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

13 comments:

Lin said...

Here are some links that will help understand how these problems come from "systems" that produce the bad apples. We wrongly believe if we just excuse or deal with the bad apples, it will be ok. We forget to inspect the fruit barrel. Does the system institutionalize spiritual abuse? It often does because the institution exists to not only grow but maintain what it has. The people come second to that ambition. Too many pastors worried about their "legacy" that is a fraud.

http://undermuchgrace.blogspot.com/2009/01/bad-apples-or-bad-barrels-short-and.html

I highly recommend Zimbardo's Lucifer Effect. I saw this up close and personal in the mega church structure. Of course, the pew sitters don't see it because it is hidden behind the great entertainment on stage and there are no real accountability structures in place. The pew sitters should be asking the hard questions they never ask like, "I need to see a budget". But a better question is why would we want to be in a "church" where you cannot know the pastor (who is teaching you about Jesus) personally? Because cult of personality has become the norm in Christendom.

Another good resource is Brad Sargeant's (futuristguy) work on "systems" and spiritual abuse.

http://futuristguy.wordpress.com/spiritual-abuse-resources/

But the best resource to start out is this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Subtle-Power-Spiritual-Abuse-The-ebook/dp/B006K4PPCS/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1

A must read for all believers who are still in an institution.

Cindy said...
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Cindy said...
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Truthseeker said...

THank you, Lin, for this excellent post. This very topic swirls around me as I discuss it with family and friend alike and nearly all believe in once saved always saved, and saved from all sins-past, future, present, etc.-everything you mentioned. And I say, what a powerless, impotent god they believe in.

Lin said...

"And I say, what a powerless, impotent god they believe in."

Now that is the truth.

Lin said...

You know something else, truthseeker, I don't know how anyone can read the book of Hebrews and believe in OSAS. And I am not quite sure how they can believe the precious blood covers all future sins. I mean at some point don't they have to admit there is no Holy Spirit present when there is nothing but deception and evil all over celebrity Christendom that has become public? Yet, they can simply compartmentalize it as lies, deception, greed, etc is the normal?

Truthseeker said...

Lin, you are right, they have no need for a Holy Spirit if all their sins are covered. They just live however they wish until they die and go through the giant 'carwash' at the end. Until then, they are just 'chocolate-covered poop', I say. They claim the blood of Christ covers all their sins and God sees Christ, not us, when He looks down at us. Well, then we haven't been cleansed, have we? Just 'coated' or covered, but not cleansed. What about being transformed by the renewing of our minds, etc.? We don't need to heed that, either, if the blood covers all, right? And what about being transformed? That is quite different from just being 'covered' or 'coated', as covered seems to mean in these cases.

I just reread Hebrews and in 5:8 and 9 it says he (Jesus) became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. Obedience cannot be separated from salvation. It may not be the first in the series of things that happen-belief, repentance, etc. come first; but fruit surely must follow, and that fruit is born out of obedience and in abiding in Him, in the Vine. Unfruitful vines are cut off-which presumes that they were indeed part of the main branch, somehow, to begin with. Also, as you point out, there are other passages that speak to the need to remain diligent and faithful to the end in order to inherit the promises.

This inevitably then leads to the usually heated retortful question; "Are YOU saying that YOU are perfect, then?!" That is, if we claim that Jesus meant it when He said Be ye perfect... It is not believed that we can be perfected in this life. Jesus was apparently just speaking rhetoric. That is a tricky thing, but if the Holy Spirit is able to lead us, and if Jesus cleansed us from all sin (past), then who is to say that individuals couldn't become sinless (no longer sinning, ceasing from sin) at some point in this life? I say it somehow has to be a possibility otherwise, the power of Jesus unto salvation and the ability of the Holy Spirit to guide and transform us is limited. But to claim or even suggest these things is to invite an instant barrage of ridicule and mockery.

People instantly ask, "Have YOU ever met a sinless person?" Given the response of some of the people who wanted to stone and kill Jesus, I think it is highly likely that sinful, hard-hearted people wouldn't even recognize a truly sinless person now if they encountered one. And thus, the wolves continue to justify and excuse their 'faults' as well as teach this same weakness to the masses. Even well-meaning sheep are increasingly teaching this stuff to the masses.

On this note, it is interesting to read, in Hebrews 10:14 that by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. In the verses that follow, it seems to support the idea that Christians (true)are those who rather quickly are conformed into His image rather than simply given a sloppy adoption pass that enables them to continue to behave as though they are still of their father the devil, rather than adopted into the family of God, and transformed into that likeliness by obedience and the work of the Spirit.

Ye shall know them by their fruit pretty much sews it up. And He gave us a good description of 'fruit.' It is difficult to read Hebrews and conclude that once we are saved-if that salvation is a one-time event-that we are always saved. Salvation appears to be more of a process of sorts: believing in Christ and in the sacrifice He made for us, and then responding in obedience the rest of our lives, which yields the evidence of the fruit of the Spirit within us. This process does not imply 'coating', but rather, true transformation and persistence in obedience and faithfulness.

If we truly love Him, we will not try to hide or excuse our sins (as do wolves in sheep's clothing) but rather, seek to walk in His truth, love, and righteousness.

Lin said...

"reread Hebrews and in 5:8 and 9 it says he (Jesus) became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. Obedience cannot be separated from salvation. It may not be the first in the series of things that happen-belief, repentance, etc. come first; but fruit surely must follow, and that fruit is born out of obedience and in abiding in Him, in the Vine. Unfruitful vines are cut off-which presumes that they were indeed part of the main branch, somehow, to begin with. Also, as you point out, there are other passages that speak to the need to remain diligent and faithful to the end in order "

Ok, You are touching on one of my huge problems with what passes for Christianity out there.

I have noticed, (even with discernment bloggers who are fighting abuse!!!) that they map the concept of "obedience" to a church and legalism.

The totally wrong road to go down.

Obedience has nothing to do with being obedient to some mere human pastor or church rules. The church nor the pastor are Christ. Being obedient is not legalism, either. But that concept has been so ingrained people cannot see past it.

People have a hard time wrapping their heads around the fact that Jesus accused the Pharisees of being..."lawless"! Or that John calls sin "lawlessness".

Another problem is that people confuse Justification (a done deal for all we accept or not) and sanctification...living out the kingdom now reflecting Him to the world. You cannot have one without the other. It would be like your "covered" analogy and not the "transformation" or metanoia as in true repentence over time growing in Holiness.

In other words, our fruit says everything. People should be able to trust us with their lives.

Thanks so much for your great comments. It is heartening to know there are others out there who see the Christless Cross and cheap grace whether it is worm theology or Joel Osteen.

Lin said...

Oh and btw: the "sinless perfection" accusation is everywhere.

It has gotten so bad that when you say it is evil for a pastor to protect child molesters the person retorts: Are you sinless?

As if that is the criteria for calling out evil. If we go by that standard then no one is qualified to preach the gospel.

The other problem is they constantly juxtapose sin and evil. There is a difference. We cannot be sinless because we are born into a corrupted world into a corrupted body that dies. But we can refrain from evil.

What I constantly see is a total ignorance of all the lists we see in the NT and how they apply to believers. The list were given to professing believers! We see some in 1 Corin 5, Galatians and even Revelations as warnings about things you cannot be and inherit the kingdom. Liar is one of them. We might "lie" but we cannot be consistent willful liars. It is about "walking in the light" as described in all of 1 John.

It boggles my mind how "grace" has been so cheapened to excuse some very heinous behavior toward others. Some done by pastors who make a living off Jesus' name!

I am not "perfect", but you can trust me.

Truthseeker said...

Lin, yes!!!! It really is as you point out that one can no longer call out sin when they see it because they will be accused of needing to be sinless themselves before they can even open their mouth. 'Hide the children and the silver because the pastor is coming ...' is sadly so true. And thank you for pointing out that these lists of admonitions were given to believers-not unbelievers! I can only say amen to all you have said. Keep preaching it; it needs to be said! Churches have become downright tiresome, even dangerous places rather than the havens of nurture in Christ that they were meant to be.

Kermit Obermeyer said...

Part 1 -

The real rub comes when people come to some conviction about Christ in their life they actually use it like they do with the rest of their existence.... Just jump from point to point or follow as a fad or once done thing! Of course your Eternal Destination is more than a mere chance happening... But most never recognize it!

*** Following is an Article

The Believer's Authority
By Andrew Wommack


Is there someone in your life who just rubs you the wrong way?
If there is, it may surprise you to learn that it’s not really that person who is creating the rub. There is someone else at work—your real Enemy—and he may be using them in an attempt to gain an inroad to your life. There is a spiritual war going on, and as a believer, you must be aware of it.

Many Christians have adopted a humanistic view of things. They do not realize the spiritual implication behind what is going on in their lives. What I mean by humanistic is that they only look at things on a surface level. They think most everything they encounter on a daily basis is either physical or natural.

The truth is, there is a battle raging every single day in the spiritual realm. That battle is for your heart and the hearts of every other person on earth. God is trying to influence people and draw them toward righteousness and toward Himself, to live consistent with Him so that His blessings can manifest in their lives.

Satan, on the other hand, is waging all-out war trying to steal the hearts of people away from God. He wants to fill their hearts with his trash and corruption. And honestly, although most Christians recognize this to a degree, I don’t think they realize how intense the warfare really is and how much their actions are contributing to it.

If I could sit and talk with each of you reading this, I would find that many of you aren’t aware of the spiritual significance behind what’s going on in your lives. You attribute much of what is happening to circumstances and therefore passively accept what comes your way. When you do that, you’re ignoring the intense battle that is being waged for your heart every single day.

The choices you make, the things you say, the actions you take, and what you believe about what is happening around you determines whether God or Satan dominates in your life. Satan cannot control you outside of your will. He cannot do anything without your cooperation and consent. But you need to recognize that you’re in a battle. {Believe it!}

Many people choose not to believe that, but whether they do or not, the fact is that it’s taking place. Your unwillingness to engage in battle doesn’t mean that the battle isn’t raging; it just means you’re going to lose. But once you realize the battle is real, you can then learn to recognize what’s going on and take the proper action to improve your situation. You can resist the devil.

James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Ephesians 6:10-12 reads,

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole Armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

This is referring to demonic powers. There’s a chain of command, an authority structure in the demonic realm, and this is listing these different levels. But notice that it says you are not wrestling against flesh and blood. Much that goes on in your life is not just human.





Kermit Obermeyer said...

Part 2 - Believer's Authority


I’m not going to get into this thing about, “Are people possessed, oppressed, or depressed?” I believe it’s useless to debate that. In the Greek, where the Bible says a person was demon possessed, the word literally means “demonized.” It just means they were under the control of the devil. Christianity has tried to make something out of possessed, oppressed, or depressed. But it’s not in Scripture.

The fact is that people are being influenced and controlled and used by the devil—they really are. This needs to be said because there are a lot of people who honestly believe that all the demons are in Africa.

It’s not the person sitting next to you at work, it’s not your neighbor, and it’s certainly not your husband or your wife that’s the problem. Anyone who is not paying attention can be influenced and inspired and used of Satan to come against you. If you were to recognize that, it would make a huge difference in the way you respond to them.

For instance, I get a lot of hate mail. There was a time when I took what was said personally. But I’ve come to realize that Satan uses these in an attempt to get my attention off of what God has told me to do. Now I look beyond the person, recognizing that Satan is just using them. That allows me to keep it in the right perspective.

I’ve had good friends come against me and do some pretty mean things. And you know what? I was able to look right past what they did and forgive them. I could see that Satan was taking advantage of them to hurt me through some weak area in their lives. When you finally see that, you don’t get angry or bitter with the person, and you are able to walk in forgiveness. Then, when they do turn around, the relationship can be reestablished.

There are also times when you have to engage the Enemy directly, even if the Enemy is using a friend. That’s exactly what Jesus did when He rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind me, Satan.” That was the same day Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say I am?” And Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said, “You are the CHRIST, the Son of the living God.”

In Matthew 16:15-17, it says,

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.





Kermit Obermeyer said...


Part 3 - Believer's Authority


After this, Jesus began to talk about what was going to happen to Him: “They’re going to take Me, they’re going to kill Me, and I will rise again on the third day.” And this same Peter, who had been inspired and controlled by the Holy Spirit just moments before, began to rebuke Jesus, saying, “Be it far from You, Lord. This will never happen to You. I’m going to stand here, and the rest of us will defend You. But we are not going to allow this to happen to You.”

Then Jesus turned and spoke these words to Peter: “Get behind me, Satan.” I’m sure Peter was shocked, but Jesus wasn’t really talking to him;He was talking about Satan to Satan, the one who was controlling Peter. Peter’s words were not coming from God; they were inconsistent with the will of God. Peter was being inspired and controlled by the devil in the things he said.

Now, that’s a pretty strong statement, and a lot of people honestly think this is a little over the top. They think they don’t need to respond to people this way. But I can guarantee you that there are times when Satan is speaking directly to you through people. He is using people to get at you. Whether you recognize it or not, this goes on much more than you know. You are in a spiritual war.

I tell you there is a supernatural war waging today for your heart and mind. In fact, for some of you right now, the devil is trying to oppose the words you are reading in this letter. He wants to discredit them and cause you to ignore or reject them. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is bearing witness in your heart and trying to get you to open up and receive these words. It’s spiritual warfare.

To win in this war, you must know who you are and the authority you have as a believer. To help, I have a teaching series called The Believer’s Authority. Don’t go another day without understanding how to defeat the real Enemy. You have the power and authority to do it, and now it’s time to use it.