My take on the “Evangelical Incident”

Ist2_598907_my_two_centsOk, everybody is throwing in their two cents worth. I thought I would do the same. There are some very perceptive and pastoral comments on the blogsphere. Scot McKnight’s comments are helpful…so are Mark Driscoll’s. I put some comments on “The Jesus Creed” site for reflection with everyone…here they are:

Good words Scot…unfortunately, I think we have to take steps further into this “issue”. I believe it is time to find ways to live life in faith communities where leaders can struggle with transformation without threat of losing their jobs. We have to remember that for many “leaders”, the ministry is their profession. I don’t know of one professional who hasn’t had to wrestle with the “shadows” of their life in the context of their work. We (Christianity) assume that pastors/leaders will have their “act” together when they do ministry. Wrong assumption. All that assumption does is take the issues in the life and push them deeper into the “shadow”. I love one book in this regard, The Paradox of Success by John ONeil. It is pretty explicit about the deadliness of living with “shadows”. We have to find ways to get people and institutions to NOT expect pastoral leadership to be the modern incarnation of the perfect Son of God. BEcause we have titles like “reverend” and “God’s Servant” and “the ordained”, we set men/women in leadership up for falls. The expectation that I have experienced as a pastor/leader for over 30 years is that people expect perfection. That drives a leader into hiding. You can’t be public about who you are. That leads to living a double life. It leads to anger and resentment that displays itself in addictive behavior. I don’t know…this is a huge subject. All I know is that we need some careful reflection on this matter. It is time to let leaders be people…like you said, we all sin. To expect anything less is to set up another Haggard situation again and again and again.

Some serious conversations and decisions have got to be made. Until we start confronting our celebrity culture…until we stop worshipping @ the altars of “successful churches”…until we stop expecting that we are going to model our lives and ministries after people whom we want to put on pedestals as “false gods”…until we start to give some serious consideration about what it means to live in community where everyone is experiencing bold honesty…we are going to experience this type of tragedy again and again (didn’t I already say that? mmmm, yes). All I know is that some changes have got to be made.

2 thoughts on “My take on the “Evangelical Incident”

  1. Isn’t this nothing more than the non-surprising result at the end of a “holiness” and “high-sanctification” false doctrine? Is this not exactly what the Roman Catholic Church has struggled with in regards to monks and priests and their forced vows of “piety” and “celibacy”?

    If men look to their “sanctification” as a validation of their “Christianity” how can we expect anything less than this, time and time again? I have heard Haggard state from his own lips that the “Christian” life is about growing in holiness and sinning less and less. If that is the assurance and proof of our Christianity then we will only force ourselves down these dark roads of lies, deceptions, and buried sins.

    On the other hand though, if we actually take sin seriously and appreciate the true state of our complete depravity then we will not deny the complete worthlessness of our fallen nature. “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature” (Romans 7:18). In this we will no longer try to play the false part of high-sanctification, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get” (Luke 18:11-12), but instead we will live the honest role of a humble sinner, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13).

    Christianity is not about being “holy” and “good”, it is all about Jesus Christ, it is all about God’s work thru His incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection.

    God’s opinion alone matters and so why do we try to play the part of being super sanctified when in reality we know that the problem is not our actions, but our blackened hearts? “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:9). “He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings deep shadows into the light” (Job 12:22). “He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him” (Daniel 2:22). “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence” (Psalm 90:8). “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13).

    Therefore, what makes me a Christian? Jesus Christ alone, from first to last. I am not forgiven and a Christian because I am on my way to perfection, I am forgiven and a Christian because Jesus Christ stood there in my place where the law demanded I stand, yet I could not. “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25).


  2. i agree. I was sitting there the other day thinking, “how sad that this man had no one who he could just spill his guts to when.” I mean seriously, how sad that he couldn’t just turn to someone he trusted, or anyone really to say he had a stuggle and needed help out.


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