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Sin in the Church: Prodigals in the Pigpen!

I don’t know if I have been in situations in my life that have caused me to see so much sin in the church because God has wanted me to see it, or because of the ministries I have worked in, or because there is just so much sin that everyone is seeing it. I don’t know if my perspective is unique, maybe part of the gift God has given me, or just the run of the mill awareness of what’s going on. But for some reason this morning it hit me. We are in a very bad place regardless if everyone else is seeing it or not.

The-Peoples-Church-Easter-2011Yesterday the Lord was speaking to me about the Prodigals. You know, the prodigal son who goes off with all the money and tries to make his own way but ends up in the pigpen. I have always thought about those “prodigals” as guys who have left the church and are living in the world and then wake up one day and decide to come home, back to church. But yesterday the Lord was showing me that many, many in the church, His sons and daughters, were still attending church, but at the same time living in the pigpen of their own sin. I thought about it some. I wondered if there were any “pig droppings” in my life that I needed to take care of and then just went on to the business of my day.

Sexual Abuse in the Church

But this morning something hit me. I was getting ready, going through my regular routine, and something just sort of set me off while thinking of this pigpen issue. It began by my thinking about the Bishops from Ireland who just got in trouble with the Pope for hiding a lot of sexual abuse. Numbers of kids were sexually abused and the Bishop was simply moving the perpetrating Priests to other parishes, where more children were abused. Then I thought about Stockbridge, WI. When I was a child I remember kids telling each other to stay away from the Priest house because he would “get you”. When enough kids told on him, the Bishop moved that Stockbridge Priest to another Parish and he abused children at the new church as well. But it’s not just a Catholic problem, is it? The only time in my life where I was deeply broken hearted was when a minister at a non-denominational church pursued me, as his wife and children were at home.
worship_quoteThen it came like a stream… Morris Cerullo from P.T.L. and the way he is sinning in handling the money, which is being exposed in court. Todd Bentley getting caught having sex with his nanny, and then running off when “men of God” want to restore him and marrying the girl, as if that changes anything. Recently beginning to minister again with the adulterous nanny at his side, taking up collections for “the Kingdom” as he is lying about what he is ‘seeing,’ and so called self-endorsed apostles affirming his behavior. Benny Hinn’s wife filing for divorce after 30 years. Famous missionaries and mission organizations like Frontiers and Navigators pigeonholing Christianity with Islam and when exposed mutilating the truth so as to divert the churches’ attention. Christ the Rock Community Church following suit as they teach and practice the same heresy, while local ministers and staff members fight to keep this sin covered up.

Then I began to think about the local ministers, lying about not knowing the women who have been abused in their church, covering up sins so as to promote their political agenda, breaking confidentiality for their own gain, lying from the pulpit so as to validate themselves and bring in bigger offerings, sexually exploiting youth group girls, grasping their own agenda as they leave the faithful behind, ruining marriages because of romantic attachments, misappropriating funds, getting caught looking at porn both at home and in the Pastoral office but only getting a 3 month sabbatical and then being brought back as if nothing had happened.

Sin is Extreme and Rampant in the Church

And what about the people in the local churches that I know personally? Divorce, after divorce, after divorce because the husband is cheating. Filling the water bottle with Vodka so no one knows just how bad it has gotten. Meeting people online and then rushing off to have some sick sort of sexual encounter that no one will ever know about. Promulgating a heretical “model” to understand God and teaching it to the youth. Homosexual acts that are done in odd places. Stealing from the orphans. Gossip so thick the faces of the women engaging look like they are eating rich chocolate as the slanderous words drip from their mouths. “He went to Chicago for the weekend with his girlfriend; Pastors kids need grace too.” “She killed her two year old because the Bible told her to do it.” “She went out of state to have an abortion so that no one knew about the sex.” I am talking about what I know personally. I am talking about members of the Body of Christ. Pastors who beat their wives senseless and then the congregation stands beside them. Youth group kids trying to commit suicide; Bible study women kissing their neighbor men; the guy from the men’s group checking out the girls, making them feel uncomfortable. Father after father, raping their young daughters; young couples living together; even younger couples having sex with multiple partners.

“Tried to kill her.” “Had sex in the bathroom.” I watched the newly saved prostitute point slowly at the Elder, “him, every Wednesday evening.” “I am cheating with the girl who lives with us.” “He is firing her because she knows too much.” “The youth leader had sex with her but she had just turned 16 so we don’t have to report it.” “I made out with her after we were drinking in the truck; yeah, we are both married and in the ministry.” “He ties me up and does stuff to me.” “I meet them out and have oral sex in the car; I don’t know them; I meet them online.” “I look at the kids and think about taking a bath with them.” “He raped me after he cut my lawn; I know him from church.” “The Bishop locked us in the church and then they began to burn it down.” “He grabbed my pony tail and swung it around when he passed me, and then emailed me like 25 times a day.” “I won’t have sex with my husband again or until he changes.” “He drinks too much on the weekends.” “I don’t report it on my taxes.” “My kids are reading books about Vampires and witches.” “I can’t figure out why she cuts herself.” Covering up, covering up, covering up.

sin_quoteI am overwhelmed by the sins that I have been personally hearing. I am sickened by what I have had to listen to. I am holding back so as not to offend you or gross you out because some things done in darkness should not be mentioned, but I repeat these things to show you what I mean. Many of you know who you are as you read this. Many of you know others who are engaging in these sins. Many of you are culpable yourselves. Somehow the devil has convinced us to stay quiet. He has whispered in our ears to cover sin and to keep it in the darkness, to enslave us and to keep us in the very pigpen that we have created.

I see over and over again the person trying to call the church to repentance being persecuted by the Body far more often than I see any repentance. It has somehow now become more wrong to call sin ‘sin’ than to actually sin.

The Word of God plainly calls us to expose sin. Rebuke it. Turn from it. Tell of it so others are afraid to sin in the same way. Confess it one to another so that we can be cleansed from all unrighteousness.

I see the swelling of the big churches and I hear people say one after the other that they have been hurt in church and that they are attending these large churches to hide for a time. It’s as if the churches swell with size but just like when the body swells it is not healthy. It is a sign that something is very wrong. I watch the church culture creep into a worldly humanistic view of life where worship songs are now more about how we feel than about God Himself and the truths He has laid out to express Himself. How many Chirstians have led another human being to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ? How many church members have seriously discipled a new believer? How many churches have prayer meetings where people actually get together and pray?

The Church Needs Prophets

I don’t know what kind of prophets it will take to call the church out of this. I don’t know what kind of prophets God is sending now. Are they loud and boisterous like John the Baptist telling people off from the river banks, or are they quiet and focused like Jonathan Edwards who simply read in a monotone voice his sermon, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God”? I can’t say that I think it actually matters, because it’s not in the voice calling the Body to repentance; it’s not in the tone or the method or the style or the passion. The Bible says it’s in the ear. To those who have an ear to hear, He speaks, regardless of the one He is speaking through.

God is speaking, people. Can you hear Him? He is calling us to wake up, to see the circumstances around us. We have crawled into a pigpen of sin and he is waiting for us at the end of the driveway ready to run to embrace us, to put on us a new robe, a clean robe. He is ready to place upon our fingers a signet ring, giving us the authority of his home. He is waiting to pour out His Spirit on our land, and He is waiting for us to respond. Every single one of us. Sin has caught hold of the Body of Christ and we are in a desperate place. Will we hear the call to repent? Will we engage the passion of Him who desires a holy people? Will we get up out the pigpen and get back to where we belong? Will we obey well the admonitions of the Lord about sin and help our brother out as well?


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14 years ago

“I see over and over again the person trying to call the church to repentance being persecuted by the Body far more often than I see any repentance. It has somehow now become more wrong to call sin ’sin’ than to actually sin.”

“I watch the church culture creep into a worldly humanistic view of life where worship songs are now more about how we feel than about God Himself and the truths He has laid out to express Himself.”

“…because it’s not in the voice calling the Body to repentance; it’s not in the tone or the method or the style or the passion. The Bible says it’s in the ear. To those who have an ear to hear, He speaks, regardless of the one He is speaking through.”

“Sin has caught hold of the Body of Christ and we are in a desperate place.”

ALL SO TRUE!!! I think that exposure and repentance from sin, as well as the prophetic voice unabashedly speaking CHRIST’S truth (and not personal agenda) are both so vital for this time period. Not to be made less important, however, is our response- when the sinner comes to repentance, are we there to uplift him and encourage him and nurse him back to spiritual health? Or do we sit in judgement of him until he meets the standards WE feel Christ has set for him? We have to remember that grace (given despite ourselves) is redemptive, and redemption can be progressive. Just as those who are sick sometimes receive healing but need to “walk it out” for a period of time before the healing is complete, so it is with the sinner- they can be forgiven and set free but the actual “breaking-away” (for lack of better term) from that sin can take time.

All that to say, I think our response as the body of Christ should be one of such deep mercy that those who have been hiding out in their “pigpens” are drawn to reconcilliation with the Lord. Our commitment to our brothers and sisters in the church should be this: “I know you don’t have it all together, but as long as you’re working on it I’ll be there to love you and encourage you any way I can.” Not negating the admonishment, because there are some who definitely need the rebuke, but backing it up with the same compassion Christ showed the sinner and sick He ministered to.

I guess I say this because I was one of those “progressive” people. I can now say that I feel as though I’ve been really set free, but it took a while. I was blessed enough to be surrounded by a church family who made the commitment to stick through it with me and to not pass judgement (but still LOVINGLY give me a kick in the butt from time to time when I needed it). I wonder how many christians are hiding in their pigpens because of the response of the church?
Maybe while they’re working on repenting the rest of us should examine ourselves and make certain that we are working on loving.

(PS- I do see this stuff. I know we’ve talked about it before. I’ve been dismissed at times when I’ve shared what I felt the Lord was giving me. And it does make me angry that there is a definite double-standard among many of the christians and churches today. I just figured maybe I was becoming a cranky old christian… lol!)

14 years ago


-excerpts by A.W. Tozer.

“God is not now any holier than He ever was. And He never was
holier than now. He did not get His holiness from anyone nor from
anywhere. He is Himself the Holiness. He is the All-Holy, the Holy
One; He is holiness itself, beyond the power of thought to grasp or
of word to express, beyond the power of all praise.”

“Language cannot express the holy, so God resorts to association
and suggestion. He cannot say it outright because He would have
to use words for which we know no meaning. He would have to
translate it down to our unholiness. If He were to tell us how white
He is, we would understand it in terms of only dingy grey.”

“It was a common thing in olden days, when God was the center
of Human worship, to kneel at an altar and shake, tremble, weep,
and perspire in an agony of conviction. We don’t see it now because
the God we preach is not the everlasting, awful God, ‘mine Holy
One’ (Habakkuk 1:12), who is ‘of purer eyes than to behold evil,
and canst not look on iniquity’ (Habakkuk 1:13).”

“We’ve used the technical interpretation of justification by faith and
the imputed righteousness of Christ until we’ve watered down the
wine of our spirituality. God help us in this evil hour!”

“We come into the presence of God with tainted souls. We come
with our own concept of morality, having learned it from books,
from newspapers and from school. We come to God dirty – our
whitest white is dirty, our churches are dirty and our thoughts are
dirty – and we do nothing about it!”

“If we came to God dirty, but trembling and shocked and awestruck
in His presence, if we knelt at His feet and cried with Isaiah, ‘I am
undone; because I am a man of unclean lips’ (Isaiah 6:5), then I
could understand. But we skip into His awful presence. We’re
forgetting ‘holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord’
(Hebrews 12:14).”

“O God, soon every person must appear before you to give an
account for the deeds done in the body. Father, keep upon us a
sense of holiness so that we can’t sin and excuse it, but that
repentance will be as deep as our lives. This we ask in Christ’s
name. Amen.”

-A.W. Tozer.

14 years ago

It is sad to hear all this.But has it happened and is happening?.Because christians are following man made religion.Book altered and inclusive of writings in contradiction to teachings of Jesus(like of Paul).Churches pushing their interpretation of christianity to gain power and money.
Worship the creator and not creation.Follow Quran the only book on the planet unchanged same for all the sects in Islam.Same whether in US or in SOuth Africa or in Australia or in Japan.Read it and you will feel God is talking to you and telling you how to live in peace.
God bless you.

13 years ago
Reply to  Abdus

I rebuke the quran in the name of Jesus Christ. I rebuke its teaching and all its lies, I rebuke its slippery slope and those who are teaching it. In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke it.

14 years ago

“Many of you know who you are as you read this. Many of you know others who are engaging in these sins. Somehow the devil has convinced us to stay quiet.” ….”The Word of God plainly calls us to expose sin.”

I am reading a lot of accusations, and I think I see where this is going. Do you feel called to expose…to name names in your blog, Joie?

13 years ago
Reply to  CandorJo

No CandorJo,

Joie is telling it as it is. Its about time we stopped allowing sin a strangle hold over our churches. It needs to be rebuked and exposed for what it is. We are called to separate ourselves from sin so I agree whole heartedly on rebuking it. Those who want to leave it hidden are those who like darkness instead of light. Jesus told us about people who want to hide sin…its because you don’t love the light.

If someone sins against you then you take it to them. If they continue, you take witnesses. If they then continue then you bring the whole church. Jesus taught that. Guess what…those who sin against you are those sinning in the church because it is your body they are sinning against. We are all of the same body…the body of Christ. If the body has an infection then you treat the infection (lovingly because it is your body).

You wouldn’t allow it to fester because the infection eventually kills the whole body. Sin infects…Christ treats that…no treating means you cannot be walking in Christ. Leaving it to fester eventually leads to death.

You guys who preach “Love and Grace” but are *ignorance* of sin are just sinners, afraid to expose sin!

I pray to GOD that he raises up people in His church to deal with this epidemic of great proportions.

14 years ago

Candor Jo,
I believe that sin should be dealt with on a case by case situation as the Bible calls us to deal with it. Sin should not be exposed unless the person caught in sin has been gone to, remained in the sin, gone to again with a brother, remained in sin and then exposed. (Matt.18) If the person caught in sin is a leader in the church no accusation should be heard unless there are witnesses. If he remains in the sin then it should be exposed. I Tim. 5

I am curious, how do you think a person in the Church is to follow through with Matt 18 and Timothy and expose sin? How should that actually be done in your understanding of those texts?

14 years ago

Good message here. Honestly, we should name some other sins of leaders too. For example: gluttony, Leaders who proclaim Christ’s Lordship, but think nothing of swearing…even making excuse for it. Drunkeness in the church. We could go on. Sometimes the less obvious sins are the most dangerous. Sometimes we neglect to mention the sin we are prone to committing. Lord, help all of us to hate sin as you hate it, and cleave fully to you.

beverlee cuellar
beverlee cuellar
13 years ago

all I can say is yes and amen the lord is calling sme front center andhe will give you the wordsto speck in that hearwords of holyness that will bring changes in the body of christ the father is saying fear NOT littel flack glory to the father of light

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