P. 1
Why We Should Not Cover-up Scandal6

Why We Should Not Cover-up Scandal6

|Views: 1|Likes:
Published by api-3801194

More info:

Published by: api-3801194 on Oct 17, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

05/09/2014

pdf

text

original

ReI: PR: |H:\Email\Church governance & HP\Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January.

2006

WHY WE SHOULDN`T COVER-UP SCANDAL

By: Philip Rosenthal (Philip(rosenthal.net) Feedback welcome ; Last updated: 25 Dec 06

INTRODUCTION..................................................... 2
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF EXPOSING UNPLEASANT
TRUTH...................................................................... 2
HOW SHOULD ONE DEAL WITH SCANDAL? ............... 3
KNOW WHERE YOU PLACE YOUR LOYALTY.............. 3
WHEN IS IT LEGITIMATE TO WITHHOLD INFORMATION
ON LEADERSHIP SIN?................................................ 4
PERSONAL EXCUSES FOR NOT WANTING TO
DEAL WITH SCANDAL.......................................... 4
YOU ARE OFFENDING ME AND OTHER PEOPLE BY
RAISING THE ISSUE................................................... 4
I DO NOT HAVE THE GIFTING/COURAGE TO STAND UP
TO LEADERSHIP........................................................ 4
WHAT CAN WE DO? I CAN`T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE.
................................................................................ 5
EVERYONE HAS HIS OWN GRIPES WITH THE
ORGANISATION ........................................................ 5
I DON`T UNDERSTAND CHURCH GOVERNANCE......... 5
I JUST SERVE. I DON`T GET INVOLVED IN CHURCH
POLITICS .................................................................. 6
I WAS INNOCENT. BUT DECEIVED BY OTHERS AS TO
WHAT HAPPENED. .................................................... 6
I HAVE TO A CERTAIN EXTENT ALSO COMPROMISED
AND FAILED IN MY DUTY.......................................... 6
PEOPLE GET HURT ISSUES................................. 6
MANY PEOPLE WILL BE HURT BY EXPOSURE OF THE
TRUTH...................................................................... 6
THE ORGANISATION WILL BE HURT BY THE
EXPOSURE OF THE TRUTH......................................... 6
ISN`T CHALLENGING SIN DIVISIVE............................ 7
THE REFORMER/WHISTLEBLOWER WILL BE HURT BY
THE BACKLASH ........................................................ 7
IT`S EMBARRASSING FOR ALL OF US......................... 7
WE HAVE INVESTED SO MUCH IN THE ORGANISATION
THAT WE DON`T WANT TO SEE IT HURT. ................... 7
WE NEED TO PROTECT THE JUNIOR LEADERS AND
NON-LEADERS INVOLVED IN THE SCANDAL.............. 7
WE NEED TO PROTECT THE FAMILIES FROM
COLLATERAL DAMAGE IN THE SCANDAL.................. 8
WE NEED TO PROTECT THE CHURCH FROM THE
SCORN OF THE WORLD ............................................. 8
THE LEADERS WHO SINNED WILL GET HURT............. 8
THE LEADERS WHO SINNED MAY STRUGGLE TO FIND
OTHER JOBS ............................................................. 8
I AM INNOCENT. BUT GETTING HURT BY
ACCUSATIONS AGAINST THE MINISTRY .................... 8
RELATIONSHIPS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN
ANYTHING ELSE ....................................................... 8
PRAGMATIC ARGUMENTS FOR NOT
DEALING WITH SCANDAL.................................. 9
BUT WHO WILL REPLACE OUR LEADER? HE IS THE
ONLY ONE WHO CAN DO IT. ...................................... 9
IT IS TOO DIFFICULT TO CHANGE THE CULTURE OF AN
ORGANISATION......................................................... 9
BUT THE ORGANISATION IS DOING LOTS OF GOOD
WORK....................................................................... 9
IT IS A WASTE OF TIME TALKING TO THESE PEOPLE
DON`T WASTE ANY MORE. ........................................ 9
COMPROMISE IS COMMON.............................. 10
DON`T ALL PEOPLE AND ORGANISATIONS SIN?....... 10
MANY OTHER DENOMINATIONS AND CHURCHES ARE
ALSO COMPROMISED. ............................................. 10
COUNTER ATTACK ON WHISTLEBLOWER. 10
WHY NOT START YOUR OWN
CHURCH/ORGANISATION? ...................................... 10
AREN`T YOU BEING JUDGEMENTAL BY CRITICISING
THE LEADERSHIP AND ORGANISATION.................... 10
WHY DOES THE REFORMER/WHISTLEBLOWER
RATHER NOT CONCENTRATE ON CONSTRUCTIVE
CHRISTIAN WORK` ................................................. 11
CHARACTER ATTACKS ON THE
REFORMER/WHISTLEBLOWER................................. 11
YOU ARE PERSECUTING GOD`S WORK LIKE SAUL
AND THE PHARISEES .............................................. 11
WHY DON`T YOU JUST FORGIVE THE LEADER DON`T
TAKE REVENGE ...................................................... 12
WHY ARE YOU ATTACKING US? ............................. 12
SCRIPTURE TWISTING TO PROMOTE
COVER-UP .............................................................. 12
WE MUST COVER-UP THE NAKEDNESS OF THE
FATHERS AS DID NOAH`S SONS............................... 12
THE EXAMPLE OF SAUL`S SCANDALOUS LIFE AND
TOUCH NOT THE LORD`S ANOINTED` .................... 13
DIDN`T KING DAVID ALSO SIN? ............................. 14
SHOULDN`T EVERYTHING BE FORGIVEN AND
FORGOTTEN AFTER 7 YEARS AS WITH THE O.T. LAW
.............................................................................. 14
TIME RELATED ISSUES...................................... 15
THINGS HAVE IMPROVED SINCE IT HAPPENED ........ 15
IT`S IN THE PAST; IT HAPPENED A LONG TIME AGO
LETS FORGET ABOUT IT AND MOVE ON................... 15
CHURCH GOVERNANCE ISSUES ..................... 15
MEMBERSHIP ARGUMENTS..................................... 15
THE LEADERS MAY HAVE PRIVATELY REPENTED ... 16
WHAT OF SIN IN A FAMILY DOES IT ALSO NEED TO
GO PUBLIC? ............................................................ 16
WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO XYZ HIGHER
AUTHORITY/DENOMINATION/PASTOR/POPE ETC. .... 16
WE OPERATE ON A NEED-TO-KNOW` BASIS........... 16
IT HAS BEEN DEALT WITH/ ITS OUR RESPONSIBILITY
.............................................................................. 17
THIS IS NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY OR DEPARTMENT
(STONEWALLING) .................................................. 17
Whv we shouldnt cover up scandal

ReI: PR: |Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January. 2006

2
YOU ARE NOT A LEADER SO IT IS NONE OF YOUR
BUSINESS ............................................................... 17
OUR MINISTRY IS UNDER NEW AUTHORITY NOW.... 17
GOD`S 1UDGMENT............................................... 18
GOD IS BLESSING THE CHURCH SO IT MUST BE
OKAY..................................................................... 18
GOD HAS ALREADY JUDGED THE LEADERS IN THE
ORGANISATION ...................................................... 18
OTHER ARGUMENTS AGAINST DEALING
WITH SCANDAL.................................................... 19
PROFESSIONAL COUNSELING ETHICS...................... 19
HAVE YOU HAD A SPECIAL WORD FROM THE LORD?
.............................................................................. 19
CHALLENGE.......................................................... 19

Introduction

I have received numerous communications encouraging me to participate in the cover-up oI
leadership hypocrisy. By hypocrisy in organisations. I reIer to serious scandalous issues such as
abortion. Iinancial issues; and marital unIaithIulness. I am not reIerring to the day-to-day sins that
almost all leaders at some time commit. I also do not advocate the publication oI unnecessary
sordid details.

Organisations are not made oI iust one type oI person. although there is a lot oI pressure to conIorm
to the culture oI behaviours and this does inIluence people over the long term. Not everyone in
leadership necessarily knows about the scandal(s) the organisation covers up. One does not want to
discourage good. honest. hard-working. non-abusive Christian leaders because oI the misbehaviour
oI others. Rather than placing all under suspicion. pastors need love. support and encouragement
Irom their congregation. One should not assume a person guilty until there is evidence to prove it
and due process has been Iollowed.

While the need to tell the congregation the truth may be obvious to those outside scandalous
ministries. they are oIten not obvious to those inside them. HopeIully. this writings will help some
people.

It would be nice iI we didn`t have to deal with integrity or heresy problems inside the church. It is
an unIortunate reality that Satan is active inside the church as well as outside it. The great Christian
writer Francis SchaeIIer made the comment that Satan seldom gives us the luxury oI Iighting on iust
one Iront. ThereIore. we need to maintain discipline and accountability to thwart Satan`s work
inside the church.

Everyone must decide whether he is ultimately serving God or man. II the latter. then the reward is
on earth. II a person is serving God. then the reward is in heaven.

Many people participate in cover-up in Christian organisations because oI the natural human
instinct to deIend your own community. Nevertheless. this instinct is misguided when used to
cover up scandal. because the enemy is actually within the organisation not without. What is
needed is moral discipline to deal with such problems.
Arguments in favour of exposing unpleasant truth

I oIIer some principal arguments in Iavour oI the disclosure oI relevant unpleasant truth regarding
scandals in Christian groups:
• 1 Timothy 5:20 Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly. so that the others may take warning.
• The congregation has a right to know what their leaders are doing with their Iinancial and other
support Ior purposes oI accountability and iI necessary the need to make reIorms and staII
changes in the church.
Whv we shouldnt cover up scandal

ReI: PR: |Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January. 2006

3
• Christianity is based on the core value oI truth`. with the metaphor oI light`. Light exposes
evil rather than hides it.
• The Iailure to discipline sin oI leaders was one oI the principal reasons Ior the backsliding oI
Israel in the Old Testament. Examples include Eli and his immoral sons; Samuel and his
corrupt sons; King David and his wicked sons and uncle. The same in the church today.
• Public exposure will make other leaders aIraid to do the same thing. lest they also be exposed.
It will increase the Iear oI God.
• Integrity does matter. Lack oI integrity inevitably aIIects behaviour in other areas oI ministry
such as through abusiveness. worldly competitiveness. elitism. Ialse promises etc.
• II not exposed. good honest leaders will waste much time and money supporting and being
abused and manipulated by those who behave hypocritically.
• When not disciplined. leaders tend to repeat the same sins again.
• Failure to discipline leaders leads to a lowering oI moral standards in the church amongst its
members also.
• We have absolute moral values. That means we must apply them even when it hurts.
• We need integrity in the church to have moral authority in the world.
• We must destroy a culture oI protectionism. where hypocrisy and abusiveness thrives.
• Where a ministry is hypocritical. many will suIIer God`s iudgement. To protect the innocent.
the truth must be exposed. and God`s anger appeased by repentance.
• Followers will be more weary in Iuture oI the speciIic oIIender. to help him prevent repetition
oI the same sins. They will also probably demand stronger accountability Ior all leaders. This
is healthy.
• One must ask what is the purpose or value oI a church or organisation to God`s kingdom iI it is
unwilling to enIorce God`s commands through church discipline.
• The church belongs to God and God is not backing religious Iraud. however successIul it seems.
• God`s blessing and revival depends on repentance Irom sin.

How should one deal with scandal?

Answer:
i. Have a proper investigation in which those involve are Iorced to answer questions
clearly and truthIully.
ii. Discipline and repentance Ior those who have sinned.
iii. ReIorm oI the system oI governance to bring more accountability to repent repetition oI
problems. For example. an unsalaried board oI elders to hold the leadership
accountable.
Know where you place your loyalty

Many organisations develop a tribal type loyalty that in extreme cases is stronger even than their
loyalty to Christ. The Bible makes clear that our loyalty to God must be beIore tribe. Iamily.
organisation. leader or anyone else.

Moses commended the Levites Ior helping resolve the scandal oI the worship oI the golden calI


EX 32.27
Then he said to them. "This is what the LORD. the God of Israel. savs. `Each man strap a
sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other. each killing his
brother and friend and neighbor.´ "
28
The Levites did as Moses commanded. and that dav about
Whv we shouldnt cover up scandal

ReI: PR: |Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January. 2006

4
three thousand of the people died.
29
Then Moses said. "You have been set apart to the LORD todav.
for vou were against vour own sons and brothers. and he has blessed vou this dav."

The law required loyalty to God Iirst to be enIorced.


DT 13.6
If vour verv own brother. or vour son or daughter. or the wife vou love. or vour closest
friend secretlv entices vou. saving. "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods that neither vou nor
vour fathers have known.
7
gods of the peoples around vou. whether near or far. from one end of the
land to the other).
8
do not vield to him or listen to him. Show him no pitv. Do not spare him or
shield him.
9
You must certainlv put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to
death. and then the hands of all the people.
10
Stone him to death. because he tried to turn vou awav
from the LORD vour God. who brought vou out of Egvpt. out of the land of slaverv.
11
Then all
Israel will hear and be afraid. and no one among vou will do such an evil thing again.

Jesus expected his disciples to put loyalty to him beIore loyalty to Iamily:


LK 12.49
"I have come to bring fire on the earth. and how I wish it were alreadv kindled'
50
But I
have a baptism to undergo. and how distressed I am until it is completed'
51
Do vou think I came to
bring peace on earth? No. I tell vou. but division.
52
From now on there will be five in one familv
divided against each other. three against two and two against three.
53
Thev will be divided. father
against son and son against father. mother against daughter and daughter against mother. mother-
in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."

Now this should not be taken out oI context to encourage arbitrary divisiveness or dealing with
scandal without regard Ior due process. but it does mean we put loyalty to Christ and God`s
commands beIore loyalty to our Iriend. organisation or leader.

When is it legitimate to withhold information on leadership sin?

It is legitimate to withhold inIormation on leadership scandalous sin. when:
1. For a reasonable time period. where there is due process oI church discipline by the relevant
authorities.
2. To withhold the gory details` oI sin and avoid pornographic voyeurism.
3. When the sin is not scandalous and one wants to avoid damaging the reputation oI the
leader.
4. When there is not yet suIIicient evidence to prove the case in a church court.
5. The actual sin occurred long beIore the leader got into leadership and he has repented
privately oI it.

PersonaI excuses for not wanting to deaI with scandaI
You are offending me and other people by raising the issue

1. Jesus. most oI the Bible prophets and apostles also oIIended lots oI people (See Matthew 23
Ior example).

2.
PR 27.6
Wounds from a friend can be trusted. but an enemv multiplies kisses.`
I do not have the gifting/courage to stand up to leadership

Whv we shouldnt cover up scandal

ReI: PR: |Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January. 2006

5
One must draw a distinction between the overall responsibility oI the congregation to conIront
hypocrisy and heresy and the personal responsibility oI each individual. Not every individual has
the same ability to handle conIrontation. Nevertheless. those who don`t have such ability should
Iind ways to support those who do. Ior example with prayer. Iinances encouragement etc.

What can we do? I can't make any difference.

You can inIluence a church or denomination to reIorm by:

1. Supporting those parts oI the group that are healthy with your time. presence and money.
rather than those parts which are compromised. For example. go listen to an
uncompromised pastor and support him and his work Iinancially. Do not iust give to the
main pot oI money. where some oI it may be used to Iinancially support compromised or
heretical ministers.

2. Provide pieces oI inIormation and testimony Ior the investigation. Ask questions and report
what you Iind out. Encourage others to do the same.

3. Challenge issues oI compromise or heresy either privately with leaders or in Iorums oI
church governance.

4. II no such Iorums exist. then press Ior the establishment oI such Iorums. This is both your
right and duty as a church or organisation member.

5. Participating in a lobby group within the larger group. which presses Ior integrity and
reIorm within the larger church or denomination.

6. Writing and distributing literature in Iavour oI reIorm and good governance.

7. Contributing Iinancially to help those pressing Ior reIorm.

8. Encouraging good relations with leaders oI other more healthy organisations.

9. II all else Iails. you can vote with your Ieet and Iind a more healthy congregation in or
outside the same denomination.

10. Senior leaders can be encouraged to exercise discipline on others.

Everyone has his own gripes with the organisation

The argument is that everyone has their own personal issues (complaints) with an organisation and
we should inIect others to think negatively with our personal issues.

Answer 1: We must distinguish between personal Irustrations and maior scandal. Personal gripes
should be dealt with as privately as possible. Scandal can`t be dealt quietly as it aIIects everyone.

Answer 2: Lack oI integrity in an organisation will have secondary eIIects oI causing multiple
people harm and Irustrations. since God`s blessing will be withdrawn and Satan`s demons will
move in. Solve the integrity problems and you will solve a lot oI other problems at the same time.
Whv we shouldnt cover up scandal

ReI: PR: |Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January. 2006

6
I don't understand church governance

Okay. Just pray and keep out oI leadership. Study the issue in the mean time.
I just serve. I don't get involved in church politics

Answer 1: Be careIul. You can keep out oI a lot oI church politics. but iI you try ignore scandal
you can end up compromising your integrity. Be careIul to distinguish between cowardice and
genuine lack oI ability. Do what you can. even iI it means you lose your position.

Answer 2: II you don`t have the guts to conIront sin. you should keep out oI senior leadership.
I was innocent, but deceived by others as to what happened.

Okay. Then help bring out the truth so more people are not deceived.

I have to a certain extent also compromised and failed in my duty

II you have to a certain extent also compromised and Iailed in your duty. then you need to repent. II
you did so in a leadership capacity. you should to so publicly to the people you Iailed. Your Iailure
should not be an excuse to lower standards and let everyone else oII as well. Your views and
actions should not be used as a benchmark Ior values. Rather the Bible should be.

Nevertheless. one should draw a distinction between personal responsibility oI an individual and
community responsibility oI the group. The community responsibility is the responsibility oI the
group to God. It is primarily with the leaders. but also to a lesser extent with other parties who are
aware oI the Iacts.

PeopIe get hurt issues
Many people will be hurt by exposure of the truth

It is true that some people might be hurt by exposure oI the truth. Nevertheless. iI handled
correctly. such hurt will be short term. II hypocrisy in an organisation is not dealt with. the people
and especially younger leaders will be hurt much more seriously by the spread oI hypocrisy.
spiritual backsliding and double standards. The longer it takes to discover the truth. the more
people will get hurt. More people will get hurt iI there is no repentance.
The organisation will be hurt by the exposure of the truth

It is true that an organisation will be hurt by exposure oI scandalous truth.

1. Nevertheless. iI the procedure is handled well and leaders are cooperative with the
disciplinary process. then that damage should not prove Iatal to the organisation. Even iI it
does prove Iatal. God can resurrect something good aIterwards. II the leaders do not
cooperate with the disciplinary process. then the chances oI a good recovery are much less.

2. Nevertheless. our loyalty to the truth oI the gospel has to be greater than our loyalty to an
organisation no matter how much good it is doing.

Whv we shouldnt cover up scandal

ReI: PR: |Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January. 2006

7
3. Church members. barring those very young. need to be treated like adults and not as small
children. who have inIormation hidden Irom them.

4. On the same basis oI protecting the organisation you could say that scandal such as Iraud in
business should be covered up to protect investors Irom getting hurt by the Iraud discovery.
It is a bad reason.

5. A smaller organisation with integrity is better than a bigger organisation without integrity.
Isn't challenging sin divisive

Yes challenging sin is divisive unless the oIIender has a good response such as Peter in the book oI
Galatians and repents immediately. There are good and bad reasons Ior division. Scandal is a good
reason to cause division. although we should seek to try to limit damage and repair it as Iast as
possible aIter exposure.

The reformer/whistleblower will be hurt by the backlash

It is true that the whistleblower may be hurt by the backlash. Nevertheless. iI he Iollows due
biblical procedure (Matthew 18 and 1 Timothy 5). then he is innocent.

Jesus set an example Ior us to copy in his conIrontation oI religious hypocrisy. He suIIered the
backlash on the cross. Nevertheless. that is the example we are called to Iollow. Furthermore.
almost all the great reIormers oI the reIormation and church history suIIered a similar Iate.

Furthermore. the same backlash has been encountered by all the prophets beIore us and the Lord
has promised a special reward Ior such people in heaven (
MT 5.11
"Blessed are vou when people
insult vou. persecute vou and falselv sav all kinds of evil against vou because of me.
12
Reioice and
be glad. because great is vour reward in heaven. for in the same wav thev persecuted the prophets
who were before vou.).
It's embarrassing for all of us

Christ`s interests are more important than your interests. The purity oI his church must come Iirst
not our embarrassment.

We have invested so much in the organisation that we don't want to see it hurt.

1. Did you do it Ior God or Ior the organisation? Do you want reward in heaven or on earth?
II you did it Ior God. then you will chose loyalty to God rather than loyalty to the
organisation. II you did it Ior the organisation. then you will get your reward Irom men.
Don`t expect to get anything Irom God in heaven.
2. II you invested so much. then why not invest some more in a disciplinary process to protect
your earlier investment against corruption.
3. Your resources belong to God. II one place is not serving kingdom interests. then invest the
rest oI your time and money elsewhere.

Whv we shouldnt cover up scandal

ReI: PR: |Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January. 2006

8
We need to protect the junior leaders and non-leaders involved in the scandal

For example. we need to protect the women who may have had aIIairs with a senior leader.

Answer 1: Anyone who gets involved in a scandal with a church leader IorIeits their right to
privacy.
Answer 2: It is possible to keep the name oI the non-leader secret. while publicly rebuking the
leader.

We need to protect the families from collateral damage in the scandal

II the oIIender(s) cooperate with discipline and repent. the damage can be minimised. II not. they
will repeat the same oIIence and hurt their Iamilies more.

We need to protect the church from the scorn of the world

Answer 1: God is more concerned with holiness than with reputation.
Answer 2: There is no obligation to go to the media. and this is not a good idea anyway. but one
will seldom stop them Iinding out.
Answer 3: II proper discipline is exercised. damage is minimised and the world will oIten respect
this.

The leaders who sinned will get hurt.
Bad argument

We don`t want to tarnish the reputation oI leaders by hanging out dirty laundry`.
Response

Scandal is serious and not in the category oI dirty laundry`. They have lost their reputation. II they
repent. they will recover and be better oII spiritually. II they have sinned. they deserve to get hurt.
The leaders who sinned may struggle to find other jobs

They should have thought about that beIore they compromised their integrity. You can help them
Iind iobs and give skills training they need to do other things.

I am innocent, but getting hurt by accusations against the ministry

Okay. so why not support the investigation and disciplinary process and so clear yourselI.

Relationships are more important than anything else

Whv we shouldnt cover up scandal

ReI: PR: |Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January. 2006

9
Not quite true. The primary issue is people`s relationship with God not with each other. God
demands we obey his moral absolute standards and enIorce them in the church. II that hurts
relationships. well that is the cost oI obedience. Relationships with other people are not absolutes.

Pragmatic arguments for not deaIing with scandaI
But who will replace our leader? He is the only one who can do it.

It is not acceptable to support a leader who acts without integrity simply because he is the only one
who appears able to lead. Such leaders oIten try to engineer such a situation by getting rid oI
possible rivals.

1. Not all discipline requires a leaders resignation. In some cases. repentance is suIIicient. In
others they may return aIter a time oI rehabilitation.

2. A committee can be set up with representatives Irom various parts oI the church to search
Ior a new leader. People can be considered Irom inside or outside the organisation.

3. Find an interim leader to keep things going until a permanent one can be Iound or the
rehabilitation process is complete.

It is too difficult to change the culture of an organisation

The ReIormation in Europe is prooI that organisational culture can be radically changed.
Nevertheless. it takes courage and lots hard work. II historical reIormers are our heroes. then we
should copy their examples today.

But the organisation is doing lots of good work

1. The Kingdom oI God is about righteousness and integrity. which means applying such
values Iirst to ourselves; then to Christian organisations and lastly to society. II we do not
maintain integrity. we are building on sand or to use another Biblical metaphor building
with wood. hay and straw rather than gold. silver and costly stones. Good work does not
iustiIy hypocrisy.

2. Success measurable in worldly terms is not prooI oI God`s blessing. Plenty oI heretical
churches have rapid growth rates. Growth and activity does not mean the work honours
God.

3. When leaders compromise. organisations to start to rot like a large oak tree Irom the inside
out. They can still continue to grow Ior a while. but iI not dealt with. the rot will spread till it
aIIects the whole tree.
It is a waste of time talking to these people - don't waste any more.

1. They don`t want to listen

Answer: II they don`t want to talk or listen. then let them explain to their own congregation. I.e.
go public with the Iacts.
Whv we shouldnt cover up scandal

ReI: PR: |Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January. 2006

10

2. It is a waste oI time talking to these people they are already compromised

Answer: This is a pessimistic view. II people repent. God can restore them. Nevertheless. God
oIten delays iudgement to give oIIenders a chance to repent. II they don`t it will speed his
iudgement on them.

In response to all oI the above pragmatic arguments. one can use the response that the church is not
a business and Christians are not meant to take decisions pragmatically. but biblically.

Compromise is common
Don't all people and organisations sin?

Yes. all people and organisations sin. Nevertheless. Iirstly in this instance. it is the sin oI leaders
that is oI concern. Secondly. it is serious and scandalous sin that is being discussed here. not the
common sins we all commit every day.
Many other denominations and churches are also compromised.

It is true that many other denominations and churches are also compromised. both in teaching and
practice.

1. The compromise and heresy oI other churches is primarily the responsibility oI members oI
those churches to address. You have a responsibility to address the problem in your own
group or alternatively leave that group and Iind one you can support without protest.

2. Many denominations have internal lobby groups that press Ior reIorm. For example.
Roman Catholic FaithIul`. in the Catholic Church and Anglican Mainstream` in the
Anglican Church. Historically. people such as St Francis oI Assisi have succeeded in
bringing reIorm to a compromised and corrupt church. We need more such lobby groups.

3. We should not lower standards and copying the compromise oI more compromised
denominations. but rather set an example oI righteousness and good discipline.

Counter attack on whistIebIower
Why not start your own church/organisation?

1. The option oI starting a new organisation is a good one in some instances. Nevertheless. not
everyone has the ability or calling to do so.
2. The new group is not going to be perIect either and is open to the risk that scandal may
develop inside it or that there may be backsliding. Then it will also need internal discipline.
3. Why spend years building an organisation and then abandon the investment when it starts to
backslide or gets into scandal. There has to be a way to repair damage.

Aren't you being judgemental by criticising the leadership and organisation

The Bible encourages us to iudge under some circumstances and discourages in others. This is a
complex issue. For example:
Whv we shouldnt cover up scandal

ReI: PR: |Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January. 2006

11
• We need to iudge based on good evidence.
• We need to Iollow due procedure (Matthew 18) to try resolve issues to minimise damage.
• We need to iudge according to scripture.
• We need to Iairly and equitably apply it.
• We need to limit our iudgement. For example. we do not have a right to make a Iinal
assessment oI a person`s character. which is God`s iob. We can however iudge others actions.
• We need to mix it with mercy.

Nevertheless. scandalous behaviour oI leaders and Christian organisations is a public issue. Ior
which Iollowers must exercise good iudgement.


Why does the reformer/whistleblower rather not concentrate on 'constructive
Christian work'

1. In most cases. whistleblowers are IaithIul and productive in their own area oI work.

2. It would be hypocritical to speak up against evil in society. whilst not doing so in their own
organisations.

3. Jesus set an example Ior both positive/constructive` and negative/disciplinary` work by his
positive` ministry oI healing and teaching as well as his negative` work oI casting out
devils; arguing with the Pharisees and driving the money changers out oI the temple. It is
cowardly and hypocritical to only do work Ior which people will praise us and not that
which is hard and unpleasant.

4. The purity oI the church and credibility oI the gospel is a top priority.
Character attacks on the reformer/whistleblower

These are sadly. the most common result oI leaders or an organisation trying to deIend itselI. For
example. they may try to re-Irame the conIlict as a personal issue oI the reIormer/whistleblower or
as a relational conIlict between the reIormer and the oIIenders. Thus the real issues get ignored.
For example. the investigator may be accused oI being a maverick or not under authority`.

They should be seen Ior what they are: an attempt to discredit the credibility oI the witness. People
should not be distracted by them. Nor should whistleblowers waste too much time replying to such
attacks.
You are persecuting God's work like Saul and the Pharisees

Answer: Whose behaviour is like the Pharisees?

The principle criticism that the New Testament has oI the Pharisees was their hypocrisy. not their
zeal.

I would not understand how it is possible to construe holding leaders accountable Ior their actions
as 'persecution oI the ministry' or 'Iighting against God's work' or compare with Saul oI Tarsus.

Whv we shouldnt cover up scandal

ReI: PR: |Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January. 2006

12
Firstly. Saul's persecution was against innocent people and secondly it involved throwing them in
iail etc. I have done neither. Challenging leaders to answer questions relating to the integrity oI the
ministry is not persecution. That is the right oI everyone who is or has been associated with the
ministry.

Leaders can experience trouble Ior doing good or Ior doing evil. Matthew 5.12 "Blessed are vou
when people insult vou. persecute vou and falselv sav all kinds of evil against vou because of me. 12
Reioice and be glad. because great is vour reward in heaven. for in the same wav thev persecuted
the prophets who were before vou. MT 5.13 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its
saltiness. how can it be made saltv again? It is no longer good for anvthing. except to be thrown out
and trampled bv men".

In the instance oI scandalous ministries. it appears the second category. The salt appears to have
lost its saltiness. I would hope to be proved wrong. but that is what I observe. In the case oI the
one conIronting scandal. persecution is in the Iirst category. which is persecution Ior doing good -
and thus I should reioice at criticism expecting great reward in heaven.

By the same standard. you could construe Jesus conIrontation oI the Pharisees in Matthew 23 as
'Jesus persecuting the Pharisees'. But this is not the case. He conIronted hypocrisy and the
Pharisees persecuted Jesus. He used much stronger language than I have.

The credibility oI not iust one ministry. but the gospel itselI is at stake.

Why don't you just forgive the leader - don't take revenge

Scandalous leaders are oIten also abusive.
PR 9.7
"Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult,
whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse.¨ Nevertheless. regardless oI their behaviour. the
primary issue is scandal. This is a public and not a personal issue. You must Iorgive sinIul
behaviour. but also conIront it and demand repentance.

Why are you attacking us?
Trying to hold a ministry morally accountable and reIorm it using responsible due procedure is not
attacking the ministry. The devil attacks a ministry through compromise.

Scripture twisting to promote cover-up
We must cover-up the nakedness of the fathers as did Noah's sons
Heretical argument
The argument has been used by scandalous leaders. based on a misapplication oI Genesis 9:20-26


GE 9.20
Noah. a man of the soil. proceeded
n
to plant a vinevard.
21
When he drank some of its wine.
he became drunk and lav uncovered inside his tent.
22
Ham. the father of Canaan. saw his father´s
nakedness and told his two brothers outside.
23
But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it
across their shoulders, then thev walked in backward and covered their father´s nakedness. Their
faces were turned the other wav so that thev would not see their father´s nakedness.
GE 9.24
When
Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his voungest son had done to him.
25
he said.
"Cursed be Canaan' The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers."
GE 9.26
He also said.
Whv we shouldnt cover up scandal

ReI: PR: |Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January. 2006

13
"Blessed be the LORD. the God of Shem' Mav Canaan be the slave of Shem. Whv are vou
attacking us?`

Now the heretical interpretation oI this passage is that we should Iollow the example oI Shem and
Ham in covering up the sins oI church leaders. in order to escape the curse that came on Canaan Ior
exposing sin.
Response

Firstly. the passage describes an event that occurred. It does not command us to do the same or live
in Iear oI the same happening to us. It is descriptive rather than prescriptive. Secondly. the
situation involves some serious diIIerences Irom that oI Ior example covering up a sex-scandal
involving a church leader. Elders are required to set an example oI a higher standard oI behaviour
than the level oI strictness and discipline that would be applied to an ordinary Christian. Noah was
not a church elder. Thirdly. through Iaith in Christ. we have protection against curses and so should
not Iear the curses oI wicked men iI we are IaithIul to Christ and pray Ior his protection.

We should not go around spreading slander on the smaller occasional sins oI church leaders and so
undermine them. but when there is serious or habitual sin. then it must be conIronted and
disciplined.
The example of Saul's scandalous life and 'Touch not the Lord's anointed'
Heretical argument

Saul was a backslidden king. nevertheless. he was honoured because oI his anointing despite his
behaviour. The Iollowing scriptures are sometimes quoted by those who Iavour scandal cover-up.
as reason to honour leaders who live hypocritically.

1SA 26.9
But David said to Abishai. "Don´t destrov him' Who can lav a hand on the LORD's anointed
and be guiltless?
10
As surelv as the LORD lives." he said. "the LORD himself will strike him, either
his time will come and he will die. or he will go into battle and perish.
11
But the LORD forbid that I
should lav a hand on the LORD's anointed. Now get the spear and water iug that are near his
head. and let´s go."

Based on the above scripture. it is argued that one should never ever attack a leader anointed bv
God. The success oI the leader in ministry and the status he demands is given as prooI oI his
anointing`.

2SA 1.19
"Your glorv. O Israel. lies slain on vour heights. How the mightv have fallen'
2SA 1.20
"1ell
it not in Cath. proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon. lest the daughters of the Philistines be
glad. lest the daughters of the uncircumcised reioice.

Based on the above scripture. it is argued we should keep things quiet so that the unbelievers don`t
Iind out and reioice at the scandal.


1SA 31.11
When the people of Jabesh Gilead heard of what the Philistines had done to Saul.
12
all
their valiant men iourneved through the night to Beth Shan. 1hev took down the bodies of Saul and
his sons from the wall of Beth Shan and went to Jabesh. where thev burned them.
13
Then thev took
their bones and buried them under a tamarisk tree at Jabesh. and thev fasted seven davs.

Whv we shouldnt cover up scandal

ReI: PR: |Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January. 2006

14
Based on the above. it is argued that we should not expose the truth oI the scandalous leaders
behaviour to the public. even aIter he is removed Iorm oIIice.

Response

Regarding not harming the Lords anointed`. we see the counter-example oI Phinehas being
commended as an example oI righteousness Ior endless generations Ior his action against a sexually
immoral Israelite tribal leader. (Psalm 106:30-31 and Numbers 25:6-12). Now we should bear in
mind that Phinehas was a legitimate iudge oI Israel and so was not iust a lone assassin. He operated
within the constraints oI God`s law. It is not acceptable Ior a member to simply attack a senior
leader. but it is acceptable to Iollow due process oI church discipline to bring that leader to iustice.

What David avoided doing was taking personal revenge on a personal enemy. outside the
boundaries oI the law. This is not the same as insisting on due process oI discipline and
accountability oI a leader. ThereIore those who quote Don`t harm the Lord`s anointed` as meaning
anointed church leaders have diplomatic immunity to behave as they wish are twisting and
misapplying scripture. Furthermore. a leader who has gotten into scandalous sin such as adultery
has lost his Holy Spirit anointing. The Holy Spirit is holy` and doesn`t anoint scandalous
oIIenders.

Regarding not giving the pagans inIormation on sins within the church. We should not voluntarily
give them inIormation. Ior example by going to the secular media with inIormation oI scandal
within the church. Rather we should try to deal with it through due process within the Christian
community. Nevertheless. iI the secular media Iinds out. that is too bad. II they have already Iound
out. then it is oIten necessary to comment to avoid the impression that we approve oI such
behaviour.

Regarding. burying the body oI the Iallen leader as metaphor oI not exposing his sins to the world.
This is allegorical interpretation oI scripture. which Martin Luther commented was like a wax nose
you can twist any way you like. There may be some truth in the argument. but it can`t be derived
Irom the scripture. Nevertheless. such argument isn`t strong enough to stop the truthIul disclosure
when there are other good reasons to do so Ior example iI the leader was assisted by others in the
cover up.
Didn't King David also sin?

Yes. David did sin and brought disastrous civil war on Israel through both his own sin and his
Iailure to punish oIIenders in his own Iamily. We need to heed this bad example and not Iollow it
either in sinning ourselves or tolerating sin in those close to us or in powerIul positions.
Shouldn't everything be forgiven and forgotten after 7 years as with the O.T. law
Bad argument
It is argued that since the Old Testament law allowed Ior a cancelling oI debts aIter seven years
(Deuteronomy 15:1). so sins oI the organisation should be Iorgotten when they are seven years old.
Response
The scripture is torn out oI context. It is meant to apply to Old Testament economics. It was never
interpreted to be applied to sins against God either in the Old or the New Testament. Daniel
Whv we shouldnt cover up scandal

ReI: PR: |Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January. 2006

15
conIessed the sins oI his Israelite Iathers 70 years to hundreds oI years aIter they were committed
by the nation (Daniel 9:5).

Time reIated issues
Things have improved since it happened

Okay. Good. But spiritual issues are not remedied until there is repentance; and structural issues are
not remedied until there is reIorm.

It's in the past; It happened a long time ago - lets forget about it and move on

Variations oI the same idea are that:
- iI it is in the past we should Iorget about it.
- because it happened long ago we should not bring it up now.
- because many people in the church oI that time have leIt. then it is no longer necessary to
apologise to them Ior the sins.
- The most extreme version oI this is that someone will only intervene while a sin is actually
happening. but not aIter it has stopped.

1. Unrepented sin is likely to be repeated. II sin oI leadership is not repented oI. God will not
bless a church. They will never be in his perIect will.
2. II those who were involved in the oIIence or cover-up are still in leadership. their
competence to lead is in question.
3. Does this mean that we reward those who succeed with long term cover up? The Iact that a
long term scandal cover up is possible in an organisation proves that the culture is
dangerously unhealthy and needs reIorm.
4. II the organisation thinks cover-up is okay. then one must ask what sandals may be
happening now that will only come into the open long in the Iuture.
5. The scriptures show numerous examples oI public repentance Ior sins that occurred not iust
in the past. but in previous generations. Sin is not removed until it is repented oI.
6. II most oI the original people have leIt. then the apology should be public and it will get
back to the relevant people through the organisations grape vine oI relationship and/or the
media.
7. The concept oI not intervening aIter a sin has happened is contrary to all biblical iustice. It
also makes discipline almost impossible. since it would be very diIIicult to catch an
adulterer in the act. Further. the oIIender can always iust say he has repented and then
everything would at that point be Iorgotten about.

The argument is garbage.

Church governance issues
Membership arguments
Heretical argument
Two parallel arguments are used to try disqualiIy people Irom asking questions:
• Members who ask hard questions are told they should trust the leaders. Asking hard questions
demonstrates distrust. II they don`t. they should leave the church. Members are told the
leaders are not accountable to them.
Whv we shouldnt cover up scandal

ReI: PR: |Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January. 2006

16
• Members who leave the church are told that since they have leIt. they no longer have any
business asking questions about the church.
Needless to say. the result oI these two parallel disqualiIications is that nobody in or outside the
church has the right to ask hard questions oI the leaders.
Response
These two arguments are both nonsense. Firstly. since we are all sinIul. a certain degree oI distrust
oI leaders is healthy and should not be taken as insulting or a disqualiIication Irom membership. II
leaders have nothing to hide. they should answer the questions. Leaders should be prepared to
answer questions oI their Iollowers.

Secondly. all Christians are part oI the broader body oI Christ. and are accountable to everyone else.
II a sector oI the church claims it is unaccountable to the rest. then it is behaving in a cult-like
manner. Churches should also be accountable especially to those who have invested eIIort in
building that church. such as past members.
The leaders may have privately repented

Private repentance is appropriate in cases where the sin is minor and oI a private nature and the
damage minor or where the oIIender is not in leadership. Nevertheless. in an instance where the sin
is serious and the damage serious and the oIIenders are in leadership. then the issue must be dealt
with publicly (1 Timothy 5:20). II a leader cannot survive the exposure oI truth about his behaviour
to his Iollowers. then he shouldn`t be in leadership anyway. II in the case oI serious leadership sin.
there has not been public repentance. then true repentance has not happened.

I thereIore ask all to support me in the process oI determining and exposing the truth. whilst gaining
the repentance oI those who have violated Biblical values.
What of sin in a family - does it also need to go public?

No. II Ior example a man who is not in leadership commits adultery. then his Iamily has a right to
know. but the whole church does not need to know. II he repents. the secret can stay in the Iamily
and their spiritual supporters. Nevertheless. iI he does not repent. then he must be publicly shamed
and expelled Irom the church. Nevertheless. sin oI leaders is something totally diIIerent and aIIects
the integrity oI the whole church.
We are accountable to XYZ higher authority/denomination/pastor/pope etc.

Answer:
II the higher authority covers up and reIuses to deal with scandal. then they are in deIault oI their
biblical obligations. They also need to apologise Ior their behaviour. Also there needs to be some
investigation to Iind out why they don`t want to deal with issues. Do they also have integrity
problems or do they lack courage or understanding oI Bible teaching. Whatever is the problem it
needs to be remedied.
We operate on a 'need-to-know' basis

II the issue is doing something good. but illegal like smuggling Bibles into China. then there may be
some iustiIication Ior a need to know` policy. But iI the issue is sexual morality oI Christian
leaders or the Iinancial management oI the organisation. openness and transparency should be the
policy.
Whv we shouldnt cover up scandal

ReI: PR: |Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January. 2006

17
It has been dealt with/ Its our responsibility
Bad argument
Leaders argue that they have dealt with the issue and it is not the responsibility oI the investigator.
Response
II Ior example. a leader is an adulterer and managed somehow to stay in oIIice. then the issue has
not been dealt with. II it has been dealt with. then you as a member or Iriend oI the ministry have a
right to ask how it was dealt with. Discipline oI leaders is a public issue (1 Timothy 5:20). It is not
in the same category as the personal private sin oI a church member.

Further. the views oI the organisations hierarchy should not overrule that oI scripture. The
members have a responsibility to hold them accountable to scripture. It is a big mistake to use the
hierarchy as ones sole ethical guide. One also needs to read the scriptures and consult with others
Iamiliar with the scriptures.

This is not my responsibility or department (Stonewalling)
Bad argument tactic
A bad argument tactic oI a scandalous ministry is Ior each leader to claim it is not his responsibility
to deal with scandal allegations. He then sends the enquirer to speak to a diIIerent leader. who then
reIers the enquirer to someone else. Eventually. the investigator gets worn out and tired oI going
around in circles and quits investigating.
Response
An allegation oI Ior example Iinancial or sexual scandal or bloodguilt scandal is suIIiciently serious
that any leader in a ministry that is approached needs to take some responsibility Ior it. They
should go with the enquirer to the other responsible leader.

You are not a leader - so it is none of your business
Bad argument
The enquirer is told he is not a leader so it is none oI his business.
Response
A scandal involving church leadership is a public issue according to 1 Timothy 5:20. It is not
meant to be dealt with iust by leaders. Members must hold their leaders accountable. Matthew 18
gives any two Christians the authority to investigate an allegation. They do not need to be leaders.
Our ministry is under new authority now
Bad argument
Since the ministry is under new authority. issues that took place under the old authority are no
longer relevant.
Response

Whv we shouldnt cover up scandal

ReI: PR: |Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January. 2006

18
The argument is bad on a number oI diIIerent grounds. Firstly. organisations don`t necessarily
change overnight iust because there is new authority. Old people and practices are usually still
around. Secondly. even iI there has been maior change. it still needs to deal with the sin against
God iI it was not handled in the way he prescribes.

God's judgment
God is blessing the church - so it must be okay

Since the organisation was successIul and grew aIter the scandal. then God must have blessed it and
so must have accepted the scandalous behaviour. Or since there appears to be such spiritual things
happening at the meetings. God must approve.

Answer 1: Be careIul to distinguish between successIul organisation and God`s blessing. Lots oI
cults are growing Iast and have dynamic leaders and ministries but it is not God`s blessing.

Answer 2: God blessed the Israelites in the wilderness despite their rebellion. but this is not the
same type oI blessing as they received on entering the promised land.

Answer 3: God is more interested in obedience than pragmatic success.
God has already judged the leaders in the organisation
Bad argument

The argument is that it is not our iob to iudge the leaders in the organisation. since God will do it.

Response

1. It is true that God will iudge leaders who sin. Nevertheless. one oI the methods he uses to
do so is Church discipline and Ior that he expects our support and cooperation not cover
up.
1CO 5.12
What business is it of mine to iudge those outside the church? Are vou not to
judge those inside?
13
God will iudge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among
vou."

2. Many innocent people will be iudged by God along with the guilty parties. even iI they are
unaware oI the reason Ior the iudgement. By disciplining the guilty. we help protect the
innocent Irom God`s iudgement. See the example oI how the storm died down aIter the
rebellious Jonah was thrown overboard.

3. There is no reason to think that God`s iudgment will stop until it is repented oI. There is an
obligation on the whole church to support the investigation and disciplinary process against
oIIending leaders.

Whv we shouldnt cover up scandal

ReI: PR: |Why we shouldn't cover-up scandal6.doc| 25 January. 2006

19
Other arguments against deaIing with scandaI
Professional counseling ethics
Bad argument

In terms oI proIessional ethics. a counselor to whom the scandalous pastor conIesses must keep the
conIession conIidential.
Response

ProIessional conIidentiality is not absolute. For example. a counselor is required by law to report
any conIessions oI pedophilia. because this puts children at risk oI abuse. Similarly. a pastor who is
in gross hypocrisy such as adultery has disqualiIied himselI Irom oIIice and is a spiritual risk to his
congregation. ThereIore. there is a duty on the counselor to warn the congregation oI such a
spiritual wolI in sheep`s clothing.

Have you had a special word from the Lord?
Bad argument

The argument is that one should not expose scandal unless the Lord has through a speciIic personal
word told you to do so.
Response

The scripture commands us to discipline leaders in 1 Timothy 5:20. We do not need a speciIic
personal word Irom the Lord`. God has already said it. In Iact. even amongst the most spiritual
people. almost all decisions made need to be made on the basis oI common sense and scripture
not through some special word oI knowledge`.

ChaIIenge

Can anybody else think oI any other arguments in Iavour oI covering up sandal? Any questions.
Please email to me at Philip(rosenthal.net . II not. please take your side in Iavour oI moral
discipline in Christian organisations. when dealing with integrity problems in leadership.

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->