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!

Just How Deceitful can an Abuser be? – When Bad Fruit Looks Good

1Co 13:1-3 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (2) And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (3) If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Jesus said that we can know evil people “by their fruit.” That is to say, we watch the kind of fruit that their lives produce, that is visible – their words, their actions – the visible things you see. And it is what we can see that tells us what we cannot see – the true condition of their heart. Bad fruit = bad tree. Good fruit = good tree.

But sometimes discerning these things isn’t all that easy. No doubt many victims of abuse struggle with this. So let’s do some serious thinking about this.

Continue reading “Just How Deceitful can an Abuser be? – When Bad Fruit Looks Good”

What the Presence of Christ in Us Will Mean

One of the most common ways that a Christian is persecuted today is in the scenario of a Christian who is married to a non-Christian.  Very often the unsaved spouse, the abuser, parades himself or herself as an eminent Christian, but is really only a Saul.  And at the root of the abuse is a fear of Christ, as the abuser sees that the Spirit of Christ is in the victim, and a hatred for Christ and thus for the victim.

This is vital for all churches and pastors and Christians to realize.  Not only for themselves personally, but because it will enable them to understand what is really happening to an abuse victim who is a Christian.  Listen now, and learn.

Continue reading “What the Presence of Christ in Us Will Mean”

Who do we Really Want in our Churches? – Is “Everyone” Welcome?

Rev 2:14-16 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. (15) So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. (16) Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.

How many times have you seen those church signs as you drive along?

“Everyone Welcome”

And so it seems in most local churches, everyone is welcome. “Come on in. Feel the love.” How foolish (or just plain rebellious) can we be!

Just a few moments of serious thought about what the Lord has written in the Scriptures will show us that in fact, not everyone is welcome in the Lord Jesus Christ’s church. Certainly not by Him. Why aren’t we following His lead?

Continue reading “Who do we Really Want in our Churches? – Is “Everyone” Welcome?”

False Teaching About “Gossip” Frequently Silences Victims

A few years back I received a copy of a small book written by Pastor Marc J. Grimaldi entitled Gossip: The Church Killer. It included a letter from Pastor Grimaldi which indicated he had sent out a copy of his book to pastors such as myself. He said in the letter:

For the ten years that I have served in the gospel ministry, I have found gossip to be one of the deadliest sins, which eats away at the life of Christ’s church. It is amazing to see how a single conversation even, can bring a wave of disruption, with many hearts being infected by the spread of gossip, leading to major problems in the local church. Sadly, gossip is so underrated and precautions must be taken to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, by inoculating our church members with a thorough understanding of the nature and danger of gossip….It is my hope that this short work will be a valuable tool for bringing the awareness of the danger of gossip to the local church, so that we might consciously seek to put this venomous asp to death, counteracting it with words that actually build up the body, rather than tear it down.

Now, I have no reason to believe that Pastor Grimaldi’s goal here is anything but what he has stated — to protect the church. However, most all of our readers  will agree that abusers absolutely love to accuse their victims of gossip if the victims tell anyone about the evils being done to them. And pastors and church members often do the same when an abuse victim comes forward to expose the evil and ask for help. “You are gossiping. Go home and respect your spouse.”

Continue reading “False Teaching About “Gossip” Frequently Silences Victims”

Willful Blindness to Evil Enables the Wicked and Oppresses Victims

Isaiah 56:10 His watchmen are blind; they are all without knowledge; they are all silent dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber.

If you have experienced attacks from the wicked such as domestic abusers or sociopaths say, in the church, who demand to have power and control, then you know the reality of evil. You probably know something else too. Namely, the willful blindness to that evil that so many people choose to cling to. Don’t talk to them about it. Keep your mind on the “sunny side of life,” they say.

These are the kind of people who are “nice.” I don’t like this brand of “nice.” No matter what you say to these type about some evildoer, they will always respond with “the positive.” “Yes, that is terrible, but….” –

  • We just need to love him/her
  • Maybe he just misunderstood you or you misunderstood him
  • He is getting better than he used to be though, right?
  • You need to get past this
  • He/she is family though

And on and on, right? You’ve heard all this stuff before I am sure.

This brand of person is willfully blind to the presence of evil, the tactics of evil, and the mentality of evil. Willfully. Ignorance is not the problem when a person chooses to be ignorant of something. Civil law even acknowledges this. A person can be convicted of a crime or held liable for damages if they should have known something but chose to turn a blind eye to it. No, blindness isn’t the problem in these cases.

That is to say, always looking for the good in someone or something is not a noble attribute. It throws victims of abuse under the bus all because someone else desires to not have to think of really unpleasant things. And if a person who claims to be a Christian consistently practices this “looking for the good,” then guess what? They aren’t a Christian at all.

Mat 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Jas 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Isa 1:16-17 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, (17) learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

Tell me – how in the world is anyone going to truly obey these Scriptures if they choose to remain blind to evil? You sure won’t hunger and thirst for righteousness because you keep insisting that pretty much there already IS righteousness. You may call on an orphan and widow and be Mr. oh-so-nice to them, but there is no way you will visit them in their affliction because really, you don’t think their situation is all that bad – and you will tell them so!! Will you bring justice to the fatherless and plead the widow’s cause? Of course not! You will just tell them that they should just suck it up and look for the good in their situation.

Understand? Do you see more clearly now why I don’t like “Mr. Nice” at all? Because Mr. Nice is an incredibly, horribly, selfish person. He or she simply wants to enjoy an enjoyable life without the bumps and disturbances the acknowledgement of evil brings.

And THIS is largely why victims of domestic abuse and sexual abuse are being rejected by churches today. The thing is just too troubling. Surely such evil does not exist, especially among “the people of God”? And if it does, well, Mr. Nice just doesn’t want to know about it.

Isaiah 56:10 His watchmen are blind; they are all without knowledge; they are all silent dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber.

 

Abuse and Christianity: Why the “Christian” Abuser is the Worst Kind

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears. Acts 20:28-31 ESV

I think that Christians are faced with the worst kind of abuser — the “Christian” abuser.  The person who claims to be a Christian but who is nothing but a facade and who, in reality, is a power and control motivated, entitlement-thinking wolf in wool.  And it is important for us to realize this.  Not only are we often the most naive people when it comes to “getting it” about abuse, but we in the Christian church often have to face the most evil abusers.

Why do I suggest this?

Continue reading “Abuse and Christianity: Why the “Christian” Abuser is the Worst Kind”