Sunday, August 17, 2014

Belated thoughts on tragedies in the church

The recent difficulties of Doug Phillips (Vision Forum) and Bill Gothard (really a good portion of his family) have gotten me to thinking of a very obvious question; what do you and I do to avoid falling into the same trap as they did?  I've read a fair amount arguing that the problem at hand was a rather nebulous "patriarchy"--that somehow if Phillips and Gothard had walked away from the Biblical doctrine of male headship, they would have avoided this problem.  Which is, of course, exactly why a darling of the feminist left, Bill Clinton, has been a byword for this sort of thing for over two decades, and crimes committed by abortion doctors are glossed over by many.

Well, scratch that, then, as we obviously have other things going on, but perhaps Nina Burleigh--who infamously noted that she'd give Mr. Clinton a sexual act in return for keeping abortion legal--gives us a hint as to what is really going on.  Specifically, there is a cause, and a person connected to that cause, which is so important that the ordinary considerations of morality are of no import in comparison to that.

In other words, as far as evangelicals and fundamentalists are concerned, a lot of the abuses rest on a rejection of Paul's words in 1 Timothy and Titus to those who would be pastors, elders, and deacons; that it is a great task and a wonderful desire, but it must be given only to those whose character is shown to be fitting to the task.  In the case of Vision Forum, and in the case of the Institute for Basic Life Principles, the problem is not excessive fidelity to Biblical principles, but rather insufficient fidelity to those principles that ought to govern the church.

And how do we avoid these people before their moral failings become known?  Well, simply look at their teachings--others have gone into the details far more than I can here, but suffice it to say that the man who ignores God's Word and proceeds to church office when he knows he is not qualified is going to ignore the Bible on other issues, too. 


Maeve said...

Mr. Bubba,
It's terribly sad when people in authority abuse their position of power. It's even more difficult to accept when those individuals are in positions of trust, such as clergy. But you know, nobody is above pride or envy or lust or all those things which cause us to do wrongs. I don't think you can necessarily avoid those people before moral failings become known - we must assume that everyone has moral failings because we're all fallible humans. And even the most devout can fall. It's awful, but it happens. The challenge is to not let the failings of other discourage us to the point where we give up rather than face a betrayal again.

Bike Bubba said...

Maeve--agreed. The trick here is that for both individuals, the signs were there for years before they were caught, and those "in the know" did not take action.

In other words, it appears to me to be worse than a lot of the nasty stuff that went on with Catholic priests and altar boys in that regard.