The God They Sell

I bless God for the day that I found good Reformed Theology through past posts on A Cry for Justice – the website devoted to abuse victims and the church’s historically abysmal response to them; and through Unholy Charade – the blog of Pastor Jeff Crippen of Christ Refomation Church in Tillamook, OR. Through these posts, I also found Pastor Sam Powell’s series on Galatians from First Reformed Church in Yuba City, CA; and the two series on the tactics of the evil one and his followers by Pastor Jeff Crippen.

The true Good News that we have found in these places has been life-changing for me and my children. I finally understand how the Word of God is the well-spring of life, bubbling up to a dry world from a well-fed heart. I now understand and stand in the light that the god my well-connected-to-big-religion-names evangelical church was selling was never the real God. The god that big-name-religious radio and TV program preachers and program hosts sell is not the real God. The god that big-name religious-college professors describe from the lectern is not and has never been the real God. Especially when these colleges’ professors train future pastors to go fill pulpits with words like, “You know, God hates His children. But, He loves the lost.” This is the god they sell. And, as the group MercyMe sings in their song, “Wishful Thinking,” “… what I bought before, I just can’t sell.”

And for any god who is not the true God, sacrifices must be made. In this post, I will focus on one of those sacrifices.

Their God Requires You to Sacrifice Your Children

Sacrifice your children? Extreme! Over the top! Unthinkable! Unimaginable! No one in evangelical or other mainline denominations would ever say to sacrifice your children — in words… out loud… at least… not most of the time…

But as your life plays out before their god, in actions, sacrificing your children becomes a requirement. For example, in a discussion on JimmyHinton.org’s Facebook page, a woman extolled the virtue of pouring out on a confirmed child molester the unlimited, unconditional forgiveness that their big-name-evangelical god demands. The comments can be found under his March 1st post about this Pennsylvania church.

The story is that a molestation survivor had been attending a church for years, growing up, finding help, and healing. Years later, her molester started attending that same church. Discussion arose about whether the church should protect the victim’s safety, her healing, and her peace of mind by demanding that her molester leave the church, or should the church extend “love”(tolerance) and “grace”(protection) and “mercy”(freedom from consequences) to the perpetrator. A woman in the comments repeated relentlessly that the church should, by all means, show “love,” “grace,” and “mercy” — to the perpetrator. She hammered on forgiveness — for the perpetrator. (Forgiveness in their context is evangelical god-speak for “reconciliation” — which is big-name evangelical-speak for forcing victims back into relationship with, and back into the clutches of, the person who tore their life apart).

I noticed however, in her commenting, this woman did not extend unlimited forgiveness to the people who disagreed with her. Name-calling, all caps rage, out-of-context Scripture-clubbing all flowed from the keyboard of this woman who kept ramming her point home that church people to show forgiveness and love — to the perpetrator — instead of protecting the victim, her health, her healing, and her well-being.

Then, to the point, someone asked her if she would take her own children to this church where she knew the molester attended. She said she would. Absolutely would. Unequivocally would. Her children’s safety, and — as a horrifying possibility — their innocence, would be sacrificed to the god they sell.

The Word of the true God — Jeremiah 32:35 “They built the high places of Baal that are in the valley of Ben-hinnom to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I had not commanded them nor had it entered My mind that they should do this abomination…“(italics added)

The Word of the true God — Luke 17:2 “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”

The Word of the true God — Psalm 26:5 “I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.”

My son went to a major Bible college. Within the first few days of attendance, his professor for the general theology overview brought up the topic of marriage. He brought in a guest speaker, a pastor of a large church attached to the college, as the authority. This speaker’s only view, the only option, that he put forth from the podium was the view of marriage permanence. Well, one might say, of course marriage is supposed to be permanent — “’til death do us part” and all that. But in light of unimaginably cruel abuse that happens so frequently in this fallen world, marriage permanence is a very dangerous place to dig the heels in.

Someone in the class asked the speaker, “What about abusive situations? Especially when there are children in the home?” The speaker confidently stated that the marriage remains permanent. To a class of (mainly) men who will go on to become your next pastors around the country, from the podium this ‘c’hristian authority declared that the abused wife and children must remain with their abuser. He allowed for a small period of separation, but the abused wife and children must return to the home within a few weeks at most, so as not to deny the husband his “rights.”

He then uncategorically stated that if the abuser killed his children and his wife, that this would be his evangelical god’s will (he of course used the authoritative big G – “it is God’s will” to remove any dissension or discussion) that these people would be killed. He also smiled and said that if the dead wife and dead children were born-again, then what happened to them — their murder — would be all right, perfectly fine. They would be in a better place anyway. These precious children of God would be sacrificed to the god they sell.

My son couldn’t continue classes the rest of the day. He went home — dizzy, struggling not to retch — because of the effects this had on his PTSD that overshadows his life now. He knew it could have been him, his siblings, his mother. He was revolted that this church authority would have been perfectly contented that my son died behind the closed doors of his abusive home. As long as the marriage and family unit were preserved — until my son, his siblings, and his mother drew their last breaths. ‘Til death do us part.

The Word of the true God — Psalm 82:4 Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.

The Word of the true God — Job 6:14 For the despairing (one) there should be kindness from his friend; so that he does not forsake the fear of the Lord Almighty.

A very lovely, devout, godly woman, who is sadly steeped in the ways of the evangelical god, proudly told me of her teenage daughter. They all attend a local church. At this church, a man — an older man, a man of authority in that church — for some reason had singled out this woman’s daughter to pour out all of his criticism, sarcasm, sneers, cruelty, venom, jibes, derisive laughter, slurs, tear-downs, etc. This mother told me how her daughter begged her mother for help, for relief, for safety, for rescue. But because this devout mother had been simmered and stewed so long in the cauldron before the evangelical god — any good, righteous, protective, mama-bear anger had been boiled away.

She counseled her own daughter to go back every time the church was open to be around this man, to continue sitting under his “instruction.” She told her daughter to pray for him more. She wrongly taught her daughter that maybe, just maybe, she might be the one the god uses to reach this man’s heart and turn him around. (Sorry, turning people’s hearts around is the Holy Spirit’s job alone. Laying a God-sized job onto the shoulders of a scared, scarred, soul-bruised teenage girl is beyond the pale.) She sent her daughter back to be abused more.

She was proud (proud!) of the fact that her daughter would learn to endure “difficult circumstances”(learn to endure abuse), would learn to “love difficult people”(learn not to escape abuse), would learn to submit to “difficult” authority (learn her fears, her soul, her feelings, her rights don’t matter if an authority figure is abusive), she would learn to submit more, pray more, and trust their god more (learn to surrender her whole being since her life and well-being really don’t matter anyway). Ultimately, she taught her daughter that her daughter wasn’t worth protecting. Not when sacrificing her might “win over” a wicked sadist. This daughter’s heart, her soul, were laid open, bound to the altar in an attempt to win a “trophy of grace.” Sacrifice your child to win a devil. This young lady was sacrificed to the god they sell.

The Word of the true God — Isaiah 35:3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.

The Word of the true God — Isaiah 61:1-2
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And 
[cfreedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn…

Michael Card sings, in his song, “The Spirit of the Age,”

“Now every age has heard it, the voice that speaks from hell, Sacrifice your children and for you it will be well…”

I understand this song correlates the Slaughter of the Innocents under King Herod in the New Testament with the crisis of abortion today. However, the words still apply here. Like Pastor Sam Powell speaks of in his sermons, the god of this world, the false god of the big-name churches, says, “Do this, and you will live.” All idols require sacrifice. And, what bigger sacrifice can you offer than your children? After all, like the evangelical pastor told my son, “They’re better off dead anyway.”

This is the god they sell.

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