Theology Corner

Addressing commonly asked questions about Christianity from the perspective of a non-theologian

24. DOES GOD OVERLOOK THE SIN OF CHRISTIAN LEADERS?

Does God overlook sin, for the greater good of the Christian community, when it is committed by leaders in that community? Does He side with those who would shield a church or denomination from scandal or embarrassment? What does Scripture say on this issue? Scripture ruthlessly reveals the sins of great men and women of God – Noah lay drunk and naked in his tent, Abraham claimed Sarah was his sister, Sarah attempted to hide her laughter, Isaac imitated his father's lie, Jacob cheated his brother, Moses angrily struck the rock, Aaron made a gold idol, Joshua did not drive out the Canaanites, Gideon made an ephod, Samson lived a licentious life, David had Uriah murdered, Solomon worshipped other gods, Elijah became utterly despondent and Peter refused to eat with gentile Christians. Scripture never exercises cover up toward sin even when that sin is committed by one whom God has appointed as one of His earthly emissaries.

Given all the snares and pitfalls of life, the power of Satan and the weakness of the human soul, the best path for a Christian is one of daily confession and renewal. Even the full reception of sanctifying grace does not imply that one needs no longer to ask forgiveness or seek the intercession of Christ. The Christian life is precisely the daily dying to sin and living to pursue righteousness that constitutes a life of repentance, faith and obedience continually reaffirmed and renewed. Who can say, "I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin." especially in connection with human infirmities, sins of surprise, errors of judgment and moral misperceptions? There are no liturgies of classical Christianity that fail to offer confession of sin. This does not place the way of holiness out of reach for believers, but puts believers constantly on the path of daily confession and renewal.