Recently the conservative Christian world has been abuzz with reports of moral failings at top leadership levels. I’m not here to comment on the degree of truthfulness I attribute to these reports. Suffice it so say that I’ve heard enough to make me say “ouch.”
Now what? What do we do with this? What can we take away from it? Well, for starters, let’s retreat back to what we know for sure. The Bible is true. And, wicked men sometimes preach truth from the Bible, (as noted by the apostle Paul).
Guess what? The Bible is still true.
The truth that these men brought out is still the truth. Truth does not stand or fall on the personal failings of its actual or professed adherents. It stands or falls on God’s holy word. May I humbly put it to you that If you are relying on a man to tell you what to believe you are going to the wrong place? We have God’s written word and we must use it for ourselves. Of course Biblical teaching can be a wonderful thing, but we ought to be checking what we hear against what we read no matter how lowly and un-knowledgeable we are. Is this arrogance? Well, the apostle Paul actually commended the Church at Beria for fact checking his teachings against God’s word. Shouldn’t we do the same?
This brings me to what I feel is the most tragic part of these developments. I see so many people discarding Biblical truth because somebody who did something bad taught it to them. It is as if the only reason they ever believed it was because a man once told them it was true. Friends, the Bible didn’t change because some man turned out to be a disappointment. What was true then is still true now, and no less binding on us.
The chief example of this sort of thinking is the view that the Biblical doctrine of patriarchy somehow sets men up for moral failings. Oh, how opponents of the Bible’s teachings on male leadership are having a heyday with that sulfur-scented lie. The devil would love nothing more than to have us reject the truth because he can bring down one of its proponents.
So why do things like this happen? Maybe because we were never meant to place so much upon one man. To idolize, to set on high, and to outsource our thinking to one man is just as harmful to him as it is to us. But since he is only one man, the biggest part of the tragedy, when he succumbs to pride and lust, is the damage that it does to those who held him in high esteem. This is true not only because of the direct effects of disappointment, but because it provides opportunity for Biblical truth to be maligned by those who never wanted to obey it in the first place.
The kingdom of God is not advanced by “great” men. The kingdom of God is advanced by the humble foot soldier who preforms his or her God-given duties day-in and day-out. You won’t notice these people automatically – they don’t stick out. They aren’t flashy and they don’t seek leadership for its own sake. They may never have jobs that the world considers significant and they probably won’t receive the kind of admiration that the “great” people do. They don’t mind. That wasn’t what they were working for anyway. If the church was God’s sports team, it wouldn’t be carried on the shoulders of a few superstars who scored all the points. It would be made up of a bunch of no-names who played their hearts out and gave it everything they had no matter what position the coach placed them in. If one of them went down another would step up to take his place without missing a beat. This is the kind of player who consistently wins games – not the divas – not the superstars. This is the kind of Christian we should all aspire to be.
This, then, is what we should take away from the issue no matter what conclusion we come to about what a given Christian leader did or didn’t do. God help us to be faithful no-names.