So many Christians are confused by the theology and the experiences of Charismatic people. This cannot be avoided as they are the most medially visible expression of “Christianity” thanks to Christian television providing such a tremendous platform in the last fifty years. To critique Charismatic doctrine or practice is commonly viewed as inherently unloving, inherently unkind, inherently divisive and even blasphemous. And could it be that this disregard for brotherly correction has led to the autonomous leaders who are now descending to extremes of moral and scriptural depravity?
This honestly soul searching article has been excerpted from the latest issue of Charisma Magazine; it is a must read for Charismatic leaders [as well as non- Charismatics]…
The church has had enough spin, denial and closed-door settlements. Leaders must demonstrate humility and repentance.
A few years ago a minister in my city went through a divorce, and the messy details of the settlement between the pastor and his wife were reported in our newspaper. But when the divorce was finalized there was no public statement. The man’s wife disappeared from the stage, her photo vanished from the church website and nothing further was said. Zip. Nada. No comment.
The message: It’s none of your business what happened between the pastor and his wife. He’s the anointed messenger of God. Just follow him.
Another pastor in my city stepped down from his pulpit briefly for unknown “indiscretions”—and then it became known that he had been carrying on an affair with a stripper from France. The man never resigned from leadership, and his wife eventually divorced him. Today, this preacher appears on Christian television, and he still has a following.
The message: Anointing is what’s important. Character is secondary. If a guy can preach the paint off the walls and get everyone shouting, then relax—it really doesn’t matter how he runs his personal life.
Then last month, Bishop Eddie Long of Atlanta settled out of court with four young men who had accused him of using gifts, trips and jobs to entice them into sexual relationships. The pastor of 25,000-member New Birth Missionary Baptist Church told his congregation last fall that he would fight the charges. But in late May, Long agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to the four men, and the terms of the agreement were sealed. The church said in a statement that the settlement was engineered “to bring closure” and that the congregation will now “move forward with the plans God has for this ministry.”
The message: Case closed.We are never going to tell you what happened. It really doesn’t matter whether your pastor committed serious sins.
Is this how we’re supposed to run a church? I don’t think so. Neither does Bishop Paul Morton, founder of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship and a former colleague of Eddie Long’s. Morton rebuked Long in a recent sermon and demanded that he come clean about what happened with his accusers.
Morton aired his public message to Long on June 19, saying: “If you have repented, show me some signs. Show me some humility. You can’t just come and tell me nothing. Tell me something. Those who have stood with you, tell us something. Tell your church something.”
Excerpt from Why Eddie Long Should Be Transparent by Lee Grady.
Should we be dealing with wayward shepherds [even in independent churches] in the same wink-wink, nudge-nudge and hush-hush manner? No! It is not unkind to analyze a Christian leader’s character and practice in the light of Scripture. That is not unkind. That is kind. We as the body of Christ have a mandate from God to do this even if it involves rebuking certain people by name even if they are so popular, well known and “anointed”.
And they must remain transparent lest they bring the name of the Lord to disrepute.