By Don Boys, Ph.D.
Have the sexual abusers been disciplined by their churches? If not, why not? After all, every church has minimal standards for members and surely sexual abusers must be dealt with if for nothing else but to keep them from harming others. Plus, keeping such unrepentant scum will besmirch the entire membership. The principle of church discipline is something not seen much anymore even in Evangelical and Fundamentalist churches.
It was an astounding turn of events when the Bishop of Milan brought the Emperor of the Roman Empire under church discipline! The Emperor capitulated to the preacher and for the first time in history, the civil government surrendered to the authority of a church leader!
In 390, in the Greek city of Thessalonica, authorities imprisoned a charioteer of that city for homosexuality; however, the charioteer was one of the city’s favorites. Riots broke out when the governor refused to release him and the Roman Governor and a few others were killed in the brawl, and the charioteer was released.
Theodosius, Emperor of the Roman Empire, was livid and was determined to exact revenge over the death of one of his officials and the flaunting of the law. He announced another chariot race, but after the crowds arrived, the gates were locked and the Thessalonians were massacred by the emperor’s soldiers. Within three hours 7,000 men, women, and children were dead.
Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, sent a scalding letter to the Emperor. Ambrose was convinced that this parishioner, the Emperor, had committed a grievous and public sin that had to be dealt with by the church. In his letter Ambrose told the Emperor that until he repented publicly he would not be allowed to receive Communion. Ambrose had excommunicated the Emperor, not an ordinary church member; however, the Bible teaches that all Christians are on the same level. No special treatment should be given to a rich or powerful person. Theodosius was both rich and powerful–the most powerful man on earth!
Theodosius had done what emperors always do. He sent in the army to teach a lesson to the Greeks of Thessalonica, and by extension the rest of the empire. Ambrose was not a pacifist, but he knew that the emperor’s actions needed to be condemned even if it meant the very real possibility of being sent to prison or killed. Emperors don’t usually like to be challenged. Against all odds, Emperor Theodosius repented and publicly sought reconciliation with his bishop. And a few years later the Emperor died in the arms of the Bishop who had disciplined him!
Church discipline has been practiced for over 2000 years; although in recent years, it has been one of the least important practices of any church, especially when powerful people are the perpetrators. It is noteworthy that both Hitler and Mussolini died “in the arms of the church.” The Catholic leaders were very lax in doing their duty in bringing discipline upon them.
Many churches today are as weak, wimpy, and wobbly in this matter as the Catholics who preach against abortion and homosexuality but never deal with major proponents of those sins. Baptists and Protestants are just as guilty as the Catholics.
Bill Clinton grew up in Southern Baptist Churches, a group that touts its adherence to the Bible; however, they sure looked the other way when it came to Bill’s sexual activities. His pastor should have called him into his office without any secret service men present and told him that his numerous affairs as governor of Arkansas and as President of the U.S. could not be justified or countenanced. That would be a very long appointment as each affair is discussed and admitted. In fact, his sins must be repented of, confessed publicly in a church service, and restitution made to any woman who was harmed.
Bill had no intention of repenting of his sins. That would have meant that he would have to stop his predatory lifestyle.
Hillary’s pastor would tell her, “Hillary we love you but you are embarrassing our church when you curse and throw things at the President of the U.S. Your cursing fits are legendary especially the one where you threw your Bible at the head of a secret service agent and used the most vulgar curse word. That was one of the most disgraceful episodes in White House history. It requires a private confession and a public apology. Americans must understand that such actions are damaging and disgraceful, if not demented. Moreover, it is not seemly to curse, scream, and throw lamps at Bill. Obviously, you two should have attended our Christian Couples’ Conference last month. You would have found especially helpful the session, Why a Christian Wife Should Never Throw Things at Her Husband! and Bill could have been helped by the session, Bad Things Happen When a Man Doesn’t Control His Zipper.
“Mrs. Clinton, God condemns lying as a horrible sin and you seem to have a graduate degree in lying. One of the Ten Commandments condemns and forbids lying. That is a command of God to the President of the U.S. or his wife the same as it is to any member of this church. Even if you are sorry for that sin, it must be confessed to our church so our youth and the general public will understand that Christians don’t talk that way, not even the President or his wife. You are not an exception.
“You were far from acting like a Christian when you empowered Bill in his role as sexual predator and even hurt, harassed, and harangued Bill’s victims. You added to their victim-hood by your defense of him and intimidation of those innocent ladies.
“Finally, Hillary, you are one of the biggest promoters of baby killing in the world. How you can sleep at night is beyond my comprehension. You must stop any promotion of abortion and do what you can to stop the slaughter of the innocent ones. Your abortion position repudiates your membership in this church and frankly in the human race.
“Now, will you pray with me as you confess your litany of sins and leave this office a forgiven sinner walking the path that millions have walked before you?
“Hillary, where are you going?”
Well, at least her pastor can be pleased that she didn’t throw a lamp at him.
Donald Trump says he is a Presbyterian although he said he attends the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan. He seldom attends any church as was true of Reagan. It should be mentioned that it is a sin to miss church without a good reason. In fact, churches in the seventh century put members under church discipline if they were absent from church three services in succession without cause!
Trump’s pastor should commend Trump for his success in business and politics then tell him that he must conform to Biblical teaching. “Donald, I am very glad to see you since I don’t see you in church very often. Seriously, Donald, you joined our membership and because of your high visibility, you represent us in everything you do; therefore, I must hold your feet to the fire as I do all our members.
“First of all, you are a bad example for youth when you curse and boast. Your use of hell, damn, and the like are totally unnecessary, uncivil, and unchristian. Also, a display of humility would be a good example to others.
“You also must repent of having a baby out of wedlock many years ago. It was wrong, a sin that must be repented of as an example to others. You are not above any other member of this church. Being President of the United States and leader of the free world is a temporary position but being a member of this church is spiritual in nature. You do not have a right to sleep around. You must repent and give evidence of that repentance. It will not be acceptable to say, ‘I made a mistake,’ or ‘If I have offended anyone, I’m sorry.’ No, you must admit that you broke your marriage vows, lusted after a woman, and then satisfied your lusts in an ungodly, wicked way.
“Donald, you and Melania missed our Christian Couples’ Conference last month and it would have been a great help to your marriage. And Donald, you should have attended our session It is good for a man not to touch a woman–unless you’re married to her. You have boasted about not only touching women but grouping them. You must not give the impression that such action is acceptable. It is not and you must repent.
“Donald, you are doing great damage to families with your casinos where people go to try to get something for nothing. That is not a Christian concept. Moreover, your hotels and resorts sell booze which is forbidden in Scripture. We are warned not to provide strong drink to others. So, if you want to continue membership in this church, you must sell your casinos and stop selling booze in your hotels. Now, will you bow your head in genuine sorrow for your sins, confess those sins to God, and apologize to the church membership this Sunday night for your wicked, willful, and worldly behavior?
“Donald, where are you going?”
All right, that’s enough. I could go on and on and on. Everyone knows neither Trump nor Clinton will stand at the church altar sobbing uncontrollably–confessing sin–as did King David thousands of years ago when he cried, “Have mercy upon me, O God…blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin….Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Heads of state are simply sinners in powerful places.
It is my opinion that many Evangelical churches are an appendage of the Republican Party, and their pastors are aging and graceless cheerleaders for the GOP. They are strong on preaching and soft on principle. Churches used to be the moral compass of America; but instead of a force to be reckoned with, they have become a farce to be ridiculed. Almost all churches fail in exercising church discipline.
Clinton and Trump’s pastors should develop spines and tell each of their famous members, “Either get right or get out.”
With that foundation, what have the churches done to convince the famous sexual predators to confess, repent, and make things right with the women they have abused? I can’t find any church pressure brought to bear on anyone for any cause.
Harvey Weinstein, Dustin Hoffman, Richard Dreyfuss, Jeremy Piven, Steven Seagal (grandfather was Jewish) Matt Laurer (father was Jewish) and Al Franken are Jews but I’ve not heard that their rabbis have called upon them to repent and weep copious tears as did King David over his affair with Bathsheba.
Ben Affleck is a “lapsed Protestant.” Tavis Smiley grew up attending a church of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. Paul Haggis is a former member of the Scientology cult. The religious background of Charlie Rose, and others is unknown.
All religious groups have standards their members are expected to follow and that is only right for them to enforce their own standards. Outsiders can agree or disagree with those standards but have no right to seek a change in them.
Male sexual aggression against women should result in disapproval by friends and family, discharge from employment, disgrace and loss of reputation, damages in the form of money, and dismissal from a local church if repentance is not evident.
The message: there is a high cost for low living.
Boys’ book Muslim Invasion: The Fuse is Burning! was published by Barbwire Books; to get your copy, click here. An eBook edition is also available.
(Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives; ran a large Christian school in Indianapolis, wrote columns for USA Today for eight years; authored 16 books and hundreds of columns and articles for Internet and print media publications; defended his beliefs on hundreds of talk shows. These columns go to newspapers, magazines, television, and radio stations and may be used without change from title through the end tag. His web sites are www.cstnews.com and www.Muslimfact.com and www.thegodhaters.com. Contact Don for an interview or talk show.)
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