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Grace and the Church (Monday with Mounce 59)
I was going to
write a Greek-oriented blog post on ποιημα, but I saw an interview on TV a couple days ago
and I can’t stop thinking about it, and I need your input to help me
It was an
interview on the Mike Huckabee Report (http://mikehuckabee.com/).
He interviewed Gayle Haggard, the wife of pastor Ted Haggard and author of Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour. Her
husband was the founder of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado
Springs and was president of the National Association of Evangelicals. If you
don’t already know, he admitted to an incident with a male prostitute.
talking to her mostly about forgiveness. He asked what was the most painful
thing that happened. Her answer was fascinating.
learning of the event was painful. Her children’s loss of dignity was hurtful.
She said that she had received many kind and encouraging emails from homosexual
men and Christians, and many cruel and hateful emails from homosexual men and
Christians. Her conclusion: people are
But the event
that hurt the most was their forced separation from the church and the people
that they had loved for 22 years.
I don’t want to
get into a debate of the incident or any of the particulars. But I do have one
question for you. Isn’t the church, of all places, supposed to be the single
greatest place of grace and healing and forgiveness? Yes, there are
consequences to sin. Yes, there is loss of trust. Yes, betrayal is hard.
But where were
they to turn? Where were they to go? Where were they to look for help in
personal and corporate reconciliation?
Again, let me
emphasize that I don’t know the details of what or how the church handled the
situation, but I find myself scratching my head wondering why they were not
allowed contact with the very body of Christ that should have been the greatest
source of joy and comfort and grace and confrontation and love and discipline.
Should not those of us who have truly received God’s grace in Christ Jesus be
the first and the best at extending grace to others? Did not Jesus come to call
sinners to repentance?
I am sure there
are many good churches out there. But in the last two years I have heard
hundreds of stories that make me nauseous, stories that show how hundreds of
churches know nothing of grace.
conclusion is that if a person is incapable of extending grace to others, that
he or she has never truly experienced God’s personal grace in their life.
Why oh why are so
many of our churches devoid of the one thing that should distinguish us from
the rest of world: grace. I would like to hear from you why.
The question is
William D. [Bill] Mounce posts
every Monday about the Greek language, exegesis, and related topics at
Koinonia. He is the author of numerous books, including the bestselling
Basics of Biblical Greek (third edition coming in 2009!), and general editor for Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of the Old and New Testament Words.
He served as the New Testament chair of the English Standard Version
Bible translation. Learn more and visit Bill's blog (co-authored with
scholar and his father Bob Mounce) at www.billmounce.com.
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