When Christian scandals make news
When a pastor or church makes the news, it is rarely for anything positive. Sin, scandal, and hypocrisy make better headlines. When a pastor falls or a church is exposed, many outside of the church are given yet another opportunity to point at Christians and say, “I told you so. Why would I want anything to do with their religion or their God?”
Meanwhile, countless other Christians must press on while bearing the public ridicule brought upon them by a minority. Society doesn’t consider us because they don’t see us. We aren’t newsworthy.
Christians are fallible. Even the sincerest, most faithful among us will sin. We do not always accurately reflect our God or the true church for that matter. Think of Israel, God’s covenant people, in the days of Elijah. In a moment of great discouragement, Elijah cries out to God, “The people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away” (1Ki 19:10).
Out of millions of people, who were supposed to represent God to the rest of the world, Elijah felt as though he was the only faithful soul left. As it happens, his mind had slightly exaggerated his isolation. God replied, “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal” (Ro 11:4). There was and will always be a remnant, chosen by grace, whom God keeps from blatant wickedness (Ro 11:5).
According to Christ in Matthew 13, we live in a day when good wheat and troublesome weeds grow together, and the distinction between them is not always clear. Even so, there is a distinction. Weeds are not wheat. Unrepentant sinners reflect neither God nor the true church.
My plea with those keeping an arm’s length from Christianity because of what they read in the news is to look closer. A secular media isn’t capable or interested in communicating the beliefs and practices of sincere Christians firmly grounded in the word of God. We don’t sell newspapers or earn clicks. Find the remnant (Ro 11:5). By God’s grace, we haven’t all bowed the knee to Baal (Ro 11:4).
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