I am With You in Spirit – Biblical Justification for a Virtual Church in These Times

We also published this post at Light for Dark Times this morning because we want everyone to see it.

1Co 5:3-4 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. (4) When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,

2Co 10:10-11 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.” (11) Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present.

Col 2:5 For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.

Ok, I know full well that you and I as well are going to get the “hey, you are forsaking the gathering together of the saints” by doing this online church thing!”

Well, let me answer these kind.

  • First, what is healthy about gathering together under a false teacher and with anti-saints? In these dark days the condition of most local churches is not “hey, no church is perfect,” but “are there any real believers there at all and is the Word preached at all?”  Where in the Bible are we commanded to gather together in a counterfeit church?
  • Second, as you see in the verses above, we certainly can gather together in real fellowship even if it is not possible to be present physically. Paul did it! And this was no supposed “apostolic miracle” by which he somehow tele-transported his soul over to Corinth!  No. He was present by saying Amen to their obedience and real worship and praying for them.

There ARE circumstances which prohibit Christ’s people from being physically present and thus physically gathered together. Some people are shut ins due to health issues. Others have been so traumatized by the wicked wolves parading in wool that they literally cannot go to a church building. Others have been cast our of a local church for divorcing an abuser. And many others simply cannot find a genuine church and pastor even though they have searched and searched.

Paul couldn’t be at Corinth because he was far away. He couldn’t be at Colossae because he was in prison. Nevertheless he said he WAS present with them in spirit.

And thus we maintain that there is indeed biblical basis and justification for establishing a “virtual church” using the modern tools the Lord has blessed us with.

So don’t you arrogant types out there be trying to lay Hebrews 10:25ff on us and accusing us of disobeying the Lord. It might just be that we are obeying Him and YOU aren’t!

Let’s Put This “But he hasn’t physically abused you” Nonsense to Rest Once and For All

Listen to these far too common words from a pastor to an abused wife who has gone to him for help. The abuse has occurred for decades, habitually, without repentance:

From what I have been told, you have suggested that your husband’s looking at inappropriate images on the internet is adultery,  but he has not committed the physical act .  Could this not be more appropriately handled with counseling than divorce? From what I have been told your husband has not deserted you but conversely is willing to go to a counselor of your choice. You have intimated that your husband has not physically abused you, but has said mean things in the past and has been manipulative.  Again, could this not be more appropriately handled with counseling rather than with divorce?

There it is. “He has not committed the physical act of adultery. He has not physically abused you. Therefore, tough it out and quit complaining. Why, your husband is even willing to come down here to the church building with you and let me counsel the two of you.”

Continue reading “Let’s Put This “But he hasn’t physically abused you” Nonsense to Rest Once and For All”

“God Can Save Anyone” – A Common Line Used to Keep Abuse Victims in Bondage

Heb 3:18-19 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? (19) So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

You hear this all the time from pastors and professing Christians – God can save anyone. There is no one who cannot be saved.” This is an absolutely false and unbiblical statement that continues to do great harm to many. It enables evildoers. Let’s think this through.

Now, it is true that God desires all to be saved:

1Ti 2:3-4 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, (4) who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

I mean, don’t you desire all people to be saved? Of course. It should not surprise us therefore that God desires the same. But all people are not going to be saved. Many are going to hell. So why, if “God can save anyone” does hell even exist?

Continue reading ““God Can Save Anyone” – A Common Line Used to Keep Abuse Victims in Bondage”

Come Out From Them and Be Separate – “But He’s Your Husband”

2Co 6:14-18 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (15) What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? (16) What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (17) Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, (18) and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

I once had a target of an abuser tell me how her pastor and other members of her church and her parents were pressuring her to remain married to her abuser. They were giving her the usual gibberish about divorce not being permitted by God, do a better job submitting to him, and all the typical lines used by the usual suspects in these cases.

Her response to them was classic:

Continue reading “Come Out From Them and Be Separate – “But He’s Your Husband””

Domestic Abuser Intervention Programs Don’t Work – Don’t Get Drawn in by Them

As most of our readers probably know, I always tell abuse victims these two things:

  1. Abusers never change, and
  2. A marriage to an abuser does not need to be fixed, it needs to be ended.

I advise people to base their decisions about whether to leave, whether to stay, and so on upon these two fundamental assumptions. If they do, they will make wise decisions and avoid being further deceived by the abuser and his array of allies.

Now, I have caught flack for making these absolute statements. You see, people (especially professing Christians) want to believe that everyone is redeemable. That God is the God of the impossible. That we must never give up hope on anyone. This is the stuff that makes the tear-jerker feel good movies a hit, you know. The serial killer is forgiven by his victims’ families, they tell him about Christ, and he gets saved and marvelously transformed. This is the thing, you see. This is the stuff that sells.

But it is not reality. And it is not in agreement with the Word of God.

Continue reading “Domestic Abuser Intervention Programs Don’t Work – Don’t Get Drawn in by Them”

There is No Neutrality, No “Innocent” Bystander When We See Abuse

John 7:12-13  And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.

Let us hear what Judith Lewis Herman says about this kind of silence which is, in practice, a kind of neutrality:

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The Abusive Marriage Wrongly Seen as Pious Asceticism

Colossians 2:16-23 ESV Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. (17)  These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. (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, (19)  and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. (20)  If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations– (21)  “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (22)  (referring to things that all perish as they are used)–according to human precepts and teachings? (23)  These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

One of the reasons Christians so often pile a huge and even dangerous burden onto the victimized spouse of an abuser is the crazy notion that her suffering is somehow pleasing to God.  Asceticism is the “severe treatment of the body” that supposedly helps a person defeat their temptations and sins — whipping one’s back, crawling up stairs on one’s knees — that sort of thing.  Scripture counters any such notion — “they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”  When the Lord Himself brings trials into our lives, trials from which at the moment there is no escape, that is one thing.  He means this for our good and for His glory.  Paul’s thorn in the flesh, whatever that was, is an example.  Paul however would have escaped this thorn if the Lord had made it possible.

Continue reading “The Abusive Marriage Wrongly Seen as Pious Asceticism”