating power of God.

And the POWER.  Feel the electricity of the power.  Listen to it in the voice of Golden-Tongue and in the excitement of Novelty.  It streams through in the music too.  Tears flow.  Hallelujahs are shouted.

And none of it is of Jesus.  None of it.  So guess what you have.  You have a thing, a monster, that is devoid of the love of Jesus.  You have created a house made comfortable for some uninvited guests, who most certainly are going to show up one day –

Matthew 12:43-45 ESV “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. (44)  Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. (45)  Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”

Victims of abuse simply will not find mercy and justice and kindness in such a place.  Furthermore, the widespread experience of the many Christians who have been victimized by abuse and who have told us their stories of how they were mistreated and rejected by their churches, tell us something else.  It tells us that perhaps Pastor Golden Tongue and his associate, Pastor Novelty, are not only to be found in the huge mega-churches.  They may well be standing in far more of our pulpits today than we would even want to admit. How many of Jeremiah’s words here apply to the condition of the evangelical church today?

Jeremiah 6:14-19 ESV They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. (15)  Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the LORD. (16)  Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ (17)  I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not pay attention.’ (18)  Therefore hear, O nations, and know, O congregation, what will happen to them. (19)  Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people, the fruit of their devices, because they have not paid attention to my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it.

 

The Satanic Nature of the Abuser’s Mockery

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Hebrews 11:36, “Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.”

Mark 15:20, “And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.”

Abusers use disdain and dismissiveness as a weapon designed to de-humanize their victim.  This article addresses a very similar tactic, and yet it is not quite the same thing.  While disdain can be very passive (no response, a roll of the eyes, a short verbal put-down), mockery is much more active.  It also targets the victim’s personhood, but more overtly.

What does it feel lie to be mocked?  Ridiculed?  To be told you are a fool.  To be scornfully laughed at and treated with derision?  It is extremely painful and very, very damaging if believed.  The Apostle Paul spoke of it –

1 Corinthians 4:9-13, “For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. (10) We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. (11) To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, (12) and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; (13) when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.”

All the prophets of God were mocked.  Here is an example that Isaiah experienced –

Isaiah 28:9-10, “To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast? (10) For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.”

Isaiah’s mockers spoke jibberish, making fun of the words of the Lord spoken by Isaiah — as if to call them nonsense and baby talk.  You can hear their devilish laughter.

And speaking of devilish laughter, we come to the main point.  Mockery is Satanic. Especially in the hands of the abuser.  Satan is a mocker.  Many, many times as enemies of God came against the people of God, they evidenced this demonic quality of mockery.  Isaiah admonishes this spirit in Sennacherib when his armies came against Jerusalem:

Isaiah 37:21-24, “Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria, (22) this is the word that the LORD has spoken concerning him: “‘She despises you, she scorns you– the virgin daughter of Zion; she wags her head behind you– the daughter of Jerusalem. (23) “‘Whom have you mocked and reviled? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes to the heights? Against the Holy One of Israel! (24) By your servants you have mocked the Lord, and you have said, With my many chariots I have gone up the heights of the mountains, to the far recesses of Lebanon, to cut down its tallest cedars, its choicest cypresses, to come to its remotest height, its most fruitful forest.”

And think of Goliath:

1 Samuel 17:41-44, “And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. (42) And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. (43) And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. (44) The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.””

Perhaps the event in all of biblical history that saw the greatest concentration of mockers was The Cross:

Matthew 27:27-31, “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. (28) And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, (29) and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” (30) And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. (31) And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.”

Enemies of the Lord are representatives of The Enemy of Christ, the devil.  Satan is a mocker. Mockery is one of his favorite and most effective weapons, and therefore we as the people of Christ need to be very, very wise to this tactic.  And if you are the victim/target of an abuser, you already know mockery quite well.  Abusers mock-

  • Your appearance
  • Your accomplishments
  • Your interests
  • Your family
  • Your church
  • Your ideas
  • Your habits
  • Your decisions
  • The route you choose to drive to the store
  • The pets you like
  • The new glasses you wear
  • Your hairstyle, makeup, and wardrobe
  • Your friends
  • Your gender
  • Your music
  • How and where you sit
  • Your body and sexuality

Abusers mock everything about you and everyone associated with you.  It is a wicked, soul and body destroying campaign designed to murder you as a human being and turn you into a malleable blob of putty, easily shaped and controlled.

And you can hear him.  You can hear the devil in the mocking words.  He has a certain tone.  Mockery is Satan smiling.  It is hatred grinning at you.  It is pure evil. Without conscience.  Without empathy.

So when the mocker comes your way, realize who he is and what he is doing.  Reject his ridicule with the truth of Christ.

“We know you, Satan.  We see you.  You are a murderer and a liar, the very father of lies.  We belong to Christ Jesus.  You have nothing in us.”

James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

When the Abuser is One of Your Children – Mothers, take Care

Pro 29:15  The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

I need to open this post with a very clear explanation of what scenario I am going to be discussing, lest I be misunderstood and the things I am proposing be misapplied. Almost all of my articles address situations in which an adult, usually the husband, is the abuser.

This post is different. This post is not about homes in which one parent is a domestic abuser. It is not to be applied in such cases. Nope. Don’t do it. 

Here, I am compelled to write about another very common abuse model. I wish it were just a model, but it is in fact reality. I want to talk to you about cases in which a child is the abuser. And by child, I mean a son or daughter of any age. And in particular, I need to warn you about the all too common response to this abuser which is a terrible trap so many parents fall into. And I must say, because this is my own experience and observation, that the mother of such a child is especially susceptible to this trap.

You all know that adult domestic abusers are very deceptive and work energetically to gain allies for themselves. Those allies, you also know, are very often other family members or friends or pastors or church members. In this case, the child abuser works to gain a family parent, usually the mother, as an ally even though SHE is often the target as well!

Children, teenagers, adult offspring of mom and dad can be and are very frequently, abusers.  No doubt some of you have experienced this. It can happen in a family where neither parent is an abuser. Children have different personalities. Born into this world as sinners, like all of us, some sons or daughters have especially strong fortresses of sin and are narcissists or sociopaths in seed form. The gospel and regeneration by Christ are of course the only real and ultimate remedy for such a sinful heart.

As such a child grows, this evil can blossom into full blown abuser personality. Think of it. Where did your domestic abuser learn his trade? Maybe from an abuser parent but certainly not always or even most commonly. The abuser largely just is. The lust for power and control is his essence and being. It doesn’t really matter how he got to be what he is. The fact is, he is, and must be dealt with for what he is.

But back to the child abuser. Such a child increasingly controls the home if the parents are not wise. In fact, parents can feed that narcissism by giving undue praise and failing to discipline him. Coupled with whatever genetics are in play or what is in his sinful heart, feeding arrogance and pride along with excusing sin and covering up for his evil is a formula for disaster.

As such a child grows, he or she becomes “wiser” and more cunning. He learns he can control and exercise power in the family. He can abuse his siblings and he can manipulate his parents, usually in particular one parent. He can turn family members against one another and they can find themselves battling each other while the child abuser watches in glee. Mom and dad often end up in conflict with one another in such cases and their marriage is even threatened.

How does this happen? Well, I suppose many psychologists would suggest a particularly nasty mechanism called co-dependency. I am no psychologist and no expert on these things in theory, but I can tell you that I have seen this thing first hand many times and it is an ugly thing. Mothers, take care. Why? Because, again in my experience, mothers are especially susceptible to this trap. Yes, I have seen a couple of cases wherein the father is the one caught up in it, but the high percentage of cases I have observed concern the mother.

REMEMBER: I am not talking about a setting in which the father is an abuser. I am not addressing that subject in this article. I am speaking of a relatively normal family in which the child is the abuser, be he or she 5 years old, 15 years old, 25 years old, 45 years old, or whatever.

Here is a condensed version of what happens. The child is given undue, unwarranted, excessive praise. Ongoing. Habitual. Praise that really isn’t deserved. Praise that has no basis in reality. And then, when the child sins, his sin is excused. He is enabled. Rewarded. The sin is covered up. He is not disciplined properly. And here comes the punch line from my experience: It is usually the mother who falls into this trap. Motherhood gone wrong. Have you seen it? Do you know what I am talking about?

My grandmother was a perfect example of this. Her youngest son was an evil, wicked child and then youth and then young man. Frankly I am surprised he didn’t murder her what with the intense rages he would launch against her. And her response? Excuses for him. Boasting to others about him. Lending a blind eye to his evil. And dad just stayed out of the picture lest he incur his wife’s wrath for trying to discipline the boy. This was supposedly a Christian home!! Sunday school and church every Sunday, prayer meeting every Wednesday, well-worn King James Bibles in hand.

My grandmother wasn’t happy unless the boy was happy. Her mission – to keep him happy. Covering for him. Giving him what he wanted even if it was something they really couldn’t afford. It was this sick, twisted thing parading as love that wasn’t love at all. It was two people feeding off one another with one in particular in charge. Many if not all of the same tactics of abuse that domestic abusers use were in operation in that scene. And mother was the chief enabler and ally of the abuse even though she was most often the target of it!

That is only ONE of many, many examples which I have personally seen in my life, in my 14 years as a police officer, and especially in my three decades as a pastor. I cannot keep silent about this. It is real and it is very, very common.

This evil construct goes on and on and on and on. It continued in my grandmother’s life until the day she died. And in a sense, it still goes on today as its evil consequences continue. This thing destroys families. It causes the righteous children in the family to suffer greatly at the hands of the abuser sibling and that suffering is increased esponentially when the enabling parent focuses the majority of her/his parenting attention on the abuser child. Isn’t that the common scenario in abuse cases? The righteous are ignored and persecuted while the wicked receive most all the attention and empath!! And I won’t even get into what this thing does to a marriage!

And it doesn’t end! It goes on and on and on down through the years. The enabling parent continues to enable, to cover, to excuse, usually all in the name of “love” or of “Christ” but if you read up on co-dependency you will find that there is nothing noble about it at all. It is actually very, very selfish. It is about two people selfishly feeding off one another with one being the primary user/abuser and the other the one whose life is being sucked out of them.

And now I am going to say something that I don’t say very often because usually I am trying to help victims of an abuser spouse. But it this case, here is wisdom:

Eph 5:22-25  Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  (23)  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  (24)  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.  (25)  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

Now don’t go ballistic on me. Do you understand? When I see a mother locked into a twisted relationship with an abuser child, and if in such cases the husband is a godly man who sees what is going on, the very best counsel that can be given is “mom, you are in trouble here. You are enabling this child. The child’s abuse is destroying your marriage and your relationship with your other children. He is destroying YOU. You are not the one to handle this child. You need to let your husband deal with him/her.”

And husbands, in such cases, YOU need to handle this. You can’t sit back and watch and be cowardly like my grandfather did. You have to love your wife and that means you need to do what is right in handling this child abuser. Just how you handle it will depend of course on the age of the child. A narcissist in formation at say 5 years old will need the truth spoken and the discipline required for his age. Whereas the child abuser who is 35 years old will require something entirely diffent – usually a no contact policy.

Mom and dad, do you love one another? Do you love your children? Then these things must be addressed if they are present in your home and marriage. Because they won’t get better. They won’t get better. They won’t just get better.

Heb 12:6-7  For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”  (7)  It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

 

 

 

 

“You Need to Forgive Him/Her” – Really?

Mat 5:6-12  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.  (7)  “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.  (8)  “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  (9)  “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.  (10)  “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  (11)  “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  (12)  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Here, the Lord Jesus gives us a description of those who are blessed. Those who are truly His people and who have great reward in heaven. They are peacemakers and they are merciful. But they also hunger and thirst for righteousness. When they strive for peace and when they show mercy, their actions do not contradict their desire for what is right. In fact, they are courageous in their stance for righteousness. So much so that they are persecuted by the wicked.

Now, with that background, what do you think of someone who comes up to you and says:

You need to forgive Joe or Sally or….whoever

I have heard this line many times, and no doubt so have most all of you. And I want to tell you – every single time I have heard it from someone, that person has turned out to be either an exceedingly naive person ignorant of the real truths of Scripture, or an out and out wicked reviler parading as a Christian. Every time. Without fail.

Continue reading ““You Need to Forgive Him/Her” – Really?”

Be Like Jesus? – Well, Ok then

John 2:23-25  Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing.  (24)  But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people  (25)  and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Very often we are told by people who claim they are wise and who insist we do what they say, that we should stop being so judgmental of others. That we need to believe the best about people – especially about those who profess to be Christians. We are told to never question a person’s claim to know Christ.

This is all wrong. We are to disregard this nonsense. Why? Because we are to be like Jesus, and as we see in the Scripture above, Jesus was quite judgmental.

Think about it. “Many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing.” Wow! How wonderful. Preachers today would be announcing first thing Monday morning that masses of people got saved and baptized at their church on Sunday.

But not Jesus.

Continue reading “Be Like Jesus? – Well, Ok then”