Thoughts on Wolves Hiding Among the Flock

Here is the entirety of 2 Peter 2.  You have to read the whole thing in order to get the “punch line” at the very end.  Go for it, then I have some comments below.

2 Peter 2:1-22 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. (2) And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. (3) And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (4) For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; (5) if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; (6) if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; (7) and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (8) (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); (9) then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, (10) and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, (11) whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. (12) But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, (13) suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. (14) They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! (15) Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, (16) but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. (17) These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. (18) For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. (19) They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. (20) For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. (21) For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. (22) What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.

While there certainly are some difficult parts in this passage, I just want to focus on two predominant themes.  These relate to the question regarding whether an abuser will ever repent and change.  Here are the two points drawn from this passage:

Continue reading “Thoughts on Wolves Hiding Among the Flock”

Do not Take Your Guidance from Fables Like this

Recently I was sent a link to a site that apparently claims to speak God’s Word particularly to women. The link brought me to a post on that site which had the following story about a woman and the evangelist Charles Finney. I quote the account below and I do so to caution everyone about reading things like this and assuming that they are true and that they contain Godly advice. Stories like this are dangerous because they encourage abuse victims to place themselves in great danger, thinking that it is God’s will for them to do so.  Here is the story and then I will make a couple of additional comments below:

Continue reading “Do not Take Your Guidance from Fables Like this”

The Wicked Often Hide Behind a Mask of Theological Acumen – Watch Out for Them

Mat 23:23-24  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.  (24)  You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

I have seen a very common pattern of how the wicked disguise themselves as fine saints, eminent examples of holiness, shepherds who we must go to in order to be fed, etc. It is so common in fact that I can issue this warning:

When a professing Christian, a supposed pastor, a church leader or theologian type writes lengthy articles filled with detail, evidences an academic air focusing on debate to prove their own theological point, beware. The devil himself is quite a theologian. He is quite capable, as are his servants, of writing intricate and convincing theological tomes that will receive praise and recognition from those who admire a form of godliness without the power.

Continue reading “The Wicked Often Hide Behind a Mask of Theological Acumen – Watch Out for Them”

Grumbling When Good is Done is a Mark of Pharisees

And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him. (Luke 13:11-17)

One of the clearest signs that a church (and many, many of them today are) is ruled by Pharisees and hypocrites is when you see leaders and members of such a place loudly protesting and gnashing their teeth when someone, like this daughter of Abraham, is loosed from bondage to Satan. It’s the very same thing. An abuse victim who has suffered torments for years and years calls out for help and is rejected by the pillars of the church. Then the truth comes along, she sees it, and she gets free.

What happens? Celebration? Hardly.

Continue reading “Grumbling When Good is Done is a Mark of Pharisees”

Watch Out for Wolves in Wool — a True Story of Disguises

We all know that abusers love to hide in the pews, wearing “holy” garb as a disguise. It’s one of their favorite methods, and a very effective one too.  I never cease to be amazed at how many of these mask-wearers are in churches.

Recently I did some searching online to see what had become of a fellow and his wife who I had known many years ago. They were church members and he was active not only in the church but also held a seminary degree and worked in a professional ministry setting with a well-known Christian organization. I found that he had died, as had his wife, and I located their obituaries and read them.

Continue reading “Watch Out for Wolves in Wool — a True Story of Disguises”

Don’t Listen to People who want to ride the fence

This is a grass roots movement — bottom up. The higher up levels in ministries and denominations will never listen unless there is a ground swell from lowly Christians. I dont see us dialoguing with the power brokers because they would only be trying to trick us into believing that they really do care about justice. Historically that is always how it goes down.

Here is a quote from Roland Bainton’s biography of Martin Luther. There is a lesson here for us about people who claim to be our friends but want to ride the fence so they don’t suffer any loss. They say things like: “Surely it is fine to point out error and to criticize certain things, but you must not go too far. If you will just not cross ‘the line’ then we can all work together and you won’t alienate people from you and….” on it goes.

Anyway, here is what Bainton wrote:

Continue reading “Don’t Listen to People who want to ride the fence”

The Wrong Questions are Being Asked to Discern Truth or Falsehood

Judges 12:5-6  And the Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. And when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me go over,” the men of Gilead said to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” When he said, “No,”  (6)  they said to him, “Then say Shibboleth,” and he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it right. Then they seized him and slaughtered him at the fords of the Jordan. At that time 42,000 of the Ephraimites fell.

Some years ago a pastor from a nearby church phoned me to ask a few questions about our church.  He was sincere in motive I believe and just wanted to know if we were a true, Bible-believing and teach church or not. But he started in the wrong place. He asked the wrong questions. Here is his first:

Are you complementarian or egalitarian?

For those of you not familiar with these terms, they apply to two views of marriage. The complementarian is the model that says the husband is the head, in authority, and the wife is to submit to him. The egalitarian model puts husband and wife on equal levels in regards  to leadership, authority, etc. [We get into trouble when we start throwing these terms around because inevitably they drag us into this “authority” arena and things go south from there].

Now, in the conservative churches I was raised and taught in, the complementary model was the one embraced. After all, is that not what Ephesians 5 teaches? The husband is the head of his wife and the wife is to submit – well, yes, but….somehow or other the actual application of this Scripture has gone very wrong. But anyway, that is not my main point here.

Continue reading “The Wrong Questions are Being Asked to Discern Truth or Falsehood”