(From the April 2017 edition
The reality of an unsafe church surfaced recently after being reminded of Satan’s schemes. There is certainly a need to be on guard against the enemy. However, the church does not teach its members to be on guard against its leaders. Sure, evil might be lurking among some who sit in the pews, but not among one wielding a clerical title. That is the biggest oversight in the church today that is causing grave damage.
Having knowledge of the enemy’s character traits will help to recognize people and/or situations that lead to committing sinful acts.
Devil. Evil One. The Tempter. Father of lies. Thief. Enemy. Angel of Light.
Looking at these names, it is rare to look for a tempter in a worship leader. It is unthinkable that a man teaching God’s Word is a thief. No one considers the man standing in their pulpit might actually be the enemy. Because church is not thought to be a place where evil dwells, that is the very reason wolves in sheep’s clothing are able to cause harm. The church is not on guard. To be safe from the evil one, eyes must always be open, especially in places least expected.
Most people connect to a church with a desire to draw closer to God. They are taught to avoid things in the world that have the potential of wreaking havoc; they are encouraged to become active in church activities. Striving to please God, they entrust their leaders to teach, guide, and protect them as they continue their spiritual journey. Never in a million years would they suspect the Father of Lies in their house of worship.
Yet, the church’s vitality rests on its ability to recognize when evil is in its midst. When a member is duped, it is not because of a flaw within laypeople, but because of the leadership’s refusal to call out the Evil Ones who reign in their congregations.
Clergy who pursue members for their own gratification lie, cheat, manipulate, and make excuses for their heinous sin. They misuse God’s Word. They clearly possess traits of the enemy. And their victims are caught off guard because they were not taught that evil can exist within the one standing on a platform, in a pulpit, in a class, or in a boardroom. They never considered that a ‘man of God’ was, in fact, a child of Satan.
It is unsettling being in an unsafe church environment where the enemy abides within clergy and its leaders choose to close their eyes.
Being on guard against Satan’s tactics must include staying alert to those who are hiding behind church doors; tempters, liars, deceivers, thieves, and evil ones who are disguised as Angels of Light.
Ephesians 6:11 says, “Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil,” especially those standing in Christ’s stead.