I was so struck by Jose Bosque's article that I've posted it here. I would encourage every Christ follower who reads this to pray that the Lord would break through in this terrible scandal and reveal Himself... to the parties involved, to the Church in Atlanta and Charlotte, and ultimately to all of us in the Body of Christ who are affected by events like this.
Unanswered Questions from the Eddie Long Sex Scandal .
Sunday, 26 September 2010 09:45 Jose Bosque
My heart has been troubled since the news first reached me of the problems coming from the Church in Atlanta. I know many you are saying wait the problem is only at Eddie Long’s Church. Wrong! Eddie Long has a congregation and Eddie Long is part of the One Church of the Lord in Atlanta. That is the biblical perspective and that is the historical perspective no matter what organized religion has invented with its traditions.
The pain we all feel is related to the obvious oversight of the following verses that state that the Church is to police itself instead of taking matters before unbelievers to the detriment of the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Cor 5:12
12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?
1 Cor 6:1-6
Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? 4 If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? 5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? 6 But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!
Based on the above verses and the wisdom given to me as an Elder in His Church, gifted to function governmentally and relationally to His Body, I ask these questions. (I refuse to flash a title to demand adherence like a sheriff) You who have the Holy Spirit, you judge where these questions and perspectives are coming from and see if the Lord is not speaking to His Church.
Here are the questions;
1. If the Bible clearly calls for His Church to judge matters why is it if anyone speaks he is looked at as an “accuser of the brethren”?
The Bible says for Elders to rise up in the city and judge the matters that need to be judged. It also states that we will not only judge here on earth but that believers will judge angels! We are all praying for a spotless Bride. How does clothing get spotless? We are praying for a Bride that has no wrinkles? How do we get the wrinkles out of clothing? The Bible says when we arrive in Heaven the Church “has made herself” ready! Since we know the Bride is corporate, could it be she corporately gets herself ready? Then, get ready Church for Judgment is coming to the House of God and no, not just from above.
2. What is it about the Body of Christ of Christ that makes her always run to protect the Leader in question?
The majority of the Church has sided on the wrong side of every scandal since Jimmy Swaggert to now. Even in Jacksonville, when leaders have been proven to be sleeping with the members and even getting them pregnant, the members have sided with the fallen leader. What is it about the Church that would rather cover up than expose sin? Is it because we don’t like our sins exposed? Paul rebuked the Corinthian Church for pride and for thinking they were more merciful than God, by refusing to deal with the sin in their own camp. Whose names are we really protecting; the Lord’s or that of our own personal kingdoms?
3. What type of fathering and discipling produces “sick sons”?
Aside from all the issues, there are three young men who have not matured but have grown in unforgiveness and bitterness toward their spiritual father. If you have been in ministry for any length of time you have had sons who have left you “talking trash” but how many of them took their complaint to the authorities? Is it possible that much of what goes on in the church under the word fathering is really control and manipulation? What is the spiritual lesson behind being spoken to like a dog and toting someone’s bible around? Has honor gone to enabling pride and arrogance? I believe in honoring and serving leaders but my Bible says it comes voluntarily not by compulsion. I understand the word armor bearer I just don’t equate it with personal slave. I have had about five men in my life that I have considered “my spiritual father” and have been at all ends of the control spectrum from White, Black and Hispanic leaders so don’t tell me I don’t understand the culture.
4. What information exists that would allow an attorney to go forward with this case?
I know how many of you feel about lawyers. Yes, many are ambulance chasers who will do anything for a buck but I believe the bad apples are in the minority. The bad ones just always seem to get more press and attention. In general, most attorneys are good people who are in it to win and get justice for their clients not to make fools of themselves in a highly publicized case like this one. While I agree that some of the evidence in this case could be misconstrued because of the legal world’s misunderstanding of how church functions, I assure something exists that they feel will clearly exonerate their clients allegations. Yes, I said exonerate! While in America you are innocent until proven guilty in the current church mess the accuser is guilty until proven innocent.
5. Why can’t the Church see the current subnormality for what it is? Why do we want to believe this is an isolated case?
If the Church was really run like a business, as the owners we would have dismantled the whole mess a long time ago. The Church is supposed to be producing Christlike disciples not Sunday morning club members. This case and many others like it, should scream in the ears of all those who care for His Church. What are we doing wrong? How is this happening? What is missing in the system? Is this really the pattern left to us by the disciples and apostles of our Lord?
I believe one of the reasons the Father permits these types of things to go public is to make us aware so we will all do an internal audit of our own procedures as leaders in his kingdom. To simply pray for this isolated case is nothing more than corporate spiritual blindness and/or arrogance. The whole Church (the New Jerusalem) needs prayer so we can find our way back to the pattern of the apostles in the 21st century.
6. After all the revelation in the bible concerning the plurality of eldership in the leadership of His Church why do we still have men who rule over his flock without accountability?
At best most churches fain united leadership. Most congregations are led by men who claim they have oversight by boards, elders and deacons but the facts are they run the congregation like little kings in their kingdoms. Say something contrary and watch and see how quickly the conversation changes from “our Church” to “my church!” Nowhere in the New Testament is leadership of the church attributed to one person. The word pastor is our own invention to compete with the other invention of priest. Every born again Christian is a priest and the only mediator between God and man is the Lord Jesus Christ. The word for church leadership is elder and it’s always plural. I believe in five fold ministry but even they are to submit to each other by the Holy Spirit under the rulership of the only Head of His church which is the Lord Jesus Christ.
7. Where is the Voice of the Spiritual Fathers in this situation?
The silence is deafening! Where are all those who love the title of Apostle now? Here is a situation that needs apostolic leadership and maturity why are you running from it. Are you afraid to get your ministry dirty? Are you afraid it might affect your dollars if you speak up? If “your” wonderful ministry to blessed to get stressed with this situation? Maybe if you spoke up you would have to clean up your own house.
There are more “Apostles” today than Bayer has aspirins. Everywhere you look leaders are calling themselves apostles even if their ministry barely qualifies for a house church. Sorry, I am not impressed no matter how many cards you print up with the word Apostle in capital letters in front of your name. I dare you to show me one example of that in the New Testament! If you are one speak up! If you are a spiritual father in Atlanta or in Jacksonville speak up! The Church wants to hear from you. If not sit down, real bible reading Christians know better.
In conclusion it is my prayer that this word would be received as a plumb line. Either fall before Jesus or be prepared to be crushed. The Lord is cleaning up His Bride and as the end of all things draws near His real Bride will begin to shine like the stars in the sky. I am praying along with you that when all is said and done His Church would be better for it!
For the Love of His Name,
Jose L Bosque
Photo by John Bazemore AP