Christless Religion is Always Abusive
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
Luke 24:44-47 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (45) Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, (46) and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, (47) and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Christ is the central and chief theme of the Bible in both Old and New Testaments. His disciples could not understand the Scriptures until He opened their minds to this fact. They just didn’t get it.
Neither do many who claim to know Christ today. They just don’t get it. And that is bad news. Not only for them, but also for those whom they try to teach or pastor or control. A Christless “christianity” becomes the religion of the Pharisees, and it is always abusive to people. Why? Because Christ and His character is the spirit of the Scripture. Without Him, the Bible becomes mere letter that kills.
Christ is the sum of the whole Bible, prophesied, typified, prefigured, exhibited, demonstrated, to be found in every leaf, almost in every line…. Christ is the main, the center to which all these lines are referred. (Thomas Adams, 1583-1652)
Christ is the pearl of that ring, Christ is the object, the center wherein all those lines end; take away Christ , what remains? Therefore, in the whole scriptures let us see that we have an eye to Christ; all is nothing, but Christ. (Richard Sibbes, 1557-1635)
This means we have some questions to ask today. Why do we see the Scriptures being interpreted and applied so often in a manner obviously devoid of mercy? Why is the church so often characterized by a spirit that is apparently so foreign to the Person and nature of Christ? Why is the Bible used so frequently as a club to oppress the oppressed?
Could the answer be one that we really don’t want to face?
2 Corinthians 4:3-6 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. (4) In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (5) For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. (6) For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.