The Lord Holds All Responsible When Evil is Tolerated

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.

I am sure that most all of you know of the longstanding evils being exposed within the Southern Baptist Conference. Case after case of domestic and sexual abuse being covered up by corrupt self-seeking leaders. It has been in the news. Google it if you need to get informed.

Recently I saw a thread on this subject on Facebook and I commented there that the SBC just needs to go away. In response, an SBC loyalist replied that it is wrong to judge 15 million Southern Baptists on the basis of the sins of a few leaders. She went on to list many “good things” these SB’s are doing and said that her church and pastor are known for not being active in the SBC, though they are members. So don’t judge them, she said.

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Why Aren’t Pastors and Churches Discerning Evil?

Heb 5:11-14  About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.  (12)  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,  (13)  for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.  (14)  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

This is one of the most important Scriptures for professing Christians and churches in our day. And yet most are ignorant of what the Lord is telling us here. This ignorance (or downright disgust) of these truths are causing all kinds of suffering to Christ’s people in so-called churches.

At best, most people who claim to be Christians are, as the Apostle says here, children. They of course fancy themselves to be quite the mature saints but the fact is that they cannot handle solid food. They don’t have teeth or the capacity to digest. Infants in diapers.

But that is at best. At worst, and I suspect far more common, is the reality that many if not most of them are not born again at all. God’s Word is therefore foolishness to them. And if that sounds unplausible to you, then just read on into Hebrews 6 because what the Apostle is doing here at the end of chapter 5 is introducing us to the topic of apostacy. 

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When Men as leaders Forfeit Their Right to Lead

Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment. (Jdg 4:4-5)

I am no expert on the era of the Judges and I do not claim to know with certainty why a woman, Deborah, was chosen by the Lord to be the judge of the nation in those days. I do know that it was a dark time “when every man did what was right in his own eyes.” But certainly one explanation could be that the men of the nation had forfeited their right and duty to lead.

Sin in the life of a leader in the household of God can mean forfeiture of his position of leadership. God could have removed David as king, though for His glory and His faithfulness to His covenant, He did not. In Saul’s case, kingship was removed. And so it had been in the history of the kings of Israel.

Recently I read an article by the boys over at The Gospel Coalition, for whom I have no respect. I do not respect them because they continue to rally to each other’s case when one of their “buds” is in trouble. See the whole CJ Mahaney, SGM fiasco as an example. TGC fellows have been sounding the “anti-abuse” trumpet lately it seems to me, and in this article I just read you have them going on and on about how the Bible and Jesus in particular show the value of women.

It is true that the Bible and Jesus in particular show the value of women. Jesus highly valued women and the examples given in the TGC article are accurate. Then the article moves on to its main point —complementarianism. Men are to be the leaders in the church, in the marriage, in the family, and so on. I don’t want to get into that whole debate here. I hate people demanding that I embrace the label “complementarian” or “egalitarian” for myself. I prefer to say “I believe what the Bible teaches about men and women and marriage and family and church.”

My point here is this. Ok, let’s say that the Bible teaches that men are to be pastors and elders in the church, not women. And that men are to be the leaders in their marriage and in their home. That women, all things being equal, are not to be in those positions. Then here is my challenge to the men.

Why should the Lord continue to entrust any man with the oversight of Christ’s church when that man continues to cover for and enable wicked abusers? What makes you so certain that the Lord would not appoint a godly woman in the place of such an ungodly man? It is evident and plain for anyone who has eyes to see and ears to hear that evil, wicked, oppressive abuse IS being enabled and covered for by church leaders, many if not most of whom are men. Do you really think that male leadership in the church is more important to the Lord than justice and mercy and courageous defense of the oppressed? Do you think that the Lord would rather have a “good ‘ol boy” who protects evildoers leading His flock than a woman who is a true daughter of Abraham?

Evil, power-and-control hungry, wicked men ARE being protected and covered for in many if not most local churches. Those who want to deny that, well, we have nothing to say to you as long as you choose willful blindness. Will the Lord be with any such “shepherd” who feeds himself and not Christ’s lambs? Of course not. To the boys at TGC and really to all men who are leaders in the church and who protect abusers and add to the oppression of victims, I say: You should take a very hard look at yourself and your ministry to see if the glory of the Lord has not already departed from you and that shepherds after His own heart are not being raised up elsewhere in places you might never even think to look. You may well find yourself and your ministry “Ichabod.”

And then one final note. Just because a woman is a woman does not guarantee that she will be a friend to the oppressed. Notice that in my above statements I specified that the Lord may use a GODLY woman — a woman who truly knows Christ and who knows His Word and possesses His wisdom. Many professing Christian women, like many men, do not. Many of the abuser-friendly comments which side with the abuser are made by women.

If the Lord does raise up a woman to lead, she will most certainly be a woman like Deborah, full of His Spirit and His wisdom. One of the chief signs that she has those qualities is how she responds to evil and the victims of evil.

The Harems of the Evangelical Church

1Pe 5:2-3  shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;  (3)  not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

It has been my experience with evildoers who parade as Christians to be betrayed by many who I was sure were my genuine brothers or sisters in Christ. Hard lessons learned. Many of you have “been there done that” as well.  As a result, I have had occassion to give serious thought to what such people really were all the time. They wore a mask, yes. But why?

Just like Judas, and like all false pastors and elders who “domineer” over those in their charge, people like this are self-serving as they pretend to be a fellow saint, your right hand man, etc. That is to say, they are getting something out of the deal. They are getting something from you. You are being used. What looks like genuine love, isn’t, and that becomes apparent on the inevitable day of the betrayal. “Love” turns to hate and contempt. They are done with you, as if no real friendship ever existed at all.

It didn’t.

Let me give you a very common example of this kind of dynamic of evil. It is from this brand that I draw the title of this article: The Harems of the Evangelical Church. You all know what a harem is. It is an owned company of women who exist for the sole pleasure of the king/rich man, owner. Harems are always made up of women. I have never heard of a male harem though I suppose some female tyrant of old somewhere may have had some male slaves for a very similar purpose.

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Pastoral Care Has Its Limits and Must Allow for the Priesthood of the Believer

One of the recurring themes we hear from Christians who are abuse victims/survivors is that when they went to their pastor or church for help, reporting the abuse, they were told that they must remain with their abuser or at most separate from him for a time, always working toward reconciliation.

In all cases like this, we have seen pastors and churches “shepherding” or “caring for” the victim and abuser — as they put it. And behind all of this there has been an attitude or conviction or doctrine of the church and of the pastorate and even of the nature of the individual Christian that essentially says “we will mediate Christ to you.” It is quite Roman Catholic actually. The thing is much like a formal priesthood which behaves as if the individual Christian is led and directed by the church, unable on their own to discern the voice of the Good Shepherd. And yet:

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me  (John 10:14)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)

Every real Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and is led by the Spirit (See Romans 8; Galatians 5:16ff). Every real Christian is thereby enabled to understand Scripture.

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Ephesians 5:11 and Exposing Evil – A Real Case

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible . (Eph 5:11-13)

Jesus exposed evil. The Light of the World does that. His people are the light of the world and we are to do the same evil-exposing that He did. His Word shows us the pattern:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. (Matthew 23:25)

Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. (2 Timothy 4:14-15)

I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church. (3 John 1:9-10)

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. (1 Cor 5:1-2)

Need I go on? This is the pattern of Light exposing evil as God commands. Is it the typical pattern we see in churches now? Hardly.

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The Abuser Provokes His Children to Wrath — Sermon by Ps Jeff Crippen

The Abuser Provokes His Children to Wrath
Sermon 10 from the series:  The Psychology and Methods of Sin
A 21 sermon series on domestic violence and abuse
First given on September 26, 2010
Sermon Text:  Ephesians 6:4

Ephesians 6:4 ESV Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians chapters 5 & 6 contain the Lord’s instructions to us regarding the exercise of His authority and the submission to that authority which is
to characterize the various relationships of our lives –

  • Husbands and wives
  • Fathers and children
  • Masters and slaves (employers and employees in today’s terms)

Before we are finished with this series on the topic of abuse, we will of course need to return to Ephesians 5 and deal with the whole matter of headship and submission in the husband/wife relationship. It cannot be denied that the Bible establishes a doctrine of headship in marriage, but sinful, abusive human beings have often distorted this Scripture in their attempt to justify their evil abusive practices. In particular, we want to underscore what biblical headship in marriage, in parenting, and in other relationships of life, such as in the workplace, IS NOT! 

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