The Trap of Assuming Everyone is “Good”

I have had the opportunity recently to watch an ongoing debate (to put it lightly – “war” is probably a better word for it) between professing Christians. I read what they write and listen to them speaking, and I have observed something that just makes me shake my head in amazement. There is an unwritten tradition, a rule if you will, that says that in the church we all must speak “nice” to one another. After all, so goes the assumption, we are all Christians and therefore we are all “good.” Oh, someone here and there might get off track and be mistaken, but we must never stop believing that their motives are good. That’s the thinking, you see. And so in these battles you see the participants calling one another “brother” or going on at lengths to be sure everyone knows that no matter what they say, they don’t doubt the heart of their opponents and everyone just loves one another.  In such settings, it is an absolute no-no to speak of an action or a motive or a person as being evil.

And that, I am proposing, lays fertile soil for the wicked to practice their wickedness unmolested.

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This New Book on Domestic Abuse in the Church Looks Good…but…it isn’t

1 Thessalonians 4:9 ESV  Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,

Hebrews 10:16 ESV  “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,”

1 John 2:27 ESV  But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

John 10:4 ESV  When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

You must be born again. Every Christian, every true child of God, is born again. God’s Law is written on our hearts. His Spirit has made us new creations. We have been taught to love one another. The Spirit leads us and produces His fruit in us, enabling us by the Spirit to put to death the deeds of the flesh.

Kevin Giles’ new book, The Headship of Men and the Abuse of Women [Cascade Books, 2020] presents the thesis that the complementarian teaching of the headship of men and the submission of women to that headship promotes the abuse of women in the church, and really is a root cause of abuse particularly in conservative churches that teach it. Certainly complementarianism does this harm when men (and ironically many women) embrace its patriarchy and use it to justify oppressive, sinful abuse. Giles makes many correct points in this regard throughout his book.

However…

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Can God Save Anyone?

I received this excellent question from an abuse survivor recently.  Many thanks to her for thinking about this.  The common wrong answer we hear repeated like a mantra by professing Christians is one that keeps the innocent in bondage to the wicked so often. Here is her question and my reply –

I’ve been pondering how christians usually say that ‘God can change anyone’.

I’m fairly certain my ex husband is a sociopath, at the very least a narcissist and I do believe the bible refers to these people as the ‘wicked’ and ‘fools’.

So my question is, do you think there is a difference between what the bible calls the wicked, and ordinary ‘sinners’?

When I read in psalms etc, it seems to convey that God is very angry with the wicked and has no intention of saving them or wanting to save them.

So do you think they are in a separate class all of their own to general ‘sinners’ (those lost without Christ and leading a sinful life, loving the world etc, but not generally going out of their way to maliciously destroy people as a pattern of life).

That is an important question.

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