Dr. David Thiessen is an educator, writer, pastor, and speaker. His books can be found at theoarch & other articles at theologyarchaeology
We had hoped that we could have not written one more article on this topic but a request made by one man posting under the article ‘Criminal, sociopathic, satanic’: Christian leaders react to Ravi Zacharias sex abuse report', has been used by God to motivate us to write another one.
The words typed by this commentator are as follows, with no editing, etc., done to them:
I keep hoping and praying that the Christian Post will quit acting like a Christian gossip publication and try to provide understanding of what happened with Ravi Zacharias. Instead of just titillating the Christian masses, can you provide hope and a depth of understanding instead of cheap entertainment?
Hopefully, we can do that for the Christian Post and instead of leading up to the most important point in this topic, we will start with it.
#1. God is still God
When Christians fail, it is not a sign that the Christian faith is fake nor is it a sign that God is too weak to protect his followers. No matter what happens with believers God is still God and he is still the only God in existence.
God does not lose any power nor do his commands lose their authority. Neither does God change. He still answers prayers, he still exercises grace and mercy and he still saves people from sin.
When a respected church leader, speaker, missionary fails, it is not God’s fault. There are many reasons why they do. What has been missing from this whole situation and that article is the failure to blame evil for its role.
Evil is dedicated to destroying believers and if it can take down a man like Ravi Zacharias, if the accusations are correct, think what it can do to anyone else. It is possible that Mr. Zacharias did not stay under God’s protective arms and he became vulnerable to different attacks conducted by evil.
If you know nothing about spiritual warfare then study up on it and learn that it is real. The book of Jude tells us that even an archangel does not defend against evil without using Jesus’ or God’s name and if Mr. Zacharias or other church leaders try to defeat evil without that help, they will be defeated.
Such defeat should not be laid at the feet of God, as the man or woman may be the one forgetting to trust God for their whole protection.
#2. The Bible is still God’s word
When church leaders fall or cannot resist temptation or do other sins etc., the Bible does not change nor does it become moot. The commands, instructions, and events recorded within its pages do not change and continue to apply to everyone.
Those sinful acts committed by a church leader or even a common congregation member are not indicating that God’s word can be ignored. Nor are they indicators that permission is being given for everyone to disobey God.
Everyone is still under the authority of god’s word and everyone is still going to be punished if they disobey. God’s word is still in effect and it is still the only way to live the Christian life correctly after receiving salvation through Jesus Christ.
Just because important men of God do fall at times does not mean the Bible is not true. There are also many reasons why Christian men and women fail to abide by everything contained in the bible and no one should assume, leap to a conclusion or go to the worst possible reason when they do happen.
Everyone is still expected by God and Jesus to obey their words. Jesus made this very clear when he said ‘why do you call me lord yet do not do the things I say?’ The things Jesus and God said apply to both the alleged victims and the alleged fallen Christian.
If one does not get justice, then no one has justice. The types of sin do not determine or influence God’s justice. Nor does the gender of the victim influence God’s justice.
As we pointed out many times before, men., women, and children were punished for their sins and refusals to repent at Noah’s Flood, at Sodom’s destruction, and other examples of God’s judgment.
God’s justice is applied fairly to all.
#3. The Christian response does not change
God has given many instructions to his followers on how to deal with evil, sin, and fallen believers. It is hard to do as Paul wrote to put them out of the church for a while until they repent when the accused has died.
Regardless, the inability to obey that instruction does not mean any believer or unbeliever has the right or the permission to name call, judge, or condemn their fellow man.
People may be tired of hearing the verse, ‘you who are without sin, cast the first stone.’ That phrase or statement was not restricted to the Jewish leaders only. It applies to all believers today.
There is no escape clause in any Bible verse allowing men and women to ignore biblical teachings on how to treat their fellow Christians. The Bible verse saying ‘do good to those who do evil…’ doe snot say ‘except when they do sexual sins.’
Nor does the Bible verse, ‘love thy neighbor as thyself…’ contain any escape clause saying ‘except when the believer or church leader is accused of sexual crimes.’
On and on the examples go that say the same thing. You will not find one escape clause in God’s instructions or commands. Then the following passage
4 Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant. 5 It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own benefit; it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered, 6 it does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 it [b]keeps every confidence, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails;
Are not ignored or changed when a leader, speaker, missionary, or common church member is falsely accused, rightfully accused, or falls to temptation, and so on. You will notice that love does not do what the C&MA, Mr. Strobel, and other church leaders have been doing in recent days.
See the words we put in bold and apply them to this and other situations involving men and women who may not have conquered evil as Christ would want. Remember them when you are in the same position as the accused because that is how you will want to be treated.
#4. God’s words are not to be removed
Mr. Strobel is removing the words God gave Mr. Zacharias from one of his books. One member of RZIM is calling for the destruction of all Mr. Zacharias’ words while others may be calling for the destruction of RZIM itself.
Who has the right to make such demands or take such actions? If they were recognized as God’s words, they remain God’s words. No one has the right to remove them. God reminds us that his words do not come back to him void.
His words are his words even if they come from the mouth of a man or woman who has had trouble with sin within their lives. Where would anyone be if falling to temptation was the criteria for removing God’s word from this world?
Moses was a murderer, yet God’\s words were given to the world through him in the first 5 books of the Bible. David was an adulterer and a murder among other things, yet the Psalms remain in the Bible.
Mark’s gospel and 1 and 2 Peter would be removed because Peter denied Christ and Paul’s 13 books would not be read because of the evil life he led as Saul.
No, God’s words remain even when spoken by Christians who struggle. The key is to make sure those words are truly from God and for 40 years no one doubted that Mr. Zacharias had God’s words.
#5. Making sense of what happened
Mr. Zacharias is and was human. He was not a divine being who was immune from sinning, and he was vulnerable to attacks made by evil. He faced the same things we face every day.
This is normal for the true Christian and if we do not rely on God all the time, we may face the same problems. If we are given the same treatment as Mr. Zacharias, we may not overcome those sins that try to take us all down.
Then we end up like him.
© 2021 David Thiessen