Recent Revelations about Reverends (John Frye)

I have been stunned by the recent revelations of a number of Christian leaders who have fallen because of moral failure. We are talking national Christian leaders. My contention is that leaders fall not for a lack of knowledge, but for a lack of wisdom. I pray to God it was not because if the Ashley Madison breach of clients.

Don’t get me wrong. I know we should not throw stones, remembering our own susceptibility to sin (Galatians 6:1). But something needs to be said about wisdom. I always wonder if those who fall because of sexual sin have ever read Proverbs 7. Is not the beautiful woman called Wisdom more alluring than the adulterous woman? Wisdom is a gorgeous blond, well-endowed (if you catch my drift) and fulfilling a man’s deepest longings. Why prostitute yourself on someone or something less? Why ruin a marriage, a family, a church, or a ministry?

I am convinced that most moral failures by Christian leaders are not traceable to a lack of knowledge, but to a glaring lack of wisdom. Wisdom is God’s truth in “working clothes.”Wisdom is for the street, for the text messages, for the emails, for the appointments, and not just for the pulpit or for Christian consulting work. Wisdom’s other name is discernment. When Christian leaders think that unbiblical morality will make them happy, Christ Jesus is blasphemed. How many wives suffer; how many children are stunned; how many churches are embarrassed because a pastor or Christian leader let his penis think for him?

When any Christian leader reaches the point where Christian morality does not apply to them, he or she is in deep trouble. David, the King in Israel, tried that and it didn’t end well for him. What lie is insinuated by the Evil One that makes faithful leaders think that they are above the law of morality given by God? I tremble as I type this because I don’t want to be the next victim of deceit. I know I could have ruined marriage and ministry by an impulsive choice.

Paul admonished Timothy, “Watch your life and doctrine closely.” USAmerican evangelicalism is fixated on correct doctrine. Doctrine first, life second. Not so with the Apostle Paul. Paul believed that a life was doctrine incarnate. If you don’t believe it, read this: “Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Corinthians 4:16-17).  Paul’s way of life was the central issue. “Imitate me”and “remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus.”  Paul’s way of life agreed with the doctrine that he taught.

Get it? Way of life was first, doctrine was second.

For some crazy reason, we have come to believe a godly life is necessitated by believing right doctrine. Welcome to hell. Even the demons believe and tremble (James 2:19).

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us. We are all sinners.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.