The Church in the US is rocked by controversy again. After Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, it is Ted Haggard. Ted Haggard, one of the most influential (both within the evangelical church hierarchy and in American politics) was accused of being gay. He denied it at first, but later on confessed. The irony is t he was at hatthe forefront of movement to ban gay marriages.
There is perhaps nothing surprising that a leading man of God fell. Anybody can fall. It has happened before and in all probability (God forbid) it may happen again. Paul warns us, ‘If any man thinks he stands let him take heed lest he fall’. If we stand, it is only by the grace of the Lord.
What caught my attention was the way top Christian leaders like James Dobson reacted. They reacted with dismay that one of their close associates had fallen. Dobson said he was Âheart sickÂ one hearing this. Fair enough.
Rewind to the late 1990s when the Clinton administration was rocked by the Monica Lewinsky controversy. These very same Christian leaders who are ‘heart sick’ today, could barely hide their glee at Clinton’s fall. They were all over the place, telling people how Clinton represented the liberal left and everything that is unchristian and evil about unbelievers.
I was left wondering about double standards within the church. When somebody outside the church falls in it a great crime, it is because that person is godless. But when someone within the church falls, it is because the devil has targeted him, and we are heart sick.
Paul say ‘Love does not rejoice in evil…’, even when the person who gets into trouble doing evil is an unbeliever. I believe that the ‘self-righteousness’ in the Body of Christ puts off more people than any trick that the devil can play.