Christians Behaving Badly
If you have eyes to see and ears to hear, one does not have to look
very far to locate Christians that are, in the popular vernacular, behaving
badly. "Therein," as Shakespeare once penned, "lies the rub."
Because scripture provides believers with a considerable amount of
text on the subject of love, grace, and forgiveness, the Christian
churches of the world (particularly in America) tend to be
uncomfortable with the more daunting scriptural imperatives that
require discipline and correction of errant members. In fact, in the
overwhelming majority of documented examples of Christians
Behaving Badly, the leadership has simply ignored the problem
areas and left the resultant mess for someone else.
That "someone else" usually turns out to be society at large
- or the secular government. A good
example of this abdication of duties is seen in the contrast between
the first century church wherein the Apostles appointed
men of faith to provide for the needs of the widows and the modern
governmental support mechanisms known as Social Security, Aid
to Dependent Children, Food Stamps, and so forth.
Things become even more complicated when we enter in to the morally
nebulous territory wherein the leaders themselves are behaving
badly. Indeed, in vast numbers of such instances, the "bad"
behavior isn't some secretive form of sin, but a gross apostasy that
is being characterized as godly. For example, at the United Church
of Christ in Atlanta, the "reverend" Kelli Martin, a
professed Lesbian, is a "pastor" that caters to
black queers that consider themselves to be Christians.
Although her aberrant fellowship only draws 70 to 80 people weekly,
the "reverend" Kenneth Samuel's nearby Victory Church
pulls 6,000 people weekly
- even as he preaches "wholehearted
acceptance of gays."
Obviously, significant numbers of Christian churches openly decry such
outlandish apostasy every week from the pulpit. However, this firm
stance against such overtly unscriptural behavior masks a strange
inconsistency. While it's still relatively easy to polarize
straightforward subjects such as homosexuality due to the obvious
scriptural admonitions prohibiting "men with men working that
which is unseemly" (Romans 1:17), issues that are far more
basic are completely ignored. For example, lying and stealing
occurs on a wholesale level within conservative branches of the
Christian church on a regular basis, and the concomitant biblically
mandated rebuke is almost impossible to find.
It may surprise some to find that plagiarism among Christian
pastors, writers, and communicators is at epidemic proportions in some
circles, but there is practically no backlash or scriptural reproof
ever mustered against the offenders. The fact is, plagiarism is theft
- and while "thou shalt not steal" is
one of the "big ten," the 11th Commandment is not "thou
shalt not lay with thine own sex." I don't say this to justify
- far from it. The point is, while
significant sectors of the Christian church at large are still
attempting to stand against this particular sexual sin so clearly
spoken of in the Bible, they routinely ignore sinful behavior that is
so fundamental that its prohibition is codified in the Ten
Furthermore, when a balanced scrutiny urges reproof against lying and
stealing (bearing false witness also being addressed in the Ten
Commandments), massive rebukes against those that would attempt to
expose such misbehavior quickly becomes the order of the day. To put
it bluntly, hypocrisy reigns in what laughably passes for "conservative"
As a case in point, national Christian leader Hank Hanegraaff
of the Christian Research Institute (CRI) in Southern
California, the so-called "Bible Answerman," has been widely
seen to have plagiarized D. James Kennedy's 1970 book Evangelism
Explosion in his 1987 book Personal Witness Training. As
these two books seek to provide instruction in evangelistic technique,
"witness" these obvious similarities:
Evangelism Explosion- Kennedy -1970
"We will search the room for some indication of his interest. A
specially placed and lighted painting; a group of
portraits or children; trophies from gold, swimming...."
"How did you happen to attend our church?"
"Many people have mentioned to me that they sense something
different about our church. They saw something different about the
expression on people's faces."
"But the same Bible says that the same God is also just and holy and
righteous, that he is of purer eyes than to look upon
Personal Witness Training- Hanegraaff -1987
"As we enter and are seated, we look for items of interest, perhaps
a portrait, trophy, or an award...."
"Earl, how did you happen to visit our church?"
"Perhaps the reason you noticed something special about the service
and the people at our church."
"However the same bible tells us that God loves us....The Bible says
of God 'Your eyes are too pure to look upon evil.'"
This example of plagiarism by Hank Hanegraaff was drawn from
the Christian Media published book on Hanegraaff (see more
on this subject at the end of this essay). While the original
research for this particular example came from a newsletter called On
The Edge, other examples of plagiarism from entirely different
books allegedly written by Hanegraaff are included in our critical
examination of the man in charge of "researching" and evaluating
Indeed, when these and other allegations of Hanegraaff's misdeeds
were made public, CRI's response was to spend an estimated $400,000
(an estimated 10% of the total CRI budget) in legal fees to suppress
the facts that were being made public via a high profile lawsuit.
Ultimately, CRI's deep pockets financially crushed the individual
that was willing to stand up and tell the truth.
Along the way, Hanegraaff was exposed as lying when he claimed
ministerial credentials. Just as the embarrassing truth about Hank's
lies were being made public, Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel
stepped in and ordained Hank in order to cover up the truth and save
the offender any further embarrassment. To this day, the above named
parties have never publicly repented of their misdeeds.
These are not isolated examples. For instance, author and pastor David
Jeremiah who is nationally known for his radio, TV, and print work
is a plagiarist that has not only been exposed, but his publisher has
even admitted his thefts - even as they re-released the book in
In 1990, David Jeremiah and co-author C C Carlson
claimed to have written Escape The Coming Night
- a book about the rapture. It was soon
discovered that significant portions of the book were plagiarized from
best selling author Hal Lindsey's (with co-author C C Carlson) 1973
work There's A New World Coming. After realizing there
were at least 47 pages of plagiarized material in the Jeremiah book,
his publisher Word Books destroyed the inventory and, in a
written statement, actually admitted the theft in late
It wasn't a year later that Word Books parent company Thomas
Nelson (the largest Bible publisher in the world) re-released the
stolen material in a new edition without any revisions removing
the plagiarized portions of the book! As of this writing, they have
refused to respond to any queries regarding the brazen case of
plagiarization. Sadly, there are many, many more examples.
The spiritual malaise that permeates the so-called "church" has
trickled down to the average believer. Ask any medium to large
Christian book store owner about their shoplifting problem and
if they're honest, they'll tell you it's significant. This
vacuum of morality closely parallels the national problem of
dishonesty that trickled down from the White House as the nation
endured 8 years of sexual debauchery and other scandals through the
agency of Clinocchio and his Jezebellion spouse Hillary. Indeed, the
"Christian" Bush regime's whited sepulchre version of morality
is directly to blame for the fiscal disasters entailing the cooking of
the books at high places like Enron and Worldcom.
The problem is deeper and larger than can be adequately addressed in a
brief essay of this nature. We can however, offer a brief analysis. The
fact that what passes for the Christian church has refused to even
address the problem speaks volumes. Jesus Christ
said that believers are "the salt of the earth...but if the salt
have lost his savour...it is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the
dunghill" (Matthew 5:13, Luke 14:34, 35). To put it bluntly, if the
preservative itself deteriorates and loses its potency, it has become
useless and will be discarded.
Christ also told the parable of the kingdom of God which He said is
"like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in
three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened" (Matthew
13:33). In every verse where leaven is mentioned, it's a symbol of
sin and hypocrisy (I Corinthians 5:8, Luke 12:1). Thus, the
parable is telling us the institution of the church is scheduled to
slowly deteriorate until it becomes completely "leavened."
It is this ordained condemnation that culminates in the
institution called Mystery Babylon
- a conglomeration of all
incorporated churches that become so thoroughly corrupt that they are beyond
reformation. In fact, it is because the construct of the state
sanctioned church becomes such a completely "corrupt tree" (Luke
6:43) that God instructs His faithful servants to "come out of
her" as opposed to stay and be overcome because of being
"unequally yoked" (Revelation 18:4, II Corinthians 6:14).
Thus, as the "Christians" continue to revile and refuse the
reproof offered through the agency of God's Word as each claims
their preferred institution is the exception to the rule, the
Lord's redemptive program continues to unfold. The Good News is the
Lord has always promised to preserve a righteous remnant. Zephaniah
tells us "The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor
speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth:
for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid"
This "remnant" is seen in Revelation as those which "keep the
commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
These have come out from among the professing "believers" that
have been transformed into the apostate church
- even as the apostates continue to profess
themselves as under grace
- saying it doesn't really matter that
they are Christians Behaving Badly.
The truth is decidedly different, and our time is just about over as
"the harvest is the end of the world" and it is near, even at the door.
July 29 2002 -- James Lloyd
Copyright © 2002 Christian Media Network