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When Respected Leaders Fail Part 5 - Solomons Temple

Updated: Apr 26


Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored?

 

Jeremiah 8 verse 22

 

From the onset today I want to state that as far as what I see in a scripture… receiving a vision, a dream or a “word” from God is a rare thing. I do believe God uses various ways to communicate with us however the primary way continues to be through the scriptures which are always trustworthy and reliable.


I’ve had very few moments in my life where I can look back and say without a doubt that God was speaking to me. One such time was in December of 2018… I had been working through some things and was finally breaking through some long standing emotional and spiritual struggles.


During a prayer time in late December I had a very distinct “impression” of what appeared to be a welcome mat on the porch in front of our home. As I walked up and realized I had never given it a second thought walking over it daily. In the picture that unfolded I peeled the mat back and was horrified to see that underneath it was a labyrinth of snakes, rats and disgusting creatures that immediately scurried to hide from the exposure of the daylight. II realized that in fact the welcome mat was not in front of “our” home but rather in front of the Church we attended at the time. I didn’t understand it… I wrote it down and shared it only with my wife.


It was a year or two later that we started hearing stories of spiritual abuse come out of numerous Church and parachurch organizations including our home Church. I remembered this image when things started falling apart in North Americian mega churches and para church organizations … I continued to keep this to myself.

 

I saw this as something first and foremost I needed to apply to my own life. This was addressing the importance of regularly pulling back the facade - the image I projected to those around me… “the mat”, and making sure all the dark places in my own life were regularly getting exposed to the light. This was basically a call to regular house keeping, exposing hidden corners to the light shows what needs a deeper cleaning. The disgusting creatures in the picture described above loved the dark… and they hated the light. I realized that in the shadows and the darkness is where sin grows... secrets and secret sins can destroy the structural integrity and strength of the house from within.

 

As I share this… I also want to make clear that often when God leaves such impressions on us they are usually for us… rarely for the larger community. Basing Church direction on a vision or dream or prophecy is risky… I won’t get into this right now. Perhaps another time.


I shared this for two reasons…

 

  1. To set the stage for todays discussion

  2. To reiterate that when I criticize the Charismatic movement and IHOPKC it is not because I am a cessationist but rather because of how the prosperity and charismatic movements have abused and manipulated “perceived” words from God to control people… which is all horribly destructive.

 

Now… with the above notes established let’s get on with this image of the welcome mat and creepy crawly creatures I described earlier…


From what I have observed the standard procedure for dealing with allegations of abuse or wrongdoing within many North American Church settings appears to be this:


A victim comes forward with allegations against leadership or another person in the congregation… the first inclination is to protect the surface “image” of the Church or the Pastor. The reputation of the organization is what matters to the religious… let’s keep that welcome mat right where it is and keep a lid on things… of course the end result is a perfect environment for narcissistic abuse. Under the shade of “propriety” a “culture of secrecy” provides all sorts of dark corners where unhealthy rodents can thrive.

 

Is this a new thing?


Absolutely not. The Apostle Paul would most certainly be writing letters to many North American Churches today. We have all of the issues they did in the city of Corinth. Isn’t it interesting that the book of Revelations begins with seven letters to seven vastly different Churches - calling each to repentance and alignment with Christ? The letters begin by saying “The words of Him who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks among the seven lamp stands”. The context of this passage clearly implies Jesus is talking to Christians and that He cares deeply about how those who call themselves by His name conduct themselves.

 

There are some who are calling the current exposure of these abuse scandals an attack of “the enemy”… however… is that true?

 

Jesus speaks to the Church at Ephesus in the Book of Revelation… saying “You have abandoned the Love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; Repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will remove your Lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”

 

Mike Bickle called the coming “attack” on himself as a ”dark horse” attack by Satan?


Is this accurate? 

 

Or dare we ask if this is from God?

 

In order to grasp that we may actually be seeing the hand of God shaking the house we need to study what Gods PAST biblical response has been when His “house” shielded and produced abusers instead of healers.

 

The first temple which was built by King David’s son Solomon, was destroyed around 587 BC. This destruction was prophesied by the Biblical prophet Ezekiel as judgement for the Priests and the house of Israel because they had embraced open idolatry, hatred and bloodshed. This temple, an architectural wonder of its time stood for more than 350 years as it was built around 960 BC.

 

There was so much celebration in Israel as the Ark of the Covenant moved into the new temple. This shiny new “HOME” which was built as an act of worship was an absolutely STUNNING feat of architecture and engineering. How did things get to the point where God would allow its destruction? The Book of second Kings 25 details the destruction of this temple. I should note that God had no joy in destroying what was this act of worship by a previous generation as the Bible records years of warnings to Israels leaders and people. Being a JUST God however, He could not let the priests and those who called themselves by HIS name continue to profane His name by doing detestable things under the covering of His namesake.

 

What did the Israelites do to profane God’s name?

 

The Jewish Talmud and the Bible give several reasons for the destruction of this first Temple…

 

  • Rampant hatred of others (narcissism)

  • Open sexual rebellion

  • Extreme Legalism

  • Child Sacrifice (to Molech and Baal - Jeremiah 32)

  • Idol Worship even inside the Temple

 

it is evident that the priesthood at that time engaged in what is called spiritual abuse today… as well as sexual abuse.


Throughout the scriptures we see this truth…

 

A God who is “Just” as much as He is patient. I mentioned Isaiah 58 a few weeks back… the act of devotional worship that God has chosen is one that cares for the widows, removes the bonds of injustice, lifts heavy burdens, lets the oppressed go free and breaks every bondage.

 

God is clearly not interested in “protecting” a man made structure or organization. He appears very interested in seeing people come to freedom from bondage, freedom from sin, freedom from dead religious tradition… and He appears very passionate about Children and justice for those who have been abused.

 

I feel like screaming when I hear some of the modern “false prophets” today calling for the Church to somehow embrace and restore to ministry those who have abused their power in such a destructive way. When they quote scripture I hear this passage from Jeremiah as he warned Israel of the coming judgement: “They healed also the wound of my daughter lightly and neglectfully, saying “peace peace” when there is no peace” Jeremiah 6 verse 14.

 

These “prophets” do nothing to bring healing to the wounded victims, their families or for that matter the Church as they attempt to place a pink unicorn bandage on a gashing wound. These women (and men) who have experienced such abuse need more than such platitudes. What is needed is to weep with those who weep…

 

This same Jesus who we like to say was filled with Love was also the one who saw the wickedness of the scribes and Pharisees and called them “white washed tombs”. This same Jesus fashioned a cord of whips and drove out the corrupt money changers from the temple as they were profiting off people who came there to receive forgiveness of sins and freedom from their sin. This is also the Jesus of whom the prophets said “a bruised reed he will not break… a smoldering wick he will not snuff out”.

 

Our God is compassionate… but He is Just as well!

 

It is obvious from scriptures that God is not so concerned about our structures, our organizations, our ministries or our reputations. He is concerned about justice and mercy and freeing the captives from captivity.


If our Church structure isn’t doing these things and more so as the days progress towards our divine appointment with our maker… perhaps it’s time it starts. A bride that is spotless and free won’t have skeletons in the closet nor try to hide some dark secrets.

 

All that we see… that shiny chapel, the pomp and ceremony, the image we worked a lifetime to develop will mean nothing… as a matter of fact, the scripture says that God will roll up the heavens like a scroll… do you think He is worried about your shiny ministry IHOPKC? RVIM? …. Insert any church name or ministry name here. Our God wants “wholly devoted followers of Christ” who live to serve Him in such a way that even though the world profanes them they will say “surely God is real”.

 

God is calling His bride to trim their lamps and ensure their lamp stands are lit. He is calling for Christians to be chain breakers, justice seekers in the most passionate and compassionate sense.

 

“At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens”. This phrase. “Yet once more,” indicates the REMOVAL of things that have been MADE - in order that the things that CANNOT BE SHAKEN may remain. THEREFORE, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe”

 

It would be wise to remember that even though God directed the building of that beautiful and awe inspiring Temple of Solomon that stood for 350 years… He destroyed it when the leadership leveraged their priesthood to abuse those who they were called to set free. God does not change. Structures and systems that oppose His work will be destroyed sooner or later. Hiding under “grace” won’t cut it for the Church organizations that protect the abuser and shun the victim.


The Church cannot stand as a lamp stand or lighthouse when it allows and makes excuses for abusive leaders to function under its cover. If the Church cannot shine a light on its own dark corners for fear of losing its reputation we are by default allowing all manner of evil to function under the cover of darkness.


The way forward is to welcome the exposure to light and even help expose those corners that need cleaning.


Let’s listen to this letter written to Church leadership years after her 13 year old daughter was abused by one of its leaders. Let this heartache reverberate through your heart and consider how you can grow alignment with Christ in how you interact with victims of abuse.


My daughter was molested by a church staff member when she was 13 years old. My husband wanted to confront him regarding his behavior. My husband and I went to an elder to get direction, assistance and support. We wanted him to go with us to confront the staff member. But the elder, my husband, and I did not confront the church staff member. The elder and his wife became involved. The elder, his wife and his children became involved. The elder, his wife, his children, and fellow elders became involved. The elder, his wife, his children, fellow elders, and their families became involved. The elder, his wife, his children, fellow elders, their families and the church became involved. They discussed, diagnosed and analyzed our pain. Our pain became gossip. We were never counseled or supported. Our pain increased. People came to me. One said, “Well, your daughter was ‘that way.’” Another said, “It had to be the way she dressed.” Another said, “She asked for it.” We nearly broke under the pain. God help me! It hurts so bad. My daughter is in pain. My God, won’t someone love my daughter, my children? Can they not see how devastated we are? Can they not know? Do they not understand? It was not her fault. How could someone actually go up to her and tell her it was her fault? . . . Can they not see? I am in pain, she is in pain. She is confused, I am confused . . . And the church goes on. He violated her person. He took away her self-esteem. He made her feel dirty and ugly and humiliated and worthless as a human being . . . And more pain goes on. They fired him, and then she was told it was her fault that he got fired. I was told it was her fault that he got fired. But she did it by being honest and open . . . And the church goes on. I stood by and watched. I watched as she tried to “live above the situation.” I tried to encourage. I watched as she kept striving to be accepted as a human being, in pain. I watched as the discussing and analyzing and diagnosing went on and on. I watched as the gossip totally enveloped a teenager’s life. I watched as my daughter gradually began to believe that she was to blame. I watched as she tried to deal with the incredible amount of pain by trying to take her own life. I watched as her sibling became confused. I watched as her sibling began being rejected. I watched as my children were both rejected and rejected and rejected and . . . God, help me. Help them. Help the church. God take this pain. . . . I reached out to you and tried talking about my pain, the situation. One said, “I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to become involved.” Another said, “You need to forgive and forget. You have an unforgiving spirit.” Still another said, “You didn’t spend enough time with her. If you had this never would have happened.” But I don’t understand, Lord. The pain is so overwhelming . . . Does anyone out there hear me? Five years later she continues suffering the rejection of the church. Her sibling has now experienced the rejection, the gossip, the exploitation, the pain. We have spent $ 3,000 on counseling and medical expenses directly related to that painful experience and the process of rejection and unresolved pain. She has now accepted “the fact” that the church thinks she’s bad, and that she is to blame. And the pain goes on, and the church goes on . . .[ 2]”

— The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church by David Johnson, Jeff VanVonderen

 

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