As scandalous news gripped the nation, every media outlet lit up with commentary and many with disbelief. The pit of my stomach seemed to churn and intensify as each story unveiled an even greater depth of depravity than the one prior. America’s largest Protestant and second-largest denomination, The Southern Baptist Convention, was embroiled in scandal. And to make matters even worse, as if that could even be possible, the focus was on sexual abuse cases, many of whose victims were children. Who were these people? And how did this happen? How did it go undetected? Who was responsible? Without a doubt, this came as a shock to Christians as well as to the entire world.
The Southern Baptist Convention, with approximately fifteen million members, had always been known for its conservative mindset. They were a powerful tool in organizing rightwing views and values. Great men of the faith stood strong on God’s Word as they proclaimed the Gospel. And yet now not only were they the focal point of scandal, but also the focus of a great cover-up.
Lack of accountability and ownership of our actions in today’s world seems to have created the mindset that “anything goes.” However, God’s Word holds us to a higher standard and level of accountability that cannot be denied or ignored.
And be sure your sin will find you out.” Numbers 32:23 (New King James Version)
Regardless of how diligently we try to cover our sins, God’s Word teaches us that our sin will find us out. It will be exposed. In a world void of spiritual discernment and focused on everything anti-God, how do we keep our minds pure and clean? By hiding God’s Word in our hearts.
That’s a promise from God. We do our part by first submitting to Him and turning away from sin. That is a conscious, deliberate matter of choice. And after doing our due diligence to submit to righteousness, God’s promise is that the devil will flee.
Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” Psalms 119:11 (NKJV)
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NKJV)
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” I John 1:9 (NKJV)
Thankfully, God is faithful to forgive us when we ask with a sincere heart of repentance.
What a great reminder of God’s unfailing mercy and grace. Living the Christian life can be hard. For each of us, there is always the pull between right and wrong, good and evil. Satan likes to come along and trip us up and cause us to stumble. He delights in pointing out our failures and saying to God, “Look what your child just did—and he claims to be one of yours!” God is quick to say that we have been forgiven. We are redeemed. The price for our sins has been paid.
As humans, we will stumble and eventually fall because we still have a sinful nature. God knows He made us from the dust of the ground. A close walk with Him and hiding His word in our hearts, will keep us from sin. None of us are perfect. We are forgiven. However, that does not give us a license to sin. It is a daily commitment to walk out our Christian faith with humility and a pure heart. That is only our reasonable service. Knowing Jesus as our Savior changes our desires, actions, and choices because of the magnitude of Who He is.
“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.” Psalms 119:9 (NKJV)
The heinous sexual crimes committed by those in authority or those sitting in the pew, will not go unpunished. Although God is merciful, He is also a God of wrath. The reports of abuse from the victims were not just ignored but were also hidden. Covered up. For decades! Surely, no one thought God turns a blind eye.
The victims came forward for help and hope, looking for healing, and yet they were turned away and silenced. Were those involved protecting themselves from financial ruin? From full disclosure? From embarrassment? Were they afraid of losing their churches? Their positions of authority? Their reputations? Molesters continued in Ministry while the lives of countless individuals were destroyed emotionally and physically. That very thought is sickening.
That’s serious. God says it would be better if you drowned. Without question, we are living in the last days.
But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6 (NKJV)
“He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 (NKJV)
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” I Timothy 3:1-6 (NKJV)
These verses depict the current climate of the church. Men who are lovers of their own pleasures, with only a form of godliness. What a sad depiction of the church that Jesus died for. The church is you. The church is me. Undoubtedly, this scandal was a “black eye” for Christianity.
As the future of America and our culture and church decline, may we all come to repentance and ask God for strength to stand. The world is watching. Heaven is waiting. We have an obligation to lift up the Name of Jesus for the cause of Christ. People are looking for leaders, for those with moral fiber without compromise. Don’t be a counterfeit Christian. Be a true Christian in words and actions.
This is From My Heart~
Other articles regarding problems in the church:
Addicted to Porn? So is Half the Church;
and The Silence of Suicide in the Church.
Bonnie Lovelace is a contributing writer for The Hallelujah House. She resides in the Tidewater area of Virginia with her husband Hub. She has two adult children and has a passion for sharing the truth of God’s Word and discipling women. You can read more about Bonnie or contact her directly here.