Attitudes that Promote Abuse in the Church: Major System Flush Needed
This past week my wife and I have been doing some maintenance on our hot tub. After having it shut down for a short time (and drained) we started it back up and noticed these tissue paper like flakes coming out of the jets. We did some professional research (YouTube) and found out that this is a common hot tub issue that has to do with a build up of something called biofilm inside the inner plumbing of the tub. One fellow said that 99% of any bacteria present will grow on that biofilm. Yuk.
I found out on the internet that bacteria proliferation on biofilm in hot tubs, air conditioning systems, etc, can cause awful infections.
To deal with this business, we had to do a major all system flush, using a special chemical that attacks that biofilm. You pour it into the water, then turn on the jets and let the thing percolate for 12 hours. Then you drain everything out, suck any lingering water out with a shop vac, rub down the entire surface of the tub with these special cleaning mits, and then refill with clean water.
There is an allegory here. Most church plumbing hasn’t been flushed for a long time.
A kind of evil biofilm builds up in churches, in the thinking of individual Christians, in seminaries, in denominations…and a sinful bacteria breeds there. Actually several kinds of sinful bacteria. A major system flush is needed. There is serious crud in the water. The flushing agent in this case is the truth and light of God’s Word. Consider the following kinds of unhealthy, disease-breeding germs that inevitably start growing if we neglect the regular maintenance of the application of God’s truth:
- Patriarchy: the notion that men, by virtue of being men, are superior to women (who are inferior, more faulty beings by virtue of being women),
- Legalism: the teaching and practice that announces (overtly or covertly) that faith alone in Christ alone is not sufficient to be justified and loved by God. Works on our part must be added to Christ’s work. This is a particularly nasty spiritual bacteria that doesn’t get flushed out easily. We need regular doses of a loud and clear announcement that Christ is our righteousness! Perhaps banners by the front door of the church, behind the pulpit, on the….well, all over the place.
- Naivete: the (willful) ignorance that brings bliss and carefree happiness, while victims of abuse suffer all around it. This germ assumes that things are as they appear. If Mr. Jones is a stalwart in the church, a fine saint by all appearances, then without doubt he is what he looks like. Naivete is flat out unbelief in what God has told us about the nature of evil and our responsibility to discern it (1 John 4:1)
- The Love of Money: Love of comfort, love of material gain. Here is the person who sees a brother or sister in need, wishes them well, but doesn’t help them. That would be too costly. When local churches become lovers of money (new buildings, large staffs and whazzo programs) the poor and oppressed inevitably suffer. Their problems are a threat to the bank accounts. To stand with them is too costly.
- Diotrephes in the Pew: Here of course is a very wicked germ that is highly resistant to the flush. Diotrephes (see 3 John) was an abuser of God’s people. Why? Classic entitlement. He loved to be first. These guys aren’t cream, but in most organizations, left unchecked, they will rise to the top where the power and prestige are to be had. The light and truth of God’s Word needs to be so thoroughly and repeatedly blasted through the church plumbing that Diotrephes is exposed for what he is and flushed right on out of the system.
I remember quite some years ago seeing a book title” “Hot Tub Religion.” It might have been written by Chuck Swindoll, but I’m not sure. Whoever wrote it though must have seen that so many Christians, church leaders, and local churches are practicing Hot Tub religion. “Ahhhh,” they say as they come on Sunday. “This water is fine and comfy.” But underneath it all, down in the depths of the plumbing of the place, that spiritual biofilm evil has been growing and growing and it is infested with the kinds of spiritual germs we have just listed here – and more.
Our churches need a major and regular system flush. We need it. Without the constant renewing of our minds by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, we won’t even see the gunk floating around in the water. But God does. He sees it all.
When we ran the system flush on our hot tub, right away this dark, green looking kind of gradoo started floating to the surface and formed a gross ring at the waterline which we later cleaned off. And we had been sitting in that stuff! From now on we are going to blow the pipes regularly. [I didn’t take a picture of the stuff from our hot tub; the pics in this post Barb found for me on the web.]