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Part of the Good News is Bad News

In the previous post 03.8.2 The Sanitizing of the Writings of the Church Fathers I wrote about the sad state of affairs where the Roman Catholic Church made it the law of the land where Christians persecuted and even killed heretics and burned their writings.  As a result the record of what happened after the book of Acts is incomplete.

Some people criticize this kind of writing as critical and negative.  But it is not unlike the Bible in places. The bible is full of references to actions and times where the people were not in God’s will.  For example, the phrase “did evil in the sight of the Lord” is listed in 40 verses in the appendix below. Think about the story of the flood where all men were so evil that all were killed except those on the ark. How many years were the Israelites in captivity because they had stubbornly gone a way different than the one the Lord directed?   Even David, a man after God’s own heart had Bathsheba’s husband killed because he had adultery with her. Other godly men made mistakes that were reported like Jonah, a prophet swallowed by a whale for refusing to give the word that the Lord had directed him to deliver.

The Word of God is the story of the deliverance of man by Jesus Christ.  But, as it says in Timothy,  it is useful not just for doctrine, but also for reproof, and correction.  Without the stories of sin and wayward lives we would not be equipped to recognize when reproof and correction are needed.

Without being stated it appears that many church histories, especially Catholic ones, teach church history from the perspective that the church is in the will of God always or with very few deviations.

Where do you start in Christian history with ungodly practices: Rome’s declaration that it’s bishop is over all others, mandatory celibacy of priests, the inquisition, the crusades, selling of indulgences and church offices, homosexual practices among some church elite (where are they honoring clerical chastity or are only local clergy supposed to honor the vow?) in the Vatican[i], the current crisis about pedophilia in the clergy and the cover-up?  Protestant churches are not above reproach.  There were protestants that killed people (heretics) in the name of Christ, the Lutherans and other denominations  engaged in war also perhaps just in self defence, but still we have vast periods of time where Christians are warring with each other.  One record says that the 30 Years’ war between the Catholics and the Lutherans killed one third of the population of Germany

So yes , we want to celebrate the countless good works of believers where Christians aided the sick, fed the poor, and spread the good news. We want to celebrate the abundant life that Jesus made available, and the power of God in people’s lives.  We rejoice wherever we see the love of God in actions.  But just like the Old Testament records there are times since Pentecost when the believers “did evil in the sight of Lord” and we need to learn to recognize those.

We won the war when Jesus died for us on the cross, but there is still a war going on.  The New Testament is full of warfare analogies:

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, (2Co 10:3-5 ESV)

Recognizing where believers including ourselves are off track is important to waging the war righteously and growing in the Lord.

 

Appendix

Verses with “did evil in the sight of the Lord”

Jdg_2:11  And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals.

Jdg_3:7  And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.

Jdg_3:12  And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done what was evil in the sight of the LORD.

Jdg_4:1  And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD after Ehud died.

Jdg_6:1  The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD gave them into the hand of Midian seven years.

Jdg_10:6  The people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines. And they forsook the LORD and did not serve him.

Jdg_13:1  And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, so the LORD gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.

1Sa_15:19  Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the LORD?”

1Ki_11:6  So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and did not wholly follow the LORD, as David his father had done.

1Ki_14:22  And Judah did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins that they committed, more than all that their fathers had done.

1Ki_15:26  He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin which he made Israel to sin.

1Ki_15:34  He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and walked in the way of Jeroboam and in his sin which he made Israel to sin.

1Ki_16:25  Omri did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did more evil than all who were before him.

1Ki_22:52  He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and walked in the way of his father and in the way of his mother and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.

2Ki_3:2  He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, though not like his father and mother, for he put away the pillar of Baal that his father had made.

2Ki_8:18  And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.

2Ki_8:27  He also walked in the way of the house of Ahab and did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as the house of Ahab had done, for he was son-in-law to the house of Ahab.

2Ki_13:2  He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin; he did not depart from them.

2Ki_13:11  He also did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin, but he walked in them.

2Ki_14:24  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin.

2Ki_15:9  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his fathers had done. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin.

2Ki_15:18  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart all his days from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin.

2Ki_15:24  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin.

2Ki_15:28  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin.

2Ki_17:2  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, yet not as the kings of Israel who were before him.

2Ki_21:2  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel.

2Ki_21:16  Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides the sin that he made Judah to sin so that they did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.

2Ki_21:20  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as Manasseh his father had done.

2Ki_23:32  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.

2Ki_23:37  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.

2Ki_24:9  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father had done.

2Ki_24:19  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.

2Ch_21:6  And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.

2Ch_22:4  He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as the house of Ahab had done. For after the death of his father they were his counselors, to his undoing.

2Ch_33:2  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel.

2Ch_33:22  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as Manasseh his father had done. Amon sacrificed to all the images that Manasseh his father had made, and served them.

2Ch_36:5  Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD his God.

2Ch_36:9  Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.

2Ch_36:12  He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD his God. He did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke from the mouth of the LORD.

Jer_52:2  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.

 

 

[i] https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2013/12/gay-clergy-catholic-church-vatican

January 5th, 2019 Posted by | Basic Christianity | no comments

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