A Cry For Justice

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

Christ Has His Remnant — There ARE True Christians

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” (John 1:45-47)

Here at ACFJ we deal with evil most of the time. And the victims of evil. This evil is usually hiding in churches, wearing an “unholy” disguise of holiness. Sometimes (we are tempted to say “often”) the evil is in the pulpit or holds some ruling office in the church. And the typical response of local churches to this evil is also very often evil. Alliances are formed with the abuser while victims are mistreated and rejected.

Now, for myself and I think probably for many of you, all this dealing with counterfeit Christianity can take a toll on us. It can be extremely discouraging to realize that much of what we thought all our lives was the real thing is in fact phoney. We have been fed traditions of men that we were told were God’s truth. We have looked up to people we thought were genuine Christians, only to find out later that they were hypocrites of the worst kind. We have even been rejected by entire churches and even denominations when we called out evil in disguise for what it really is.

And after a while….you begin to wonder. Is all this bogus? Are there any real Christians? Are we wasting our time in ministry? Does anyone want to hear truth anymore?  I have felt like that and so have you.

But numbers of places in Scripture remind us that Christ’s true church is real. Jesus has His sheep and they DO hear His voice. They refuse to recognize false shepherds. Jesus calls them and they follow Him. You can read about all this in John chapter 10. And then you have this passage in John chapter one concerning a young fellow named Nathanael. He didn’t know Jesus. Philip told Nathanael about Jesus, even saying that Jesus was for sure the promised Messiah that Moses and the Old Testament prophets had written about.

Initially, Nathanael even had some doubts. Nazareth? No way! I guess that town had a bad reputation. Maybe Nazareth was like the suburbs that are on ‘the wrong side of the tracks’. Or maybe …where would we say today… “Could anything good come out of Los Angeles/Seattle/Newark…?” That doesn’t sound much like faith.

And yet, Nathanael went to see. And when Jesus saw him coming at a distance, Jesus knew him. Jesus in fact knew his heart.  And Jesus  had known Nathanael BEFORE Philip even came and told him “We’ve found the Messiah!”

Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” (John 1:48)

And Jesus said, as he saw Nathanael coming, (this is the main point I want to emphasize), “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael was not yet born again, but Jesus was calling him to Himself. Nathanael was a Jew, an Israelite, INDEED. Truly. That is to say, he believed the Scriptures. He was looking for the Messiah. He wasn’t some religious phoney like the majority of his countrymen were. I suppose he was much like Cornelius in Acts —

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. (Acts 10:1-2)

Still in need of meeting Christ. Still in need of a heart transformation, but a person who wasn’t given to playing the hypocrite. Really I think that Saul of Tarsus was such a man, though his zeal led him to even persecute the body of Christ.

There ARE such people around us. We do not know how many, but we know that as long as Christ postpones His Second Coming, He is calling His remnant to Himself.

So let’s take care not to let abusers who are playing the religious hypocrite game cause us to cease from doing good. Don’t let them convince you that evil is so widespread today and the visible church has so many counterfeits in it that we may as well just sit back and coast, waiting for Jesus to rend the heavens and come down on that great Day.

No. There are Nathanaels out there. There ARE people whom Christ is calling by His Spirit and through His Word, entrusting US with the task of taking that Word to them. Think about it. In a time when the Lord of Glory was about to be rejected, hated, and murdered, Philip led Nathanael to Christ. How tough was it? Did he have to do any arm twisting? Nope. He simply said, “we found Jesus. Come and see.”

Nathanael did. His heart had been prepared. And Nathanael followed Christ that day.

 

22 Comments

  1. Stronger Now

    I so needed to hear this today. It brings tears to my eyes. I often feel so alone.

    • Jeff Crippen

      We really do need to be reminded, don’t we?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Loneliness is one of the devil’s flaming arrows. Its a tough one to extinguish but by faith we remind ourselves of what is true- we are never alone, never the only one.

    • Brandie

      Me too : (

  2. The true believers are small in comparison to the fake church of today. I am seeing this as I take a stand for Christ’s truth.
    Incredible! We are living in the end of the end of days. The scripture speaks.. Most don’t know or are sooo lukewarm.. that this present age has them blind. Satan is having a good old time. While the true Christian is suffering. Praise God! Greater is He! living in me than he who is living in the world.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Yep! “Remnant”. The word itself indicates “few”. Thank you.

  3. Also Jeff
    This is a confirmation I needed to read this morning.
    I thank God for your ministry.

  4. Melissa

    I have to remind myself often, of the remnant. My daughter just was fired from a Christian nonprofit because the boss was caught in inappropriate situations, and behaviour. The boss, in a panic to save her position fired my daughter, who was innocently in the crossfire between the board and her boss. Not one person on that board asked her then or since about it, while the boss plays victim. It is a sad reality she has had to face, learning that “Christian” title doesn’t mean you are one.

    • Anonymous

      What you’ve described happening with your daughter is a version of a common occurrence taking place in the world today.

      We’ve recently made it through an educational program fraught with landmines and pitfalls set up to fail us and then to ultimately destroy us. This program has been in place for decades now but those in charge “say” they want it to change but the reality is that they hire people with the same mindset so it’s a perpetual changing of the guard with the same old evil. For those foolish enough to believe the WORDS these people mouth over their actions–are taken down with no mercy.

      A few of us realized right out of the gate that this was an evil program but it was also the best option for our location, etc., so we toughed it out. If I thought my PTSD was unbearable prior to this program, I was nearly comatose when I finished it. It was horrendous with bullying and cruelty throughout, and shaming practices that would curl your toes. (Whatever that means!) BUT–the most amazing thing is what happened at the end.

      I nearly flunked out, but I was not alone in this. They humiliated those of us who were struggling, right up to the end. They made us stand up and separated us and then took us to another room and shamed us–just because they could. But when I looked around at the “failures” of the group–with the exception of one or two people–the rest of us were the cream of the crop! We were the ones who had consistently tried to help each other throughout the program–and I found out later that we were the few who hadn’t cheated our way through. (There were many students who got 4.0’s all the way through the program and when we asked them how they studied, they would tell us this or that technique, but we found out that they had all CHEATED!)

      God whittled it down so that we could see each other–those of us with a generous heart–and I’m so grateful for this! I don’t think I would’ve noticed so clearly how blessed I was to know how very different these few special ones were without so much evil surrounding us and our still showing kindness and love to each other.

      These special few came to my daughters wedding and it’s all I remember–after the ceremony I was able to spend the rest of the time with them and it solidified how wonderful these people truly were. We all have sucky lives by the way–evil husbands and some evil children as well but because we’re all so broken and still so honest and still hoping to find a “Nathanial” among the bunch, we still reach out. Even though we are afraid–it’s almost like we have no choice–and God rewarded us.

      Would I go through any of this again–willingly? NEVER! But as with all good things in my life I’m grateful for the “good” God gave to me and the beautiful (few) people I now know. Evil IS real but God is REALER!

    • ((hugs))) to your daughter, Melissa

  5. Anonymous

    It is so good to know that truth is not based on how we feel. Thank God for this!

    Imagine if truth were based on how we feel… look at how we feel when the abuser is hurling insults and filth and untruths in our face!! And for many of us it takes years to get out from under the lies that were told to us.

    I, too, have felt very alone but never, ever more alone than when I was WITH my abuser /’husband.’ And as I look back now and recall moments when I felt so alone, it is there when the Lord met me in the most intimate way and where I experienced my deepest growth in my walk with the Lord.

    As children of our Father, we are NEVER alone and we can embrace this truth and see it as a wonderful opportunity to draw closer to Him. No one ever experienced more ‘aloneness’ than Jesus on Calvary’s cross; God always has a purpose and a plan, and He has one for us too. There is purpose in our pain !

    • Anonymous

      Excellent point this: “It is so good to know that truth is not based on how we feel. Thank God for this!” but I’m also reminded how abusers twist it to harm us.

      Many times abusers use this as a tactic (“Feelings don’t really matter so shut up and work like mad to serve me and get over yourself!”) to tell us that we are too emotional and that marriage isn’t to make us happy, but holy and it does make us feel so alone–especially if we turn for help and are fed this line–that our feelings don’t count–only how we perform–with the implication that we should suffer in silence. Basically they are telling us to get over ourselves and look to and do for them.

      It was never comforting to me when I was in the middle of a particularly emotionally devastating time in my life such as when my husband was threatening to divorce me daily and leave me destitute, while manipulating my mind to try to get me to commit suicide. This was after he had once again put our family deeply into debt after years of doing nothing but things that were free in order to pay off his previous debt. I actually needed someone to tell me the TRUTH–that my feelings were the RIGHT RESPONSE to severe abuse and if I had been allowed to feel my feelings from childhood–coupled with the truth about evil and abusers–I may not have been in this position in the first place–married to a person without a conscience.

      People who have a conscience–our feelings DO matter VERY much. We are the ones who can empathize with people who may in bad situations and we can fear on their behalf as well (think about how important this is–to fear for others salvation, to fear for a child who is gonna be placed with a known child molester etc.) and therefore reach out to help or forewarn or get policies passed to keep bad things from happening to others. But too often we have been trained to deny our feelings including our ability to feel fear, and are then taught to embrace everybody without discernment which may have been what landed us in the position we currently find ourselves in.

      Thank you again for the reminder that our feelings aren’t necessarily what’s taking place in the big picture of our lives but they are important–and that our ability to feel love for others is a signifier of our salvation.

  6. Brandie

    Thank you for this because at I get so overwhelmed with the injustice and wanna give up. Evil prospers in this world. It’s sad to watch it and not be able to change ppl’s hearts.

  7. MarkQ

    Your article is very refreshing. I’d be careful, though, to say that Nathanael and Cornelius were unbelievers. The Old Testament saints believed in a coming Messiah. When Jesus came, he was the messiah they expected, but there was a transition period between the coming messiah and the messiah who had come, died and was resurrected.

    Perhaps closer to home, I grew up in a Christian home and never really doubted Christ. However, what I knew was a legalistic representation. In a sense, I’ve grown past that poor representation, but I don’t think that I wasn’t a Christian before. I think the same might be true of Nathanael and Cornelius – they saw and served God in the way they knew and their eyes were opened more fully at the right time to experience the fullness of Christ.

    • Hi MarkQ

      I was a bit confused by this sentence of yours:

      I’d be careful, though, to say that Nathanael and Cornelius were unbelievers.

      I don’t think Jeff C actually used the word ‘unbeliever’ to describe Nathaniel before he met Christ. In fact, he described him as a believer:

      Nathanael was not yet born again, but Jesus was calling him to Himself. Nathanael was a Jew, an Israelite, INDEED. Truly. That is to say, he believed the Scriptures. He was looking for the Messiah.

      And likewise, Jeff didn’t call Cornelius an ‘unbeliever’ —

      “At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.” (Acts 10:1-2)

      Still in need of meeting Christ. Still in need of a heart transformation, but a person who wasn’t given to playing the hypocrite.

      Having said that, I have no probs with your second paragraph 🙂

      • MarkQ

        I perhaps jumped to conclusions – Jeff said “Nathanael was not yet born again”, and he also said Cornelius was “Still in need of a heart transformation”.

        I’ve always thought that born again and heart transformation were necessary for salvation, and those without salvation were considered to be unbelievers.

      • thanks MarkQ, understood. 🙂

        Yes; being born again is necessary for salvation. For some of us ‘being born again’ is a dramatic event, one we can pinpoint to THAT particular point in time in our lives. For others of us, it isn’t so dramatic or pin-pointable.

        I think it was C S Lewis who gave me this analogy —

        Think of two men who journey from town A to town B.

        For one man, as he is walking from town A to town B it is fine and dry for the whole journey until just before he arrives at town B — when there is a tremendous downpour so he arrives at town B drenched to the skin.

        For the other man, there is a fine drizzle all the way from town A to town B. He also arrives at town B drenched to the skin, be he was getting damper and damper the whole way along and he can’t exactly say when he got drenched.

      • MarkQ

        It is still a very comforting article. I have been struggling with this. I happened upon a good church, but I really struggle with how few good churches there seem to be out there.

      • Yes. I think we need to brave ourselves for what may be coming since evangelicalism appears to be so broken. The remnant will always be kept by the Lord, but that doesn’t mean we won’t need courage!

  8. TR

    I absolutely needed this today. I have grown so weary of the people of the church and we feel somewhat shunned by our church family. I have to really fight each Sunday to force myself to go. I do not feel encouraged, supported or fed most days.

    • Hi TR, welcome to the blog 🙂

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

    • A PCA minister who is doing evangelism among the unchurched has reported, “You have no idea how many people don’t go to church because of abuse in the church.”

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