Is church scandal on the rise? I cannot help but feel there is a notable increase. That’s my opinion. I have not done the research to verify the evidence. To be honest I do not want to. Social media and shifts in values and attitudes has strongly influenced this increase. The smallest thing that happens is immediately been brought to the surface. Light is being shown on hidden issues.
The Lord’s approach as not changed. The Lord Jesus is so patient and gracious that He allows time for repentance. Warnings will come. First there will be the conviction of the Holy Spirit. If he is ignore, the Lord will send someone to warn. A Nathan, the Prophet, will come. He may not speak like a King James Bible prophet. “Yeah! For thus saith the Lord of Hosts thou art snared by thine own desires….”. No. He will not. His Spirit will arouse someone to bring gentle correction. Where there is pride He may send a lowly church member to speak privately. The message may come from an unknown prophet. God may send him or her to speak the counsel of God in love. When that is ignored or there is an attempt to cover-up the deed, God will expose it. Only if there is true repentance will the Lord allow the perpetrator to continue ministering.
We are in a period where God is cleaning house. He is removing the money-changers from the church. The gospel of Mammon is being purged from among us. The shameless glorification of flesh is being put outside the doors. Some leaders will be taken home very early. Others may see splits in there ministry. Some will face exposure.
In all this we must not join with naysayers or those who speak ill of the church. We must pray for the leaders. Pray so they may be healed. Even the ones who made a calculated decision to deceive from the beginning should be prayed for.
There are times I have received insight into God’s next move for the church, the nation, a group of people or an individual. That makes me responsible to pray for them. Praying for them is my first duty. The compassion of Christ must move me to pray for their redemption and/or restoration.
At all times, I must remember that had it not been for the love of God I would still be lost. I would still be dying in my sin. But God! (Do I have a witness! Now that deserves a shout. Right there!) Had He not sought me out I wouldn’t have received of His mercy. Guilt, shame and condemnation would have worn me down.
Cover the Fallen
In the midst of the scandals that are to come we must cover our church father’s. We must be like Shem and Japheth. Genesis 9 says when Noah became drunk and naked they covered him. They never looked at him. They walked backward. That means they ignored their gut reaction and made a deliberate choice to show honor in the midst of their father’s folly. His young son Ham saw his dad and quickly exposed him. When Noah was sober and discovered what happened he blessed the ones that covered him and cursed the generations of the son that exposed him.
What may we learn from this story? We must exercise caution with how we expose the sins of our fathers and mothers in the faith. The world is quick to heap ridicule and scorn on them. We must behave differently. We are to pray for them. We are to be gently and kind. We must never throw them under the bus to guard our reputation. We must show the same measure of mercy we expect for ourself.
Two days ago I heard about the death of a prominent prophet. As several bad things begun to surface about Him the Lord begun speaking to me about honor and submission.
He was not pleased with what was done. He didn’t like how his past sins were being exposed. Dishonor was being brought to the name.
This is what God said to me.
“I will not honor you as you have not honored your Fathers.”
He then said He will not allow some leaders and saints to experience the spiritual awakening that is occurring. Why? They failed to honor the fathers. Those that laid the foundations for what we will inherit. Some fell. Some did not finish strong. Some experienced an untimely departure. Some ran very well. There are very few without controversy. Some of the errors God allowed to keep them humble. When they looked back they could not lift their head too high. Like Bathsheba they walked with their head bowed a little lower than others. Highly favored by the King but there was something that kept her from lifting her head too high. The stain of the past was ever present.
God wants us to be like David. When Saul attempted to kill him and tarnished his reputation, he didn’t speak badly of him. David waited patiently for the justice of the Lord. In the end he was triumphant. God gave him great honor before the people. His Kingdom was far greater than that of His enemies. God gave Him peace.
Just recently I was listening to a humorous recount of an incident with Prophet Bob Jones. He was an extremely gifted Prophet. One blessed with acute spiritual foresight, hindsight and insight. From the stories I heard he was a very simple and humble person. Many were blessed by him. I found myself wondering about his honor. He left great legacy. Will we simply laugh at the jokes and forget him the next moment or will we use his life as a barometer, a template, for walking upright before God? He established a bar that we must seek to attain and surpass. Yet we cannot trample upon his legacy. Bob must be honored.
We must seek out the knowledge (good and bad) of these fathers. Honor them for their humanity. Honor them for their service in Christ’s vineyard.