Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Author: Jeff Crippen Page 2 of 63

Faith Must Have Priority Over Intellect: “The Intellectual Evil Man”

1Co 1:18-21 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (19) For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” (20) Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (21) For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.

I imagine that most of you have met him (or her). The “Christian” who is, as Paul puts it, wise according to the wisdom of the world. Who approaches Christ with his head, measuring the gospel and God’s Word with the filter of his intellect. To such, as Paul says, the gospel word of the cross is foolishness.

We cannot come to know the Lord through our own wisdom. The foolishness of the Cross will remain foolish until we humble ourselves and come to Christ by faith.

This does not mean that the gospel is contrary to the reason which God has given us. Christianity is not a religion which demands we put our brains out to pasture. Consider for instance how Jesus so wonderfully opened up the Scriptures to us – but to those who refuse to come to Him in faith, He will only speak to them in dark sayings, in parables so that they cannot understand. Faith must precede reason. Reason must be governed by faith.

People who get this backwards (because in their pride they boast of their intellect) operate with the notion that faith must be governed by their reason. I knew a scientist once who, when I observed that God created light before He created the sun and stars, scoffed. The man claimed to be a Christian, but he rejected the very opening words of the Bible.

Why do I write about these things here? Because the “Christian” who walks according to the wisdom of this world will inevitably be a counterfeit – and an arrogant one at that. All kinds of other evils flow from such a person. And in the end, as the Lord says, the wise according to this world will be shown to be fools.

The man who is a “wise-according-to-this-world Christian” is mean. He holds Christ’s people in contempt. He only comes into the fellowship of Christ’s flock to exalt himself, boasting of his wisdom. But that wisdom is absolutely incompatible with God’s wisdom in Christ. Actually, though these counterfeits may speak of the cross, in truth it is foolishness to them.

Paul mentions one class of these kind – the debater of this age. Here is the one who Paul instructs us to reject:

Rom 16:17-18 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (18) For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

You may have seen these kind in action. Exalting themselves via their intellect, they create divisions and obstacles which hinder people from coming to Christ. Many of the domestic abusers who hide in the pews are of this very ilk. They have an incredible mindset of superiority and entitlement, demanding that people bend to their views…or else. But the Lord sees, and the Lord knows. These creeps who creep in among us are perishing. For all their boasting and religion, they are on the Broadway to hell.

1Co 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Why do they bother with Religion?

2Co 11:4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

People – wicked people – invent “another Jesus.” A counterfeit Jesus that is not the Jesus of the Bible. Who is not the Son of God. Their fiction is an idol crafted by the minds of Satan’s children. But why do they imagine a christ who is not Christ?

I can tell you.

They do so because they hate the real Jesus. They hate the gospel – BUT, they want to be regarded as “Christians,” as real followers of Jesus. It’s just that they do not want following Jesus to entail suffering on their part. They want a Jesus who makes them popular and wealthy. Who never demands that they must take up their cross and die to themselves.

I have seen this thing play out many, many times in my 40 years as a pastor. Here is someone who appears to be just the finest example of a Christian. Church member, faithful in church attendance, knowledgeable of Scripture, able to offer impressive sounding prayers, but….

As the days and months and years go by, the unwillingness of these counterfeits to suffer for Christ, to be unpopular with and hated by the world, to die to themselves in other words, becomes increasingly difficult for them to disguise. And as the real Christians around them do suffer for Christ, such an environment becomes more and more uncomfortable for them. It’s too narrow. Too rocky. Too, well, costly.

They serve another Jesus, you see. And so, off they go, claiming that they are following Christ when in fact change of course takes them onto the Broadway that leads to destruction. It’s wide. It’s comfy. It doesn’t cost anything, and there is lots and lots of company there made up of people just like them.

Turns out that their jesus is an agent of Satan, a demonic Pied-Piper sent to lead those who do not love God’s truth to hell.

It Can be a very Long Time before You Understand what You are Dealing With

1Ti 5:24 The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later.

Some people’s sins are obvious – fornication, thievery, murder, disobedience to parents – these kind are not difficult to see. But, as Paul says, there is another brand of sinner whose sins “appear later.” That doesn’t mean that such people don’t sin now but eventually will. No, it is a warning to Timothy that some people’s sins are covert and disguised. Therefore wisdom must be exercised.

Satan can appear as an angel of light, and his servants as sons of righteousness. In fact, they very often do this very thing. Many of the wicked ones we have had the unpleasant experience of crossing paths with are of this very type. And what I want to especially focus upon here is this – it can (and typically does) take a very long time to understand just what and who these people are.

This is why so many of you have written to me and said “I was in an abusive marriage for 20, 30, 40 years before I finally got free.” Why was this? Are you all stupid – am I stupid? Well, we certainly haven’t always possessed or acted upon wisdom, but the basic reason it takes so long to clearly see just what these wicked people really are is because their sin is so disguised, so confusing, so two-faced. And because we naturally believe that all other people think like we do in their fundamental suppositions.

But that was all wrong. We were wrong. We were blind. Some people’s sins appear later. Paul said that Alexander the Coppersmith did him much harm. I wonder if initially Paul trusted this guy? I don’t know for sure, but by the time he warned Timothy about him, Paul had sorted it out.

I don’t think we need to beat ourselves up about being duped by the wicked for so long. If there was any sin on our part in perhaps refusing to see what was right in front of us, well, then we confess that sin and know that the Lord forgives us. But the onus for this deception lies upon the deceiver. We trusted such people. We thought the best about them. We assumed they loved us but that they were just “difficult people” whom the Lord called us to be patient with. And we had plenty of people – friends, family, church members and pastors – adding to the fog.

But we were wrong.

Behind that mask of saintliness, inside that whitewashed tomb, lurked the real person. No empathy. No love. A consuming mentality of superiority and entitlement. A user. An oppressor. And as the mask began to slip and wisdom increasingly came our way, we started seeing that the clean, polished cup was full of filth. Often that clarity came through some very painful experiences.

But the clarity came. And once we realized just what and who we were dealing with, freedom and validation started to come our way as well. It wasn’t my fault. Those red warning lights that I saw over the years and which were squelched, started to replay in my mind and more – they started to make sense.

How could I be so stupid? Well, in some part we have to admit it was due to my failure to more carefully know and heed God’s Word, but in fact we really weren’t so stupid. It just took time – a long time – to see behind the mask.

And now we know.

Humility is a Mark of the Spirit – the Wicked are ‘Puffed Up’

Hab 2:4 “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.

1Co 4:6 I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.

Col 2:18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,

1Ti 6:3-4 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, (4) he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,

A frequent image of sinful pride which Scripture uses is this picture of being “puffed up.” We use a similar expression – “an inflated ego.” One possible meaning of the Greek work for “puffed up” as used in 1 Tim 6:4 is, get this, “mentally ill.” Think about that. The person who is “puffed up” is made to be mentally ill, crazy if you will, by his high-minded conceit.

Pride is a sin common to all human beings. Every Christian must battle against it. But we also know that there are certain evil ones who are particularly consumed by this sin. We call them narcissist, sociopaths, and other such terms which describe a particularly satanic category. I say satanic because pride unleashed is an especially dark sin which Scripture seems to indicate was the heart of the devil in his rebellion against God. “I will be like the Most High.” That kind of thing.

Pride is insanity. The puffed up person lives with a fantasy self disguise which is fictional. He or she sees themselves as exalted, almost divine, expecting to be worshipped. This is insanity because not only is it a lie, it is self-destructive. It destroys relationships. It removes God’s blessing. And it leads ultimately to hell.

Applying this horrid arrogance to the case of the domestic abuser, consider how such a person cuts off the branch he is sitting on. He does so in many ways. He resents any success or achievement on the part of his spouse. He actively works to undermine her success in order to keep her under his thumb. This is insanity. It is self-destructive. He works to destroy the helper the Lord has given him – attacking his own flesh as it were.

The puffed up man will always erode relationships. In his mind he is a huge success and any failures will be blamed upon others. But the failure is his own. No narcissist will ever come to the end of his life enjoying genuine, loving relationships with family and friends – nor will he be welcomed into the Lord’s house. Won’t happen.

Traveling the road to hell is insane. But that is the way a person consumed with pride will choose. In the end when he finds himself eternally separated from the Light and Life of Christ – he will only have himself to blame.

A Perversion of God’s Word Regarding Women

I am conservative in my theology. I believe that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God. And I believe that God has instructed us to appoint qualified (godly) men to the offices of pastor and elder in the local church. (Even though I have known a lot of godly women I would rather have as elders any day than many of the ungodly men I have had the sad experience to work with!!).

But all of this said, I maintain that it is an error and a perversion of Scripture to base these requirements upon a notion that women are inferior beings. I want to give you an ugly illustration here that I came across recently of the kind of thing that infects the body of Christ so often. This statement was a comment to a social media post which (the post) was pointing out false teachers – and correctly so. The list happened to be 8 women who in fact are false teachers to be avoided. Here is what a man said:

Any, every and ALL women teachers and preachers MUST BE AVOIDED because God NEVERY CHANGES AND HE NEVER GOES AGAINST HIS SOVEREIGN WRITTEN WORD!!!!!!! Thou shalt not SUFFER A WOMAN TO PREACH OR TO HAVE AUTHORITY OVER MEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Those and every woman who does these are ABOMINATIONS UNTO THE LORD GOD AND ARE ACCURSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pretty ugly, right? I mean, even if the listed false teachers are in fact accursed by God – is it simply because they are women who are preaching and teaching Scripture? No, the grounds for their condemnation is that they are false teachers – Jezebels who lead God’s people astray.

You can pretty easily pick up on the fact that being married to this guy and his kind would be no picnic. As he walks into church on Sunday mornings carrying his King James Bible (nothing against the KJV by the way), he haughtily misses the log in his own eye while minutely looking for a speck in the other fellow’s.

I still am not crystal clear on the details of Scripture which address husband and wife in marriage, men and women in the church, and I am not ready to conclude that women just as well as men (godly women and godly men) should be pastors or elders. God meant something when He told us that the husband is the head of the wife, the wife is to submit to her husband as to the Lord, and so on. The Scriptures addressing this subject are in our Bibles and we must not ignore them. I cannot conclude that therefore every Bible commentary or theological or devotional book written by a woman must never be read by a man!!! Printed with some disclaimer on the cover – “For women’s eyes only. All men who read this will be seduced and led down Eve’s path to destruction.”

BUT, I can tell you this – whatever the specific applications of those Scriptures are, they do not teach what this evil man is teaching.

He put his name on his comment by the way. He says he is a retired pastor. We can be thankful he is retired. It would be interesting to learn more about his “pastorate.” You can bet that the women in his church were viewed and treated as pawns for the glory of men, brow-beaten into their “place.”

P.S. – Over my 40 years as a pastor, my experience has been that the numbers of faithful, godly, genuine Christian men and women have been quite equal. In fact I think that the numbers of such women may well have been somewhat higher. And I think that a look at the New Testament probably would reveal that the same was true in Jesus and Paul’s day. Think of the cross and who it was that remained there while others fled.

Growing Up with a “Christian” Abuser Father

This post is taken from an excellent comment by one of our readers (Dawn). I am posting it here as a stand-alone post so that more of you will see it. I am very grateful to her for sharing her story, particularly because she really nails the evil and sin which victims of abusers/narcissists/sociopaths parading as Christians in the church encounter when they ask for help. Her words are also a great encouragement to me because I am so often accused of being too harsh, to negative…too…not looking on the sunny side enough.

So, here is Dawn:

What you say, while true, doesn’t go far enough. The reality, as I understand it, is far, FAR worse. Here’s why I say that:

I am not the spouse of an Christian abuser but the daughter of one. I was close to 30 when I got my divorce from *surprise* my abusive husband. And I used that as an opportunity to look at myself, figure out how I’d managed to make such a mess of my life and change how I was living and what choices I was making. It took me a long while to actually understand that my dad was abusive to us, and to me especially because, growing up, I could always somehow see through his BS, even if I didn’t understand exactly what I was seeing. My mom always told me that she thought he was afraid of me.

My dad had destroyed our relationship by the time I was 16 and I’m pretty sure he never noticed because he simply didn’t care. He found the Lord when I was 18 and it didn’t really change anything other than that he could use G_d as a cudgel to try to get us in line. I’ve been told things over the years like “Since G_d has forgiven him, I have no right to complain about his behavior”, “I owe it to G_d to forgive him and tolerate his behavior”, “Yeah, he might have done some bad things before he was saved, but that was a long time ago and, therefore, it doesn’t count anymore”. I call my dad the Teflon King because nothing sticks to him. And my concerns don’t count. Never have. Never will. So, when I graduated from college, I moved to the other side of the country and never looked back. Best decision of my life!!!

A couple of years after my divorce, when I was really trying to put the pieces of my life into perspective, my dad married wife #3 and was interested in convincing her that he was a good family-man. So he reached out to me. Even though I figured there was some sort of “catch”, I agreed to meet with him and a counselor. The main outcome was that he wanted me to basically give him a free pass for everything that had happened in the past. I agreed mostly because I knew he would never apologize or even acknowledge anything and, really, I wasn’t all that interested apologies anyway. I just wanted the ugliness to end. So I agreed to wipe away the past, provided that moving forward he would “be nice”. So literally, the only thing I’ve ever asked of the man is for him to “be nice”. That’s it. To my face, in the counselor’s office, he agreed. A couple of months later, I went back home to visit the rest of the family for the holidays and found out from my sister that he was telling everyone that I wanted nothing more to do with him. So basically his real response to my request to “be nice” was to end our relationship, lie to the family, lie to his church and publicly assassinate my character. If he was expecting that I would feel enough pain to beg him for forgiveness, I never bit. We have now been estranged for about 25 years and it truly the best gift he ever gave me. He freed me from his evil influence. And between that and moving away, it has given me an opportunity to unlearn the lessons of my youth and develop much better, happier, healthier ways to live my life. I am convinced had I stayed in the Chicago-area where I was raised that I would be dead by now and most likely at my own hand. That is how amazingly destructive abuse can be.

Anyway, at the time I was trying to figure all this out including how to respond to his ending contact with me, I was active in the church and naturally shared what was going on with people that I knew there, like with people in my Sunday School class. I was shocked because EVERY SINGLE ONE backed my dad. And they didn’t even know him. They would tell me that he was correct in saying that I have no right to complain about his behavior since he was saved. And that while maybe he shouldnt act the way he does (which they knew was described as abusive), they would tell me his behavior is actually OK and that G_d forgives him!!!! *Can’t make this up.* Then they would say something dumb about how it is wrong to judge others and then immediately condemn me for my “unforgiving heart”. Guess it is ok to judge me but not him. After I eventually left the church, the comments morphed into how G_d loves him and forgives him but I am going to hell. G_d must really hate me if he wants me to suffer so much.

Sadly, I have heard the exact same sort of thing from pretty much every Christian I have told my story to over the last 25 years. Here’s what I think is the true state of the current church:

1) The average Christian has no idea what evil (or abuse) is.
2) Worse, they have no desire to find out. It would be too much work and effort.
3) In response to evil, suffering, oppression, etc., they don’t really want to be bothered and so their “solutions” are superficial at best and damaging to the real victims at worst.
4) They love their “superficial” solutions because they don’t have to expend any effort in making sure they understand what is really going on and
5) they can pat themselves on the back about what wonderful people they are and how they were able to be so incredibly helpful and brilliant.
6) And the situation is set up so that if it turns out that the solution doesn’t really work, then it is clearly MY fault (not theirs) because I clearly didn’t follow their wonderful, fabulous, brilliant, amazing guidance.

Honestly, I personally think the average Christian would prefer that I just go ahead and slit my own throat because then the problem would go away without any discomfort for them, they can blame me, and feel justified in how helpful and brilliant they are. I don’t believe G_d would condemn me to hell because I endured an abusive childhood and no longer wear a specific label.

I appreciate your ministry in service to those who have suffered at the hands of Christian abusers. Over the last 10 years, give or take, I’ve finally been seeing people stand up against the teachings of the church which support and encourage abusive conduct while expecting that the victims will passively and silently accept their situation, effectively abusing the victims a second time. It is nice to see the change.

BTW, I don’t know if my mom was right when she told me as a child that she thought my dad was afraid of me. But I know that he should be afraid of me NOW. I have more integrity in my little pinkie than he has in his entire body. I am solid in who I am as a person, I know exactly who and what he is about, and I know the tactics to watch out for. I am a bigger, stronger, better person than he will ever be and because I am willing to look at my own failings and weed them out of my life, I am continually improving, growing, and learning.

When Victims Confront Power Structures: Lessons from Moses and Pharaoh

Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’” But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:1-2)

I am writing here about a subject that I am certain others know far more about than I do, but I am going to broach the subject and hope that many of you can weigh in.

There are certain psychological mechanisms and dynamics that accompany entrenched power and its reaction to those who confront it. No doubt psychologists have studied these attitudes and patterns.  Whether it be the top dogs in some powerful corporation, a dictator like Pharaoh who imagines himself to be God, an abuser who sees himself entitled to power and control, or church leaders who long ago left off Christ’s example of greatness through humble, sacrificial servanthood, the very same kinds of reactions can be expected when we look to such power brokers for justice.
What happens when power goes wrong?

For our purposes, let’s consider specifically what happens in a local church or denomination when power goes wrong. We could spend quite a lot of time on HOW it went wrong as well, but we leave that for someone doing a PhD thesis in psychology or sociology. Such dissertations have no doubt already been written and hopefully with some benefit.  But what do we have when power goes wrong in a local church, for instance? That, after all, is the typical stage where the Christian abuse victim is dealt so much injustice.

Those at “the top” in such a local church have jettisoned Christ’s example and teachings about greatness in the kingdom of God. He said it very clearly. Just as He came not to be served, but to serve and give His live as a ransom, so must we do also if we are to be “great” in God’s measure of greatness. When local church leaders yield to the temptation of personal, worldly “greatness,” they have been seduced by the sirens of “privilege.” Power and privilege, you see. The one follows the other. Get to the top, get in control, get that power “over,” and you can then enjoy the perks. Reputation. Adulation. Veneration. Money. Being served. Benefits. Privileges. Advantages. It is the spirit of “I will be like the Most High.”

Of course there are costs. Just like the Old West in which the quickest draw was always being challenged, and eventually someone even faster came along, so it is at the top. It turns out to be rather precarious up there and behind the scenes there are very often “shoot outs” as church leaders vie for top gun status. “Where is Associate Pastor Jones?” “Oh, he felt he was called by the Lord to another field of ministry and resigned.” Reality? Associate Pastor Jones got to be too threatening to the head honcho. Or at least Honcho perceived him as a threat.

Alright, power and privilege.  Now, what do you suppose is going to happen when Linda comes along and reveals that her husband, a long time church member, significant donor, and let’s say, deacon, has been wickedly abusing her and the children for a long, long time? That he is, in fact, not what he portrays himself to be on Sundays? What do you think is going to happen?
Well, we all know, don’t we?

To the degree that unmasking what this wicked man really is will cause a shakeup in that church, to that degree the power/privilege enjoying elite are going to tell Linda (in pious-sounding language of course) to be quiet, get back home, and let’s hear no more about it. If that sounds too critical of these power/privilege fellows, then just do some reading on “whistle-blowing.” Books on that subject are not hard to find. Because Linda, you see, has just blown the whistle. Turns out all is not perfect in Camelot after all, and Linda is rocking the peace of the kingdom.

I am a pessimist/realist when it comes to confronting the possessors of power and privilege in the local church. Just as Moses found when he confronted Pharaoh — and remember, Moses was given some pretty convincing tools to use! We call them the plagues! — just as Moses found, so will we.  Pharaohs don’t appreciate being threatened. They don’t like being told what to do. Not even if God Himself is telling them anything! Did Pharaoh repent? Nope. And I believe that is the normal outcome we can expect from people “at the top.”

Therefore, just what does this say about the spiritual condition of most local churches today? It is the experience of so many of our readers, and our own personal experience as well, that the typical and even expected outcome of an abuse victim going to her pastor and church for help, for justice, is to be dealt a heaping serving of injustice. Ok, we might grant that in some of the cases this is due to pastors being naive about the nature and mentality of abuse. But even in those cases, if such church leaders and members would honestly examine themselves, there is a sense of power and privilege being threatened. And so we ask again — what does this all say about the true spiritual condition of most local churches?

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)

Evil Always Wears a Disguise

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.

Our Yes Must Mean Yes

Rom 13:12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

2Co 1:16-18 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. (17) Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? (18) As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No.

Have you known people who regularly leave you guessing? They say something but then later you find yourself wondering – what did they really mean by that? They take you halfway there when they say something, but it’s as if they are purposely leaving it to you to complete the thought. In fact, I suspect that more often their motive is to leave you in the dark about the rest of their thought.

Why would anyone do this as a habit? I can only think of a couple of reasons – 1) They have secrets to be kept, or 2) They enjoy keeping you in the dark, keeping you wondering. If it is the latter, it seems to me that some real arrogance is involved. “I know, but you don’t.” That kind of thing. And maybe there is a third reason – 3) If they speak clearly, if they plainly complete the thought, then they are going to have to defend what they say. But they can’t defend it. They can’t prove it. So they just speak in halfways. Half-truths are good fuel for unproven accusations. Implications. Nuances. Innuendos.

Darkness is not to be something that characterizes a Christian. We are people of Light and our Lord is the Light of the World. His truth is Light. As Paul put it, we are to be yes OR no, not both. We are to say what we mean and mean what we say.

A New Playlist on a very Important Question – “Does God Love Everyone?”

I have created a new playlist on our Youtube Channel, Light for Dark Times – Jeff Crippen (I guess you have to search for that whole title including my name). There are 11 videos there now under the playlist title – “Does God Love Everyone.”

These 11 videos are part of the bigger series on the Gospel of John, but these 11 deal with the question, “does God love everyone?” This “unconditional love” thing we are assailed with so often is not a biblical doctrine and it causes all kinds of serious problems – some of which many of you have suffered from.

The fact is, the Bible is plain – God does not love everyone, and if anyone doubts the truth of this, they need to listen to this series which takes us through Scripture by Scripture which speak to this question. God’s love for His people in Christ is unique toward them alone. He shows kindnesses to all, including the wicked – providing them with many good things. But it is a serious error and even a distortion of the gospel to maintain that God loves everyone no matter what. In fact, He hates the wicked. They are under His condemnation and will perish in their sins unless they come to saving faith in Christ.

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