A Cry For Justice

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

A Naive Statement by Neil Anderson (Freedom in Christ Ministries)

Quite a number of years ago we had some of Neil Anderson’s books and tapes in our church library, and we used them in a couple of our classes. I hope that Neil has “wised up” by now and withdrawn his statement I am referring to in this article, but I cannot say because we removed this material from the library years ago.

In one of his audio lectures, Anderson said (I am paraphrasing, but this is an accurate representation of his point) – “I am convinced that no matter who you are, if I truly, really got to know you in depth, I would like you. I really would.” He then went on to relate a story of an experience he had with a very ornery, mean person in a church he worked at, and how he started to develop some bad attitudes toward until he told himself, “Neil, the real problem here is with you. You are the one who needs to make some changes in your own heart and love this person.”

Ok? Think about these kinds of statements. What are they communicating?

  • At the very foundation and bottom of every human being is a likable person
  • Any outward nastiness or “difficulty” in a someone’s personality can be explained and understood if you just get to know them and their “story” well enough
  • The real sin we always need to deal with in any situation is our own sin, not that of the other person, and we will always find sin in us that is contributing to the problem
  • There are no evil people, really. We must approach them just like Luke Skywalker dealt with Darth Vader, assuming that if we try hard enough we will eventually find good in them.

Anyone who knows much of anything about sociopaths, psychopaths, abusers, and narcissistic abusers will shudder at this kind of thinking. Just imagine what is going to happen if an abuse victim goes for help to someone who embraces these ideas. They are necessarily going to come away from the meeting wearing false guilt, pressured to go look for “good” in their abuser (in whom there is no good), convinced that they are responsible for helping Vader come out of the dark side and into the light.

And it is all lies. A big pack of lies. Let me re-write the above four bullet points in “truth-form” –

  • At  the very foundation and bottom of an abuser is an evil, wicked person who repels the righteous
  • The outward nastiness and abuse in the abuser’s personality IS the fruit of his personality — of who he really is. His wickedness cannot be blamed on anything in his past
  • The real sin that needs to be dealt with is the abuser’s sin, not the victim’s. The Lord Jesus Christ was the spotless, sinless Lamb of God, yet He was wickedly abused and killed.
  • There are many evil people in whom there is no conscience, no empathy, no love.

I can only hope that Neil Anderson and all the people his teaching has influenced over the years have come to see the fallacy of it. Somehow I doubt that is the case. I suspect we are living with the expected bad fruit of that bad teaching.

***

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42 Comments

  1. Anewanon

    Hi,

    I don’t offer this to be argumentative, but to ask for clarification, for this is some of the things I get confused on…

    If the Bible says “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

    So when I read what you mentioned about Neil, my first thought was, “Oh he is referring to the evil spirits within the person, and not the person. For once they are in Christ, we WILL like them. Jesus cast out evil spirits and the person became likable, right?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Anewanon – No, Anderson is in fact referring to the person. It is not demons that make people evil. All human beings are born into this world fallen in sin with no capacity to do any true good in God’s sight at all. This does not mean that all people are as evil as they possibly could be. But some are in fact more wicked than others. Casting a demon out of a person does not give that person a new heart and make them a Christian. They must be born again. We are actually not given much detail in Scripture about the nature of people whom Jesus set free from demons. We do know that numbers of them whom He physically healed did not even thank Him. As to Paul’s instruction regarding our enemy in Ephesians 6, we know that Satan uses human beings as His servants (see 2 Cor 11 for example) and Jesus told the Pharisees they were children of their father the devil. Human wickedness in other words cannot be entirely attributed to evil spirits in people. Man has a wicked, fallen, sinful heart capable of all sorts of evil.

      • roscuro

        I have come across the thinking that the devil is behind anything that goes wrong in Christian families. I came up against that kind of thinking recently in my own church, when the pastor resigned suddenly due to family issues. Everyone went around shaking their heads over how Satan attacks pastors’ families especially. When I pointed out that James says every man is tempted and drawn away by his own lust, they got upset with me. They are now shocked that this former pastor has left his family, but they can’t see how the fault lines were already there.

        I grew up with recommendations of Neil Anderson’s books, but found they only helped to further my spiritual confusion. Having since seen real demon possession while working in a clinic in a third world country, what Anderson said looks like the weird fantasies of a horror movie script writer. There is nothing but pain on the faces of those tormented by demons. Notice in the Gospels, Jesus is very gentle with the father of the demon possessed boy and the Gadarene demoniac. Those who are really demon tormented are terrified and don’t know what to do. They are not in control and, although sinners, they are just lost and confused. An abusive narcissist in no way resembles the bruised and fearful people I encountered.

      • Thank you for sharing your observations about what you’ve witnessed in people who were really tormented by demons.

        And Anderson’s descriptions sounding like “the weird fantasies of a horror movie script writer” — that reminds me of the response I got when I tried to talk about my experience of demonic attack to a couple of Christians who had no personal experience of the demonic. All they had in their mental library that they could draw upon to say they ‘understood’ was horror movie scripts.

      • KayE

        The idea that the devil is trying to break up Christian families is very widespread where I live. The devil and demons get blamed for a lot of things, because every person is considered to be basically good. The view that everyone is good, and that external forces are always to blame for bad behavior is a belief that runs very deep in my community. For example there are always people proclaiming the innocence of psychopathic murderers, despite abundant evidence that those murderers were rightly convicted. So it’s probably not surprising to find those attitudes in churches, even though the essential goodness of man is not orthodox Christian belief.

        Roscuro’s picture of demonic possession as seen in developing nations is interesting, it does seem more like the descriptions in scripture. I’ve seen many churches spend a lot of time praying against “demonic attacks”, but the actions that these churches attribute to demons definitely reflects more of Hollywood than the Bible.

        Ironically although so many Christians are willing to contemplate evil in the form of supernatural beings, they have little comprehension of the kind of person who lies all the time, has no conscience and deliberately inflicts evil on others. There is no underlying good in such a person. The more you really get to know them, the more you will see that is repulsive.

        But if a psychopath turns up to church services every Sunday and gives money to the church they will be considered outstanding Christians. And they will continue to get away with preying on their victims. That’s the terrible consequence of turning a blind eye to the evil that really is an integral part of some humans.

      • Anonymous

        Roscuro, KayE and Barb, thank you all for your comments. I pray about this often–that God shows me the truth and that I’m not deceived here or anywhere….and I wish that God would show this to other people so that THEY could be the ones to write about it but here goes anyway….

        The way demons control psychopaths has been shown to me many times. My husband and siblings and teachers etc.–I’ve seen it over and over. But until you commented Roscuro I didn’t understand the difference between people with a conscience and those without one and how demonization affects them. With psychopaths, there is no FEAR when they are being controlled by a demon and the demons seem to drift in and out of them–like they already own them and they can come and go as they please. With my husband there’s often this look on his face, like he’s trying to see if it is him or a demon wanting him to say something. He’ll hesitate as if to wait and see and then continues on.

        I had an instructor a few years ago who was also a psychopath. I sat in the back of the class and tried to remain invisible but ended up being singled out for one reason or another. Once this instructor realized that I was not a pushover and that others liked me and respected me, her wrath centered on me and very often a demon was clearly seen. Others commented on it–they weren’t Christians and I didn’t point out what it was–but they noted that the shape of her head would change–that it elongated and looked like The Joker from the Batman movies. There was no fear in her and she seemed to be “built up” when the demon would overtake her. Many others also commented that they felt she was looking directly at them when she’d go on her tirades of verbal abuse–accusing the students of being lazy and cheating–even though they were on different sides of the room. Her eyes seemed to be everywhere. She finally settled on me for all her wrath and blame and others saw this and marveled at her absolute refusal to see the truth. But in her mind I was the one to blame for it all. (If you knew me you’d realize how INSANE her thinking was but it is true that demons and psychopaths HATE those who belong to Jesus and they are NOT in touch with truth or reality.)

        I am VERY glad to say that I made it through the program and prayed the Psalms–those that talk about praying against an evil one–and I found out at the end that she was to be fired, but they allowed her to save face by saying that she was returning to her previous school. I also had to take her abuse up the chain of command but really, everyone in the hierarchy was of the same mindset so they didn’t really help BUT they learned that I would NOT BE ABUSED IN SILENCE and so they hesitated before trying to attack me–I did NOT make it easy for them.

        So, I pray that Jesus uses what he’s shown me and what is written here to help all of us have a better understanding about the nature of demonization and some of the differences. I lived most of my life in utter fear–fear of failure, fear of God, fear of disappointing others, fear of demons (and so many more fears)–until God took it all away–and left me with him. Prior to God waking me up, I would NEVER have been able to so “casually” speak of demonization–I hid in fear of everything–but God is the one who directs my steps and writes my life story and He is the one, who for whatever reason, wanted me to see this and then to have a place to write it. Thank you for giving us a place to share His truth through His word and in our lives.

      • Hi Anonymous
        In this comment of yours, I changed the term ‘demon possession’ to ‘demonization’. The word possession can suggest the idea that the demon is 100% continuously in charge of the person. Because that may not always be the case, I think it is helpful to just talk about ‘demonization’ as that allows for a wider spectrum of scenarios.

      • Anonymous

        Excellent Barbara! I count on you noticing and correcting things like that and I’m grateful for it. Thank you!

    • Avid Reader

      Anewanon,

      That’s a great question and something that has puzzled many of us because growing up in the church, we’ve all heard a lot more of the Eph 6:12 verse that you mentioned than all the other verses in the Bible that warn us to be on our guard for the wolves entering the flock.

      However, the same Apostle Paul that wrote Ephesians also warned the church about being infiltrated by evil and never hesitated to confront those evil people.

      Case in point—Acts 13:10-11 (NLT) when Paul is trying to share the Gospel with a major civic leader and Elymus the sorcerer tries to interfere. Paul replies with this

      10) “Then he said, “You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good! Will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord?

      11) Watch now, for the Lord has laid his hand of punishment upon you, and you will be struck blind. You will not see the sunlight for some time.” Instantly mist and darkness came over the man’s eyes, and he began groping around begging for someone to take his hand and lead him.”

      Can you imagine a Pastor in church saying that to someone? Yet Paul didn’t hesitate to confront this man over his own choice to resist the Holy Spirit.

      Then here when Paul is seeing the church leaders for the last time before going to Rome he warns them in Acts 20:28-31 (MSG):

      28) “Now it’s up to you. Be on your toes—both for yourselves and your congregation of sheep. The Holy Spirit has put you in charge of these people—God’s people they are—to guard and protect them. God himself thought they were worth dying for.

      29-31) “I know that as soon as I’m gone, vicious wolves are going to show up and rip into this flock, men from your very own ranks twisting words so as to seduce disciples into following them instead of Jesus. So stay awake and keep up your guard. Remember those three years I kept at it with you, never letting up, pouring my heart out with you, one after another.

      Then the Bible keeps warning us that
      “Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.”
      Ecclesiastes 9:18 (NIV)

      Notice there’s no mention of evil spirits in these verses but the evil choices of people.

      So let’s take another look at the context of Ephesians 6:11-13:
      10) Finally, my brethren, be STRONG in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

      11) Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

      12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

      13) Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand, stand therefore…..

      God wants us to be strong—to resist the pull of the world and everything that tries to get us to turn away from the Lord. To me, Ephesians 6 sounds more like the general description of how every believer is supposed to put on the armor of God to resist all the “fiery darts” coming from the enemy. It doesn’t seem to be talking about dealing with one evil person in the church but the general evil in the world.

      Hope this helps 🙂

  2. Jessica

    I am sure glad you really get it. So many people don’t. Stop trying to find the good in someone when it is not really there. There really are truly evil people with not one single drop of good in them.

    • Suzanne

      Amen.

  3. Seeing Clearly

    Today’s post takes me to a dusty cobwebbed corner of my memory. Having read and interacted with others regarding Neil Anderson’s teachings, it was sometimes difficult to reconcile my inability to comply in my heart with these “false teachings”. Ah hah!

    (Remove if inappropriate) These studies took us to the area of demonic activity; sexual abuse being an access point for demonic activity. What followed, was my being ‘prayed over’ numerous times to remove demons. (Memories of severe childhood sexual abuse had returned) Also, PTSD. Now I realize this was severe spiritual abuse that took me to a suicide attempt. My ex, the evil minister was at the helm.

    Thankfully, I am living daily in a secure place where I can begin to return to these memories and not loose it when I see that it was my ex who was the very evil one standing by my side, the imposter. I was subsequently admitted for psychiatric care, receiving ECT’s. The church allowed my then husband, a minister to spend time in the facility where I was inpatient, as his office/study much of the time. He would join me for lunch, etc. It now makes me shudder, that my adult abuser, my ex, was by my side, while I tried to heal. The professionals never really had a clue. However, my psychiatrist referred to him as a narcissist.

    My ex was incognito as a caring, loving husband, not abandoning me for a second. In truth, he was the enemy in flesh.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Evil at its worst is evil in its most deceiving disguise as you have described. So glad you are free.

  4. Suzanne

    I’m sorry to say that Mr. Anderson is yet another example of a professing Christian who gives more weight and credence to pop psychology than to the Bible. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard a Christian claim, for example, that a persons past (a bad childhood seems to be the most popular) is an excuse for his/her bad behavior. When I’ve asked for the Bible verse to back this up I hear only silence.

  5. 3blossommom

    Anderson’s writings were a huge part of my abusive stbx’s past counseling. I read them too. Anderson’s words did to me exactly as you said. I spent every ounce of my energy looking inward at my flaws and problems and sins. I made excuses for everything my stbx did, no matter how evil. I blamed myself for most of it and sought to look at him in the best way possible. He was enabled by it all while my health began to waste away. I had continual pain, sleeplessness, and depression that drove me to hope to die. Through Anderson and others I learned that these symptoms were likely because of demons or my own sin. Again, the answer would be following through with his version of counseling and prayer to get free. I lived this way for 12 years. I was dying inside and lost and drifting away from the Lord in despair. Then my stbx left and I went no contact. Within months the health symptoms were resolved, my emotions began to heal, and my soul was revived. I am fully convinced that Anderson’s Bondage Breaker, in particular, is a piece of counseling poison that should never be permitted in a church.

    • modern day samaritan woman

      ditto….yes, yes, yes!!!! augh, Anderson s books were used against me too…The Bondage Breaker was the one that I kept hearing about. I was told over and over to read that book so I would know my true identity in Christ…he really believed that he was ok and that it was all under the blood…cheap grace…I was accused of not extending grace to him, that I was mean and hateful and not a Godly woman because I occasionally stood up to against his abuse, I am appalled at the amount of garbage books out there that are doing more damage and are counterproductive to healing…that goes for the therapists out there also….the ones that were involved in our marriage made him far worse…I worked as a counselor for many years and am shocked at what I have experienced with so called Christian therapists…unethical, unprofessional, re-victimizing attitude, ignorant of DV and trauma…coddling the abuser, and pointing the finger at me as the cause…I am thankful that I survived and am free of the bondage….

  6. Anonymous

    And notice that when he says the problem is with “him” he’s actually placing himself as God. HIS perception, HIS view. God reminds us over and over that we are to seek HIM through his word so that we have HIS view on things. And in his word we read that some people belong to their father the devil (John 8:44), that some people have a seared conscience (1 Tim. 4:2), others are FILLED with envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice (Romans 1:29), and still others are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed (2 Peter 2:12).

    Apparently Anderson hasn’t run into any of these folk–maybe we humans in our superior-ness have managed to create a society that no longer includes these types of people. And maybe it’s because so many of us were so kind (like Anderson) and never looked for the bad in others and therefore it turned everybody into good people! We humans are super awesome! Yeah us!

  7. Lea

    I think this is silly even beyond evil people. You are not going to like everyone. There are people you will just not mesh well with, even if they are decent people. Now that doesn’t mean you don’t love them, or treat them well but actually liking them? Why is that necessary?

    • Hope

      It isn’t necessary. Nowhere in Scripture is it written that we must like anyone. In fact, the word “like” is not even in my Bible when used in this way.

  8. Stronger Now

    What Anderson supposedly “found” in these people was their own deceptiveness. They saw a willing ally in him, and put on their “nice” mask to get him to think there was some good inside of them. It’s a win-win. They get to keep on practicing their evil, and he gets to believe he has found that “good” deep inside.

    The only losers here are all of the poor souls these evil people are abusing along the way.

    But, hey, collateral damage, right? If only they were as enlightened as Anderson, they, too would be able to find that hidden “good” inside those evil ones.

    • Anonymous

      So Awesome! It’s exactly what they do–find a willing ally and prance around with the mask they love to wear for the people who want to believe the lie that everyone is good–and if you don’t agree it’s YOU who are evil and don’t see clearly and need to be enlightened.

    • BetterEquipped

      Well said.

  9. kind of anonymous

    I am familiar with Neil Anderson. In terms of where I am in my thoughts right now, I think the statement of his could be taken a variety of ways. So if you will permit, I’d like to take a shot at parsing Neil’s statements as you’ve distilled them in the light of my own experiences and understanding and of course, am open to some iron sharpening iron here. I want to test out my thinking.

    If he means that if he got down to the core of who someone was as God designed them, sans all the garbage, he would like them, I can accept that. God doesn’t design junk. No human being was designed to be evil and so the original blueprint had nothing wrong with it. But that doesn’t mean that right NOW someone is not in active agreement with evil and therefore could be more than just a pain, they could be dangerous. The thing with demons at least that I have observed personally, is that they tend to take advantage of whatever works. Often that is sin in our lives. But as a very small child, I had experiences with the demonic after a traumatic incident involving family violence. The enemy took advantage of the shock and horror state I was in to accuse me and make me wholly responsible for the violence, making me believe I was the problem for existing and that I was ruining everyone’s life just by being. And perhaps most significant, the evil one spoke as if he was the Holy Spirit speaking to me on the basis of God’s truth and justice. I had had a hand in triggering the violence because I unknowingly set my mom up for a beating and vicious sexual assault when I told my abusive and adulterous dad of my mom’s own wrong relationship with her BIL.

    And subsequent horrible incidents happened that reinforced the belief that I made bad things happen to innocent people, causing me to believe the lie that I had to pay for the damage I caused to everyone else’s life by forfeiting my own and taking on the pain and misery of one of my parents. I literally disappeared into a spiritual closet of sorts and watched the world from behind that. I wound up with numerous problems as a result of believing this lie including some form of OCD and being a kind of scapegoat and sacrificial lamb whose only way to be right was to always be at fault and wrong. I do believe that demons can indeed, if they got in through a trauma, bind a person to an evil agreement and or evil identity that needs to be broken and that can cause major problems if they don’t. The irony with that situation is that it caused a dual problem:
    — The initial problem of believing I was falsely evil and responsible and thinking that lie was truth coming from God.
    — The scriptural problem of not realizing that even in spite of having taken false blame for a horrible incident, I still had the same problem of depravity and idolatry as everyone else.

    So here’s my kick at the can —
    At the very foundation and bottom of every human being is a likeable person.
    My understanding of the truth:
    No matter how likeable you are, you are still going to hell if you don’t see your sin and your need of the cross. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. Even my “goodness” as a little girl was still filthy rags that didn’t leave me in right standing with God. And I am not the lamb of God and cannot pay for my sins or anyone else’s even if I was guilty.

    Any outward nastiness or “difficulty” in a someone’s personality can be explained and understood if you just get to know them and their “story” well enough.

    Hmm. Well, it is true that some issues are directly traceable to cause and effect situations. But that doesn’t justify sinful or abusive responses to continue. Some people are just jerks because they are selfish and don’t feel they need to submit to anyone, some people feel entitled to make others “pay” and are coddling a sin problem or as the bible puts it, making provision for the flesh. As long as this is going on, they aren’t safe or trustworthy.

    The real sin we always need to deal with in any situation is our own sin, not that of the other person, and we will always find sin in us that is contributing to the problem.

    Uh, no Neil only partially agree. Certainly our own response is always something that we have to deal with. We have to always keep watch on our “shadows” and avoid letting the enemy get a foothold esp. when a real jerk has just injured us and we are hurting and furious. But the bible actually says that if your brother sins against you, you are to confront him, not take full responsibility for his sin. If he listens we have won our brother back to God’s side and helped him escape the enemy’s claws. If he won’t listen, he’s on his way out the door. The fact that our sinful reaction to someone else’s sin can add fuel to the fire doesn’t mean there is no fire to begin with.

    There are no evil people, really. We must approach them just like Luke Skywalker dealt with Darth Vader, assuming that if we try hard enough we will eventually find good in them.

    That idea comes from eastern mysticism, where there is no God who is above all, rather an impersonal force with an equal but opposite good and dark side. It also ignores the reality of choice. Darth became Darth by yielding to hatred and revenge. In reality we could throw the evil emperor down the big hole in the space station ( giggling here ) and we would still have to deal with Darth’s hate and vengefulness and his inability as the young prideful and rebellious Anakin Skywalker to submit to his leaders and listen to them. Tossing the emperor down the hole by the way was probably a good move, because he was wholly committed to evil, whilst Darth’s issues made him vulnerable to being manipulated. I actually watched the backstory episode on how the covert Sith Lord, Palpatine, cleverly and deliberately manipulated the young Darth’s wounds and anguish over the death of his mother to push him towards evil. I remember thinking wow, that’s how the enemy works. So its necessary to be able to discern between someone who has become ensnared but could be delivered because they are willing, and someone wholly sold to evil. There may be good in someone but that’s beside the point if their end of the day choice is to continue with evil. Okay shutting up now.

    • Hi KOA, you said: “If he means that if he got down to the core of who someone was as God designed them, sans all the garbage, he would like them, I can accept that. God doesn’t design junk. No human being was designed to be evil and so the original blueprint had nothing wrong with it.”

      I think the ‘God doesn’t design junk’ saying is not very helpful here. It is a saying that is bandied about in the church. It’s a “cute” saying often shared on FB. And it can be a helpful saying to encourage a person whose self-esteem is inappropriately low. But is it Scripturally accurate?

      It is true that God’s creation was all very good initially. And it is true that God is not the author of sin. But since the Fall, every human being is now born in a state of sin, with a nature biased towards sin, though the image of God in each human being is not entirely erased.

      Here is chapter 6 of the London Confession. You can find the same thing in the Westminster Confession. These confessions give a good summary of biblical doctrine.

      Chapter 6: Of the Fall of Man, Of Sin, And of the Punishment Thereof

      1._____ Although God created man upright and perfect, and gave him a righteous law, which had been unto life had he kept it, and threatened death upon the breach thereof, yet he did not long abide in this honour; Satan using the subtlety of the serpent to subdue Eve, then by her seducing Adam, who, without any compulsion, did willfully transgress the law of their creation, and the command given unto them, in eating the forbidden fruit, which God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory.

      2._____ Our first parents, by this sin, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and we in them whereby death came upon all: all becoming dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.

      3._____ They being the root, and by God’s appointment, standing in the room and stead of all mankind, the guilt of the sin was imputed, and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation, being now conceived in sin, and by nature children of wrath, the servants of sin, the subjects of death, and all other miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus set them free.

      4._____ From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.

      5._____ The corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and the first motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.

      The saying ‘God doesn’t make junk’ ignores the effects of the Fall.

      You also said “At the very foundation and bottom of every human being is a likeable person.”

      Since every person inherits a sin nature from our first parents, that statement of yours cannot be true. There may be some people more likeable than others, and there is still a remnant of the image of God in each person, but fundamentallly, every fallen human has that sin nature. If we are not born again, the sin nature means we will always be sinning one way or another; we will have the choice of what way we sin, but we will not have the power to choose NOT to sin at all. And some non-regenerate people are not likeable in any way shape or form (unless the person who likes the evildoer is evil himself and likes them for their evildoing).

      If we are born again we still have the flesh to battle with, but we do have the power through the Holy Spirit to resist sinning. However, we will not be wholly likeable.

      I have no problems with the rest of what you said, though I am Star Wars illiterate and choose to remain so for the rest of my life, so I can’t comment on that part. 🙂

      • kind of anonymous

        Hi Barb, yes, totally agreed re the London Confession; insert crowd doing the wave here 🙂 always glad to see biblical truth upheld and be held to it. My meaning of junk is what the original design is minus what doesn’t belong ie sin, although I remember that in the eighties a slogan that said ” I’m okay, God doesn’t make junk” could be found on Christian T shirts. I didn’t know it was still alive on FB though; maybe I am not missing much after having unplugged from it ten years ago? At any rate, yes, then it is better to say that God did not create sin so as to avoid association with the fluffy thinking of that slogan.

        Re the likable person idea, that was Anderson’s idea; I thought that its one of those “who cares” statements, as likableness is a surfacey form of “goodness” that won’t keep one out of hell and is a cheap substitute for righteousness. Besides, Ted Bundy was “likeable”. Sounds like one of those touchy feely positive thinking things, where self esteem is based on attempts at artificial erasure of anything difficult or unpleasant. Like banning competition from public schools so everyone feels like a winner even if they came in dead last because they walked when it was a running race. Frankly its an absurd idea because unless we were all in a pre Fall state in the garden, where man was in dominion under God and the devil had no foothold, there are numerous reasons that we could find others difficult or hard to like.

  10. BetterEquipped

    “I can only hope that Neil Anderson and all the people his teaching has influenced over the years have come to see the fallacy of it. Somehow I doubt that is the case. I suspect we are living with the expected bad fruit of that bad teaching.”

    People cannot instinctively register this kind of poison as bad teaching, even unable to connect bad fruit to it on their own – it’s too intelligent sounding and has a likeness to truth. Instead, it is psychologically internalized as guilt, shame, and ‘something’s wrong with me’. Personally, my mental and psychological self-blaming/loathing patterns (as a result of this kind of theology teaching) were broken over a process of time as the Lord began showing me what was really happening to me. He lead me to resources of varying degrees until my eyes just popped open. I think He did it little by little because the truth was too much to accept at once. The Lord needed to break walls of thinking brick by brick. (Another problem that created internal conflict was reading books that talked about idols of the heart. Usually depicting marriage-relationship depression and disappointment and discouragement as being a result of my marriage being my idol. This is extremely dangerous too; it contributed to my spiral downward).

    A Cry For Justice was one of those resources. I have yet to meet in other resources an equal tenacity, courage, and boldness for reality and truth concerning evil that I find here. Am so grateful. Irony is, when I post/share articles from this blog on FB no one in church circles ever comments, shares, or likes. Yet they do on many safer things I post! I find that interesting.

    • Anonymous

      BetterEquipped, I appreciate your comment and am grateful to this website as well. It is the ONLY place I have found where I can be honest about the many facets of myself. Other abuse recovery websites that are good, aren’t Christian, and many of those that are don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings with the truth about evil that is written about in God’s word.

      I love what you wrote regarding posting ACFJ posts on your FB and nobody responding. It no longer surprises me that others don’t get it and sometimes I wish I were one of them but then I think that if God IS gonna wake them up, they probably have YEARS ahead of them to go to get the point in their understanding that I’m at. I do not envy them the years that lay ahead because I did my time and it was HARD TIME and I’m grateful to be where I am–no longer a person who is “…always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 2 Tim 3:7. Thank you!

  11. May God Bring Justice

    Thank you for this review of his writings. I was wondering about whether his materials were good to use. The warning is very timely.

  12. jesusfollowingishard

    I’m hoping he’s hyperbolic here, and means a lot of people, not everyone. I’m known to say I like everyone, but ha I really don’t, i certainly dont like abusive people.

  13. Anonymous

    Going through and coming out of an abusive relationship, as victims, in a real sense, we need to be a “doctor.” We need to properly diagnose the problem. Without a proper diagnosis, how could we expect a solution?

    I recall getting upset with and avoiding people who called my abuser evil. Sure, I was living a hellish nightmare but surely, I could not call my abuser EVIL. It seemed too harsh, too hopeless, too “out there.” Determined to get free from my abuser I threw myself into understanding and ACCEPTING the evil talked about throughout Scripture. When I understood this, I found the door to freedom.

    The “doctor” in Anderson should be brought up on malpractice charges.

    EVIL people roam about looking to devour, crush, destroy and kill. If ever in doubt, we need only refer to Psalm 10.

  14. Mark

    Why is it we have such a struggle discerning blatant evil. This is proof that what Christians have been taught is not God’s word. What incredible damage has been done to God’s children and to His glory. Reading these comments makes me think a revival is underway. God’s people who have suffered abuse because of these false doctrines are now understanding the the truth. Once this cat is out of the bag watch out! Press on fellow Survivors!

    • Anonymous

      Another aspect in discerning blatant evil and therefore accepting that EVIL really does exist, does require of us to ‘let go’ even when we want to hang on. In letting go, we admit there is nothing WE can do to change the evil person. This is God’s business and the evildoer is now in the hands of the Living God!! As we step out of denial and into reality and flee from evil, we start on our journey to an abuse-free environment. We grow in wisdom and are better equipped to recognize false doctrine.

      Thank you, Mark, for being a cheerleader to press on!

  15. healinginhim

    Many years ago as a new believer in Christ I was encouraged to purchase Neil Anderson’s resources. I ‘wanted to believe’ what he taught because it was too painful to admit that my abusers actually had evil intentions towards me. It was easier to blame it on their past, the demons or whatever.
    One of my abusers admitted that he was not treating me properly but also stated, “I will never love you the way I’m suppose to but it’s not like I intentionally stay awake planning how I will mistreat you.”

  16. mom

    I have had to work through this “theology” that says that we should always look for the good in other people and should never think “evil” of anyone. This doesn’t actually come from the Bible, but rather from the “self-esteem movement” which told us that everyone was inherently good. The Apostle Paul talked about “ferocious wolves” in the church (Matt.7:15-16), about “evil men and impostors who will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (1 Tim. 3:13), and about “Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done” (2 Tim. 4:14), etc.

    We are NOT instructed to give everyone the “benefit of the doubt” when that doubt is created by the secrecy of the abuser: “For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only sovereign and Lord” (Jud 1:4). The Bible does teach us to LOVE people… but that is very different from looking for good in someone who is evil.

  17. IamMyBeloved's

    Sounds like denial to me. Pollyanna thinking. I will just ignore this person’s sin and it will go away. If I just love them and are kind enough to them, they will see how good I am and want to be like me. If I play nice with the monster, it won’t bite me. The devil made him shoot me.

    Jesus never said any of that.

    Yes, the enemy does incite people to do evil, but only a willing participant complies with him. People always have a choice.

  18. The idea that underneath it all everyone is really a nice person is just ridiculous. Would he apply this to serial child molesters, many of whom hide in churches? Scary stuff.

  19. Anonymous

    Years ago, two of several books my good friend pointed out as books those in her church were reading and discussing were Neil Anderson’s, “The Bondage Breaker,” and Rick Warren’s, “The Purpose Driven Life.” I went to the bookstore and sat down to read the one by Anderson (I had stopped buying these books unless they were something I would really need or felt others would need) and I knew it wasn’t for me. This was YEARS before God revealed the horror show of psychopathy but the constant casting out of demons and several other things, kept me from buying the book. I’m very grateful to God for keeping me from getting this book stuck in my head.

    The second one by Rick Warren wasn’t available at the time. We were overseas so we didn’t always have access to everything right away but this book was so popular that the printing company couldn’t keep up (from what I remember). This friend had a family member mail the book to her so I was very excited when she loaned it to me to read. I guess I thought that surely THIS would be a life changing book and really help me in my walk with the Lord. So when I received it and opened it up to the first part, there was an agreement that the author had started it out with and I remember being spiritually offended by this. It was an agreement we were supposed to sign as a commitment to ourselves–it was VERY WRONG. I couldn’t get past it–couldn’t even read the rest of the book–and here again I’m grateful.

    Reading the comments here once again show me that erroneous teaching and preaching can keep us in bondage for years and hinder our walk and fellowship with Jesus. I’m so grateful to everyone who shares their lives here and we probably won’t know till heaven just how much of what others have given us by sharing these truths, that has kept us from falling into a spiritual pit or helped us get out of one faster because they had identified it for us and shown us the way. So much of God’s wisdom and so much of His love too are displayed here for us. Thank you!

  20. Rosie

    Thank you for posting. This erroneous teaching is everywhere. It goes along with the false teaching that Christians must accept everyone & have close relationships with everyone, regardless of their behavior. Another lie I was taught is that a surface-y apology is equal to repentance, therefore I must forgive, & forgiveness includes reconciliation. It’s a cycle that leads downward. It is wrong. It’s unjust.

    • Jeff Crippen

      You nailed it Rosie. Yep. Exactly right. All that wrong teaching is very enslaving and has damaged many people and empowered the wicked.

  21. Nutmeg

    I’m so happy this kind of theology is being rebutted here. Because I was taught this at my college. And it opened the door for me to accept a lot of abuse. It opened the floodgates of abuse in every relationship on that campus. Not just with me but others too. None of us could assert ourselves or put up boundaries with others. The people who were looking for victims went to that school and found a whole bunch of people to hurt because the rest of us were told to deal with our own sin and “love” more. This is bad theology don’t listen to it. It causes so many problems and isn’t even biblical. I’m so happy to have cut off my toxic relationships instead of becoming even more of a doormat to “love” the problem out of them.

    • Anonymous

      Nutmeg, thank you again for your testimony–it is INVALUABLE and I pray that it reaches others who’ve been wrongly taught to submit more, love more etc. without allowing the truth of the knowledge of evil ones and how they operate to be discussed. Thank you!

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