It’s High Time for a Holy Housecleaning

For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?—1 Peter 4:17 (NIV)

Ravi Zacharias, Johnny Hunt, Tony Evans, Robert Morris: The list of prominent Christian leaders accused of sexual misconduct keeps growing.   It is sickening, disheartening and an affront to the cause of Christ, especially in light of the responses among the accused.

Zacharias went to his grave proclaiming his innocence, only for mounds of photos, texts and proof of payoffs to appear after his passing. Hunt continues to claim his sexual sin was consensual. Meanwhile, Evans, a man I long respected, stepped down because of an unidentified sin committed years ago. This naturally  makes me wonder whether someone is finally about to come forward with allegations. And let’s not forget Morris, who referred to his sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl as “inappropriate sexual behavior” with a “young lady.”

An epidemic

Such accounts are by no means isolated to prominent men, large churches or specific denominations, though large churches and certain denominations appear more prone to scandal.

Entities within the Southern Baptist Convention, for example, fought against extending the statute of limitations in the case of Kentucky sex abuse victim Samantha Killary. The case, though unrelated to the SBC, could affect the SBC’s “legal and fiduciary interests.” To their credit, SBC abuse task force members expressed disgust at the effort to muzzle victims who wait to come forward, often out of shame.

Julie Roys, a Christian journalist whose mission is “reporting the truth” and “restoring the church,” has done some excellent reporting on church abuse scandals. For some light reading, visit and search “abuse.” You will come across story after heartbreaking story of people suffering at the hands of those who should be the most trustworthy people in our society. The accounts are far too many to list here.

It’s high time for a holy housecleaning in the house of God.  Jesus’ followers must repent of our silence and our tolerance of evil. We need  to fast, pray and hold our church leaders accountable. May the Lord bring beauty from ashes so the church can finally emerge as the holy bride of Christ.

Imagine Jesus writing a letter to the U.S. church

We are, after all, called to be holy, just as the Lord is holy. Jesus spoke frankly to the seven churches in Revelation, some of which had unholy practices. I can’t help but wonder what He would say in a letter to the American church today. 

Would it be along the lines of this, His letter to the church of Sardis?

“I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.”—Revelation 3:1b-2 (ESV)

Or maybe it would be along the lines of His letter to Thyratira.

“But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel . . . I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.” —Revelation 2:20-21 (ESV)

A need for culture change

So what has caused the church to fall into such depravity? Perhaps our idolatry of church leaders has contributed to the epidemic sin we see within our churches. Perhaps it’s the result of a lack of accountability or a twisted hunger for power.  I don’t know. God knows.

What I do know is the church continues to hurt the people God loves, people He created in His image and for whom He died. We venerate victimizers and further victimize victims. Hearts are hardened, maybe for generations to come, against the very gospel that provides the only hope for our sin-sick world. 

Lord, help us.