Book 6 - Introduction
I have never come across any book which deals with the question of how to identify and handle the wicked, or even what it means to be wicked. Fifteen years ago I wouldn’t have been able to believe it if someone had told me that I would one day write a book on this subject. At that time I knew little or nothing about the wicked. I was barely even aware of their existence, let alone that they were so numerous and influential. Above all, I never imagined that such people were to be found inside churches, and in such numbers.
When I started out as a Christian I was exceptionally naïve, or ‘simple’ as the Bible generally puts it. I could not usually recognise the wicked even when they were right in front of me. Nor did I know how best to handle them. But gradually, over the years, God put me through a training programme whereby He brought into my life considerably more than my fair share of wicked people. I met some of them when I was a police officer in the mid-1980s. My experiences in that job began to open my eyes to the reality of this world and how the wicked operate. But that was only a start.
In this book we will look at how the wicked operate within the workplace or within families and also generally, throughout secular society. However, I have probably encountered more (and worse) wickedness over the years within churches than outside of them. In particular, I have come across many church leaders whose worldliness, dishonesty and manipulation of others was shocking.Indeed, for some years I could not really believe what I was seeing and hearing. I kept telling myself that I must be imagining it or exaggerating. But I wasn’t. I was actually under-estimating the true scale of the problem and probably still am. Yet, as my eyes gradually opened, by many stages, I saw that people’s capacity for wickedness, even within churches, was even worse, than I had suspected.
God also exposed me to countless other learning experiences in a secular context, within my business, a law firm which I wholly owned, and also in previous law firms where I was either an employee or a partner. In this book I set out some of the situations I faced and the various people I had to handle. The facts are all true, although names have been altered for the sake of those concerned.
I say that because I wish no ill, even upon the wickedest of those people. On the contrary, I still pray for them, as well I should, because I owe them a debt. Without their schemes and craftiness I would never have had the learning opportunities which gave rise to this book. It shows how God can bring good out of any situation, however squalid.
I have written this book primarily for the sake of those people who are still as innocent, naïve and unsuspecting as I once was. I wish someone had put this book into my hands 20 years ago or even 10 years ago. It would have helped to keep me from making many of the misjudgements that I made and from a lot of the devious tricks that I fell for. It would also have helped to open my eyes faster and wider than they did open during those years. Regrettably, there was no such book. Or, if it existed, I never saw it.
I cannot claim that this book will answer every question, solve every problem and identify every deceiver in your life. The wicked people that you meet will each have their own individual features and the precise ways in which they manifest themselves will differ. But I do feel able to say that the general principles and advice set out in this book will help you and shift the odds in your favour. At the very least, you won’t be as undiscerning as I was when I had my early encounters with the wicked.
Another of my objectives for this book is to seek to persuade you that the wicked are more numerous, and have more influence over your life, than you probably believe at present. Too many of us go through life largely unaware of the impact that the wicked have. In particular, we do not realise, or are not willing to accept, that the wicked are to be found in churches, as members and even as leaders.
The unbiblical structure of denominational churches deepens the problem. Man-made traditions are followed rather than what the Bible says. This means that it is actually within the leadership of churches that the highest proportion of wicked people are to be found, rather than amongst the ordinary members. Wolves and hirelings are not prevented from getting to the top because the absence of biblical safeguards leaves the way open for them.
Such carnal, ‘clergy-minded’ men believe that they are above God’s people. So, they feel entitled to rule over churches and to act in an authoritarian and controlling manner rather than as the gentle servants and shepherds that church leaders are meant to be. Please see Book Eight in this series for a fuller discussion of the problems caused by unbiblical church structures and practices.
I will deal in this book with some of the wicked church leaders that I have had to deal with over the years and explain the methods and techniques they used as they sought to dominate, manipulate and control people. Such men (and often their wives as well) are skilled in the art of deception, especially when confronted by anybody whom they perceive as a threat to themselves.
As your eyes begin to open to such wrongdoing on the part of carnal Christians, especially apostate leaders, you will find that those same techniques, or variations thereof, will be used against you. That is because, if your eyes are starting to open, the wicked will notice and you will be seen as a threat.
Even moderately carnal Christians, let alone the wicked ones, assume that they are entitled to do whatever is needed to defend themselves and their own interests. So, they react in the flesh, without restraint, or any thought as to what God may have to say about the situation.
They can easily persuade themselves that pretty much any reaction or tactic is justified if it is being done in self-defence or in response to a perceived threat. But it isn’t justified. We are always required to act and react in a godly way, even when we feel threatened. Indeed, it is precisely at such times that we most need to control ourselves and to do what is right, not what is felt to be expedient. That is how we Christians are supposed to operate, but it is not how most people actually behave, whether they are in churches or not. We need to be fully realistic about that fact.
Therefore, it is all the more necessary to increase your understanding and discernment and to learn how to respond to such tactics, yet without resorting to them yourself. That’s probably the hardest part of all this because, although God wants us to be as wise as serpents, He complicates matters by also requiring us to be as innocent as doves. That seemingly contradictory pair of objectives is not easy to achieve, but it is possible, if you really want it.
I hesitate to make any inflated claims for this book. It will not solve, or prevent, all your problems. But I believe it can, and will, reduce them. At any rate, it will put you further forward than if you had to figure everything out for yourself, as I had to do. I hope therefore that this book will help you to achieve more victories, and sustain fewer defeats, in the battles you have to face. By the way, you can be sure that those battles will come, whether you want them or not, especially if you have the love of the truth and it is your aim to serve God faithfully. The world and the demons will make sure of that.
Above all, I hope that it will help you to fight those battles in the right manner. That means to fight them in or through your spirit or ‘new man’ rather than in your flesh or ‘old man’. In other words, it has to be done with integrity and self-control rather than by imitating the carnal, worldly people with whom we have to contend.
8 May 2014