Why Abusers Love Our Bad Theology
1 John 1:6-7 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
I have often heard Christian counselors bad-mouth theology / Bible doctrine. They will talk about “Oh, those theologian types! They are so out of touch!” Yes, many theologians are out of touch. Some do get all caught up in minutia that really doesn’t matter in the end. But what I want to remind everyone of in this article is that theology is the most important anchor for any human being, and in some ways especially for the abuse victim. Theology. Words or rational statements about Theos – about God. And when we speak of theology, we mean the theology of the Bible. True truth about God, about man, about how God has set out in Christ to redeem us from the mess we made through our sin.
The theology of the typical evangelical church of our day is botched. I mean, we are out to lunch! We are so set upon making people happy that we have ditched what makes God “happy” (ie, what glorifies Him). We create our own traditions, stamp them with our “Certified Biblical” marks, then spread them all around like a virus. These traditions distort Scripture, they distort the real character of God, and inevitably they make us look better than we really are. We are teaching our own traditions about forgiveness, reconciliation, sin, mercy, love, divorce and presenting them as the Word of God; just about any Bible doctrine has at least one widely-held tradition latched onto it like a parasite.
In this environment of bad theology (ie, “lies” – also known as – “damnable heresies” by our less delicate ancestors like the Puritans), sin thrives among us. Sinners thrive. And that means, abusers thrive – right in the church, sitting there next to us in the pew. There he is. That lying, wicked, power-control hungry, entitled abuser who oppresses his victim cruelly. He’s got the stamp on himself – “Certified Christian.” How did he get it?
He got that stamp because we aren’t reading and believing God’s Word. This emissary of darkness parades as a child of light because we can’t or won’t listen to God, believe Him, and obey Him. Turns out that the thing is a no-brainer,
1 John 2:3-4, And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. (4) Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,
1 John 2:9-11, Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. (10) Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. (11) But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
What is it about “if…then” that is hard to understand? But our muddled theology has abuse victims and all of us, really, bumbling around in a fog. We’ve got the blind leading the blind. “Well, yeah, Jack there, turns out he beats the snot out of his wife when he drinks too much.” “And Fred, yes, Fred shouldn’t talk to his wife as he does. Telling her she’s a tramp and all that.” – “But Jack and Fred are Christian men and we need to understand them. They have some pretty rough backgrounds. Jesus wants us to love them and if we love them enough, I mean, if we work up a big ‘ol giant ball of love, maybe, just maybe, these boys will come ’round in their thinking.” I think that the Lord would have another name for that big ‘ol ball of …..
Bad theology grows a forest for wicked men to hide in. We’ve been growing such a forest for decades now. It’s time for a really big forest fire to remove all this dead wood. Maybe then truth will sprout. It happened before. Guys like Luther and Calvin were the arsonists. The fire was called the Reformation. We need another one. Really, really, badly.