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Another Scandal in Fundamentalism…

06/16/2011

Heard about another scandal in Christianity last night. A man whom I’ve known for a few years, have always liked, but was never particularly close to beyond a first name basis, has been revealed as having women on several continents.

A shame. And not very surprising, at all. This man was always…how would you say…popular in high school and college, possessed very good looks, was forceful, commanding, charismatic, the jock of the campus, used to getting his own way. Perhaps those are the reasons why I always liked him; didn’t have much of a choice. So it is really no surprise to me that he cheated on his wife and family, committed adultery, etc.

And it doesn’t surprise me that he’s a Fundamentalist. No scandal really surprises me anymore. In fact, it’s very sad. I’m not going to say it’s not also very confirming; there is a small part of me that screams at those people from a decade ago who accused me of hating all things Baptist, Fundamentalist, Christian, whatever, or if not outright hating then always seeing the bad.

But I only saw what was there to see. Many of my peers had blinders on, and at times I envy them for that. Perhaps it was being a pastor’s kid or having parents so heavily involved in ministry. Perhaps it was God purposefully opening my eyes and showing me things to prepare me. I don’t know. It hurts that I’ve been proven right so many times.

Fundamentalist scandals don’t surprise me anymore. I’m sure they will still continue to surprise many. But my generation is waking up and seeing things for what they are. And these issues need to be addressed.

I’ve prayed for this man and his family. I’m going to continue to pray for them. I know they’ve already been booted out of fellowship, both in their home sending church and the churches that helped support them. They are essentially now persona non grata. Their marriage may fall apart. I don’t know if he has repented or not yet. I don’t know what other factors played into it. I know he’s still a sinner, I know he’s still a saint. I hope there are people around them who can look past the sin and see the reality. Who can see a sinner on equal footing with them. I hope she is a wife who can see a broken repentant husband. I hope he is a man who can accept forgiveness. I hope mutual forgiveness and reconciliation can be reached. And I hope there is not a single person who would throw a single stone.

I just don’t know. And I don’t need to. God does, and I’ll pray.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Grant permalink
    06/16/2011 10:04 pm

    That’s a good response, Stu. I’ll pray too. That type of damage certainly needs prayer and God’s powerful grace.

  2. 06/16/2011 10:35 pm

    I remember when I realized that my Crusade accountability partner was living a double life. Almost 8 years of confessing, saying when I screwed up, etc.. and then the rage of realzing I was deceived. That situation and a number of other painful situations taught me that Christinaity is like a cancer on this eartth. It forces people to lie, be dishonest and project a facade. I’m glad to be agnositc…it’s far healthier that Christianity.

    But I’m sorry for the let down. That hurts….emotional pain runs deep.

  3. 06/16/2011 10:38 pm

    You know what’s really sad….is that this guy who you described now leads love, support, grace and help. And at the time he needs it most that’s when the church will bring down a hammer on this guy. This could be an incredible opportunity to show grace and love to someone who doesn’t deserve it. Instead Christians will build theri scaffolding and execute the condemned shortly.

    • Grant permalink
      06/16/2011 11:36 pm

      That’s where actually living out the Bible and forgiveness comes in handy, eagle. You talk of an accountability partner and how that frustrated you. It would frustrate me too but we are not confessing to a person, we should always to confessing to God because He alone can heal, forgive and give us the power (grace) to walk free from the power of that sin in the future. Trusting in man…always a snare that is not easily removed.

      • stuartblessman permalink*
        06/17/2011 12:40 am

        Grant, you touched upon one of the main points the Internet Monk community talked about: the changing of grace to mean “the power to walk free from sin”. I just don’t see that. It seems to be a power I and many more are lacking. What separates people from receiving that “grace power” and others don’t? My conclusion, regrettably, is that it is in fact a false doctrine or misunderstanding of grace. Otherwise the chosen 10% will get into heaven and the rest of us just lack the power…I mean, grace.

        But I agree on the trusting in man. It’s the story of my life. Looking up to man after man after man to have all the answers. Same with all those people in the 70s looking to Gothard, Francis Shaeffer, and whomever else. Same with people looking up to Todd Bently, Mick Bickle…Mark Driscoll…and others today. A voice saying they have the answers is a powerful thing to listen to. Where I fall, where I starkingly realize my own hypocrisy, is lacking in love and grace. Because I’ve been there. And yet I can’t seem to muster within myself the grace and love for others who are there.

        I attended Maranatha because I thought Bruce had all the answers; he’s just the latest, and I truly hope there won’t be another. It certainly wasn’t for the worship, although I absolutely enjoyed it when I was there. You know that. This whole last year has been necessary but also painful; it hasn’t been easy. I have friends at Maranatha, and I still love people there. I still love Bruce, you, Johnathon, Parnell…heck, even Ore. But I am convinced you guys are wrong on so much. I’ve tried to understand, to piece together, to try to analyze and figure out just what’s off about everything, and that grace thing above is part of it. And this is where I utterly fail, because I know God led you to believe that, even while He has led me to believe something else. And I utterly fail because I lack the grace within me to still accept you all as brothers and sisters regardless, even though I intellectually and Biblically know you are. I lack the grace to even fellowship and worship alongside you, setting aside all those doctrinal and theological disputes for the sake of Christ, because right now, they aren’t minor concerns, they are MAJOR CONCERNS to the point of shedding blood. Some have lessoned, but not all. Maybe in time.

        In no small part, I love you all, and yet I am afraid of you all, but moreso afraid of who I am around you and who I may become. If, as the psalmist sings, it’s true that perfect love casts out all fear, how come the most fear I have experienced in my life has been a part of two churches: for 5 years at Maranatha, and for 8 years at my church in Green Bay. And it’s more than just the fear of being found out in sin; that I can deal with, and have, and am in fellowship about. It’s the fear of eternal damnation, eternal separation, eternally feeling like I can never measure up, the fear that life will never improve, the fear that life will end the very next day from bird flu or obama’s radical agenda or some other hippie fear dream, that fear that in one moment God can turn his back on you, the fear that God is withholding some amazing experience of tongues or spirit baptism or whatever from you…just fear fear fear, constant fear. And when there isn’t fear…avoidance of thinking about certain issues, because it will bring the fear back.

        Perhaps it’s all in my head. Perhaps I’m just trippin’. Perhaps I’m just “acting out”. Perhaps. But I know the cure can’t be found amidst the fear.

        The answer is still perfect love. But no amount of love and acceptance could still banish the fear.

        So there’s that.

      • 06/19/2011 10:28 pm

        Grant-

        So the entire time I had an accountability partner I never prayed to God? Never confessed my sins to him will snug in my bed? I never sought him on in prayer? Instead according to you I put all my trust etc.. in my accountability partner and left God out of the picture. Grant it’s that type of bullshit that will prevent me from never walking through a door of many a church. If I do at all…. It’s why I won’t go to yours. How fucked up is it…? To then put the blame BACK on the person and said, “Well Eagle you weren’t doing it right, you should have remembered God and confessed your sins to him.” What if I told you that I was also following what was taught in Campus Crusade or my local fundgelical church? Love the bullshit you fundagelicals pull on others. That’s cool…live in your bubble, be in denial. If the closest I have to hear crap like that is through my computer screen over 1,000 miles away…that’s too close.

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