Those rotten Christians!
My 8 month old old baby was perfectly fine, and then I put him into the nursery and he came home with the croup. I knew I couldn't trust those Baptist people and their babies..they are a bunch of hypocrites!
Sounds silly, doesn't it? But people often use the same kind of reasoning whenever a Christian leader fails, commits a crime or ... acts like the rest of the broken world around them. Last week a prominent Christian radio personality was accused of a horrendous sexual crime, and the vitriol against his crime was both profuse and perfectly understandable. But the spewing of venom & hatred didn't just focus on this one man's aberrant behavior; people used this as an opportunity to indict all pastors and Christian leaders. Listen to the anger...
"If you're a parent you need your head examined for letting your kids get anywhere near a church or the clergy. Seriously, all religion is like a drug and it will turn you into some kind of depraved animal. I just don't get it at all."
"I grew up in the Christian community. While the regular people who attend church tend to be true believers, almost everyone at the top is a charlatan or a fraud. Christians are continually bilked and used by their leadership."
While I can sympathize with the cry for justice, I strongly disagree that Christian leaders are the worst offenders. I am not asking for people to ignore this man's crime, but to be consistent. Crime, evil and hypocrisy are not just a Christian problem...they are universal human maladies.
Why did the baby catch the croup? The flu virus. It just so happens when you place your child in a large group with other human beings, the odds are that your child will be exposed to a number of cold and flu virus's. This would be true even at an atheist daycare!
In the same way, Christians are humans too. Not supermen, not perfect model's of piety, but broken people in need of saving. Like the flu virus, sin his warped all of humanity. No one is exempt. One of the Homeland Security agents investigating this crime made this comment, "We see violators from pretty much all social-economic statuses and all professions, it’s amazing what we see, so we’re really not too surprised anymore."
The deeper issue I think we need to wrestle with is this: "Sure, we all sin, but shouldn't we hold Christian leaders to a higher standard than other people?"
- YES, absolutely!
- & NO, because you can't hold the whole system guilty for the sin of one depraved individual.
The Christian Bible is clear: a man or woman who wants to be a leader needs to meet a set of certain criteria which are summed up by two words, "Above Reproach." (1 Timothy 3:1-13) The church body has a responsibility to examine leaders and hold them accountable; they are not to be rogue agents, or tyrannical kings.
On the other hand, the Bible also recognizes that people will sin, including leaders and church members. We are to care for, rebuke and restore those who have fallen (Galatians 6:1-5). And those who desire to come back, we must do all we can to bring them back. Not write them off forever. The Bible is honest about human frailty...but it also recognizes the world is watching us closely, so we constantly need to be on guard and vigilant to be a pure people.
What I do find rather odd is how the people quickest to judge the failings of Christians seem to be atheists and agnostics. Aren't they the ones who hate morality being imposed on the rest of us? And even more ironic, is that they judge us by using our standards to do the judging. Why do they even care?
Sure, they want to shut the judgmental loud mouthed Christians up - - but even more than that they "secretly" are showing that they live by moral codes too. Deep down in their soul they know what is right and what is hideously wrong. So when they voice their anger and demand for justice, they don't even seem to realize they are hurting their own cause.
If they wanted to be totally consistent, they should be O.K. with the strong exploiting the weak. But even a good atheist wants to destroy evil too...while at the same time they adamantly deny evil even exists. Even an atheist hates it when their baby has the croup. As Sting once sang, "I know the Russians love their children too!"
Maybe, instead of wondering why a man committed a hideous crime; we should all join together to prevent sin and human fallenness from destroying our very own home and church. Pray for our leaders, and pray for the victims. Also...pray for this broken and depraved man.
And one last word: if you are an atheist, the next time you hear about a Christian falling be careful how you react, you may be giving yourself away! You really don't want the world to know that you have a moral heart too!