Monthly Archives: February 2016

A Godly Abuser? Really?

I recently read this comment on “A Cry for Justice“:

You would be amazed at how many pastors in thriving ministries abuse their wives, are involved in pornography or other sexual sins. Men of God are not perfect.

Really?

I continue to be astounded at these kinds of things. A “godly pastor who abuses his wife” is a lot like saying “a reprobate Christian” a “square circle”, or “waterless water”. It makes no sense.

Since Christians are the salt of the earth, it is no wonder that words have become meaningless in our society. Postmodernism isn’t just something that “others” believe. It started right in the church! If this statement is true: “a godly minister who abuses his wife” , then words have no meaning. If a man can self-identify as a Christian even though he has all the marks of the devil, then how can we protest if a man wants to self-identify as a woman? Isn’t it the same thing?

But if we want to uphold reality, we have to say, “No; you are a man. You have all the parts of a man, and your self-identity is false.”

Don’t we then also have to say, “No. You are not a godly man. You are not a Christian. You have all the parts of a son of Belial. Your self-identity is false”

The bible says that a reviler and a drunkard will not inherit eternal life.

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1Co 6:10 KJV)

It can’t say it any clearer. You can be one or the other. Christians inherit eternal life. Revilers do not. Therefore, revilers are not Christians. Pretty simple syllogism. If you revile your wife and kids, if you drink and hit your wife and children, if you sexually abuse human beings made in God’s image YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN! Flee from the wrath to come. Do not be deceived. The wrath of God is coming because of these exact things!

The same evil exists in these statements:
“He’s working on his marriage.”
“He’s trying to change.”

Ugh. Why are these statements acceptable? Would we use them with a murderer?

“He’s working on not killing people.”

“He’s working on not raping and pillaging.”

“He’s working on not robbing liquor stores and gunpoint.”
I once knew of a man who was confronted by his church for his adulterous relationship and he said, “Can I taper off?” Why is this any different. You don’t “work on not abusing your wife!” I can’t believe I have to even write that!!!!!

The fact is this: You are either a Christian or you are not. You are either a child of the devil or a child of God. You don’t “work on it”. You either are or not!

In the words of Yoda, “There is no try. Do. Or do not.” (I can’t believe I just quoted Yoda. How sad is it that Yoda is wiser than so many church leaders!)

Please remember this. Jesus came to give you rest. You should be safe and at rest at home and in the church. If you are not, please flee and join with the people of God.

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The Warrior Women of Shiloh

22 Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. (1Sa 2:22 KJV)

Eli’s failings are well-known, but perhaps little understood. If we grasp the significance of what is written in this passage, perhaps we would not be so foolish when it comes to sexual abuse in our churches.

Eli is the high priest of Israel. He is old now, and the leadership is about to pass to his sons, Hophni and Phinehas. But they are excessively wicked. In fact, they are so wicked that the Bible says that the Lord would delight in their destruction (2:25).

The heart of their wickedness is given in the verse I printed above. They “lay with the women that assembled at the door.”

That translation, unfortunately, doesn’t quite capture the horror of what took place. First of all, the tabernacle of meeting was the tabernacle that Moses and Bezalel built in the wilderness, where God met with his people, and the Ark of the Covenant resided. It was the place of sacrifice and blessing, a house of prayer, where God met with is people, his flock, his children.

The “women that assembled” is an interesting phrase. The word used is the feminine plural participle of “tsava’” , which means to wage war. If we would translate that word literally, it would be “women warriors”. The word also indicates organization or structure, which is why the KJV translated it “assembled”; but it misses the idea of warring which is inherent in the verb.

At any rate, this practice, whatever it was, is lost to history. But what we do know from scripture is that there were a group of women who were serving in an orderly and organized fashion in the worship of the tabernacle, and that they were called the “women warriors”. They were the “uppity women” of Shiloh, to use my dear friend’s phrase.

The same phrase is used in the law to describe a group of ministering women who donated the materials to make to laver of the tabernacle:

He made the basin of bronze and its stand of bronze, from the mirrors of the ministering women who ministered in the entrance of the tent of meeting. (Exo 38:8 ESV)

This was an official ministry of the women of the congregation of Israel. Perhaps they were descendants of Levi, since only Levites could serve the tabernacle.

Whoever they were, they were part of the important ministry of the service of God in the tabernacle of the Most High.

And Hophni and Phineas were molesting them.

The problem with Eli was not that he failed to rebuke them. He rebuked them strong enough. The problem was that he didn’t remove them from office and turn them over to be executed by the state.

Perhaps they were “sorry”.  Abusers know all the right words to say. Perhaps it would have “damaged Eli’s reputation and ministry”.  The Bible doesn’t give any excuses or reasons. It simply says that Eli didn’t stop them, because he honored his sons more than he honored God (2:30).

Eventually God hardened the hearts of the sons because he “would kill them”. This word “would” doesn’t have the same punch as it does in the Hebrew. What the text says is that God would take pleasure in killing them!

Oh that we would have the same hatred of sin that God has! These women warriors of Shiloh were betrayed by everyone that were supposed to be honoring them. Instead of honor, they were being abused at the door of the tabernacle of God! The tabernacle was supposed to be a place of safety, where God promised rest. And instead of safety and rest, the ministry was used as a vehicle to satisfy the lusts of the powerful and influential priests. The priests were given authority in order to protect and shepherd the weak. Instead, they preyed upon the weak, viewing the sheep of God as a meal to satisfy their own lusts! How dreadful it would be to be among those whom God would “delight to kill”!

My prayer for the church is that we would learn the fear of the Lord before it is too late.

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