11 May, 2014

Evil Christians?

Is there such an animal as an evil Christian? Please stop and think about that for a minute. If your knee jerk reaction is that as believers we are both evil and good at the same time it is probably because you were taught that. It might have been from some proof text of scripture by a teacher or it might be because you were taught we are "born sinning" from the errant doctrine of imputed guilt for Adam's sin.

Or you might believe it because it is too hard to believe anything else and exist in this world. Let me give an example.

Remember the Catholic Priest scandals? It scaled the Western world. Wiki can give you an overview in case you have forgotten how vast was the evil inside that denomination. So in light of the vastness and numbers of that scandal, can you tell me why the Catholic church still exists as a reputable institution? The "system" that produced that evil is still in business. It has not changed its structure or beliefs.

Why do people believe the problem is solved? The children (now adults) who were victims are just a blip on the radar. I am sincerely asking the question: Why does it still exist? Why do millions of Catholics still give money and attend mass? Because it is too big to fail?  Because what happened STILL does not prompt them to seriously ask how it could have gone on so long in so many places and so many little children devastated from it? How in the world is Jesus Christ in such thinking? What about Milstones? Do the priests and bishops think the milstone does not apply to them?

The Evangelical Protestants have plenty of their own institutionalized evil and more of it is starting to come out in terms of greed, politics, child molestations, adultery, etc. It is a huge train wreck that is being excused by millions of evangelicals who view it simply as "sinners sin" or "there but for the grace of God, go I" or some sort of cheap grace that is supposed to cover any future evil committed by long time professing believers. Often they are the ones who make their living off Jesus and find it easy to hide the evil because they have titles and stand on a stage.

So what was the point of the Cross/Resurrection? Why is the dichotomy sinless perfection or evil Christians?  Where is growing in Holiness or you won't see God? What about those "lists" in Galatians, Revelation and other places that warn us believers about who won't make it to the New Earth? What about the 58 "one another's" sprinkled all through the New Covenant? Can we really ignore those to excuse evil in the Body?

After all, many of us know agnostics who have more character and integrity than some of the pastors we have experienced who have sold their souls to growing an institution that pays them quite well to teach Jesus. Are we experiencing cognitive dissonance or do we not know the real Jesus Christ? I keep seeing the parallels in not only post A.D. church history (which was an evil bloody mess) but in the Old Testament. It was the religious leaders of His time that Jesus had the biggest problem with and showed His anger. The corrupt priests in the OT is a constant theme.  Jesus first went to the oppressed and poor to tell them the truth. The religious leaders were too busy with their titles and places of honor. And they found the lowly Jesus quite the threat. History is repeating itself with our culture of the celebrity Christian or the revered title on a stage.

What I find even more interesting is how many Christians will excuse the evil done by other Christians (often the celebrities) but won't excuse the same evil done by unbelievers. It is as if the professing Christian gets a "get out of jail free" card the unbeliever does not deserve for some reason. Is it really as simple as buying a plastic fish for your car and attending church? In fact, these days ministry is a magnet for sociopaths and narcissists. Check this out . Or, this. Where else can you get instant credibility, a respectable title and an audience sitting in pews in rapt attention. All because of a title. Often the pew sitters don't even know the guy personally. That, is cult of personality.

 Many Christians actually have lower ethical and moral standards for those who profess Christ (often those who make a nice living off His Name) than they do for unbelievers. I once had a local judge point this out to me. He was an old friend from undergrad days, an agnostic, who asked me why Christians will pack out a court room on a zoning hearing concerning a porn shop but then come back and pack the court room to give character witness for a pedophile (while the victim looks on helpless with no such support from the "church') and beg for leniency in sentencing. The only difference is the pedophile professed Christ so, for some reason, he deserves a break. Why? It makes no sense.  I would imagine many pedophiles would profess Christ to receive a lighter sentence. Often the victim is accused of being unforgiving in those situations, too. See SGM/CJ Mahaney as an example.

The agnostic judge asks a good question and we should think hard about our answer so we don't cheapen that priceless Blood. Here is a rule of thumb as a believer: Remember the Cross. LIVE OUT the resurrection. We are supposed to be the light of the world.  People are supposed to be able to trust us. We are supposed to overcome evil. Not look for excuses to do evil to others.

Yet, what happens in Christendom is often the exact opposite of what 1 Corinthians 5 teaches us concerning the Body of Christ. We are to judge those IN the Body. We are not to judge the world. But that does not make for a good culture war that evangelicals have engaged in since the 70's...and lost, BTW.

Now our problem is that the world is often looking more virtuous than we do. Our scandals are coming out faster than we can say, "sinners sin" or "cheap grace". At least the world is honest about sin as they don't do it in the Name of Christ or making a living off His Name while doing the evil. No, in many ways evangelicals are worse than them. Hebrews 10: 26-31, anyone?

If you wonder why the world hates us, it might not be because of Christ or because we are "the light of the world". It might be because we deserve it. It might be because we spend more time excusing "walking in darkness". (1 John 1)

We have sold people on the idea a benign Savior who has no power. We promote a form of godliness that has no power of the Holy Spirit or personal transformation. (2 Timothy 3)

 Instead evangelicals promote the false notion that Jesus Christ covered our future evil. That totally negates the reason for the Cross.  We support  or excuse evil all the time done by fellow Christians (often pastors) and the world does not trust us. I don't blame them. I don't trust "us" either. Which is why more and more of us are joining the "nones". The institutions are not to be trusted.

The saddest part of this is when "Christians" are offended by the victims of the institutional evil that so permeates much of evangelical Christianity. They want them to shut up. Move on. They censure them by shaming and insisting they are unforgiving. The victim of institutional evil makes them uncomfortable because they might be forced to think about what they believe and why.  We saw this with the Catholic priest scandal. We see it with the scandals of CJ Mahaney, Driscoll and many others. So these professing believers require a cheap grace to make it through their cognitive dissonance of believing Christians can continue to do evil. They don't stop to think how the Name of Christ is blasphemed by excusing evil done by ministers, priests or those who have made their living off the Name of Christ.

I have spoken to so many victims of the institutional evil and the refrain is almost always the same. The evil done to me by the institution (pastor, priest)  makes other Christians so uncomfortable. They always end up blaming the victim instead of the evil doer. They end up making excuses for the one who did the evil. Perhaps it is the title they have been taught to respect.

Victims of the institutional evil need to understand that it is almost impossible to move on when you are around "Christians" who think that way about evil done in His Name. As if you are a lesser being than the one with the title who did the evil. They get a pass. The victim becomes a survivor when they come to the realization of the true Jesus Christ and move on from those who believe lies about Him. This is called having "boundaries". Not being censored because the evil done to you makes them uncomfortable about what they believe about Christianity.  You are most likely safer around agostics who believe in a basic right and wrong. Anything to get away from the mentality that long time believers do evil to others so no big deal. How can anyone trust that? Lock up the children and hide the silver, pastors who do evil are coming over.

Problem is most of institutional Christianity believes in the Jesus who hung on the cross so we could continue in sin after the resurrection. That thinking comes in many forms from the cheap grace of the seeker movement to Calvinists who believe that God is controlling every molecule 24/7. In essence, they believe all Christians are powerless to stop sinning. You have to wonder the motivation for teaching people such a thing. Cover for when their evil comes out? You also have to wonder what they really think of the priceless blood shed for us by a powerful Savior who made it possible for us to overcome evil. Why is the Holy Spirit AWOL from them?

So, can Christians continue in evil deeds or even ignore evil in the Body?

http://vimeo.com/16621383

01 June, 2012

Becoming a Dissident


"You do not become a 'dissident' just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual  career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society."  


19 May, 2012

New Calvinism and Church Discipline





Dear Reader,

Whatever you do, do NOT sign any "membership Covenants" or any type of agreements in order to join any church.  No matter how nice or sincere they may seem at first. You have been warned. Here is one example of thousands making their way to the light of day.

06 April, 2012

Pastoring

Alan Knox over at, theAssemblingoftheChurch, hits one out of the ballpark with a series on "Pastoring". I especially loved this quote from Jamal from the post, but he has an MDiv and Ordination papers:

These precious saints who ask me to pray for their ‘Elders’ are frustrated because their ‘Elders’ (wise ones in the faith) are not really wise in the faith. I want them to realize that putting a descriptive term like ‘elder’ (one who is wise in the faith) upon a person who is not wise in the faith makes no sense. Instead of being frustrated with these people, simply see them for who they are, and who they aren’t.



I want these precious saints to realize that if someone is not ‘wise in the faith,’ they are NOT an elder even if they do carry the job description or title of ‘Elder / Pastor.’ Simply realizing this could free many from being held hostage to a system or organization led by a set of ‘unwise’ people who carry the title of being ‘wise.’ After all, the title of ‘elder’ does not make a person ‘wise’ in the faith.

The problem is not really with these unwise ‘Elders,’ rather the problem is with the people who think the term ‘elder’ refers to some type of ‘office’ that carries a hierarchical weight that is separate from the person itself. This is foreign to the New Testament. It is absurd to look to someone whom we already know is not ‘wise’ in the faith and refer to them with a term that means ‘one who is wise in the faith.’

Amen. Quote from "Jamal" over at illuminate. Read his whole post, too.

27 March, 2012

A Cry for Justice

"Good people never pretend to be evil, but evil people pretend to be good. Sheep don't wear wolves' clothing."

~ Jeff Crippen


Check out Jeff's great blog http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/

It is a bit too complicated to comment there but the articles are definitely worth reading

26 January, 2012

The Gentiles Lording It Over

Wade Burleson has hit the nail squarely on the head with this post:

 our-problem-is-authoritarianism-and-not legalism