Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fighting Just to Fight

Some people like starting fights. They like getting into arguments because they like arguing.  I hope I don't come off that way because I don't perceive that to be my personality at all. When I was in college at Southern Wesleyan University, I had two very close friends.  In a conflict or contest, I was happy if everyone just ended up getting along when it was all over.  One of my other friends was content if he just got even.

My third friend needed to get ahead. He dated a girl who also loved to fight, and they just loved to argue with each other. The two got married, are still married and, I presume, are still arguing with each other for endless delight.

I believe that God can sanctify ambition and the drive to win.  If God told Adam and Eve to take charge of the garden, then God can use those who are wired to come in first. Such people have to be careful, however, for God and Scripture are not exactly enthusiastic about the lust for power and domination. Rather, "the first will be last and the last will be first."

There was a line in the movie Jack Reacher that stood out to me.  In the movie, Tom Cruise says that there are three types of people who sign up for the military.  First there are the patriots who want to serve their country.  Then there are those who see the military as a chance to make something of themselves and their lives. But a small, scary group likes the idea of being able to kill others with impunity.

Similarly, there are some who fight for God because they want to stop the oppression of others.  Then there are some who sincerely believe God wants them to "stand up for what is right." But they truly hope that others will repent and that the world will become a more godly place.

Then there are the scary ones, the ones that use God as excuse to fight because they really like to run over others. They get off on the power and hide their lust under the cover of standing up for the truth. These are the kind that will turn on their own in a heartbeat if someone on their own side tries to speak truth into their lives. Could it be that those who shout the loudest about standing up for the truth are the most likely candidates for this category?

Remember the Crusades?  How many of the kings who led the Crusades were really standing up for God?  Could it be that most of those who started the Crusades were really just warmongers who enjoyed the idea of conquering some territory and killing some bad guys? The idea that they were fighting for God just gave them cover for their true motives.

The human capacity to deceive itself is astounding, including our capacity to take good and use it for bad.  We can even do it with the Bible. Maybe we say we're conquering Jericho or purging the land of the godless.

But it's just as likely we're fooling ourselves.  Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers."  Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek."  Jesus said, "Blessed are the merciful."

He didn't say, "Blessed are those who pick fights with those who disagree with you" or "Blessed are those who kick out those with the wrong perspective."  There are others in the Bible who were more prone to kick people out of the synagogue for disagreeing.

The words of Jesus should haunt those of us who like to fight: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven."


Susan Moore said...

Part 1 of 7
I think this blog is the best written of all I’ve seen from you.
I’d like to point out that Jesus also said, “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20), “When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another” (Matt. 10:23), and “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34) (the sword being the Word of God as defined in Eph. 6:17, and as Hebrews 4:12 begins to record, “For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing…”).
Furthermore, Paul states in 2 Tim. 3:1-5 “…in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”

Susan Moore said...

Part 2 of 7
One of the three main traumas that occurred in my early childhood was as an observer of ritual abuse in a cult. To my young mind the cult activity looked like organized religion, complete with male leader and tongues. The part that experience played in my PTSD is that I was unable to comfortably go to a church, or speak to, specifically, male religious leaders, because doing so would exponentially increase the flashback hallucinations, dissociative responses, self-harming behaviors and panic attacks.
After I read the Bible cover to cover, Jesus saved my life when I was twelve. During my prayer for salvation I asked Him to help me be more like Him, to help me understand His book better. I asked Him to never leave me.
He never has.
Though mentally ill, being a Christian I have God in me and have continued to grow to be more like Him. In my 40’s I told Him I would go to a church if He picked one out for me in no uncertain terms and went with me there.

Susan Moore said...

Part 3 of 7
When I was 24 I had fled from Ohio the day after I graduated from nursing school. In my 40’s, within five days after I had told Him I would go with Him to a church, I found myself unexpectedly moved from New Mexico back to Ohio where I grew up. He then took me to the mega-church He had picked out for me in no uncertain terms, and told me to speak to people there.
My church, whom I love.
Although actively psychotic, when the music started tears of relief streamed down. I was uncontrollably sobbing. Week after week it was like that. One time during his sermon my pastor stopped, looked down and said, “Some of you come here week after week and sit in the back and cry. You are safe here. You don’t have to leave, we are here all day, just stay.” So when I could find the courage to go at all, I would stay all day for all of the services.
One day I was exiting the sanctuary after a service and Jesus told me He wanted me to start a comprehensive Christian health ministry there. I attempted to look past the sea of terrifying hallucinatory images to the sea of real people beyond, and moved to Kentucky in 2006.

Susan Moore said...

Part 4 of 7
And there He miraculously and unexpectedly healed me on 11/10/08, and brought me back to my church three years ago.
I returned to my church, healed, with eyes wide open to the former idolatry in my life.
I was excited to return a healed person, finally, I could be involved in my church with no psychosis to back me off. I wrote out my ten page testimony and submitted that for the membership class.
The next time I went to church I was approached by a rageful and silent male lay-leader. And again, and again by other ones. At first I was awed at God’s providence and wisdom for bringing other mentally ill people there, for surely I thought perhaps those men had forgotten to take their medications. But they became too many, they were always lay-leaders, and they were always men. And then one called me a heretic.
I had to figure that out.

Susan Moore said...

Part 5 of 7
God led me to find out about ‘cessationism’, the belief that God no longer works through miracles, signs and wonders, and I was horrified to learn my church believed that lie about God.
When I was healed my eyes immediately became wide-open to the idolatry in my life, and I had thrown out idol after idol. Now I saw the idolatry in my church, and was terrified for them. I realized then, what I was to speak to them about.
Like Abigail and David, I threw myself at the feet of God and begged for His mercy on them, I told Him to take His wrath out on me, instead. Their idolatry is that they covet their independence from God and their self-sufficiency; they lack gratitude for the direct revelation of God through His Spirit, specifically in His revealing of Himself through His signs, wonders and miracles.
In the meantime I had to figure that out. What would cause that?
I wanted to reach more people so I wrote out and produced what is now my online testimony at Although the Pastors were aware of it, they did not ‘advertise’ it. I told friends and some read it, but most did not. After all, they are taught that such things about God are lies, and not to believe them. It formed a chasm between them and me.

Susan Moore said...

Part 6 of 7
So, time went on. I attempted to make appointments with my pastor, and was refused. Most recently I was referred to the pastor who does counseling. I didn’t know how speaking to him would help, perhaps he would speak to the leadership team. So I spoke to him about my concerns regarding their pride and their interpretation of scripture, but he relayed none of that to the leadership team. I got no response from the leadership team.
So, I started emailing every pastor in the church about the workings of God in my life. I was Spirit-led to write out an argument against cessationism, and submitted that to them. The exec. Pastor replied that he would address my concerns, and to email only him or the counseling pastor. So, grateful for any response, I obliged under specific conditions. He told me they did not desire to teach wrong things or be deceptive about God, which to me meant that they were refuting that they were denying the power of God, and did not like the thought of being referred to as a cult. He told me he would discuss my concerns with the leadership team. I was grateful for that but knew, with his background, that he would not have the experience in spiritual warfare to adequately address these concerns. I repeatedly asked to speak to the leadership team directly but was repeatedly denied that opportunity (I think because I am a woman).
The end result is that they chose to maintain their position of cessationism.

Susan Moore said...

Part 7 or 7
When the exec. Pastor stated he would assume my case, I realized I was ‘off the hook’ with God, and no longer under His wrath. When the final decision came out, there was no other choice but to turn the leadership team over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme the Spirit (1Tim. 1:20). For closure, I emailed the seven top pastors my response and sorrow at their continued rebellion in their expressed desire to restrict the power of God by suppressing it and refusing to teach the truth about it.
And then I left.
I left because I am not permitted to serve there with my ‘skill set’, nor can I peaceably speak the truth about God there.
Everyone knows about God by seeing what He has made (Romans 1:20). Therefore, I understand how a person can know about God and yet not know about Jesus because no one has shared the Good News, but it remains a mystery to me as to how a person can claim to know Jesus, and yet not know about God.

Susan Moore said...

Dr. Schenck, thank-you.
And thanks for listening.

Ken Schenck said...

I am praying that you will find a place of ministry... or start one. At the very least, you are ministering as a nurse and through your website.

Susan Moore said...

Thank-you!! I know that Jesus has used my testimony to heal others like He healed me. If people would share it with others, regardless of what it did or did not do for them, He would use that movement to get it where it needs to go.
A year ago Jesus founded through me the Orphans and Widows Ministry
I got it registered as a non-profit charitable organization with the State of Ohio, and went back to school to finish my B.S. degree in General Studies with a minor in religious studies. If you read the mission statement, it will become obvious that this is much more than what one person can do. It is not intended to be my personal ministry, it was given as a gift to the Church. The people most intended to be supported as the caregivers of the estranged church and intentional trauma survivors are Pastors.
In the meantime, it has been put in my heart to go back from where I came from, and retrace my denominational steps. This means each week I will go to a different church, in the denominational order that I had followed throughout my life. In the preceding week I will learn whatever I can about that denomination, and speak with a pastor if possible if there remains questions. Then I will attend a service that weekend, and report my experience to you as a blog response on that following Monday.
Are you up for that?

Christopher C. Schrock said...

Dr. Schenck,

When I read this, "Then there are the scary ones, the ones that use God as excuse to fight because they really like to run over others. They get off on the power and hide their lust under the cover of standing up for the truth. These are the kind that will turn on their own in a heartbeat if someone on their own side tries to speak truth into their lives. Could it be that those who shout the loudest about standing up for the truth are the most likely candidates for this category?", it made me think that was the charge Christ brought against many: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in."

Thanks for this post. Helpful reminder to check one's heart in the midst of ambitions and duties.

vanilla said...

Interesting. Yesterday you noted that God can use “bad” to effect good ends; whereas today you remark the capacity of man to use good for evil ends. Well, we might say that is just like God! And just like man, too.

This is an excellent post.

David Drury said...

This was genius and so true

May I fight with caution because it is so

Martin LaBar said...

Unfortunately, this rings true. May God keep me out of the 3rd category.