Tuesday, June 29, 2021

History Repeats

Another problem that stands out in the books of Kings is that history repeats. When political leaders do evil that is not repented of, the same sins will pop up again in later generations.

The best example is the sins of Jeroboam. He was one of Solomon’s officials who was put in charge of the forced labour of one of the largest tribes. When Solomon’s son Rehoboam chose to be a harsher leader than his father, Jeroboam led a rebellion against him. Rehoboam was left controlling Judah and Benjamin. Jeroboam became the leader of the ten tribes of the northern Kingdom of Israel. Unfortunately, Jeroboam chose to do evil and worship idols. He set up golden calves and offered sacrifices to them.

Although he was challenged by prophets from God, Jeroboam persisted with evil.

Even after this, Jeroboam did not change his evil ways… This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall and to its destruction from the face of the earth (1 Kings 13:34-35).
Jeroboam became the benchmark of evil kings in Israel. His son Nadab followed in his ways.
He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the ways of his father and committing the same sin his father had caused Israel to commit (1 Kings 15:26).
The son followed the pattern of behaviour of his father.

Nadab was overthrown by Baasha, but he continued down the same path.

He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit (1 Kings 15:34).
A prophet came and challenged Baasha, but he refused to listen.
Moreover, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Jehu son of Hanani to Baasha and his house, because of all the evil he had done in the eyes of the LORD... becoming like the house of Jeroboam—and also because he destroyed it (1 Kings 16:7).
This refusal to heed the warning of the prophet began a sequence of kings of Israel, who each fell into the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat.
Zimri (1 Kings 16:19).
Omri (1 Kings 16:25).
Ahab (1 Kings 16:31).
Ahaziah (1 Kings 22:53).
Jehu (2 Kings 10:29).
Jehoahaz (2 Kings 13:2).
Jehoash (2 Kings 13:11).
Jeroboam II (2 Kings 14:24).
Zechariah (2 Kings 15:9).
Menahem (2 Kings 15:17).
Pekahiah (2 Kings 15:24).
Pekah (2 Kings 15:28).
Hoshea (2 Kings 17:2).
During Hoshea’s reign, the Assyrians invaded and destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel.

Each of these kings copied their father’s behaviour, but we need to understand that the author of Kings had a two-agent understanding of the operation of the universe. The did not understand the way that the spiritual powers of evil operate. When a king falls into sin, he gives an evil spirit control in his life. The king has authority over his sons, so the same spirit continues to exercise control over the king’s successor. After a couple of generations, the spiritual power (government-spirit) has established a stronghold over the kingdom. If the people support the king who has sinned, as happened in Israel, the stronghold is strengthened.

Each of these kings in the list above walked in the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat. This is another way of saying that each of these kings was controlled by the evil government-spirit that got established in the nation when Jeroboam was king. The control of this evil spirit eventually caused the destruction of the nation.

I read a comment on social media that people are not responsible for things that happened before they are born. That is true. But things that happened before they were born can have a huge impact on their lives without their being aware of it.

If I live in a nation where the political leaders who led it have slipped into sin, they will quite likely have given an evil government-spirit control over the nation. If subsequent leaders have not repented of that sin (changed their thinking and condemned the actions of their predecessors) they will most likely have continued walking in the sin. This will have allowed the evil government-spirit to establish a stronghold in the nation. If the people continue to support their leaders that stronghold will be strengthened.

God have us the book of Kings so that we would understand this truth. It is why a regular reassessment of a nation’s history is important. If the people and their leaders don’t acknowledge the sins of the founders and previous leaders of their nation and break the stronghold by repenting, the government-spirits that they allowed in will continue to influence the nation. When people get angry about those who are examining their nations history and pretend that everything was fine, they are strengthening the position of the government-spirits that control their nation.

In New Zealand, successive governments broke the Treaty of Waitangi, which was established by agreement between Maori and the crown in 1840. In the last few decades, governments have acknowledged these failings and apologised. This has broken one part of the power of the government-spirits that were allowed in by their predecessors’ actions.

Failure to acknowledge and reject (repent) the sins of previous governments expose a nation to evil government-spirts and eventually leads to destruction of the nation. The founders of the United States gave the spirits of power, violence, war and deception a place in their nation. Succeeding leaders have allowed these government-spirits to establish a stronghold. The people have strengthened these spirits by honouring these leaders and deliberately ignoring their sins or saying that they do not matter. But they do.

If the people refuse to examine their history and pretend it was always good, the stronghold of these evil government-spirits will be strengthened, and they will eventually destroy the nation they control because they love evil more than they love their nation.

Monday, June 28, 2021

History and Truth

Christians in several western nations, and particularly the United States are getting really agitated about attempts to reassess the history of their nation. Teaching history to high school students is becoming a really divisive issue.

I have been reading through 1 and 2 Kings. One thing that stands out is that God has a different standard for history to many of his people. The biblical account of the history of Israel tells the story of the chosen nation warts and all. Almost all of the kings failed to meet God’s standards. Some did terrible things. Most of the history of the nation that Yahweh had rescued from slavery and established in a new land was blemished by the people forgetting him and chasing after idols that could do nothing for them.

David is Israel’s greatest king, but he committed murder and adultery and regularly disobeyed God. Yet he is portrayed as a type of Jesus. Abraham is another example. He was the father of his nation, yet he regularly failed to trust God. He corrupted his inheritance by having a dalliance with a slave girl and then casting her aside. He frequently lied to important people. Yet God covenanted with him to be the father of his nation. God promised that he would bless the entire world through this man who was a serial liar.

I can only conclude that God prefers the truth when recording the history of a nation.

Christians do not need to be afraid of the truth when assessing the history of their nation. We don’t need to pretend that bad things did not happen. Any blessing that we received was due to the grace of God, not our goodness. So bad things in our history don’t matter.

If the people of a nation want God's blessing, they will need to be honest about their past. Pretending it was better than it was fool's no one, least of all God. The only valid response to an ugly past is repentance, ie a dramatic change of thinking about it.

The United States has been a force for good at times, but its political leaders and have passed some terrible laws and its military forces have done some ugly stuff at times. Pretending this is not true is arrogance. Hiding the truth from your children is teaching them to believe a lie. That is no basis for life.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Fear of Man

An aside from Bill Johnson.

Fear masquerades as wisdom. Fear will always attract whatever information is needed to legitimise its existence. Fear reinforces itself.
The fear of man starts out as a tender heart that has compassion and care for other people, but the enemy works to manipulate it, so that we are governed by the gift, instead of governing the gift for kingdom purposes. It turns our place of perception from compassion and concern for the condition of people around us to a place where we become imprisoned by the opinions of people around us.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Making of Biblical Womanhood

A few weeks ago, I read the book called The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women became Gospel Truth by Beth Allison Barr. This is a very important book that Christians everywhere need to absorb.

Beth is a professor of mediaeval history. She looks at how the church’s attitude to the role of woman has changed through history. Her main point is that woman have always been subordinated to men, but the church’s theological rationalisation of this has changed significantly throughout its history.

The teaching that men should lead and women should submit as articulated by the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is a very recent development, and it is shaped more by cultural and economic changes than by the unchanging truths of scriptures. Throughout the medieval period, and as recently as the 1960s, women preaching was accepted and supported by conservative churches.

Here are a few quotes from the book to whet your appetite.

Patriarchy looks right because it the historical practice of the world (p.24).
Patriarchy wasn’t what God wanted; patriarchy was a result of human sin. Patriarchy is created by people, not ordained by God. (p.29). Above all else, we must search the attitudes of Christ Jesus himself toward women (p.36).
Patriarchy exists in the Bible because the Bible was written in a patriarchal world. Historically speaking, there is nothing surprising about biblical stories and passages riddled with patriarchal attitudes and actions. What is surprising is how many biblical passages and stories undermine, rather than support patriarchy (p.36).
Christian household codes address all the people in the house church—men, women, children, and slaves. Everyone is included in the conversation… This is the key to the Christian subversion of Roman patriarchy. Because the Christian household codes are directed to all members of the Roman household, instead of presuming the guardianship of the male head, they contain within them the overturning of accepted positions accorded to men, women, slaves, and children, and the expectations placed upon them. Instead of endowing authority to a man who speaks and acts for those within his households, the Christian household codes offer each member of the shared community—knit together by their faith in Christ—the right to hear and act for themselves. This is radically different from the Roman patriarchal structure. The Christian structure of the house church resists the patriarchal world of the Roman Empire (p,49).
In Colossians 3, Paul opens his discussion of the household with a call to wives first—not to the man presumably in charge. Instead of grounding the instruction to the wife in her husband’s authority, power, leadership or status in a hierarchy, the ground is radically otherwise: it is grounded in the Lord’s way of life (p.49).
Likewise, Ephesians 5 can be read as a resistance narrative to Roman patriarchy… Ephesians 5 underscores the equality of women—they are called to submit in verse 22, just like their husbands are called to submit in verse 21 (p50).
Gender hierarchy had more to do with politics and economics than with divine order (p105).
Why didn’t Protestant sanction women to teach and preach, even though it had declared the priesthood of all believers... Reformation theology might have removed the priest, but it replaced him with the husband (p.116).
Historically, women have flourished as leaders, teacher and preachers—even in the evangelical world (p.178).
When the China Inland Mission called for two hundred volunteers in 1929, 70 percent of those who left the following year were women, and all but four were single. But the home offices that sent them were run predominantly by met, and when the woken came home, they were reminded quickly of their place—beneath male authority (p.114).
Evidence shows me how Christian patriarchy was built, stone by stone, throughout centuries. Evidence shows me how, century after century, arguments for women’s subordination reflect historical circumstance more than the face of God (p.205).
We can no longer deny a link between complementarianism and abuse (p.206).
Hierarchy gives birth to patriarchy, and patriarchy gives birth to the abuse of both sex and power... The historical reality is that social systems that invest some people with power over the lives of other people result in the destruction of people (p.207).

Wednesday, June 23, 2021


Kristin Kobes Du Mez on Braveheart.

More significant than any individual act, however, the legacy of Braveheart can be glimpsed in a generation of evangelicals who have chosen fear over hope and militancy over kindness, and who have transformed the Jesus of the Gospels into a ruthless warrior king who leads them into the battles of their own choosing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Jesus and John Wayne

Last month, I read Jesus and John Wayne by Kristin Kobes Du Mez. Kristin has written the most insightful and courageous book that I have read for some time. She explains how the evangelical church in America embraced militant masculinity, sanctified aggression and patriarchy in support of Christian nationalism and militaristic imperialism (read the book for a more detailed explanation).

Dozens of male cultural historians would have the knowledge and skills needed to write this book, but it seems that none had the insight or the courage to do it. The fact that it was written by a woman puts to bed the myth of Christian patriarchy that men lead and women follow. Some of American Christian culture spilled over here in New Zealand on the other side of the world, but I did not realise how deeply these ideas had penetrated, but the book explains a lot of what I have observed of American behaviour.

Having only visited the United States briefly on two different occasions, I have not really come to grips with its Christian culture, but I have always been puzzled by the political anger and love of military power displayed by some of the American Christians I encountered on social media. I have been baffled by the Christian support of Christians for unchristian politicians like Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. After reading, Jesus and John Wayne, this all makes sense.

Who Americans choose for their leaders is their business, but what they do in the world affects us all, so I have always been troubled by American militarism. There seems to be a strong belief that problems all over the world can be solved by sending in the marines to establish American democracy (I was surprised reading Du Mez's book by how deeply complicit Billy Graham was in supporting this ideology). I have watched with concern one disaster after another.

  • A foolish invasion of Vietnam because the people wanted to throw off French colonial power following World War 3.

  • The cruel bombing of Cambodia and Laos that destabilised these nations for reasons that no one can remember.

  • A twenty-year war against Aghanistan that killed many thousands of people and destroyed their land to punish them for the US military's failure to defend and protect New York.

  • Numerous atrocities committed by security agencies in support of central american dictators.

  • An invasion of Iraq that wrecked a reasonably prosperous nation and destabilised the entire region by undermining the balance of power.

  • Overseeing the destruction of Libya, a nation that had the best healthcare and education system in Africa.

  • Stirring up Islamic militants in Syria and helping them to start a civil war in a vain attempt to topple a democratically elected secular president that the US did not like.

  • Providing military and logistic support for the Saudis to bomb and destroy Yemen, the poorest country in the world.

Each of these reckless invasions ended in disaster, but no political leaders took responsibility for the consequences of their decisions. Instead, they blamed their victims for rejecting the opportunity offered by the invading military forces.

What is most alarming about these bouts of militaristic nationalism is the vociferous support for these adventures came from the Christian community. And their silence about the atrocities committed is really distressing. Jesus and John Wayne explains why this response was inevitable.

The churches that adopted a culture of patriarchy and militant masculinity turned a blind eye to sexual immorality and family violence. These problems are now being bought into the light and the church is divided about how it will respond. Unfortunately, the other side of the coin, faith in military power and American exceptionalism continues unchecked. Militant nationalism is as strong as it ever was. This is scary for the future of the world.

The United States culture seems to be being torn apart and the only thing that seems to be able to unite it is another military adventure against a perceived external evil enemy. I fear that future leaders will deal with their nation’s serious, social, cultural and political divisions by doing what they have always done. I fear that a culture that has nothing left to offer to the world will impose it on it with military force.

If the thesis of Jesus and John Wayne is correct, the remains of the evangelical church will be cheerleaders for unleashing their nation’s enormous military power against the next imaginary enemy that they don’t understand.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Being Born Again (2)

  • Paul used a slightly different expression when describing what happens when a person chooses to follow Jesus. He said that we died with Jesus and rose again with him to new life.

    All of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his... Now, if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him (Rom 6:3-8).
    This passage is a fuller description of the process of becoming a follower of Jesus than the phrase “born again”. When we are united with Jesus by committing to follow him and trusting in his death and resurrection, we are raised with him to a new life. But that is the second step in the process. In the first step, we are united with him in his death. When we die with Jesus, we are dying to our old life controlled by sin and self. We cannot gain the new life, without dying to our old life first.

    Baptism is a good way of describing this two-pronged process. We go under the water, symbolising our death to our old life. We come out of the water, and the Holy Spirit comes down on us as an expression of the new life we have in Jesus.

  • Paul understood the current and future aspects of the new birth. He explained that those who trust Jesus died and rose with him. He also stressed that we must continue to put off the old life and put on the new life as we grow in Jesus and serve him in the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature… since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (Col 3:5,10).
    We must keep on putting to death our sinful nature and continue to put on the life of Jesus as we grow in faith and obedience.

  • The “new” birth is a work of the Holy Spirit. We cannot see him see him working because he is invisible to human eyes. Some people may have a deeply spiritual experience, but others might not. So if a person says that they are born again, we have no way of validating if it is true. This means that using “born again” as the criteria for distinguishing true Christians from people who are not true Christians does not make sense. A criterion is only useful for discerning between people if it can be observed.

  • Jesus had a different way of distinguishing those who are truly his followers. He said,

    A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:34-35).
    The best way to identify the true followers of Jesus is to look for those who are loving each other as Jesus loved us. His followers will be implementing his new commandment to love one another. The benefit of this criterion is that it is easy to observe. If people are loving each other in a sacrificial way, it will be obvious. Even people of the world will be able to discern who is real and who is not. A modern problem is that many people who claim to be born again are not very good at loving one another. Unfortunately, the world has realized that and is ignoring Jesus because of it.

  • Nor should we describe what kind of Christian we are using a criterion that is invisible.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Being Born Again (1)

When a pharisee called Nicodemus came to Jesus with questions about the Kingdom of God, he told him that he needed to be “born again of the Spirit”. The church has taken the expression “born again” and built a theology around it. Being born again has become the standard by which Christians are judged. True Christians have been “born again”, but those who have not been “born again” are not true Christians. There are several problems with this situation.

  • Jesus only used the expression “born again” expression once. It was not used by the apostles when preaching in the book of Acts. Paul did not use the expression in any of his letters to the churches. Building a doctrine of Christian initiation on the basis of an image that is used only once in the New Testament is risky and unwise.

  • Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish ruling council. Jesus was explaining to him that his career as a Jewish religious leader was a waste of time. He would need to begin again and serve God with the help of the Holy Spirit. This was something that was beyond Nicodemos’s power on his own.

  • People cannot choose to be born again. They cannot make themselves “born again”. This is something that Holy Spirit must do. Rather than just focusing on his role in delivering salvation, we must also take account of what we need to do to open the way for the Holy Spirit to do his work.

  • In his preaching, Jesus used various other expressions to describe the first step of dying to sin and self.

    Change your thinking and trust the gospel (Mark 1:15).
    Come follow me (Mark 1:16).
    Take up your cross and follow me (Luke 14:27).
    Any of you who does not give up everything you have cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:33).
    You cannot serve God and unrighteous wealth (Luke 16:13).
    Sell your unrighteous wealth and give it to the poor (Luke 18:22).
    If these expressions are not part of our preaching of the gospel too, then our hearers will only get the wrong half of the stick.

  • Nicodemus discovered the full cost of loyalty to Jesus. When he defended Jesus before the pharisees and chief priests by demanding a fair hearing for Jesus before they condemned him, he was mocked and insulted by them (John 7:45-52). When Jesus had died on the cross, Nicodemus helped bury him in the garden tomb. Asking for the body of a man killed as a rebel identified him as a rebel against Rome, so any political privilege he had would be gone. Nicodemus had to give up his position as a Jewish leader and as a Roman collaborator to follow Jesus and be born again. He had to die to his old life, before he could be born into the new Kingdom.

  • The phrase “born again” misses out part of the process. It explains the new life we have in Jesus, but it does not explain that we need to die to our life with Jesus before we can enter into the new life. I wonder how many Christians believe that they have been “born again” because they prayed a prayer, but have never died to their old life, because they did not realise that was part of the process.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Sin (10) Repentance

Many Christians believe that calling for repentance is mandatory for preaching the gospel. They assume that they need to expose their listeners’ sins and get them to feel deep remorse. Getting people to feel sorry for their sinfulness is often the first phase of preaching the gospel. However, this is often misdirected effort. Rather than following a set formula, Christians sharing the gospel should follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and say the things that he wants to be said, and that will vary according to the situation of their listeners.

Preachers often assume that it is their role to convict their listeners of sin, but that is not right. This is the role of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised,

He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness (John 16:8).
The Holy Spirit does this in his own time. He will sometimes do it before a person gives their life to Jesus, but it will be much easier to do after they have chosen to follow Jesus because he will have greater freedom to speak to them personally. The Holy Spirit will go on convicting us of sin throughout our lives, so this task does not have to be completed before a person comes to faith.

Repentance is important, but not in the way that we usually assume. The Greek word translated as repentance is metanoia. It means to “change your mind” or “change the way you think”. Feeling sorry for your sins might be part of that, but it is only a small part and not the core meaning of the word. Repentance requires a much broader and much deeper change of mind. It requires a change of thinking about God, a different understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. Both should be worked out in a change in our behaviour.

The true sign of repentance is not remorse and tears, but a change in behaviour.

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance (Luke 3:8).
Repentance produces good fruit. When his listeners asked him what they should do, John gave them practical examples: generosity, no stealing, no manipulation or intimidation, no false accusations (Luke 3:10-14). Repentance requires a serious change in thinking that leads to a real change of behaviour. Being sorry for your sins is not the fruit of repentance; a change of lifestyle is.

This full series is at Sin.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Sin (9) Accused Woman

Some Christians quote John’s account of the woman accused of adultery. This story is often referred to as the Woman taken in Adultery. But there is no evidence that the woman was guilty of adultery. It should be more correctly be called the Woman Accused of Adultery.

Jesus talked to the woman with love and respect, but it is not clear that he hated her sin. He specifically said that he was not condemning her.

I do not condemn you, either (John 8:11a).
This is a very strong statement, so we must be careful that we don’t condemn her with our interpretation of the biblical text. Most commentaries on the passage assume that she was a sinner, so in effect, they do condemn her. (I explain what Jesus wrote on the ground in Dust.)

Jesus did not say, “Go and sin no more”, as is translated in most English bibles. He actually said something more complicated.

Go, and from now on, no longer be sinning (John 8:11).
This is quite a hesitant statement compared to the first half of the verse. It does not indicate a clear judgment of her behaviour.

Jesus’ statement tells her what she must do “from now on”. His only comment about the past was that he did not condemn her. He did not say that God hates her sin. He just says that she should be no longer be sinning. His instruction was directed towards the future. Clearly, she needed to make some changes in her life. She needs to stop failing and missing the mark. He was not dumping all the baggage carried by our word sin onto her (including the shame and sin).

Jesus did not say what sin she should avoid. If we assume that it was sexual sin, we are reading into Jesus’ comment. I suspect that he was really saying something like.

Go and get some clothes on before you get accused of something else.
I presume that his comment was quite general.
Go and get your life sorted out, so you don’t get into a pickle like this again.
Much significant information is missing from John’s account If the incident. We don't know if what the accusers said was true. If we accept their claims as true, we have already condemned the woman; something that Jesus does not do.

John does not explain the situation the woman was in. We don’t know if she was married or single. We don’t know if she was a prostitute paid by the male adulterer, or if she was a vulnerable woman seduced or by him, but this information would make a big difference to our judgment.

The woman’s accusers declared that she had been caught in adultery. However, the word translated caught (katalambano) can also mean “seized”. This could describe her being caught, but another possibility is that the male adulterer had seized her and forced her into a compromised situation. (The accusers might have just grabbed her off the street to trap Jesus). If we assume that we know what type of women she was, we have probably condemned her, something Jesus was unwilling to do.

The accusers say nothing about the man who was caught with the woman. If they had caught the woman in the act, he must have been caught in the act too. However, he was not there, so we can presume that he scarpered to avoid embarrassment and shame. Because they were trying to trap Jesus, it is possible the men who had come across them had deliberately allowed him to escape.

We can assume that the man was married, so he was the one who should have been judged. The fact that he had disappeared tells us something about what kind of man he was. He escaped to preserve his reputation while leaving the woman to face the music. Given the uncertainty about who was most guilty in this situation, there is no basis for concluding that Jesus hated the woman sin. I presume he was more upset about the man who committed adultery and disappeared to avoid shame.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Sin (8) Cannot look at Sin

Another common belief amongst Christians is that God cannot have anything to do with human sin. Some suggest that he is so holy that he cannot even look upon sin. The verse quoted to support this view is Habakkuk 1:13.

Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.
Several things should be noted about this verse. Firstly, the reference is to evil, not sin. God’s attitude to those who deliberately do evil is different to his attitude to those who drift into sin and fail to do good. These actions are quite different. Secondly, the word translated “look on” should not be taken too literally. In this context, it has more of a sense that “God cannot look on evil with pleasure”. Thirdly, following the common practice in Hebrew poetry, the second line of the verse repeats the theme of the first line. The second line of the verse is clear that God cannot tolerate wrongdoing amongst his people. That is quite different from the belief that he cannot look upon sin at all.

According to the scriptures, God quite happily deals with sinful people all the time. He came into the Garden of Eden and spoke to Adam and Eve after they had disobeyed by following the suggestion of the serpent. He kept on working with Abraham, David and the people of Israel despite their frequent failure and disobedience. Holy Spirit comes and lives in people who are far from perfect.

God does not like our sin, but we should be careful not to overstate his problems with it. The reality is that his love for us far outweighs the ugliness of our failings. God is keener to forgive us than we are to ask for forgiveness. It is the spiritual powers of evil who like to judge and condemn people who have sinned and load them with guilt and shame.