Sometime last year somewhere in the last quarter of the year there arose allegations that a famous Christian apologist had committed acts of sexual harassment on some of his former employees. The world at large was in shock, denial and in general, there was a time of anxiety for all who knew him either personally or by the extensive reach of his global ministry efforts.
Earlier this week an investigative firm confirmed that based on the information before them the aforementioned apologist had indeed been guilty of inappropriate sexual conduct. Yet again the Christian world was thrown into a frenzy, with most of the receivers of the news being unsure of what to do with the information laid before them. The aim of this article isn’t to try and work out the fine details of who is right or wrong but to try and draw lessons that will benefit all those who are unsure of what to do with the news that has reached their ears. This is because in my case the Christian apologist in question isn’t the first influential person in my life to stir up controversy by the way he lived his life.
A few years ago, a renowned Christian rapper publicly went on record and denounced Christianity, this no doubt created a lot of hurts and therefore it’s an all too familiar terrain and I hope fellow Christians can have a lesson or two to draw from this article and navigate their way through all the negative emotion and probable animosity they are feeling towards him or the news of his failure.
Below are four lessons that I reflected on as I thought through the news: –
- Jesus is the Author and Perfecter of our faith
Oftentimes in Christian circles, it is easy to be enamoured by the personality of leaders in the spotlight, to the degree that we forget that they are humans like us. This is not to say that we should not appreciate the gifts that Christ works through human vessels but instead, we should not forget that at the core of their being they are susceptible to sin just as we are. And as such we should never put our faith in human vessels but Christ who is the Author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Every believer though distraught by the news should remember the words of the old hymn, “Our hope is built on nothing less……than Jesus blood and righteousness”. Christ is the perfect hero, the author and perfecter of our faith, let’s put our faith in him and nothing or no one else.
- No one is exempt from the reach of sin
Paul states in Romans 7:18 that in our flesh there is nothing good that dwells there. It is therefore imperative that every believer should know that the yielding of oneself to the desires of the flesh will always result in sin. Oftentimes we become oblivious of this truth because we often think to ourselves that the growth in our popularity as ministers of the Word is inversely proportional to our susceptibility to sin. In other words, as we become more and more famous as ‘men of God’ we think sin can’t touch us but Scripture says otherwise. Even at the height of global acclaim, our flesh is still susceptible to sin, therefore let us as believers not think that the specific position of ‘prominence’ that God has given to our leaders or us makes us immune to sin.
- Our ‘heroes’ moral failures are opportunities for self-examination
It is in these times that we as believers should take time and examine our Christian lives. The mere fact that one’s misdeeds have not been laid bare for all to see does not mean that those misdeeds are any less evil. Sin is sin regardless of whether it is made public or remains hidden, but one take away from all this is that we should look at our Christian lives and mortify sin. (2 Corinthians 13:5, Colossians 3:5). We should never look at this as something that ‘happened to him’ but seriously look at our own lives and say ‘if it can happen to him, it can happen to any of us’, therefore let us keep watch and yield to the leading of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16).
- Every believer requires some form of accountability
In a Q&A session at one of the many conferences that Paul Washer often speaks at, he was asked on one of the practical ways he maintains holiness. He said he often carries along with, his son or a Heart cry member of staff because he doesn’t trust himself and for the sake of his testimony and to inhibit himself from acting on sinful desires. It is my strong belief that even though we might not necessarily employ the same methods as Paul Washer however we can draw a principle from his words. Our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9) and often at times, we succumb to sin in many of the instances we thought we had it covered. Let us therefore not be self-deceived and be able to have brothers and sisters we keep in check and who also keep us in check to help prevent us from succumbing to our sinful desires.
In conclusion, as we reflect on the news of this particular moral failure and many others let us not forget that sin is a present reality in every one of us on this side of eternity. David, Solomon, Adam, Peter, the list is endless of people who have been used by God in tremendous ways but all at one point or the other gravely sinned against God and their fellow men. Let us not lose hope, look to Christ and always guard our hearts against giving occasion to sin because we will succumb to a similar fate.
Article by Alan Nyaradzo from Zimbambwe, a second year student at Central Africa Baptist University.