Christians Have No Excuse for Not Knowing Abusers Lurk Among us in the Church
For wicked men are found among my people; they lurk like fowlers lying in wait. They set a trap; they catch men. Like a cage full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; therefore they have become great and rich; they have grown fat and sleek. They know no bounds in deeds of evil; they judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy. Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the LORD, and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this? Jeremiah 5:26-29
The Bible speaks over and over and over again to the fact that Satan and his children are always at work to infiltrate Christ’s people. You have it constantly in the Old Testament and the New Testament continues these warnings. Much of the New Testament in fact was written to educate us about evil so that we can identify it and put it out of our midst. Satan came into Eden right at the start.
Here we have the Lord speaking through the prophet Jeremiah. “For wicked men are found among my people.”
- What are they doing there? “…they lurk like fowlers lying in wait, they set a trap, they catch men.”
- How evil are they? “…they know no bounds in deeds of evil. “
- What is one of the most typical expressions of this evil in the church? “. ..they judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy.” In other words, they deal in the currency of injustice. Instead of defending the afflicted, they oppress them further.
The Lord sees it and He vows to punish these wicked ones.
So why do professing Christians today balk when we tell them, “you have evil abusers in your church. They are parading as saints, but here is how you can spot them”? Why do the walls go up when we tell pastors and churches these things? Why do they accuse us of exaggerating and overstating the seriousness of things? It certainly isn’t because God’s Word is silent on these themes.
Behold, the princes of Israel in you, every one according to his power, have been bent on shedding blood. Father and mother are treated with contempt in you; the sojourner suffers extortion in your midst; the fatherless and the widow are wronged in you. Ezekiel 22:6-7
“Oh, but that is all Old Testament. The church in the New Covenant is not the same.” No, the true church isn’t the same (and neither was it in the OT era), but the visible church is. The wicked still creep in and in some cases they even take control of the entire church. Victims and the oppressed will always receive injustice at the hands of these kind.
For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 1:4
And yet here again, even in response to NT verses like this one, professing Christians typically refuse to believe that such is the case in their church. But is not Satan always on the prowl? How do we think he is going to war against us? In some vision? Most often he is on the prowl through people who parade as Christians. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. That means there is someone who has crept in and who needs to be resisted. Abusers are classic examples.
For proof, listen to these chilling words from a convicted child molester as quoted in this article by Victor Veith.
“I consider church people easy to fool . . . they have a trust that comes from being Christians… They tend to be better folks all around. And they seem to want to believe in the good that exists in all people . . . I think they want to believe in people. And because of that, you can easily convince, with or without convincing words.”
Yes, professing church, the Lord is talking to you!
How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82:2-4
Here’s one more:
Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3
See it? I mean, who are these wicked and evil men Paul needs to be delivered from? Well, they are mixed in with the “all who have faith.” That is to say, these agents of the evil one are in the visible church and claim to be Christians. Our primary battle as Christians is not with the world. It is with principalities and powers who creep in among us wearing disguises made of wool.