Sin in the Church: Prodigals in the Pigpen!
I don’t know if I have been in situations in my life that have caused me to see so much sin in the church because God has wanted me to see it, or because of the ministries I have worked in, or because there is just so much sin that everyone is seeing it. I don’t know if my perspective is unique, maybe part of the gift God has given me, or just the run of the mill awareness of what’s going on. But for some reason this morning it hit me. We are in a very bad place regardless if everyone else is seeing it or not.
Yesterday the Lord was speaking to me about the Prodigals. You know, the prodigal son who goes off with all the money and tries to make his own way but ends up in the pigpen. I have always thought about those “prodigals” as guys who have left the church and are living in the world and then wake up one day and decide to come home, back to church. But yesterday the Lord was showing me that many, many in the church, His sons and daughters, were still attending church, but at the same time living in the pigpen of their own sin. I thought about it some. I wondered if there were any “pig droppings” in my life that I needed to take care of and then just went on to the business of my day.
But this morning something hit me. I was getting ready, going through my regular routine, and something just sort of set me off while thinking of this pigpen issue. It began by my thinking about the Bishops from Ireland who just got in trouble with the Pope for hiding a lot of sexual abuse. Numbers of kids were sexually abused and the Bishop was simply moving the perpetrating Priests to other parishes, where more children were abused. Then I thought about Stockbridge, WI. When I was a child I remember kids telling each other to stay away from the Priest house because he would “get you”. When enough kids told on him, the Bishop moved that Stockbridge Priest to another Parish and he abused children at the new church as well. But it’s not just a Catholic problem, is it? The only time in my life where I was deeply broken hearted was when a minister at a non-denominational church pursued me, as his wife and children were at home.
Then it came like a stream… Morris Cerullo from P.T.L. and the way he is sinning in handling the money, which is being exposed in court. Todd Bentley getting caught having sex with his nanny, and then running off when “men of God” want to restore him and marrying the girl, as if that changes anything. Recently beginning to minister again with the adulterous nanny at his side, taking up collections for “the Kingdom” as he is lying about what he is ‘seeing,’ and so called self-endorsed apostles affirming his behavior. Benny Hinn’s wife filing for divorce after 30 years. Famous missionaries and mission organizations like Frontiers and Navigators pigeonholing Christianity with Islam and when exposed mutilating the truth so as to divert the churches’ attention. Christ the Rock Community Church following suit as they teach and practice the same heresy, while local ministers and staff members fight to keep this sin covered up.
Then I began to think about the local ministers, lying about not knowing the women who have been abused in their church, covering up sins so as to promote their political agenda, breaking confidentiality for their own gain, lying from the pulpit so as to validate themselves and bring in bigger offerings, sexually exploiting youth group girls, grasping their own agenda as they leave the faithful behind, ruining marriages because of romantic attachments, misappropriating funds, getting caught looking at porn both at home and in the Pastoral office but only getting a 3 month sabbatical and then being brought back as if nothing had happened.
And what about the people in the local churches that I know personally? Divorce, after divorce, after divorce because the husband is cheating. Filling the water bottle with Vodka so no one knows just how bad it has gotten. Meeting people online and then rushing off to have some sick sort of sexual encounter that no one will ever know about. Promulgating a heretical “model” to understand God and teaching it to the youth. Homosexual acts that are done in odd places. Stealing from the orphans. Gossip so thick the faces of the women engaging look like they are eating rich chocolate as the slanderous words drip from their mouths. “He went to Chicago for the weekend with his girlfriend; Pastors kids need grace too.” “She killed her two year old because the Bible told her to do it.” “She went out of state to have an abortion so that no one knew about the sex.” I am talking about what I know personally. I am talking about members of the Body of Christ. Pastors who beat their wives senseless and then the congregation stands beside them. Youth group kids trying to commit suicide; Bible study women kissing their neighbor men; the guy from the men’s group checking out the girls, making them feel uncomfortable. Father after father, raping their young daughters; young couples living together; even younger couples having sex with multiple partners.
“Tried to kill her.” “Had sex in the bathroom.” I watched the newly saved prostitute point slowly at the Elder, “him, every Wednesday evening.” “I am cheating with the girl who lives with us.” “He is firing her because she knows too much.” “The youth leader had sex with her but she had just turned 16 so we don’t have to report it.” “I made out with her after we were drinking in the truck; yeah, we are both married and in the ministry.” “He ties me up and does stuff to me.” “I meet them out and have oral sex in the car; I don’t know them; I meet them online.” “I look at the kids and think about taking a bath with them.” “He raped me after he cut my lawn; I know him from church.” “The Bishop locked us in the church and then they began to burn it down.” “He grabbed my pony tail and swung it around when he passed me, and then emailed me like 25 times a day.” “I won’t have sex with my husband again or until he changes.” “He drinks too much on the weekends.” “I don’t report it on my taxes.” “My kids are reading books about Vampires and witches.” “I can’t figure out why she cuts herself.” Covering up, covering up, covering up.
I am overwhelmed by the sins that I have been personally hearing. I am sickened by what I have had to listen to. I am holding back so as not to offend you or gross you out because some things done in darkness should not be mentioned, but I repeat these things to show you what I mean. Many of you know who you are as you read this. Many of you know others who are engaging in these sins. Many of you are culpable yourselves. Somehow the devil has convinced us to stay quiet. He has whispered in our ears to cover sin and to keep it in the darkness, to enslave us and to keep us in the very pigpen that we have created.
I see over and over again the person trying to call the church to repentance being persecuted by the Body far more often than I see any repentance. It has somehow now become more wrong to call sin ‘sin’ than to actually sin.
The Word of God plainly calls us to expose sin. Rebuke it. Turn from it. Tell of it so others are afraid to sin in the same way. Confess it one to another so that we can be cleansed from all unrighteousness.
I see the swelling of the big churches and I hear people say one after the other that they have been hurt in church and that they are attending these large churches to hide for a time. It’s as if the churches swell with size but just like when the body swells it is not healthy. It is a sign that something is very wrong. I watch the church culture creep into a worldly humanistic view of life where worship songs are now more about how we feel than about God Himself and the truths He has laid out to express Himself. How many Chirstians have led another human being to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ? How many church members have seriously discipled a new believer? How many churches have prayer meetings where people actually get together and pray?
I don’t know what kind of prophets it will take to call the church out of this. I don’t know what kind of prophets God is sending now. Are they loud and boisterous like John the Baptist telling people off from the river banks, or are they quiet and focused like Jonathan Edwards who simply read in a monotone voice his sermon, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God”? I can’t say that I think it actually matters, because it’s not in the voice calling the Body to repentance; it’s not in the tone or the method or the style or the passion. The Bible says it’s in the ear. To those who have an ear to hear, He speaks, regardless of the one He is speaking through.
God is speaking, people. Can you hear Him? He is calling us to wake up, to see the circumstances around us. We have crawled into a pigpen of sin and he is waiting for us at the end of the driveway ready to run to embrace us, to put on us a new robe, a clean robe. He is ready to place upon our fingers a signet ring, giving us the authority of his home. He is waiting to pour out His Spirit on our land, and He is waiting for us to respond. Every single one of us. Sin has caught hold of the Body of Christ and we are in a desperate place. Will we hear the call to repent? Will we engage the passion of Him who desires a holy people? Will we get up out the pigpen and get back to where we belong? Will we obey well the admonitions of the Lord about sin and help our brother out as well?
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