In a Christianity Today article last week, one Christian researcher predicts church services today will include a significant fallout resulting from the revelation of those using Ashley Madison, the adult website that encourages and facilitates marital infidelity. (This is the same site that revealed two accounts for TV star and family values advocate, Josh Duggar.)
"Based on my conversations with leaders from several denominations in the U.S. and Canada, I estimate that at least 400 church leaders (pastors, elders, staff, deacons, etc.) will be resigning Sunday. This is a significant moment of embarrassment for the church—and it should be," says Ed Stetzer, the executive director of LifeWay Research, and a well-regarded expert on church leadership.
I'm sure it will inevitably include others like Duggar, who preach about the "sins" of others, those who call for moral purity, promote the sanctity of (1 man + 1 woman) marriage and insist on Biblical obedience.
I hurt for the churches, parishes, synagogues and places of worship that will be impacted by this devastating news. Church members will learn that the ones chosen to lead...the ones they've loved and trusted...have failed. Worse, they've lied!
I recognize that we all have the expectation of online privacy in our virtual activities, but a history of network breaches and hacks should convince us that's never guaranteed.
"Light" has a way of exposing "darkness."
And it again confirms what I've said for years: when you hear a preacher/minister/politician consistently and persistently passionate about what OTHERS are doing privately, it's a clear indication the person pointing the finger is having struggles in their private life, and seeking to divert attention! Instead of being outraged about the immorality of their targeted "sinners," we should ask ourselves: What are they hiding? Why is this such a concern for them?
I'm typically NOT a fan of "outing" anyone's personal/private life. I am certainly not seeking to add to their shame. It's another sad indication of an extreme religious system where leaders demand behavior of others, but not themselves. It's hypocrisy, and should be brought out in the open. Only "light" can drive out "darkness."
Though, if we've learned anything from past examples, there will be much effort and expense employed to cover it all back up.
I hope that's not permitted!
I hope the transgressions will not be ignored.
I pray for peace, mercy, grace, compassion and love for all the congregations impacted today.
Leaders are human, and they fail; God is our Source!