Recently I addressed in some comments this subject of who a Christian is – and who is not. As you know, we have had the tiring mantra of “we are all sinners” thrown at us as an excuse for abusers and as a club to force us to “show love and forgiveness.” We aren’t buying that line anymore. The Christian is not a sinner. We still sin, but “sinner” is no longer the title Scripture gives us. Saint, heir, child of God, beloved, holy ones – these are the terms the Bible uses.
Romans 13:1-7 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (2) Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. (3) For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, (4) for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. (5) Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. (6) For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. (7) Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
When I was a police officer I often had to go testify in court. Portland, Oregon was a large enough city that you would see new assistant District Attorneys begin their careers in traffic court, prosecuting speeding offenses then moving up to DWI cases and so on. They had to learn some basics in presenting their case, and one of the things they had to establish at the very start was something called venue. Venue has to do with the jurisdiction of the court. A court in Oregon, for example, cannot try a speeding offense if it occurred in the state of Washington. And if the court were in Portland, then the offense had to have occurred in Multnomah County, and so on. So the prosecutor would have to establish that, for instance, SE 139th and Division Street was in “the county of Multnomah, State of Oregon.” If he forgot to do that, the case could be dismissed. Venue, you see.
Here in the 13th chapter of Romans, the Apostle Paul is teaching us about venue. He says that God has appointed the civil authorities to carry out a particular function. The police, the prosecutor’s office, and the courts all “bear the sword” for the purpose of dealing with wrongdoers. The civil authorities are to be a “terror” to evil people for the benefit of us all. Therefore, we are all to be in subjection to them.
Christians and pastors and churches forget this, and in part (perhaps in large part) this is why abuse, both domestic and sexual, is being covered up in our churches. The thing is in the news now with well known evangelicals being sued for this very thing. It is contended that rather than report cases of sexual abuse and spousal abuse (criminal actions) to the civil authorities for prosecution, church leaders hushed it up and handled it “in house.” Or we should say, “mis-handled” it. Grievous wrongs were done to victims.
Churches do not have venue in regard to criminal offenses! We believe in the separation of church and state, just as Romans 13 teaches. The church has its venue (spiritual and religious) and the state has its venue (earthly and legal). Criminal offenses cannot be tried in the church! That has been attempted in church history and the outcome has never been good. The church does not rule over the king, nor does the king rule over the church. They each have their assigned areas of venue. If the king errs spiritually, it is the duty and right of the church to correct him. And if the church errs in criminal or civil matters, it is the duty and right of the king to correct the church.
In our churches, we can easily make the state out to be the enemy. We home-school rather than subject our children to the schools of the state. We protest that our taxes are used to fund abortions (rightly so). But in all of this, if we are not careful (and we have not been careful), we can go wrong in our thinking and imagine that we are above the state in all matters. And so, when it is discovered that a child has been abused in our church, we can easily err by seeing the civil authorities as the enemy and imagining that we have a God-given venue to handle the case entirely ourselves. We do not. For the most part we are not competent nor equipped to handle such cases, and we violate the law (and thus oppose God as Paul says) when we refuse to report abuse to the police. We do further damage to victims and we shame the name of Christ, as is happening in the news right now, when the whole sorry mess comes out perhaps years later. “Church and pastors covered up sexual abuse and protected the perpetrator.”
That is a headline you never want to see as a result of something your church did, or did not do.
A victim of a very deceitful, habitually lying abuser shared an interaction she had with the pastor of a church she and the abuser attended. We thank her very much for allowing us to publish what this pastor told her. As is so typical, you see here the incredible arrogance such false shepherds have and the refusal to acknowledge his ignorance about the very evils he insists that the victim submit to his counsel upon.
Here are the highlighted points of the enslaving lies the “pastor” laid upon her, followed by my comments:
1) “What is your end goal, best case scenario?” Here, in this “harmless” sounding opening question, the pastor is already trying to make the victim say that divorce for abuse is not an option and that her goal must be to stay in the marriage.
Mar 4:10-12 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. (11) And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, (12) so that “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.”
Over the years as I have ministered in the local church and in ministry to domestic abuse victims, I have learned that very, very few pastors and professing Christians really want to learn about the subject. When I began, I stated my purpose as that of educating local churches about how domestic abusers are hiding in their congregations. That is not my fundamental purpose any longer.
Because almost none of them want to hear the truth about this subject. Victims, on the other hand, are EAGER to learn and quite often contact me, thanking us for our books and blogs and encouraging me by telling me how their eyes have been opened to the lies and fog put upon them by evildoers – and by their churches. So my focus changed some time ago. I focus on helping the victims.
Now, in a previous Monday’s article I talked about the fact that a real Christian cannot be indefinitely deceived by evil. And furthermore, that when we see professing Christians choosing the deception, plugging their ears to the truth, we can be pretty sure that we are dealing with counterfeit saints.
Notice the scripture above from Mark 4. Jesus had just told the parable of the soils. Most of the crowd did not get it. Why? Jesus explains the reason. He has not granted them the ability to see and understand. And they don’t want to see and understand. The disciples however had been given “the secret of the kingdom” so that Jesus told them the meaning of the parable – the secret of the kingdom.
Now here is the point for our purposes here. Every true Christian is indwelt by the Spirit of Christ and has been given eyes to see and ears to hear Christ’s Word. That truth necessarily exposes lies of the evil one. And thus, at some point, the unholy charade of the domestic abuser is going to be visible to them.
1Co 2:12-14 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. (13) And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. (14) The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
I say again, most of the oppression put upon abuse victims by local churches, pastors, members, and counselors, has its origin in unsaved people and false churches.
Col 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
John 8:39-44 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, (40) but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. (41) You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father–even God.”
(42) Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. (43) Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. (44) You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Quite often we hear from Christians, pastors, authors, and counselors something like, “you must love your abuser because he is a child of God like all human beings. God loves all His children, and so must we.”
Totally bogus. I will prove it to you.
Look at the passage quoted above. Does that sound like the Pharisees are children of God? Nope. Who is their father according to Jesus? The devil. They even share the devil’s spiritual DNA. “If God were your father…”. But he isn’t. The devil is.
This business of all human beings being children of God is simply the same old theological liberalism that infected the church long ago and which was opposed by faithful saints like J. Gresham Machen.
Think a bit further on this. If God loves the wicked because they are his children, then necessarily his love for them is motivated by something in them. That is to say, in some way, God finds them “loveable.” But is that what the Bible says about man outside of Christ? No way. Did God elect us to salvation because of some merit he saw in us? No way. If he did, then grace is no longer grace.
So don’t ever fall for the line “we must love everyone because everyone is a child of God.” The fact is that the wicked, such as the domestic abuser hiding behind a facade of “saintliness,” is an object of God’s own hatred. And thus the Psalmist can say in perfect holiness:
Psalm 26:5 I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.
Psalm 139:21-22 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? (22) I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.
The following is a comment submitted to us in response to a recent post on forgiveness. I am posting the comment here as a stand-alone post because of its importance. [We also published it on our other blog at lightfordarktimes.com] Many, many thanks to the courageous lady who wrote and shared her story with us. We want to honor her desire that as many people as possible hear what she has to say so that they too can be wise: