A Cry For Justice

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

True Church Growth Often Means Getting Smaller

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (1John 2:18-19)

Our church is quite small in number. We live in a small town that hasn’t seen numerical growth in over 20 years, but that is not the only reason we do not see many new people join us. We welcome visitors. We pray the Lord will send us 1) people He is drawing to Himself and need to hear the gospel, or 2) people who are His true sheep and who desire to be in fellowship with real Christians. Only those two categories.

When I was in seminary “church growth” was the craze. Pastors were supposed to “cast a vision” and “grow their church.” The thing was all bogus of course. It is Christ who grows His church. We plant. Another waters. But God gives the increase. Man can definitely implement his own gimmicks to get bodies in the pews, but no human can effect genuine conversion. What was never said in seminary was that “some of you are not going to see numerical growth in your churches. Some of you are going to be run out of town, falsely accused, hated and berated by Pharisees and wolves in wool. In fact, if you are a true shepherd of Christ, these things WILL happen to you.” Nope, no mention of that. None. Yet the Bible has much to say about such experiences. Christ says that these things are the NORM for those who follow Him.

And if you become wise about evil, if a pastor and His flock “get it” and teach about how wickedness hides in the church, church “growth” will be evidenced by the wicked leaving! No domestic abuser who has been hiding and disguised as a fine Christian church member should EVER be able to continue that facade comfortably. As the truth about evil, as the mentality and tactics of abuse are brought to light and exposed by the Word of God, suddenly the flatterer ceases his praise. He goes silent or he begins to criticize and accuse. What is really going on? He does not want his victim to hear these things. He is squirming. And eventually he leaves, claiming some injustice done to him or other such excuse.

If a church takes this path, there will probably be a diminishing number of people in the pews, but those who remain will have a much better chance to become mature believers. They will actually grow. They will grow in their faith, becoming more wise, more practised in discerning good from evil. They will be more able to devote themselves to the work of the Lord. And they will enjoy deeper fellowship, unity and love with one other. Because they will not have their time and energies taken up by hypocrites sowing discord and and false teaching into the mix. They will not have to be on guard with others in the pews. They will  not have to stuff their thoughts and intuitions/Holy Spirit promptings, because they do have to routinely share the church building with wicked people masquerading as sheep — people who delight in covertly maligning true believers and spreading false ideas that mislead immature believers.

In some cases the abuser is the one standing in the pulpit. I mean, what better occupation to select if you are a silver-tongued deceiver, than that of the pastorate! In that case it will be the real sheep who are oppressed and who, hopefully, will be able to depart from such abuse.

But do you see then that light and darkness simply cannot and will not co-exist? Someone is going to leave. And in either case, there is a reduction in the number of people coming on the Lord’s day, not an increase. Is this not the very pattern we see in the Scriptures?

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him. (John 6:63-71)

That is true preaching. That is genuine church growth. This is the kind of environment that an abuser simply cannot tolerate very long.

7 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Tombstone reads: “Not Loved”

    Eulogy reads: This was a woman who was never loved. Never loved by her parents. Never loved by her children. Never loved by her husband. Was it because she was such a horrible person? Was it because she loved to harm and deceive others? Was it because she didn’t show enough love or care enough about others? It was none of those things.

    This woman was never loved because there were few who were alive in her time that were CAPABLE of loving others and she wasn’t aware of this until too late in her life. She had blindly given her love to everyone and never set boundaries or limits on evil or abuse because she’d been trained that if she did this she was selfish. She became so worn out that she no longer had anything left to give and once she stopped serving evil people they abandoned her. They had never cared about her in the first place but had enjoyed the way she worked like crazy to please them and how she always took the blame. Once she was no longer willing to do this, they dumped her.

    Not Loved. A person who deserved love. A person who would have blossomed in love. But it is now too late. She lived in vain and she died in vain. Her life in her eyes was a complete waste. She wished she’d had known the truth from childhood–the truth about how in the last days there would be few who truly belonged to the Lord and that the small church in the small town with the few parishioners was the place where she could have found that love. But she’d been raised on the lie that if a church wasn’t growing in numbers it was dead. At the end she said that she was glad she could at least count on this–that she could die–to get relief from never being loved on this earth.

    • Dear Anonymous, I’m not sure how to take this. If you are feeling suicidal, I encourage you to take whatever actions you need to take to pull back from that precipice.

    • Tracey

      Dear Anon, I’ve been there. I realized the very same thing. But there are good people out there,Gods people. We just need to find each other. And the Lord wants to help you, restore you to the Truth that was stolen from you. This is what Satan wants for you,to give up. No this has not all been in vain dear child. God promises to use evil for good and I can’t think of one time where He has not done that for me. And my life has been pretty bleak.I.m still in it but God is walking me thru. Dear Sister He’s there for you too.

  2. JK

    Love this. Amen.

    • Hi JK,

      Welcome to the Blog!

      I changed your screen name as it appeared to be your real name. We encourage new commenters to read our New User’s Info page as it gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog. If you would like a different screen name just let me know and I can change it for you. My email is twbtc.acfj@gmail.com

      Again, Welcome!

  3. Tracey

    He speaks the truth.

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