Joseph Iregbu

Purpose Guy

Of A Truth, We Have Not So Learned Christ

Last week, I had a conversation with my wife about how our indifference to sin is harming the body of Christ in the midst of controversies that continue to unravel among us.

Then she made a valid observation…

WARNING: This is a slightly longer than usual post but I encourage you to read to the end.

Let me state from the outset that the issues in this post remain a significant burden in our hearts and a constant prayer point on our family altar. We encourage you to do the same.

This is not a church-bashing post.

I’m a Christian (an imperfect one too) and have no other desire than to see the collective body (myself inclusive) represent Christ as we biblically should.

It’s clear we cannot do so on our own terms, in our own strength. Outside God’s grace, we stand no chance.

But when we are confronted with issues that contradict our mission, we should neither keep quiet nor be indifferent and allow compromise to sit deep among us.

As believers, we must hold one another accountable in the spirit of humility for our mutual growth and edification — Galatians 6:1-2. And this is particularly true for pastors.

The spirit of Achan and the danger of secret sins

In the Bible, God made repeated appeals for personal holiness — Leviticus 19:2, 21:1, 6, 1 Peter 1:15-19. It was a universal demand that did not exempt leaders.

And every deviation from godliness, by the leaders and laity alike, displeased (and does displease) the Lord.

In every generation since the birth of the church, the body of Christ has consistently witnessed a powerful move of God, waves of revival and significant numerical growth.

Sadly, controversies have never been far either and the spirit of Achan (secret sins) seem commonplace in our time.

By secret sins, I mean deliberate sinning that is coupled with concerted effort to hide the same without seeking repentance, especially from pulpits.

Secret sins deny us clear access to God, weakens the potency of our prayers in the courts of heaven and diminishes the reach of the gospel // Of A Truth, We Have Not So Learned Christ Share on X

Achan was a leader, at least as a father, but his intentional act of compromise had a devastating impact on others — Joshua 7:24-26.

When believers (especially leaders) persist in secret sins, it will affect the body of Christ.

The vile of hypocrisy

So this is where my wife’s observation on recent high profile controversies in the body of Christ hit home:

The church has always prayed for God to expose secret sins and cleanse every pollution on the pulpit. But when He does, we are quick to cover it up, defend and excuse ministers and simply move on. But when members offend, our rod of discipline knows no bound.

Coming from a Pentecostal and Evangelical background, we’ve seen, heard and witnessed too many of these over the years.

Whether it’s financial misappropriation, fraud (including dubious miracles), sexual abuse and infidelity, spiritual abuse of members by pastors, abuse of power, politicking on the pulpit and pews, physical or emotional abuse.

No doubt, we must consistently desire and pray for the purity of the church. But we must stop the hypocrisy that is crippling us from being effective witness for Jesus.

Allow me to clarify…

It’s hypocritical to apply one rule for leaders and another for the laity and still affirm that we are one body, saved by one grace and bound by the same Word.

Where is the balance of grace when a brother or sister who fell short of grace is disciplined, removed from ministry and in some cases, shamed publicly BUT a pastor who persistently abuses his members spiritually, emotionally, physically and sexually remain on or returns imminently to the pulpit in no time without sufficient season of repentance, restitution, healing, restoration and clear accountability measures put in place?

Of a truth, we have not so learned Christ

If we use significantly disproportionate measures of answerability, we are hypocrites.

Unless we intentionally create spiritual environments in our churches where leaders stay accountable to other leaders and their members, hypocrisy will persist.

The grace to speak truth to power, in the spirit of humility, should be encouraged and not frowned at.

If God is no respecter of persons, why do certain aspects of scripture suddenly ‘go missing’ when it concerns pastors and ministers?

We have not so learned Christ — Ephesians 4:17-24

Hypocrisy is a cancer in the body of Christ and collectively, we must prayerfully and intentionally break its grip in our individual lives and collective worship.

We must uphold the truth of the gospel as Jesus would… even if/when it hurts our personal interests.

If we stay faithful to scriptures like the Apostles did, we would see more of God’s power at work among us — Acts 5:11-12.

Lord, heal and purify your Church

Much of these issues are prevalent in environments where leaders have shifted focus from soul winning and edification of believers fit for heaven to building their personal brand and raising loyalists.

Personal loyalty has become a major currency of trust in many church circles today.

In our quest to build personal legacies rather than preach the gospel, we have raised loyalists who will defend anything church leaders do without regard for the authenticity of the gospel we claim to proclaim — 2 Timothy 4:3-5 // Of A… Share on X

Does grace cover willful, persistent sinning on the pulpit or in the pew after we have known Christ and tasted of the mysteries of God’s mercy? Hebrews 10:26-27, Romans 6:1-2.

Yet, God is gracious to forgive when we turn to Him with our messiness and brokenness. He will have mercy and abundantly pardon — Isaiah 55:7, 2 Chronicles 7:14.

We are in the end times and Satan knows it. That’s why his assault is heavy on the church in these last days.

But we must repent, remain vigilant in prayer and guard our hearts against the tricks of the enemy.

Lord, we pray You heal our hearts, mend our homes and purify your Church as we await your imminent return for a spotless bride (Church) void of hypocrisy and guile.

Check out the latest episode on my podcast EP50: Who Are You Becoming on AnchorSpotifyApple Podcast and everywhere you get your podcast.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash.

About Joseph Iregbu

From a homeless, near-school-dropout to living a story worth telling. Purpose is my passion. What's your story?

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