Should We Talk About Scandals In the Church?
By CCD contributor: Paul Wu , September 20, 2017 07:09 AM
Church scandals mentioned in some Christian media aroused many believers' attention. Some believe it may leave bad impressions in non-believers and hinder the spiritual growth of Christians and the Gospel, so, how should the issue be handled?
The physical church is made of people with limited abilities, not to mention some fake Christians. Also, even real Christians have weaknesses and will do things that go against doctrine.
It is inevitable that bad things exist in churches. Those who attend church activities regularly sometimes hear about these things. However, many people choose to stay quiet or cover it up and prefer others do the same.
There are three reasons why Christians avoid talking about scandals.
First, a cultural taboo. Instead of pointing out issues, people spare no effort in covering and making excuses when their respected pastors, relatives, and famous people in the church make mistakes.
Second, it may damage the church's reputation if non-believers learn about it. Many Christians regard spreading the Gospel as the most important part of their faith, hoping to bring more people to God. They care so much about how others view the church. They worry if people are going to stumble due to the church's lack of testimony and affect the spread of the Gospel.
Third, some sinning pastors or people with good reputations persecute those who point out problems to cover their crimes and secure their positions.
It is when facing the ugly phenomenon in the church that we can examine the virtues of Christians: honesty, justice, and integrity. Do we have an upright heart? Do we dare to uphold justice and tell the truth?
There are many prophets in the Bible who were full of justice and integrity, such as Nathan, Elijah, Amos, John the Baptist, and more. They stood up, often to the cost of their lives, to the kings, priests, and the rich when they saw their evildoings. They ignored their personal fame, gains and loss. It was because of the condemning words of generations of prophets that the Jews returned and didn't perish in sin.
Similarly, we should stand up if we spot issues in the church. Only in this way can we right the wrongs, perfect the church so that it can develop healthily. Otherwise, it will stay in sin and it will not benefit the church in the long run.
As far as preaching the Gospel is concerned, it won't necessarily cause non-believers to stumble if they learn about issues in the church.
When we preach we wish others to read the Bible. However, the authors of the Bible never tried to hide the sins of great spiritual men: Abraham's weakness, David's sins, and Peter's denying Jesus three times, were all recorded in the Bible. Shouldn't we be afraid that non-believers will see this and won't believe?
As a matter of fact, non-believers are well aware of the things Christians try to hide, because "There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known." (Luke 12:2)
If the church always hides its sins, many believers will sin without realizing it. Eventually it is still a lack of testimony and a stumbling block to non-believers.
Speaking up about the church's scandals may bring temporary loss to the church, but in the long run, it is good for the healthy development of it. As long as we keep pointing out sins, correcting mistakes, and repenting before God we will nurture believers in the church and bear good fruit.
Good testimony comes with wonderful fruit. In this way we can glorify God and benefit people in the world.
In the end, we should be careful not to attack anyone when criticizing the scandals in the church to vent dissatisfaction. It is better that we come up with constructive suggestions to help pastors and believers to overcome issues.
Even though we can't think of good solutions immediately, we should call for others' attention with love to keep watching in the Lord and seek alternatives with the same mind.
-Translated by Grace Hubl
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