A Key to Real Church Growth — Rebuke the Wicked
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
These also are sayings of the wise. Partiality in judging is not good. Whoever says to the wicked, “You are in the right,” will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations, but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them. (Proverbs 24:23-25)
I am pretty certain that over the last 30 years or so we have seen an increasing disinterest in “church.” Oh sure, you have the mega-churches and the church growth seminars, but I am talking about the man or woman on the street. It seems to me that when I first became a pastor over three decades ago it was not all that difficult to invite someone to come to church, to present them with the gospel, and see at least some results. Some would come. Some would listen. I am not saying that none listen today, but I am proposing that nowadays people increasingly seem to simply have no interest in Christ, in church, in Scripture, or any such topics. Some hate Christianity, but most seem to simply see the whole scene as unnecessary, unneeded, and irrelevant to their lives. They are fine. Doing just fine. Even if their life is a wreck, they don’t need Christ.
Now I am sure there are many reasons for this hardness. The hardness of the human heart, increasing wickedness in this world, American prosperity, blinding by the devil, and numbers of other elements all designed to keep the sinner dead in sin. But I think there is another very significant factor out there that has contributed enormously to convincing the lost that they don’t need Christ, don’t need Christians, don’t need the Bible or any church. And that factor is identified in the Scripture above. Specifically, it is the common scenario of local churches, pastors, church leaders, and church members saying to the wicked, “You are in the right” rather than rebuking them. Partiality in judging is all too common among us, and I think that the world knows it. Just think of the sickening frequency of pedophiles being protected and harbored in churches.
Think of it. What do we deal with all the time here at ACFJ? INJUSTICE! Where? In the church! What form does that injustice take? The church says to the wicked abuser, “you are in the right.” Partiality and favor is shown to the wicked one while the oppressed are oppressed. And what does Proverbs say is going to be the result of such justification of the wicked? “You will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations” rather than being blessed.
Want real church growth? Want to adorn the gospel with our lives, with our churches, with our preaching? Then rebuke the wicked. Expose the abuser. Put him out from among us. Lift up and protect the victim.
And good blessing will come upon you.