Learn and Discern: Government is Evil

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Yesterday, GRACE published an excellent article by Victor Vieth and linked to the Paul Washer video that I posted in yesterday’s article (video is posted below in this article).

GRACE  is a non-profit organization made up of highly trained and experienced multi-disciplinary professionals who seek to educate and empower the Christian community to identify, confront and respond to the sin of child abuse.

I deliberately did not link to the GRACE article, because I wanted to see what you thought without having any other influences.  Here is the article:  The True (and False) Persecution of the Church.  Please be sure to read the comments.  If you followed the comments in yesterday’s post, Learn to Discern: Persecution or Hype or Agenda?, you will notice that some of you had similar arguments.  The discussion was great.  I loved it.

I, too,  saw the video before reading GRACE’s article and wanted to share my observations.  Here are the key excerpts I found troublesome:

The church in America is going to suffer so terribly.   And we laugh now, but they will come after us and they will come after our children. They will close the net around us while we are playing soccer mom and soccer dad. While we are arguing over so many little things and mesmerized by so many trinkets. The net, even now is closing around you and your children and your grandchildren and it does not cause you to fear.

You’ll go down as the greatest bigots and haters of mankind in history. They’ve already come after your children, and for most of you, they have already gotten them. They got them through the public schools and indoctrination and in the university and indoctrination and then you wonder why your children come out not serving the Lord. It’s because you fed them right into the devil’s mouth. So little by little, the net is closing around and then it’s not little by little  – look how fast things are going down hill in a matter of weeks, matter of weeks. But at the same time know this:  persecution is always meant for evil, but God always means it for good. And is it not better to suffer in this life, to have an extra weight of glory in heaven?

They were martyred and they were persecuted as enemies of the state, as child molesters, as bigots, as narrow-minded stupid people who had fallen for a ruse and can contribute nothing to society.

This is the kind of rhetoric that we have been given in the Homeschool Movement. As soon as I heard him say these words in the video, I immediately thought that he had drunk the Homeschool Movement Kool-Aid. What Kool-Aid is that? It is the pervasive idea in the Homeschool Movement (and consequently churches who embrace the Homeschool Movement) that the government is first and foremost E.V.I.L. – as in all caps, bolded, and italicized!

And we laugh now, but they will come after us and they will come after our children. They will close the net around us while we are playing soccer mom and soccer dad.

They taught that there can be nothing good about the government (or government schools). They are out to get Christians.  We must be fearful of them.  They are not of us.  We must not be connected with them.

A couple of weeks ago when I was in Portland, I reconnected with an old friend and I confessed that I had thought poorly of her because she allowed her two sweet high school students to attend their local heathen government school for choir classes.  Yes, that’s the way we talked sometimes.  You see, these girls used to be in the homeschool choir I directed and I couldn’t fathom the idea that these precious girls whom I loved were being indoctrinated in the evil government high school.  Oh, that Kool-Aid was so thick.  Evil, I tell you, heathen government schools are E.V.I.L.  (Side note:  they are so evil that I have now sent 3 of my kids to the evil public high school and now I’m Evil Choir Mom and Accompanist and going on my 5th year of doing so – my, my how things change.)

Back to more of Paul Washer, warning, warning:

The net, even now is closing around you and your children and your grandchildren and it does not cause you to fear.

As homeschooling parents, if you do one thing bad, don’t dot your “i” and cross your “t,” the school district is going to come after you, and the police and CPS is not far behind.  Warning, warning:

They’ve already come after your children, and for most of you, they have already gotten them. 

And if those evil ogres come to your front door, you will need to know what to say because if you say the wrong thing, they could take your children away from you.

Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) had a large population of homeschooling families who were well acquainted with this kind of exaggerated anti-government mentality.  That mentality, along with the mentality that churches know better how to handle crimes which they labeled as “sin” than civil authorities helped to create an environment perfect for sexual perpetrators to live and thrive.

Think about the SGM case and my former church.  Pastors allegedly knew of the sex abuse cases and refused to notify civil authorities.  They dealt with the cases in the church and wanted to keep them under wraps. They surely had the evil-government idea in their minds, too.  It was common knowledge that you did not involve the evil government in these affairs.  This mindset gave the green light for church leaders to not only overlook abuse, but could also give them the green light to abuse since they knew there was no civil authority oversight.

I am not saying that Paul Washer by any means condones abuse or has even thought this through, but do you see what can happen with his they-are-evil message?

Please, listen to the video again.  This time when you listen, imagine yourself as a homeschooling family who has drunk the Kool-Aid that the government is evil.  But wait . . . before you hit “play,” look at this.  I’ve mentioned Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) before:

Home School Legal Defense Association is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms. Through annual memberships, HSLDA is tens of thousands of families united in service together, providing a strong voice when and where needed. (Source)

Imagine that you believe wholeheartedly that if you don’t say and do the right things, “they” may come after you and take your kids away.  Note the words “government intrusion”  below taken from the HSLDA site below:

HSLDA also takes the offensive, filing actions to protect members against government intrusion and to establish legal precedent. (From HSLDA site)

Imagine that you have taped a script on the inside cupboard in your kitchen cupboard.  The script (printed and distributed to HSLDA members) is what to say should any evil school district officer or evil government official come to your front door.  Imagine you have also trained your children what to do or say should anyone confront you while you are out in public, at the library, at the grocery store.  All of your children are trained how to respond to the question, “why are you not in school?”

See, you had to have the right response – – – just in case.  Just in case what you ask?  Just in case that person you met notifies evil Child Protective Services or the evil local school district.  In the HSLDA newsletters, we read letters from concerned parents about what to do with nosy neighbors or family members who did not want you to homeschool.  There was clearly an us versus them mentality that we were exposed to.

Ok, now hit play.

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Now imagine you are a parent of a child who was sexually violated.  In your church, your church leaders have told you they will take care of the problem.  You trust them.  They have your family’s best interest at heart.  Not only that, you are protected by HSLDA.  It’s a “Christian” organization.  They believe like you that homeschooling your children is your civil right and will protect you and fight for you when the government tries to tell you otherwise.  Both HSLDA and your church leaders are in agreement, so they both must be right . . . right?  Now everybody is in agreement:   government is evil.  That part is settled in our minds.

When thinking of the sphere of influence in the families of victims, we realize that they are pretty isolated because of having large families, being active in homeschooling endeavors, and their church commitments.  If all of their primary influencers are telling them that the government is evil, you better believe the government is evil.  The government might be the last place you want to take our molested child.  And if you do, you will surely feel pangs of guilt because you will be going against all of the leaders in your sphere of influence.  That is pretty powerful.  I cannot imagine the strength of Renee Gamby’s parents who actually DID go against their church authority and notify police of their daughter’s abuse (Renee is sex abuse survivor and plaintiff in SGM’s sex abuse civil lawsuit). ::::High fives to the Palmers from JA:::::

I’m telling you people, we as homeschool parents were taught by homeschool leaders (HSLDA and leaders at Christian homeschooling conventions) to fear government.  That they were not there for our protection.

Whether he meant to or not, Paul Washer seems to be perpetuating the idea that all government is evil by his fear mongering.

I do not like this fear-mongering.  People in positions of influence and authority need to be very careful in how they use their words.   Below is what the Bible says about civil authority.  It seems a lot different from Washer’s, “they’ve already come after your children.”

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,  or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.

For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.

[Act] as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but [use it] as bondslaves of God.  Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.  Peter 2:13-17

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165 comments on “Learn and Discern: Government is Evil

  1. Born4Battle said above:

    “So who’s making a claim that the church is being persecuted when molesters in the church are brought to justice?”

    Lots of folks have and are making this claim indirectly and directly. Several prominent Pastors and other Evangelical leaders are now telling/have been telling abuse victims that calling the police and filing a civil suit against a Church is against general Biblical precepts, is a barrier to Evangelism, violates Mat. 18, etc.

    Their motives are not hard to discern. Finding out about the cover up of sexual abuse or allegations of abuse causes many non-Christians to get angry at Churches and the Christians in them who don’t believe in reporting sexual abuse yet are happy to accept tax breaks from the entire community on the grounds that their organizations help society as a whole. Plus the Church might get sued because it is subject to the civil legal system.

    Perhaps what you’re perceiving as the persecution of the Church is justifiable anger at the arrogance and hypocrisy of people like the SGM leaders, who are arguing that an ordination certificate and the First Amendment give them the right to counsel people against bringing child molesters to justice.

    Do a Google search on the subject if you don’t believe me. Or check out the publicly available legal documents indicating that the “if you tell the cops what’s going on the Church will be persecuted” argument is alive and well. And yes,these documents pertain to a civil suit that is as yet unresolved but it is based in part on criminal convictions and indictments reflecting a belief that protecting the reputation of the Church is more important than caring for its weakest members.

    http://www.brentdetwiler.com/class-action-lawsuit/

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  2. I’m often reminded:

    Romans 13.1-5
    Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

    Taxes come next, but that’s another discussion… 🙂 those aren’t persecution either.

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  3. Monique – A variation of that is something like: “Share the gospel. Use words if necessary.” Supposedly it was said by St. Francis, but no one has found evidence of it.

    “Gospel” means “good news.” News is told by words. God taking the form of a man and dying in a horrible way for our sins is not something that people assume. It’s an alien concept that I doubt even Shakespeare could have thought up. It’s also very specific. It can be shared in less than 30 seconds, but discussed for a lifetime.

    Whether or not people like his tone, B4B is correct when he says that the gospel is a “proclamation.” Whatever method of evangelism is used, there has to be a point where one makes it very clear what the gospel is. It doesn’t have to be shouted in someone’s ear; it can be said gently. But if the word “sin” is not used, then the gospel has not been shared.

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  4. I find the claim that the gospel is offensive to non-believers to be problematic. For some people (I’m not saying anyone on this blog has done so), because of this claim, people will use how offended people are as a measure of how true they are staying to the gospel. Most people are offended by the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church; does that mean they’re staying truer to the gospel than anyone else?

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  5. Jeff Brown:
    Yes, I’ve seen the quote in various forms as well. Actually, in my quote she references the love of God ~ not something necessarily needing words.

    “Whatever method of evangelism is used, there has to be a point where one makes it very clear what the gospel is. It doesn’t have to be shouted in someone’s ear; it can be said gently. But if the word “sin” is not used, then the gospel has not been shared.”

    I agree the Gospel is shared in words. But, most unbelievers that I have talked to and met have heard the word “sin” over and over again. Some unbelievers just say “So what?” “What difference does that make?”

    Most often, when praying and talking with unbelievers, I found they respond to the love shown quicker than a run down on how sinful they are. Most I’ve prayed with already know how sinful they are. They need to experience the unconditional love and forgiveness in words and actions by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    “I would guess that most people do not like being told that they are sinners, and that their sins have separated them from God.”

    Yes, if that’s all you share ☺

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  6. Jeff Brown said

    I would guess that most people do not like being told that they are sinners, and that their sins have separated them from God.

    Here’s the thing: that’s not what Jesus did. People were drawn to Jesus. The people Jesus offended were the religious leaders at the time that were 100% convinced they had everything about God figured out.

    Jesus never said “you are a sinner and you will burn in hell unless [insert theology here].” Jesus reached out to the broken, the unclean, the not-so-saints. And people were drawn to him.

    There is a time and place for pointing out destructive behaviors (sins, if you will), but that should not be primary focus of evangelism. I just think that, if we’re doing it right, people should be drawn to Jesus. I just don’t see how constantly pointing fingers at perceived sins (there’s not even a consensus on what actually constitutes “sin”) brings anyone closer to Jesus.

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  7. Monique – If unbelievers say “So what?” or “What difference does it make?,” they do not understand the seriousness of sin. (I can speak from experience on this.) Sin is very bad news. If they don’t understand the badness of the bad news, they won’t understand the goodness of the good news. Of course, we don’t stop with talk of sin. But we have to communicate the problem before we present the solution.

    RMR – I would say that there is a consensus on sin – that it’s not reaching God’s standards in thought, word, and deed. Individual sins are symptoms of our overall sin problem, and Jesus is the only solution to it. We’re all in the same boat. “Constantly pointing fingers” – no. Communicating reality – yes. As I said above, tell the bad news before the good news.

    Below are some verses in which Jesus talked about the bad news (sometimes with the good news added). (If I’d included the word “judgment,” there would have been many more.) Yes, He reached out to the “officially disreputable,” but it’s highly unlikely that he never mentioned their sin problem.

    Sin – Mt 12:31; Jn 5:14; *8:11; 8:34; 9:41; 15:22, 24; 16;8, *9.

    Hell – Mt 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 11:23; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mk 9:43, 45, 47; Lk 10:15; 12:5; 16:23.

    Repent – Mt 4:17; Mk 1:15; Lk 13:3, 5; 3:19.

    Perish – Jn 3:15, 16; 10:28.

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  8. “RMR – I would say that there is a consensus on sin – that it’s not reaching God’s standards in thought, word, and deed.”

    I agree there. My parenthetical point is that there isn’t consensus on what God’s standards actually are in thought, word, and deed (and therefore what actions and behaviors would constitute falling short of those standards). Case in point: the gay marriage debate. There isn’t universal agreement on whether or not committed same sex relationships are sinful.

    But if you approach someone that is gay and immediately tell them that their loving relationship is sinful and that they are going to hell for it, you’re not likely to get them closer to Jesus or wanting to learn more about him (I’m not trying to make an argument one way or the other regarding gay marriage; just using the issue to make a point).

    I’ll need to take a look at the verses you mentioned. I would be cautious, however, about pulling out individual verses to try to make a case for something, because each verse had a specific literal and historical context to it.

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  9. Monique – It would depend on the person, the situation, etc. But I’d make sure to mention it sometime in the conversation.

    RMR – No, I would not start a conversation with anyone by saying they are going to hell.

    I think the Bible is quite clear about homosexual behavior. Just as I think it’s clear about fornication and adultery.

    The verses I chose were in response to your writing “Jesus never said “you are a sinner and you will burn in hell unless [insert theology here].” My point was just to show that He dealt with those subjects a lot, and He wouldn’t have if He thought His hearers were in no danger.

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  10. The Bible verses you mentioned don’t actually disprove my statement. In each verse, there is a context; more to the story than what is implied by a few isolated verses.

    I really should elaborate on this, but I unfortunately don’t have the time to really give this the attention it deserves. I do appreciate the respectful tone you’ve given through this exchange, Jeff Brown. Thanks for the challenge.

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