By Danni Moss
Copyright protected, all rights reserved
Are we defaming Christ if we address abuse issues in the church? Are we turning people away from God?
I think it is a hard thing to consider speaking out when you truly do love God and wish no ill to the church as a whole. I do not want to turn anyone away from God. At the same time, I am seeing the church turn people away from God. I saw it happen to personal friends who were not able to separate God from the church. I see it in blogs online all the time — people bashing God because the church has failed them. The recent church shootings in Colorado are a vivid example.
What I am concerned about is something I saw and still see as a prevalent attitude in church — don’t make God look bad by daring to speak out against church error and abuses. I’m glad Martin Luther dared to post his 95 Theses on the door of the church! He ended up being excommunicated because he just wanted the church to return to the truth. He didn’t intend to start a new church; he just wanted to bring truth back to the church he loved.
God doesn’t need our help to protect His reputation. On the other hand, the only ones Jesus spoke harshly to in the Word was the religious leaders of the day who were teaching untruth and leading people astray. One of the basic things we are supposed to do as believers is to help the afflicted (I Tim. 5:10). Jesus stated His purpose in coming, and the definition of the gospel, was to heal the broken-hearted, provide deliverance to captives, and provide liberty to the bruised (Luke 4:18). This verse is usually spiritualized, but there is nothing in the text to make the assumption Jesus meant only spiritual need and affliction. In fact, in His earthly mission He first addressed people at the point of their physical need and then applied that healing to their spiritual need. The Word also says that it would be better for a millstone to be hanged around the neck of someone who causes others, particularly the weak, to stumble (Mt. 18:6, also recorded in Mark and Luke). And Paul was very specific in I Cor. 5:1-7 about the absolute necessity of openly confronting gross sin in the church.
There is a lot of bitterness out there. There are a lot of people who equate the church and God and discard them both with much angst and a plethora of defamatory commentary. That is not what I’m about here. My goal is to confront gross sin in the church because I believe that is my responsibility as a believer. My desire is that the church return to the truth of the Word and stop sweeping the dirt of some who are corrupt under the altar cloth.