Wise as Serpents: What Does the Holy Spirit Look Like? (Part 8 of a sermon series by Jeff Crippen)

And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.”

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.” (1 Sam 17:41-47)

We do not recognize the leading and working of the Holy Spirit in us as clearly as we might think. And in fact most Christians are confused about recognizing the Spirit in them because they have been falsely instructed about His nature and character. As a result, evil remains disguised, Christians wear false guilt, and the Spirit of God in us is quenched.

How did the Spirit of God in David react to evil? That is to say, how did David, led by and filled with the Spirit of God act as he faced Goliath, this taunting enemy of the Lord?

This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth…

I want us all to consider this very carefully and compare David’s words with the typical claims of so many pillars of the church today. I will strike you down and cut off your head. Do you see? That is nothing less than the Spirit of God speaking in David. That is how the Spirit reacts to evil. And yet,

  • David should have shown love for Goliath and tried to lead him to Christ,
  • David should not have been carrying any weapons of any kind,
  • David should have chosen to suffer, knelt down, and passively let Goliath cut off his head.

But David killed him. The Spirit of God enabled David, guided that stone, and killed the evil one. And then he cut off his head.

One of the tactics of evil by which its emissaries work to remain hidden under a cloak of “holy light,” is to quench the working of the Spirit in us so that we do not recognize it and act by it. The Spirit is quenched by the lies of the evil one. Lies such as:

  • “It is always sinful to show anger.”
  • “We must never speak negatively of anyone.”
  • Passivity and pacifism is what we are called to.”

And so, Goliath is left to oppress and to kill and destroy because Christians are duped and do not follow the leading of the Spirit in them.

How does the Spirit of God react when evil comes into its presence? Here are some answers:

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. (1Th 5:19-22)

The Holy Spirit is at work in us, leading and directing us in righteousness. He directs us to abstain from every form of evil. EVERY form. That means that we must:<

  • Be wise about what evil is, what it looks like, and
  • Be innocent of it ourselves

To fail to heed the Spirit’s leading in this is to ally oneself with evil. We are to TEST things. We are to hold fast to what is good, but we must necessarily judge and say “this is evil, this is good,” or we will inevitably quench the leading of the Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit will immediately sound off warnings to us when evil comes into our presence.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (18)  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  (19)  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,  (20)  idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,  (21)  envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  (Gal 5:16-21)

Do you see this? The desires of the Spirit are AGAINST the flesh. Powerfully. When sin and unrighteousness and evil rise up in His presence, He opposes it. Paul is here dealing with the flesh, but we must also understand that this is not our own flesh and sin, but includes the wickedness in others. The Spirit actively opposes evil. The Spirit is against evil.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, , self-control; against such things there is no law. (22-23)

Did David exercise these fruits of the Spirit when he opposed Goliath? Was he at peace with Goliath? Was he patient with and kind to Goliath? He killed him and cut off his head!

Many supposed Christian teachers and preachers today would have David quench the Spirit. They would have told him that he was wrong to do what he did, that he should have been more patient, more kind, and should have tried to get Goliath to see the error of his ways and repent!

We have been taught wrongly and at best this wrong teaching is rank naivete, but more often I believe that it is evil that is working to cloak itself in righteousness.

[Jeff gives several examples to illustrate his point.

  • An anecdote from his own life.
  • Nehemiah being led by the Spirit in how to respond to Sanballat’s attempts to undermine the re-building of the wall.
  • Samson shaking the pillars of the Philistine’s meeting house till it fell down.
  • The Apostle Paul calling Elymas the magician “You son of the devil!’]

Do you see that if you have been taught a distorted, milk-toast version of God and specifically of the Holy Spirit’s leading in the believer, then you are going to quench that leading when evil comes into your presence and is revealed and opposed by the Spirit. Which means you will be left to act in a fleshly manner of cowardice or denial, enabling the evil. You will confuse the leading of the Spirit with the flesh and the other way round as well.

Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. (John 8:43-45)

Was Jesus led by the Spirit? And yet today a response like this to the wicked is branded as being “un-Christian, unkind, un-spiritual.”

Where the Spirit of God is quenched, there is no fear of the Lord. Evil flourishes unchecked and unexposed.

But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.

After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things. (Act 5:1-11)

Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit killed them. Was Peter unspiritual and unkind and unloving to them?

Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” (Mat 15:12-14)

Was the Lord Jesus speaking by the Spirit when He offended the Pharisees? What about when He told the disciples “tough. Don’t worry about them.”

When evil comes into our presence, the Spirit of Christ in us mightily opposes it and exposes it.

We must understand that this is indeed the Spirit in us or we will be duped. Do not be so quick to condemn your reaction as “sinful”.

Let me give you an example that I saw just this last week. I was driving through the little town I live in and I saw a person alongside the highway hitchhiking. They had a walker and as I went by they lifted the walker up and kind of shook it to call my attention to their disability so I would give them a ride. I knew that is what the person was doing (I wasn’t able to tell if the person was male or female), and I just kept driving.

The next day I was in a local business and I asked the owner about the hitchhiker with the walker. He told me, “oh yeah, that guy has been around here for months sponging off people. And I just found out that he stole that walker from someone’s yard. The churches here have been helping him and paying his bills and I don’t understand it because he is obviously a charlatan.”

So what does the Holy Spirit say about sluggards and con artists? If they won’t work, then they don’t eat. We are not supposed to support such a person. And yet here, as a very poor example to the non-Christians in town, it is the professing Christians who claim they are showing this guy the love of Christ!! In fact they are participating in his sin.

The Holy Spirit is not a wimp. The Son of God is not a wimp. But we have been taught that he is. So evil flourishes among us. God is not feared. The Day of the Lord is presented as some fun-filled Day when most everyone is going to happily walk into heaven.

This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. (2Th 1:5-10)

Are those the words of the Spirit of God? I hope that we all understand that they are indeed, and the we each one carefully give thought to what the leading of the Spirit in us really looks like. We must be wise as serpents in regard to the nature and tactics of evil while remaining innocent as doves as to participation in it.


Audio and PDF of this sermon here.

Go to Part 9 of this series

A list of the entire series can be found on our Wise as Serpents Digest.


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.


31 thoughts on “Wise as Serpents: What Does the Holy Spirit Look Like? (Part 8 of a sermon series by Jeff Crippen)”

  1. From the psychopath:

    But Jeff, where are the snuggles? Where are the laughs? Where are the endless platitudes that encourage us but feed us nothing? If what you’re saying is true, I’ve been living my entire life in opposition to God! Can this be so? That my pretending to look right, act right, give money, talk right, won’t get me into heaven? Well, I’ll simply look for a religion that supports my psychopathic needs.

    Here’s one that sounds good. If I want to be worshiped up on a pedestal with flashy trinkets around me and preach monotone sermons that sound like I’m chanting to the devil rather than lovingly speaking God’s word, plus the added bonus that if I’m a pedophile this religion will protect me and I get to tell women to have as many children as their uterus can carry and to never say “no” to their psychopathic husbands sexual advances else they will go to hell! Now THIS sounds like a good one for me.

    But rather than be too hasty and jump on that cult, let me look at this one over here. In this one I too can be worshiped and get to rape my wife or in some sects — wives — and tell them they must shut the heck up else they won’t be coming with me to my planet! And those children that they must birth out so we can populate this planet, well, if there is too much competition because there are too many boys around, I can do what that [Warren] Jeffs [Internet Archive link]1 guy did and force them out, abandon them to the world so that I can be king of the harem! And because we encourage the women and men in this cult to keep their children brain-washed and naïve, they won’t be able to survive in the real world and will have no support. Why THIS sounds like a super place to take my psychopathic self.

    But then there’s the this other one over here. In this cult I get to be a little god, so wait, I don’t want that, I’ll stick with the cults that allow me to be the BIGGEST god.

    All this Holy Spirit stuff is a waste of time for me. I ALONE am god and never feel “led” by anything but my own selfish desires. The Bible talks about me endlessly and tries to warn true Christians about me, but my father the devil easily twists the truth into tasty morsels that are easily digested and swallowed up by stupid people with a conscience so there’s no fear that they will ever gain any power through this Holy Spirit character. I won’t have to lift a finger to kill anybody because I have learned how to kill a person’s spirit, hope, love, desire and walk with the Lord, by simply acting like I’m extremely thoughtful and concerned about THEM and THEIR walk with the Lord, and if it appears that they are actually starting to hear the voice of Jesus, I will kindly, calmly and quietly ask them if they REALLY see this or REALLY feel that, because after all, we all make mistakes and the Bible tells us we are ALL sinners so, really, we need to be careful not to be too judgmental — you Christians make is all so ***** easy for us!

    1[January 1, 2023: We added the link to Wikipedia’s page on Warren Jeffs. The Internet Archive ink is a copy of that page. Editors.]

    1. That was a great description of how the abuser / path views the church of today.

      They are all to much like a kid in a candy store with the blindness to evil in the church.
      Lots of opportunities, and no one to suspect them.

      Mine confessed once that he only went to church to look at women.
      On a seperate occasion he talked about the many benifits of joining the Mormon church.

  2. I think it’s shameful that unbelievers are able to so clearly and immediately recognize and call out the evil of abuse and the church is unwilling and excusing of the same. Over the years, I’ve heard so many Evangelicals point accusatory fingers at Oprah, yet it was her organization that first reported Josh Duggar’s molestation to the authorities. The church should be embarrassed that her organization knew so quickly what the right thing was.

    On discovering an incident of child molestation by the adult son of popular leaders in our church, the pressure to keep it quiet and “in house” made a painful situation unbearable. Yet, everyone I met who was part of the situation outside of the church, clearly recognized the evil of the abuse and declared the young man must be stopped and experience the full consequences. My family felt safer with the secular, “ungodly” authorities than with the leadership of our church, who are still comforting and protecting this young man and who seem completely undisturbed by the fact we have left while he remains. I recently saw a video posted on the pastor’s Facebook page of this young man playing with the pastor’s toddler daughter. The video was posted less than 2 months after he was convicted of child molestation, a clear message of the pastor’s trust in this young man, who is a registered sex offender.

    I’m thankful for the clear vision of many nonbelievers in regard to abuse, because if the church won’t stand up for victims, I’m glad God has found someone to express His heart to the oppressed. But I’m ashamed that it’s come to this.

  3. When I first came to ACFJ a year and a half ago, as a 27 yr abuse target just coming out of the fog, I had NO IDEA that I would be getting such a life-changing education not only on the dynamics of abuse, but, unbeknownst to me, being educated on the falacies of church doctrine that I had succumbed to for 4 decades! I read and re-read and then re-read all of the posts here.

    These last series by Jeff, I have to admit, have made me rethink so much. I am saddened by the sheer number of people who are caught up in the Uber-evangelical, mega-church, authoritarian, patriarchal system that fills its pews with a bunch of “yes men” (and women). Religion throughout the WORLD is used to subjugate and control others using their religious doctrines to add “legitimacy” to their actions (Middle east views of women, that weird “pastor” in the Mormon church who raped those young girls “for their own spiritual good” and in evangelical homes where Bible verses are used out of context to control, etc). I LOVE God. I LOVE His Word. I LOVE Jesus and am so grateful every day for his life-changing, life-saving sacrifice. But I havent been to church in almost 2 years. I no longer even know where or how or if I even WANT to “fit” into church. I dont understand how to find the “balance” between kindness, and gentleness of spirit and what this article is talking about: taking evil head on, with firmness, authority and a “take no prisoners” mindset. It makes SO much sense, but I am at a loss as to how to answer the “God is love, when do you show love?” part of the walk.

    So for example, lets say my neighbor is a bitter, lonely soul with nothing good to say whenever I take my walks. When is it the “right” thing to bake her cookies ANYWAY and pick up her mail ANYWAY, etc? When is the time to look at her and say, “Your words are poison and your evil will not be tolerated” as opposed to being kind in hopes of “drawing her closer to Christ.”

    I get that I have a lot of false premises that I have been overcoming and a MUCH different view of church leadership and their ridiculous and at times scandalous handling of abuse victims coming to them for help (from my own experience). I have thought a certain way for so long, I am not sure HOW to think differently even though I KNOW that what you say is truth. I am not sure how it actually should play out in my day-to-day interactions with other humans.

    1. the Uber-evangelical, mega-church, authoritarian, patriarchal system

      We could make a good acronym from that. PUECHAS = Patriarchal Uber-Evangelical Church Authoritarian System. Pronounced a bit like ‘puke’.

      Almost as good as my go-to expletive for the disgust and horror I feel about the way people treat victims of abuse: AARRGGH!

    2. Debby, that dilemma you write about, exemplified by how you relate to your neighbour — Lot faced the same thing.

      … righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard) (2 Peter 2:7-8 ESV)

    3. Debby, I loved your comment. I have struggled my whole Christian life w/ the very issues you raise about your neighbor. I spent 4 decades being kind, loving & polite, trying to be Christlike. Lately I am not so nice. Someone said anger can be like the pit bull you have in your house to protect you. You wouldn’t muzzle it and put it in a cage when the enemy assaults you. You let it out to do it’s work. Our anger can be that pit bull letting people know: don’t mess with me. Don’t know if I’m right but the other way left me a horrific victim of almost every abusive person I met. Like you said, this website makes me rethink everything.

      1. And we can show pit-bull anger without necessarily becoming enraged. We can show it by our posture: stern face, stern glance that tells the other person ‘Don’t mess with me!’. Stiffen our spines. Limit how much we engage with that person if we wish. Gray rock them. Etc.

        Not that rage is always wrong. Jesus used a whip in the temple.

      2. Video was excellent & yes I really like the gray rock technique. I have to learn to use it. I was a pre-school teacher for 20 years and understood, w/ the precious children, the balance between kindness & discipline but with adults I readily admit I am HORRIBLE @ it.

      3. That video is exactly the way pastors and church leaders should be dealing with abusers in their church. But something completely different happens…

      4. This makes me think of us being like the angel Gabriel ready to lift the sword to fight evil. So what happened to turning the other cheek? My previous pastor and other believers once discussed a scenario of being assaulted to possibly be [being?] killed. They said they would turn the other cheek. ? That would not allow us to fight for our lives … People may call it “revenge”?

      5. Regarding Jesus’ admonitions to turn the other cheek and walk the extra mile — I think the best way of understanding those sayings is to see them in the cultural context of Israel under Roman rule, as it was in the first century AD.

        The Jews had no way of successfully getting out from under the thumb of Rome. They were a vassal state. Their position was rather similar to many people today who are under the control of autocrats and dictators (think North Korea), or are like feudal peasants under the thumb of unscrupulous landowners (many parts of the third world), or in fear of the headmen of power-hungry clans like The Taliban.

        In that kind of context, you cannot rely on the rule of law to protect you. The law is not just. And the officials who administer the law are often corrupt. There is no safe way to refuse to comply with all the extortions and random dictates of the power-wielding officials. But it can be safe (and shrewd) to ‘turn the other cheek’ or ‘walk the extra mile’ when the tyrants abuse you and demand unreasonable things of you. If you not only comply with their demands but actually do MORE than they demand, you are slyly showing them that they cannot rob you of all your dignity. And therefore, they do not have total power over you: they have not crushed you completely.

        Here is an illustration. I know a man who was unjustly sentenced to a term of imprisonment in a military prison. The guards gave him one blanket each night to keep him warm. The cell was cold. The ‘bed’ was a slab of concrete. He was cold. He decided to sleep every night WITHOUT using the blanket. He did that to show the guards that the prison regime had not totally crushed him.

        I am also putting this comment on our 2012 post Does “Turn the Other Cheek” Mean We Must Submit to Abuse?

      6. That pastor and his fellows were probably boasting. And what they were arguing for is not consistent with Biblical principals. There is a biblical principal of fleeing from persecution. I go into detail about this in chapter 2 of my book [Affiliate link]. There are many instances of believers (including our Lord himself) fleeing from persecution.

  4. One summer when my now ex-abuser had been especially nasty, tearing me to shreds verbally almost every week and escalating his insults to include tearing me down as a mother (these were brutal verbal abuse sessions) he revealed to me towards the end of the summer (during which we had many thunderstorms) that he had become terrified of the thunder because he thought it was God showing anger at his brutal verbal abuse sessions where he would call me every name in the book in a psychotic evil-sounding voice However, this didn’t deter him and he kept right on abusing me for the next decade.

    It’s just kind of interesting as well as highly disturbing that these abusers do have a conscience that they succeed in ignoring and outrunning. Scary.

    1. Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

      From GotQuestions [Internet Archive link]:

      If the conscience is “seared” — literally “cauterized” — then it has been rendered insensitive. Such a conscience does not work properly; it’s as if “spiritual scar tissue” has dulled the sense of right and wrong. Just as the hide of an animal scarred with a branding iron becomes numb to further pain, so the heart of an individual with a seared conscience is desensitized to moral pangs.

      The verse in Timothy makes it clear that the person DOES something to get a seared conscience. A seared conscience does not just happen of its own accord. It comes from the person devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars.

      1. Barb, Spurgeon says “It were better to be shut up in a pit w/ serpents than to be compelled to live w/ liars!” I have been in this pit long enough!!!!!!! Trying to get away, once again. This time I will move 1000 miles away. He’s trying every trick in the book to keep me, but you all have taught me what is really going on. Thanks!

      2. Barbara, Thank you. This is very profound and helpful to me what you wrote about the abuser’s conscience being “seared” (or “cauterized”) and thereby rendered insensitive to moral pangs and from listening to the “teachings of demons” (liars)–the liars would be his family who have no moral compass to speak of. I have struggled with the fact that I knew he once did have a conscience, and attempted to outrun it, and then seemed with the passing of many many years to become conscienceless…your description of the conscience being “seared” or “cauterized” answers a question I couldn’t figure our for so long. I have even had my son ask me if his father has a conscience…and very difficult to try to explain when I knew he did but that he now, for all intensive [intent and?] purposes, doesn’t. Thank you for your description of what happens to the abuser’s conscience as it is very helpful to me and, I am sure, many others.

  5. Ah. Goliath. Or, today, perhaps ISIS??

    Not too long ago, the adult fellowship I was attending began a series studying the book of Romans.
    The teacher, who fancies himself a self-appointed “super teacher”, opened Romans 3 by asking “Are you better than ISIS?”.

    My heart leapt in my chest, as I immediately sensed this as sin-leveling and guilt-tripping extraordinaire. It was a gotcha question. People in the class hemmed and hawed & finally I raised my hand and said “there is a difference between being a sinner and being evil, & we need to be careful to not equate the two.”

    But superteacher would not back down & he kept pushing, using Romans 3:9 “Are we better than they? Not at all”. He kept pushing the “we are no better than ISIS” theory, ignoring all other scripture that points to God hating evil. He kept pushing me & pushing me, asking things like “so you think you are better than ISIS? Well what did Paul mean then? So YOU’RE better than ISIS?”

    I held my ground and said “I am a sinner in need of a Savior. But I am not like ISIS”.
    He was not going to be challenges, & pushed me once more and said “so you DO think you’re better than ISIS?”

    Finally in frustration I said “Yes, I do.”

    He then did exactly what I was expecting: he smirked. A faint, self-satisfied, subtle, smug little smile, a look that said “gotcha!”.

    But never did he say that God opposes evil, that God hates evil, yet God loves us and Jesus died for sinners, but will overcome the evil one. He never mentioned the Holy Spirit, or testing to spirits to see if they are from God.

    Romans 5:14 actually says “death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam”. There! even God recognizes some offenses are worse than others. God Himself sees because of Adam we are all fallen, and thus subjected to the consequences of Adam, even if we did not sin in the same way as he did.

    In my mind, I tested the spirits: ISIS is Satanic, demonic, not human, not of this world, and is so evil as to beggar words, thus in my mind it seemed abusive to teach that we are no better than demons. Did Jesus die for demons too? Didn’t God throw Satan and his demons out of heaven??

    Am I reading Romans 5:14 correctly? That while we are all sinners, we are not like ISIS? Or, Goliath?

    I would love to hear Ps. Jeff’s response to this, of being accused of being no better than ISIS?
    I have been shunned since that day, not by all, but by those so aligned with this teacher that they will not challenge false teaching.


    1. This teacher is foolish at best and certainly quite arrogant. All of the major Reformed confessions of faith declare that some sins are indeed more heinous than others. Jesus, you recall told Chorazin and Bethsaida it would be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for them. But there is more here in what this erring teacher is saying. His claims go to the heart of just who a Christian is. Does the New Testament characterize a Christian as a sinner? No. Just a cursory reading of 1 John will prove that. Jesus calls His people HIS people, HIS sheep, HIS children and brethren. His word says that we have been born again, made into new creations who do not walk in sin.

      Really, what this teacher is saying is a direct contradiction of Romans 6. He is saying that a Christian will continue is [in? to?] sin so that grace might abound. Paul’s answer to that claim is may it never be!!!

      You can stay in this guy’s class and cause him trouble. Or you can leave it. Both are good options. I have never seen someone like that guy really listen and learn. Too arrogant.

  6. Thank you for your swift reply, and for your affirmation. This guy has already run off others, and is probably glad that I am no longer there to trouble him. Oft were the times when he would ignore my raised hand to call on others, or let others interrupt me, or he would look directly at me, then look around to see if anyone else had their hand raised, and then ignore me altogether. So, I eventually stopped raising my hand and spoke up anyway.

    I have stopped attending this class, recognizing that he is in the “boys club” so it wouldn’t matter if I went to church leaders. It recently dawned on me that he is nothing but a “hireling”.

    Like others here, I am so very grateful to ACFJ, and the ministry here, equipping the sheep to recognize the wolves. I am grieved that he is allowed to teach, but even more grieved that no one seems to question him…..the few times I have had “careful conversation” with others about his teaching (and that of his dutiful, uber-spiritual wife) most will say, “Well, I know they really love the Lord”. I want to scream, “No, they do not! How can you say they love the Lord when they create false idols of themselves?? They love themselves first and create false guilt in you designed to make you shut up”.

    So, thank you Jeff & Barb and the team for exposing the wolves and loving us sheep who long to hear the shepherd’s voice.

    1. Standswithafist,

      That is crazy that your Bible teacher said that. Good for you for standing up to him. You should have asked him, if I am no better than ISIS, why are there a million people fleeing from ISIS and not a single person fleeing from me?

      1. That’s a good one, Layla! I will remember that for another day…

        Why is it I always think about what I SHOULDA / coulda / woulda said?

        No worries….but, I can’t even remember when or if I have EVER thought or said that I was “better” than anyone else, so it was a strange question. I just don’t think that way, but rather think “what does scripture say?”.
        I found it scripturally & spiritually irresponsible & ignorant, and dare I say, Biblically abusive.
        But as Ps. Jeff noticed, this guy is arrogant, so perhaps he is the one who thinks in such terms. Wish I had called him out on it rather than saying what I did, but either way at least I stood firm in the presence of an enemy…..

  7. Also even the Lord shows himself shrewd when it comes to dealing with the wicked.
    See Psalm 18:25-27 where the charactor of our Lord is described.

    (25) To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
    to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
    (26) to the pure you show yourself pure,
    but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
    (27) You save the humble
    but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.

    I personally believe that the Lord “outwits the wicked at their own game” because they harbor wicked and twisted intentions.

    This scripture helped me to know it was ok to employ my own “outwitting strategies” when I sensed my abuser was setting me up to further abuse me.

    One thing I have figured out about abusers is that they have “no clue” when you are “playing them” at their own game.
    “They pretend, and play-act”- so much of their time,- that they can’t perceive when some one else is playing them back.

  8. My experience over and over again is that modern Christians think that we have to be nice all the time; unfortunately, that’s all it takes for evil to prevail. My own family reflects that thinking. My niece got caught up in a polygamous relationship with an abusive man. My parents stated that every time they saw this man, they expressed their love to him, hoping that he would see the love of Jesus through them. I told them that what really needed to happen was that someone needed to get into his face and confront him. My parents were shocked and dismayed by that statement. Meanwhile, this man continued to abuse my young niece. Fortunately, I had a good relationship with her, and over time, I was able to get her out of that house and into an apartment near me. She is getting counseling and currently is working through the anger that she has over this issue and other past abuses that were allowed by the adults in her life because of a passive Christianity.

  9. It is always sinful to show anger.
    We must never speak negatively of anyone.
    Passivity and pacifism is what we are called to.

    I believed this for about 35 years. Thanks Barbara for explaining the sermon on the mount, turning the other cheek, and walking an extra mile with someone. I didn’t realize how constantly feeling that every situation I was in was causing me to “turn the other cheek.” I was one special martyr. I thought I was pleasing God. Looking back at that, was it works based righteousness?
    IDK – I did love the Lord, but really got that thing mixed up about being kind to the abuser thingy, which indeed I was.
    I thought this was the thing that made me different from the world.
    I also struggle with knowing when to show kindness, since the Lord sends the rain upon the just and the unjust, and when I should return good for evil. Many churches in my area teach this pacifism. I know, I tried several. Sometimes the doctrine is not scriptural, i.e. they say Jesus didn’t know He was Divine. Another Sunday school leader said Jesus wasn’t Divine when He was on earth. I left that Sunday School lesson – in the middle of the lesson. Politely of course. sigh – I have been such a wimp.
    Other places teach sin leveling, never show anger, as quoted above, but then there’s the tithing rule (for if you really want to get into heaven). exclusively to the place where you are “fed..” I’ve had some bad meals can I get a refund?
    Now I send money to missions where I have heard they are making disciples for Christ.
    Thanks for this post. I want to follow HIM, and not traditions of men. I never realized how powerful they are. To think I judged the pharisees while being one myself. He does shake everything that can be shaken and what remains will stand. The truth does set one free. It is comforting to me that He says we know His voice, and He knows us (His sheep) by name, and we will follow Him.

  10. I’m so glad I made use of the search function as this post was exactly what I needed to read. Ahh! The whole ‘be kind, do as anyone demands of you, always take it, play nicey-nice’ nonsense gets drilled into a person and it is soooo refreshing that someone else talks about this kind of stuff.

    David didn’t make hot cocoa for Goliath.

    And the intolerance of righteous anger, especially in women, where women are shamed and falsely faulted into believing themselves to be in the wrong to dare be upset, let alone enraged. Oh my! Not an angry woman!

  11. Today is Sunday.

    This has been my sermon, those who use the site fellow congregants, dropping off a donation for the food bank my donation.

    Re-reading always brings something new to light. Holy Spirit has – rightfully – gently convicted me of faulty thinking from years ago, something I did not understand because I had been wrongfully taught.

    Unlike the platitudinous ‘c’hurch, no preaching of “May the peace of the Lord, which passeth all understanding….” upon exit. We may all pray for this in our lives, but face the reality this is not what the ‘c’hurch truly teaches or upholds.

    Thank you for true Church.

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