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Why Can’t Many Christians See Obvious Evil?

“Yes, Hamas did evil, but two wrongs do not make a right.”


I was meditating on this question this morning: Why can’t many Christians see obvious evil?

We see so many examples of this. A few years ago, in an American election year involving the most controversial President in modern United States history, a pandemic was used as an excuse to lock people in their homes, shut down economies and movement of people, place limits on how U.S. elections could function, and eventually coerce hundreds of millions of people around the world to take an experimental medical treatment most people did not want, and certainly most people did not need, and which large companies profited from greatly.

This had so many stamps of evil all over it that to many of us were so clear, but to many more Christians they not only did not see, they supported it, and even fought against those who called it out. To this day many Christians refuse to see the coercive evil they supported and was right in front of them.

But an even more pertinent example now is the massacre of civilians happening in Gaza as I write this article. This has all the hallmarks of evil all over it. Some Christians will immediately jump in and say right now, “Woah, Woah!! Why are you supporting Hamas?” Which just shows how blinded people are.

Defending innocent civilians caught up in collective punishment is not supporting Hamas. Bombing an entire civilian city to rubble, displacing over two million people, and killing tens of thousands of civilians is not justice, it is not a proportionate response and has all the hallmarks of evil all over it.

Over 39,000 civilians are confirmed dead, 14,622 of these are children, 8,986 are women, 73,300 are injured, which includes maiming and other cruel injuries, among many more atrocities. These are just the confirmed numbers with thousands more believed dead under the rubble caused by the IDF campaign.

Just because someone responds to evil (the Hamas attack) does not mean they are good. As Paul would tell us do not respond to evil with evil, but instead do what is honourable or good (Rom. 12:17). In no impartial eyes is what Israel is doing in the category of good. But thousands of Australian Christians are standing with Israel, and crying out against criticism of Israel, at a time when Israel is committing great evil. Yes, Hamas did evil, but two wrongs do not make a right. No honest person would say Hamas should not be brought to justice for their crimes, but that is not what is happening. Not even close.

So why can’t so many Christians see the obvious evil that is happening?

Well, as I said I was meditating on this today, and my daily devotions, as sometimes happens, instantly answered this; it is because of a lack of spiritual training and discernment. I am currently reading through Hebrews, and this is part of what I read this morning, for my devotions, in chapter 5,

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

Hebrews 5:12-14

“But solid food belongs to those who are full of age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” In other words, one of the marks of a well-trained Christian spirituality is that we learn, through practice, training, and Scripture to see the difference between good and evil. Again, in other words, Christians brought up on a light diet of Scripture and errant Christianity will not be able to properly discern good and evil. Could you give a better description of the quality of teaching in the modern church? It is remarkable that we have so many people who can see evil, considering the state of modern church doctrine.

I know some people are going to immediately see my comment as arrogant, but I don’t care. When you can’t see the slaughter of tens of thousands of civilians as the sacrifice unto Molech, or the Devil, that it is, then your senses of evil are blinded on the issue. Just men, just leaders, do not unleash hell on civilians over the actions of a relatively small group of criminals, they hunt down the criminals and punish them.

Tradition says that the letter of Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians likely by the Apostle Paul. However, there are traditions that also dispute this, and there is no indication in the book of Hebrews about who wrote it, nor is there a direct mention of who it was written to. But the assumption that it was written to Jewish believers is a good one, because the writer of Hebrews assumes that its readers will have a deep understanding of the Psalms, the Mosaic covenant, the priesthood, the early books of Moses, and much more of the Old Testament. It is perhaps the book of the New Testament which is most visibly steeped in references to the Old Testament, even though other books like Romans and Revelation are equally reliant on Old Testament teachings and imagery when more carefully examined. 

So, there is good reason to believe that this book was written to people who a) should have been mature in the faith, because of their deep understanding of God and his word, and b) should therefore have been teachers, not needing to be rebuked for their error which placed them in danger of “departing from the faith” (Heb. 2:1; 3:12. Etc). So, what had gone wrong with their theology? What had led them into the serious error which the writer of Hebrews seeks to address?

They had misplaced the position of physical Israel in the eyes of God. This comes through very clearly. Because of this, the writer of Hebrews must show that Jesus is superior to the Old Testament prophets (Heb. 1), that Jesus is a more superior agent of God’s covenant than the angels (Heb. 2), that Jesus is superior to Moses (Heb. 3), that Jesus is a better Joshua (Heb. 3-4), that Jesus is a better high priest than Aaron (Hebrews 4-5), that Jesus is the head of a better priesthood than Levi (Heb. 7), that the covenant Jesus established is a better covenant than the Mosaic (Heb. 8), and that Jesus has secured a better temple with a better sacrifice, his once-and-for-all sacrifice (Heb. 9-10).

It is very clear that the writer of Hebrews is addressing people who are being tempted to place the Old Covenant and, by extension physical Israel, into an incorrect place in their faith walk, and this had led them to serious error. In fact, it had led them to such serious error that they could not correctly discern good from evil.

We know that the Judaizers were the original and worst opponents of Christianity at its beginning. This continued for well into the first three centuries of the early church, where they stirred up through their influence many of the Roman persecutions against the Church, with this finding its culmination in the reign of Emperor Julian who even sought to rebuild the temple. But before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, they had a strong case that the Jewish people were the ancient stewards of the words of the God, the Old Testament, the central position of the presence of God in the world, through the temple, and the conveyors of the blessings of God, because their people had survived so many tumults and attacks over the centuries and retained their identity. But the Hebrews’ writer would agree with Paul (in fact it may even have been Paul himself) that in comparison to Jesus, this was all ‘skubala’, or dung, or rubbish,

“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.

2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

Philippians 3:1-11

Paul was very clear that all of his achievements as an ethnic Jew under the Old Covenant, apart from Christ were naught but trash, compared to the revelation of Jesus Christ. Paul made sure people were taught strongly not to put physical Israel and the Old Covenant in the wrong place in their faith walk. Something many errant Christians do today.

It is very telling that we have an entire book of the Bible that warns people that if you misunderstand the place of the Old Covenant, and all that goes with that – which includes the land, the temple, the Mosaic law and more – in our faith walk, this will dampen your ability to discern between good and evil. And we see this at work in how many Christians view the modern conflict in Gaza; as if Israel were God’s team and should be uncritically barracked for and supported. 

Let me be clear here, I am not saying that this explains why so many other Christians cannot see so many other evils. I am not making that case. There are many reasons, and they all stem from people not being diligent enough in their study of the words of Scripture. What I am saying is that this error on physical Israel helps explain at least one of these situations. I know that many people would read my initial question and simply say, “Well they cannot discern evil properly because they are not real Christians.” But I do not believe this to be the case for all of these people, both from observation but also from Scripture. The writer of Hebrews is addressing believers,

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.”

Hebrews 5:12-13

These are not unbelievers, though some of them may prove to be of course. They are believers who are approaching the teachings of the Apostles and the rest of the Scriptures in an immature way. They are not rightly dividing the word of God, and this has caused them to misapply the Old Testament, misunderstand physical Israel’s place in God’s plan, and therefore they are deadened towards what is good and evil in a serious way.

I know many of the Christians who are supporting Israel have condemned other nations in recent years for doing far less. But their misunderstanding of the nature of the identity of God’s people only applying to those who believe in Jesus by faith and having nothing to do with genetics, causes them to overlook the clear evil intent behind the levelling of an entire city, and the devastation of the people in that city. Christians are partnering with Molech in a tragic way, and they cannot even see it. Although, I have noticed that less and less of these people are defending it, as time goes by, which is a good sign that the devastation Israel is causing is making them uncomfortable.

This should be a warning to all of us who claim the name of Christ that we need to be diligent and wary to the encroachment of unbiblical doctrines that rise to prominence in the Church. Any one of us that might consider ourselves mature could become slack in our study of the word, reliance on the guidance of the Spirit of God through his word and other believers, and fall into a place of immaturity. We should not speak to others blindness without being willing to examine our own blind spots. But that does not mean that we should not be concerned about how many believers appear to lack discernment between good and evil. This is deeply concerning and has genuinely negative impacts in our world. Bad theology is supporting a terrible foreign policy that has destroyed countless lives in the Middle East for 80 years or so.  

Many good Christians were hung out to dry during covid because the leaders of the church could not see the clear evil that was happening, or could but were afraid to speak out about it. Many good Christians have been hung out to dry on many issues. But who would have thought that so many believers would not be able to call a mass killing of people in a small, underdeveloped region of the world the evil that it is? Well, the writer of Hebrews, that’s who, because he was informed about the dangers of raising Christians on a bad diet of teaching, “But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

May God shake his church to wake it up from its many slumbers, but especially this current blindness.

Follow more of Matthew Littlefield’s work at revmatthewlittlefield.substack.com

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