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OF MILLSTONES AND DEEP WATERS

OF MILLSTONES AND DEEP WATERS
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:17 (KJV)

COMMENTARY

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
August 22, 2018

Sin can only go in one of two directions. It can either flourish until its perpetrators self-destruct, or it can be rooted out, repented of, the person(s) released from its clutches and newness of life is restored and the image of Him who made us is recovered.

Many Christians (perhaps so-called might be more accurate,) have embraced the dark side and seemingly want to stay there.

Jesus had much to say about judgement, but you won't hear much of it from many pulpits these days. Preachers like to preach the Sermon on the Mount but steer clear of what Jesus had to say about religious leaders. He accused them of being "hypocrites" and "whited sepulchers". On one occasion he said this: "For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves."

Stern words indeed. Could Jesus be much harsher or clearer than this? Remember, Jesus did not sin in these public condemnations.

Then we remember what Jesus had to say about those who hurt children: "It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble."

Could Jesus be any clearer, sterner or demonstrative than this?

I know an Anglican priest (yes Anglican), who was arrested by the FBI for watching child pornography for over 25 years. He was a close friend for all those years as well. He was convicted, found guilty and given a sentence that allowed him to help men caught in the same sexual sin and thus avoid jail. He recently reoffended but still managed to stay out of jail. Now he argues that because he never actually touched a child (he just watched other men do it) he is really a victim and should not be ostracized by his village or the church where he lives. Now he is angry at his isolation and former bishop. He doesn't get it. Betrayal doesn't touch how I feel.

Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who is at the epicenter of a 900-page Pennsylvania grand jury report that revealed shocking accusations that more than 1,000 children had been abused by 300 Catholic priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses during the past 70 years, was accused by Pennsylvania's Attorney General of "not telling the truth."

Did Wuerl admit anything like a 'circle of secrecy' he established? No. Last week he mounted an aggressive PR campaign, hired a high-priced law firm in Washington, DC and pushed back against revelations that he mishandled and covered up instances of criminal sexual abuse by priests while he was bishop of Pittsburgh.

When Boston Cardinal Bernard Law faced the possibility of going to jail for covering up hundreds of priestly sexual abusers, moving them from one church to another, did he own up? No, he fled to Rome where he hid till he died and then got a cardinal's send off.

Denial, denial, denial. And you wonder why the Roman Catholic Church is losing market share, closing churches, sustained in some places only by immigration and aging parishioners who attend only for the Mass and not much else. But the money is drying up and that is not good news for bureaucrats.

Of course, we all have the ability to rationalize sin, but most of us would hide out of shame if we were caught. But shame has disappeared in this culture. No one is really guilty of anything; we are all victims of our DNA, mummy, daddy, our circumstances in life, "poverty made me do it", "I couldn't help myself" and so on. (Full disclosure, I've used the same arguments myself over the years, and then realized how stupid and futile they were.) Blaming others is a never ending and vicious circle.

Western culture is now fully in the hands of the Evil One and, by any definition, Satan is triumphing, his relentless push in so many directions is paying off huge with enormous dividends. Compromise the leadership and then scatter the sheep. It's working.

And it is not just the Catholic Church that is in deep trouble. Protestants of one sort or another have been caught up in sexual scandal. Consider the moral failures of mega church pastors, the most recent being Bill Hybels, and revelations in the Southern Baptist Convention -- Frank Page and Paige Patterson to name just two. And then there is the slew of 'health and wealth' prosperity preachers and their sexual daring-dos...the snake charmers of American churchianity.

Those most hurt are, of course, the immediate families, but the disillusionment in the pews is sometimes greater. More often than not these leaders are worshipped from afar by ordinary people who never learned "not to put your trust in princes", even princes of the Church. But they fall for it anyway like Nigerian Internet scam artists bilking the faithful in the name of the Lord.

My wife rightly accuses me of falling for similar scams. She says that when I hear certain words and phrases dropped by Christians I make the quick assumption that they are "one of us" and I buy whatever they are selling. I have been fooled so many times by evangelicals that I am disgusted with my own naivete. When anyone tells you that "the Lord told me", remember God has given you a brain to weigh the truth or falsity of the latest 'prophetic' utterance.

Contemporary Western Christians mostly ignore biblical texts relating to divine judgment. The Old Testament prophets railed against sin and called down the judgement of God on sin and sinners. Worship golden calves and see what happens. Hide silver plate in your tent and wonder why the whole family gets stoned. Any talk of disobedience by modern day preachers is met with cries of alarm about one's failure to be inclusive or respecting diversity, or the old saw "he who is without sin...". Read what happens when kings in the O.T. did that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord and a prophet came a-calling. It gets worse when the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, because when they did, the Lord gave Israel's power over to foreign kings like Moab.

Have preachers forgotten the Imprecatory Psalms which invoke judgment, calamity, or curses, upon one's enemies or those perceived as the enemies of God? There are numerous New Testament books that contain passages that quote Imprecatory Psalms.

St. Paul in Romans 2:12-16, writes, "For there is no partiality with God." God will judge everyone with perfect justice. In this present culture where feelings triumph over almost everything, we don't understand the concept (or want to hear) of judgement, but it rears its ugly head when sexual abuse comes to light, and once again we cry out for justice. Justice and judgement are twined. We are struck once again with the reality of real evil. Is it any wonder that the book People of the Lie became a New York Times best seller!

Left unchecked, Lord Acton's dictum "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely," remains sadly true.

One recalls Jesus' own words when he looked at the corrupt actions of the religious leaders in Jerusalem and declared its coming destruction which took place in A.D. 70: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'" (Luke 13:34-35, NRSV)

The predatory evil by Roman Catholic prelates and priests is especially horrific. I won't repeat them.

However, the weak lamentations of Pope Francis in response to it all will not soften the hearts of those who were abused and hurt. He bemoaned that the church has not dealt properly with "crimes" against children and must prevent sexual abuses from being "covered up and perpetuated" and he said, "the Church showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them."

But where were the specifics? Why did he not do to US Catholic bishops what he did in Chile. All 31 bishops resigned, and the Pope then stepped in and fired three of them. He could do the same here. If he wants a list of progressive, liberal, revisionist, pro-sodomite and sodomite cardinals, archbishops, bishops, he only has to ask Michael Voris of The Vortex and Churchmilitant.com, the most outspoken layman in the RCC in North America. He'd be glad to hand the pope a list. And yes, Voris thinks that Wuerl should not only resign, but he should be removed by Pope Francis from the College of Cardinals!

The 2,000-word lackluster letter, the first by a pope addressed to the world's Catholics on the topic of sexual abuse, papered over the deep sin pervasive in his church, rekindling a crisis that has engulfed his papacy and eroded the very credibility of the Roman Catholic Church.

The evil that men do lives after them; the good is often interred with their bones, wrote Shakespeare. This could be the legacy of Pope Francis.

God is not mocked, for whatever a person sows, that he will also reap. ... 1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us ..." Those who sow to the wind will reap the whirlwind.

As one commentator noted, "God doesn't really provide the answers to our questions of "why?" in situations like this. What He does say though, is that judgment is coming. The Day of LORD will happen and all the evil that has infected the world and infected Christ's Church will be laid bare before the judgement seat of the Lamb. And woe to those false prophets and corrupt prelates who have used and stepped upon the widows, orphans, and the powerless innocent. For on that day when, as Amos says, justice rolls down like water and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream, when all the evil of the present evil age is made untrue, on that day it will be better for them to have had a millstone tied around their necks and been thrown into the sea."

The sea awaits.

Fire the Catholic Church: http://theweek.com/articles/791242/fire-catholic-church

END

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