Gungor. Vicky Beeching. Mark Driscoll. David Yonggi Cho. What do all these names have in common? Controversy.
Of course, a blogger like myself could not go silent on these issues.
When situations like this arise, we are challenged, confused, disillusioned. We often resort to bashing, freaking out, and being disgusted (or excited) when a Christian celebrity falls.
When I think of the aforementioned names, I think of children of God who followed the call of God, were used mightily by God, and are being honest with their struggles. Mistakes have been made; power has been abused. But that's no excuse to write people off.
An Issue of Worship
Allow me to issue a challenge—to you, to me. This is about worship. When situations like this arise, I wonder whom we are worshiping, what we're prioritizing. Our worship culture so often becomes a consumer game of digesting the latest, greatest songs and resources, idolizing the people who carry the gifts of God.
The problem with idolizing the carriers of God's anointing is that they weren't meant to hold the weight of such admiration. It wasn't made for man, but for God alone.
When they fall, our spirits fall because we've placed too much stock in a human. When they reveal a deep-seated belief you didn't expect them to have, your world can be rocked to its foundation.
Of course, this is a big deal because these leaders have massive, global influence. We wonder what effect their belief or sin will have on others.
Truth is, we can't look to the conduit of God's gifts as our source, but to Christ. Then, we are free to receive the ministry of those we don't agree with. We can bless and encourage and pray for those with contrary beliefs without tearing down, because it's not our job to police the church.
I don't agree with Vicky's life choices and wouldn't make them my own. Gungor's perspective on the Bible is a little troubling. But that doesn't force me to choose between love and hate, compassion and spite.
Rather, I can respect and reach out.
Criticism and the Cross
We can still sing Vicky Beeching's worship songs. We can be strengthened and inspired by her powerful intellect.
We can still draw near to Christ through Gungor's music. We can still be influenced by Mark Driscoll's preaching. No matter how imperfect they all are, it doesn't negate their ministry.
Honestly, we all encounter struggles and face questions without easy answers. Few of us are bold enough to speak up and say "I'm struggling with my sexuality. I'm struggling with the reality of God. I struggle with the love of money."
What these people invite us into is recognizing our own humanity and bringing them into the context of conversation. Think about the thousands of Christians around the world who have questions, struggles and doubts. If we as the church won't allow their questions to be heard, where is the best place?
We all have questions. Imperfection is part of our nature on this earth. Let your criticism of others be shrouded in prayer for their well-being.
Let's look to the cross. Let's make the person of Christ our hero, our daily source. Consider the possibility that your greatest hero of faith could disappoint you with a belief they have. Stay rooted in Christ, and pray for those you look up to.
I'd love to hear from you and continue the conversation.
What has been your response to all this controversy? What do you believe? Let's have a conversation here in the comments.
David Santistevan is the worship pastor at Allison Park Church in Pittsburgh. For the original article, visit davidsantistevan.com.