There are many who could be pointed to that (from a Christian perspective) represent evil. There are the drug dealers and users. There's the small town whore who puts out a plywood sign at the end of her driveway that says "No Visitin" when she's taking a night off. There are the bar-fighters, drunks who just love to make trouble and get into it. There are plenty of corrupt business barons... oil and lumbermen who are known for their shady deals and the way they treat those who work for them or have some kind of land dispute with. They play rough and like to throw their weight around.
And yet from a Christian perspective, from a spiritual perspective the most evil men in these towns have to be the ministers.
Leaving aside the sodomite priesthood of Rome and its centuries of apostasy, I'm speaking of the Mainline Churches, the Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian pastors who haunt the grand old buildings and still hold positions of respect within the town.
I've made a point over the years to talk with these men and in a few cases I have unhappily worked for them. In principle I will not work on church buildings but I have on occasion been called to work on a home. In some cases I didn't know the occupant was a current or retired minister.
Why are they so evil?
Because they are false teachers and prophets. I'm thinking of my most recent encounters with a retired Presbyterian pastor. He attended Princeton, studied under Metzger, listened to teachers like Tillich and Barth as they came through. Barth to him is akin to a Fundamentalist zealot. That alone is telling.
This man doesn't believe in the Virgin Birth, the Incarnation or the Resurrection. He doesn't believe Jesus to be Divine or that He ever claimed to be. The Gospels and Epistles are all frauds, written decades after the fact by people claiming to be Apostles.
The Old Testament is of course absurd. There's no such thing as predictive prophecy. Isaiah didn't write most of Isaiah. Daniel is a complete fraud written hundreds of years after its namesake. Genesis 1-11 is all mythology. He believes in Evolution and disavows all miracles.
I have spent hours talking with this man over the course of several years and by my estimation, the man's favourite authors are Stephen Hawking and Bertrand Russell, famous for his "Why I am not a Christian."
And yet this man's home is surrounded with 'Christian' trappings from his days in 'ministry'. Of course there's also a lot of sacrilegious and blasphemous humour hanging on the walls. He loves to be called 'reverend' by passersby as he sits out on his porch. And not a few lost and lamentable souls actually come to this old reprobate for advice.
His whole life is a fraud. He collects a pension for a career rooted in deception. He doesn't believe in any of it. Since retirement he doesn't even bother to attend church.
Here's this respected man that's looked to as a man of God and yet in reality is a wolf in sheep's clothing. The druggies can steal your lawnmower but this man can corrupt the soul. And how many are in hell while having sat under his 'ministry' for many years?
And he's by no means unique. In fact it's amazing how alike all these guys are. I've talked to quite a few of them and they all seem to be cut from the same cloth. You have to know the questions to ask. You have to get them talking. Once they think you're something of an insider, you know the theological lingo and the names... then they'll talk.
How can they look at themselves in the mirror? I don't know. I suppose to them they are sort of societal/intellectual leaders of the Western Tradition. To them, the Protestant Reformation, even the New Testament are just stepping stones along the way of the Great Western Path. And just like Descartes and Hume are responded to and philosophy moves beyond them, so it is with doctrine and ideas. The Protestant Confessions were fine documents in their day. I've heard quite a few say that. But they would be totally inappropriate for our own day.
They don't believe God has spoken and not a few of them could rightly be labeled as agnostics. Religion is something man needs and in our culture it has been the Church. They are sort of ceremonial leaders for sociological ritual. They are commentators and counselors. This is how they can justify what they do. They can utilize the historic symbols of the faith because they have social meaning and if it means something in your heart then it's 'true for you' as it were.
Jesus of Nazareth is kind of like Gandhi and Paul is interesting but almost as bad as he is good.
There are still people in these Mainline bodies that believe more than this and some of the pastors do as well. But they need to understand they are yoked together with these devils. On a denominational level these are the people they will have to deal with, this is where their money goes. How far will these so-called conservatives in the Mainline bend before they wake up and realize their denominations are apostate? Get out! Have nothing to do with these people.
Machen was right, theological liberalism is just another religion that dresses itself up as Christianity. It's just Secular Humanism using Christian terms. The Presbyterian pastor knew of Machen and grew quite hostile. He didn't like him one bit.
This retired pastor has treated me rather shabbily during our last couple of business transactions. He has a grand old family house full of amazing history. But I'm tired of being taken advantage of and him changing the deal part-way through. I'm done with him. He'll be gone soon. He's well into his eighties. I tremble for him. He's got a lot to answer for and I wouldn't want to be in his shoes.