A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Some Thoughts on Broadway, the Narrow Way, and Abuse.

I thought I would share the first portion of the sermon I will deliver tomorrow morning at Christ Reformation Church in Tillamook as an encouragement to our readers:

The Large Majority of Professing Christians Travel on Broadway, and thus are not Christians at all

Matthew 7:12-16  “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.  “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

Now here is a point that I am trying to emphasize more and more lately.  These kinds of warnings in Scripture are primarily addressed to people who claim to be followers of Christ.  Christ is speaking primarily to the Jews here. “He came to His own…I have come to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  Go back through the Old Testament and you will find that the prophets were sent to Israel with few exceptions. The same is true in the New Testament Scriptures which primarily address people who profess to be Christians.

And so it is here in Matthew 7. Christ is telling us about two ways: the narrow gate, and the way that leads to destruction.  He compares and contrasts the two:

Narrow Way                          Broadway

Narrow (difficult) Wide and easy
Leads to life Leads to destruction
Few travelers Packed with traffic
True Prophets False Prophets

These two ways, I suggest to you, are pictures of the true church versus the apostate church.  Not so much the church vs the world, but rather two churches, one true and the other false.  From Christ’s words here we can confidently conclude then:

  1. Most people who profess to be Christians do not belong to Christ at all. We must, therefore, stop assuming that most everyone who claims the name of Christ really belongs to Him.
  1. Most people who claim to be Christians are going to end in hell (destruction).
  1. Most of what claims to be the church of Jesus Christ, is not. That is to say, most visible churches, “christian” denominations, etc are on Broadway, packed with false believers, taught and led by false prophets.

How can we tell the difference?  By their fruits. Not so much by what they say (though that needs to be examined as one “fruit” as well) but by their practice.

Matthew 7:20-23  Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

See it again?  I cannot emphasize strongly enough how important this is for us to all get hold of. ALL the people the Lord is speaking of judging on that Day here call Him Lord and spent their lives claiming to serve Him.  Yet MANY are not known by Him at all.

If you have at all bought into the notion that infects the visible church today that assumes most all who say they are Christians surely are, that most everyone is surely going to end in heaven, then you need to seriously re-examine your thoughts in light of Scripture.  It seems that in so many local churches and “Christian” organizations today, the only thing regarded as heresy is to doubt someone’s salvation!

The fact that oppressed people like domestic violence victims and sexual abuse victims are being dealt rank injustice in what claims to be the Christian church today, and that the wicked like domestic violence abusers and sexual predators are being enabled and allowed to remain in the pews, is strong evidence of a widespread denial of the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.

22 Comments

  1. Teresa

    This is so good! I am sharing with a few friends on facebook. It seems I have a ton of folks that I know who claim Christ for political reasons or to go to the social clubs we call churches nowadays. I am blessed beyond measure to have a few friends who are on the narrow way with me. Thanks for encouraging us Pastor Jeff!

  2. Overcomer

    Thank you Pastor Jeff. I am seeing in my life, and in the life of those who I know to be true Christians, that abuse finds us because the enemy of our souls hates us. He sends his emissaries out to steal (our joy and freedom), kill (our soul and body through abuse), and destroy (through mental abuse). But Jesus has set us free! Praise Him! Literally all the people I am certain that I know are saved, have been abused. It is a common denominator. Jesus said if they hated Him, they will hate us. And they do.

    • Jeff Crippen

      There it is, Overcomer. You nailed it! Thanks.

  3. Elizabeth

    Such a great point, Jeff. In the years since I broke free from my ‘Christian’ abuser, many, many times the words “Not all who say to me Lord, Lord did we not in Your name?” to whom He replies, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” There are many wolves in sheep’s clothing because of the fact that many Christians choose to trust in works and rules instead of practicing discernment when it comes to their own lives and others. Wolves know how to talk about and even pretend to play by ‘the rules,’ but their actions rarely stand the test of discernment.

  4. Anthea

    I totally understand your message. However, this is the same verse my abuser uses to justify cutting everyone out of our lives–family, friends, neighbors–everyone. No school, church, activities. No one else is a true Christian or at least not good enough for us, he says. What do you know, he even accuses me of not being a true Christian. He even has proof: there are very FEW people like HIM, and every effort I make for my children and I to be involved with others is seen by him as being worldly. It is so horrible, and confusing, to see him twist scripture this way.

    • Brenda R

      Anthea,
      Wow!! While he is suggesting that just about everyone in your world is not a true Christian, I take it he is suggesting that he is. I believe that it is God who will judge the world and I don’t think he delegated that position on to your h. I know this can be awfully confusing, but deep down you know the truth and it is not what your h is passing off as truth.

      Christ came to set us free!! Your h is putting back on the yoke of bondage and imprisonment.

    • Abusers lie. They lie about themselves being believers. And they spew out lying accusations (false reports / slander / railing / verbal abuse, unfair criticisms) about their victims. The abuser can take ANY text of scripture or any event and turn it upside down and inside out and back to front, to make it seem to say the opposite of what it says. The ‘c’hristian abuser twists scripture to make himself look Good, Justified, In The Right, Superior, and to make his victim(s) look bad, blameworthy and in the wrong. This is their stock in trade.

      Instead of trying to ‘make sense’ of the distorted things they say — the lies and false claims they make — I have found that it helps to just think to myself, “This man is an inveterate liar, even when he ‘tells the truth’ he only selects the part of the truth that serves his goal to maintain control; he twists alsmost everthing to suit his own selfish wicked agenda. I don’t need to try to ‘understand’ each thread of the web of lies that he spins; all I need to do is realise he’s a spinner of lies, and steel myself against him in advance so that his lies are less likely to de-rail me.

    • Anthea

      Thank you, Brenda and Barbara. It is so true that he selects only the part of the truth that serves to maintain his control, and twists anything to suit his own selfish agenda. I need to remember this.

  5. Bitter But Getting Better

    So I don’t understand? What are the fruits this verse is talking about and we should be looking for?

    • thepersistentwidow

      Dear Bitter But Getting Better,

      Read Galatians 5:16-24 for the answer to your question:

      “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

      • Bitter But Getting Better

        Thepersistentwidow, thanks for your response. I always find it difficult because many abusive people have many good qualities as well as abusive ones. And I myself am never perfect so it’s challenging to know the truth.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Bitterbetter- Just watch for Pharisee qualities in them, or libertine qualities (sin all you want and grace will take care of it). Look at some of the false prophets in the Old Testament and see what characterized them. These evil fruits never really change. Attitudes and behaviors, teachings and practices that are opposite of what Christ evidenced in His life – those are what tip us off that we are dealing with a false prophet. And the first place I would go looking with my fruit inspecting eye is, how is this person/leader treating the oppressed?

      • a prodigal daughter returns

        I’ve had blatant cultists say “look at our good fruit” pointing to religious activities. I used to be confused by that but now I understand that fruit is that which can only be produced by a vital relationship with Jesus. A truly fruitful life isn’t created out of anything that requires human power, but something God does in transforming a yielded and obedient life. When you are in a vital, connected relationship with Jesus, fruit happens by his design and it goes far beyond lip service. You will value what God values. Those churches and so called believers that don’t value justice but aid and abet abusers are missing the most important reason they are on the earth.

        In my bible reading this morning I saw this passage reflecting something God values. Those churches that are not about the business of rescuing the needy and doing justice for the afflicted are not in a relationship with Jesus. People that are, do what he did, love what he loved and are busy with His kingdom.

        Psalms Psalms 82: 1 God takes His stand in His own congregation;
        He judges in the midst of the rulers.2 How long will you judge unjustly
        And show partiality to the wicked?
        1Selah. 3 Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.4 Rescue the weak and needy;Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.

  6. Anotheranon

    This reminds me of something I read in a book by the late Dr. John Marshall. He said, “A weak view of sin produces a weak view of salvation.” People want something easy to believe. Something that doesn’t involve repentance and really dealing with the sin in their own lives.
    I have noticed people who don’t want to judge any sin usually have sin in their own lives and/ or in the lives of their close family members. They can excuse their own sin if they don’t look too closely at others’ sin.
    Also–many people think if they baptize a baby that means he/she will be saved. This also applies to churches who confirm their teenagers. Thus the generations of (mostly) unbelievers who think they are Christians are perpetuated.
    Praise God there is always a remnant of true believers in Jesus Christ.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Right on target, Anotheranon! Thank you for sharing those truths.

  7. newcreation

    Wow!!! What timing.! I got into an argument with my husband on the way home. He has lied about porn in his life for years now. He is abusive and even tied a rope from the top of our headboard to the bottom bc I had my leg on his side. His story now is that I complained that HIS leg was on my side. He told me in the same conversation that he was a born again Christian and argued that I am the crazy one. So….is he?

    • Jeff Crippen

      newcreation – nope, no he’s not. He is walking in sin and has done so for years. His sin is what defines him. It is his love. Such a person is not in Christ. And one of the biggest problems in the church today is that we are being told and taught that we cannot make such a judgment! Of course we can. Jesus said so over and over.

      • Bitter But Getting Better

        Pastor reading your blog is helping me to be retrained from a lifetime of false teaching. Jeremiah 23:1-4 speaks of the true shepherds who will tend to us so that we are no longer fearful. Thank God that you are such a man!

  8. rebecca

    Bitter/Better, the fruits would be things like love, joy, peace, gentleness, etc. Throw in justice, truth, humility, faith, and a few others. Attitudes that some might call “character qualities,” but what the Bible calls the “fruit of the Spirit.” If we see these even in embryonic form in someone who claims to be a believer, we can have hope that it’s real. If we see the opposites, well . . . what can we say? “By their fruits you shall know them.”

  9. “the only thing regarded as heresy is to doubt someone’s salvation!”

    Exactly!

  10. Bitter But Getting Better

    A Prodigal Daughter Returns-Thanks your response was so helpful. You said, ” I’ve had blatant cultists say “look at our good fruit” pointing to religious activities. I used to be confused by that but now I understand that fruit is that which can only be produced by a vital relationship with Jesus. A truly fruitful life isn’t created out of anything that requires human power, but something God does in transforming a yielded and obedient life. When you are in a vital, connected relationship with Jesus, fruit happens by his design and it goes far beyond lip service. You will value what God values. Those churches and so called believers that don’t value justice but aid and abet abusers are missing the most important reason they are on the earth.”

    I do get confused and that was why I had asked the question. That is what I call a keeper! Quotes, thoughts & lessons I want to keep and remember. Thanks again!

  11. bright sunshinin' day

    BBGB, THIS is beautiful:
    “When you are in a vital, connected relationship with Jesus, fruit happens by his design and it goes far beyond lip service. You will value what God values.”

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