Bride of Christ or Bride of Frankenstein?
Listen to this quote from Steve Tracy, author of Mending the Soul [*Affiliate link]. It is taken from his paper entitled Domestic Violence in the Church and Redemptive Suffering in 1 Peter.
“Tragically, domestic violence in Christian homes appears to mirror the high rates of the general society. For example, Lee Bowker’s survey of 1,000 battered women from all sections of the United States revealed that most of the battered women and their husbands were part of ‘mainstream American religious bodies,’ and denominational preference did not significantly differ between the violent and the nonviolent families. Abused women were shown to be quite active in the local church (much more than their abusive husbands) with 26 percent of battered wives attending church weekly and 24 percent of battered wives attending one to three times a month.”
Why? Why does the rate of abuse among professing Christian churches mirror the rate we find in the world at large? All we need do is look at a few verses from Scripture for the answer –
Romans 8:7-9, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. (8) Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (9) You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”
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.”
1 John 3:6-9, “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. (7) Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. (8) Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. (9) No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.”
We could go on at length, but you get the idea. The reason the rate of domestic violence and abuse – sin – is as high in a local church as it is in the world is because the majority of the people in such a church are of the world. That doesn’t mean they are Christians and just struggling along with temptations. It means that they are not Christians at all. They don’t know Christ. They are not indwelt by His Spirit. They have not been born again. This is the ONLY explanation. It is absolutely impossible, according to God’s own Word, for a person to be a Christian and yet be an abuser. Impossible. Abusers are characterized by a mindset of entitlement, narcissism, lust for power and control, and work their evil tactics without conscience.
Once again we must say – abuse is prevalent in the church because the church has not been preaching the true gospel of Christ. Today’s gospel is void of serious calls to repentance. It begins with the love of God, rather than the wrath of God, as Scripture does. Think, for instance of the Epistle to the Romans. How does Paul start off? Chapters 1-3:20 are an indictment of all mankind. Guilty before God. Condemned. Gentile and Jew alike. Only then does he say… “But now…” (Romans 3:21ff).
Pastors and churches are so eager to have success that the gospel is watered down until it is another gospel. It is only by the name and truth of Jesus Christ that anyone under heaven can be saved. But we are presenting another Jesus, another gospel, another spirit (Galatians 1), and God pronounces such things anathema.
The body of Christ, the true church, is beautiful. But the body that is so often being raised up today is more like Frankenstein’s monster, produced by man’s own efforts to make a dead corpse live. The result is a grotesque imitation. We are not being too harsh to say (and Christians who have been victimized by “Christian” abusers will agree)…we are not being too harsh to say that what is so often being called the Bride of Christ today is, in fact, more appropriately named The Bride of Frankenstein.