Christianity 201

February 22, 2016

It’s Not (Just) Teaching That Identifies a False Prophet

As I was reading today’s article, I was reminded of Matthew 7: 15-16a

15“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16“You will know them by their fruits…

This week we pay a return visit to a blog we featured last year, Theology for Girls. (Yes, that’s the title!) At first what follows looks like a more topical subject that would be better suited for my other blog, Thinking Out Loud. But I decided that the first part of this raises an issue worth considering. Especially among Evangelicals, we tend to think of false teachers solely in terms of their teaching.

You need to click through to read this at source, because this is only the first half of the article, there are some practical suggestions that make up the second half. The author is .

Sexual Predators in the Church

“For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions” 2 Tim. 3:6

We have in our file cabinet a manila folder containing testimonies written nearly forty years ago by several very courageous women.  They chronicle detailed accounts of seduction by the senior pastor of the church where my husband was the associate pastor.  Some spoke of how the  Bible was twisted to convince them that they were doing God’s will. All of these women willingly submitted to and passed polygraph tests because only a few people believed their stories. They had all come from difficult backgrounds that would render their testimonies questionable.

My husband was  only thirty-years old, fresh out of  Bible College, and was left to deal with  serious issues in an era when the idea of church discipline was considered harsh and unloving by most Evangelicals.  Consequently, he had little support from other leaders in the community. As a young pastor’s wife I witnessed the devastating impact one man’s sin had on everyone  around him, but I lacked the spiritual maturity to be of much help.  Oh, how I wish I could go back and try to be of better service to those dear people in our first ministry!

I do not want to convey the idea that in situations where two fully consenting adults are involved that the woman should take no responsibility for her actions. These women understood this completely.  However, when a man who has been appointed to shepherd the flock takes advantage of weak parishioners by means of deception to fulfill his own sexual lust, the sin he commits is exceedingly reprehensible.

I wish I could say this was an isolated incident but as the years passed we encountered similar situations in other Evangelical churches. The types of sexual abuse committed by church leaders which we have personally dealt with in one way or the other have ranged from serial adultery to pedophilia.

I want to make a clear distinction between the true Christian who, in a backslidden state, temporarily succumbs to temptation and then genuinely repents. Rather, I am speaking of a very different sort of person. These are the false professors who fit the descriptions spoken of in Jude,  Matt. 7:15-23;   2 Tim. 3:5-9;  and 2 Peter 2:1-3.

“For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you.  They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.  Jude 1:4

We tend to think of false prophets in terms of those who are primarily teaching false doctrine, but the men described in the above passages also have insatiable appetites for sex and/or money. When Jude says that they “deny Jesus Christ”  he is not referring to a mere profession of words but rather that these are men who inwardly deny Christ and His Lordship. If they were not holding to some outward form of godliness, how would they get their foot in the door?

We may not be able to stop these kinds of people from entering the church, but with teaching and awareness we can at least bring the problem out of the closet and put into place some safety measures. While we don’t want to lose the joy of fellowship with our church family by becoming suspicious, the Lord did give us these Scriptures to warn us.

What then are some practical ways we can protect others and ourselves from sexual exploitation and temptation?

[…continue reading here…]

Blog Birthday 8This week our sister blog, Thinking Out Loud is celebrating its 8th year of Christian news, opinion and current cultural trends affecting The Church. If you’re not a regular reader, click the button above to link.