Welcome to BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Episode #13. The title for today’s episode: Vengeance is Mine Saith the Lord I Will Repay: Mac’s Sins and Crimes, Grace’s Attempt at Vengeance, and the Issue of Discipline for Church Leaders; and BCNN1 Repeats If Over 50 Percent of Church Pastors Resigned Revival Would Break Out Across the Nation
In the third episode of the second season of Greenleaf, titled “A Mother’s Love,” the continuing consequences of one of the driving storylines of season one came to the forefront again. One of the victims of Mac’s serial sexual abuse of young women in the church tried to commit suicide after students at her school bullied her over the situation. Grace was informed of this and helped the girl’s family get her enrolled at another school. Another young woman at Calvary also informed Grace that she had run into Mac somewhere in town. Grace is angered by this, and at the end of the episode, she goes over to the apartment where he is now living and smashes in the windows of his car.
While Mac was kicked out of the good graces of Calvary and the Greenleaf family and did spend some time in jail for his crimes, apparently Grace feels like he has not been punished enough. (And, I would assume many people agree with her.) This raises the issue of how, exactly, should church leaders who commit such crimes be punished? Too many churches have been guilty of going soft on their leaders or blatantly covering up their crimes. Church members, and the unbelieving public, often feel as though putting them in counseling, sending them on some kind of spiritual retreat, or allowing them to quietly resign is not enough. (As I do this podcast, we have at least 13 major church scandals going on across this nation alone that has required some form of church discipline for church leaders. We at BCNN1 repeat: if over 50 percent of church pastors resign we would have revival across America).
Of course, all churches should fully support the efforts of local law enforcement if they are investigating a church leader (or church member) for a crime. This is part of our duty as Christian citizens seeking to uphold the orderly functioning of society.
When a Christian sins, the church does not seek to punish as the government does. (We do not have jails or fines.) Rather, it is the purpose of the church’s punitive action, if possible, to provide spiritual help and restore such a one. (And restoring such a one does not mean restoring them back to leadership — for there are some sins and crimes that if a church leader does, they should not be restored back into leadership anywhere, especially the crimes Mac is accused of). Ideally, the offender should confess his or her sins, repent of them, and strive to live righteously from that point forward. A person who does not repent of their sins and continues to live in sin may be excommunicated (banned from the local assembly) according to Matthew 18 and First Corinthians 5.
In the case of a pastor or elder against whom an accusation of sin is brought, the Bible provides the following guidelines in First Timothy 5:19-20: “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” Some commentators say that this public rebuke ought to take place only before the other leaders of the church, but others disagree. The Bible Knowledge Commentary states, “When accusations of sin prove to be true, Timothy was to rebuke the offenders publicly, that is, before the entire congregation. In this way the remaining members could take warning (literally, ‘have fear’). Fear of the discipline of God, in this case administered through the congregation, is a healthy thing in a Christian, especially for those in places of leadership. Modern congregations that ignore church discipline do so at the peril of both the offender and themselves.”
Public rebuke (and public humiliation), especially for a pastor or church leader, is often enough discipline to get that person back on the right track. It has the additional benefit of discouraging others who may have the same temptation. This is what the Bible requires. (Of course, if the person has committed a civil crime, he should willingly accept his punishment by governmental authorities.)
If Calvary were a real church, this would mean that the elders should publicly address and condemn what Mac did to those young women whom he tricked into trusting him. This would send a strong message to the congregation and to the community that God’s people will not allow their own to do evil and get away with it. Thankfully, Greenleaf reminds us of the consequences of this each week.
In closing, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can be forgiven of your wicked sins of the past no matter how dark, God is available to hear your prayer of confession and to hear you ask to be saved from sin and from the punishment of sin which is eternal hell and separation from God. And you can begin a light-filled relationship with God Almighty today.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s laws. You have done some bad things. You have broken the commandments of God. So have I. And so has the Pope. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…” We die physically because of sin and we go to hell to burn forever, to be tormented forever because of our sin. God does not put us into hell; we put ourselves into hell because of our sin.
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ, the loving Lord of glory, preached more on hell than anybody in the Bible. He preached more on hell than he did about Heaven. He said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Now that is bad news, and I know most people do not want to hear any bad news. But you have to hear the bad news because the good news is good news because there is bad news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins. He is the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world, your sins and mine. And all we have to do is trust Him and believe that He died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you and me so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
And please believe these words found in Romans 10:9 & 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Saved from what? Saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell.
If you believe in your heart on the Lord Jesus Christ, that He died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer and mean it from your heart: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life — even some of the sins being brought out in this show called Greenleaf. I am sorry for my sins, and today, please have mercy upon me a sinner. I believe with all of my heart that You died for me, was buried, and rose again. Now, Lord I pray that You would fill me with Your Holy Spirit and help me to repent of my sins and to follow You for the rest of my life for Your glory, praise, and honor, and, from this point on, to be the shining light that You want me to be. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray, and for His sake, Amen.
Beloved friend, if you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read my pamphlet titled, “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
Until next time, my beloved, may God bless you and keep you. We look forward to seeing you for the next Gospel According to Greenleaf podcast.