So the whole internet-sphere, blogosphere and social media sphere has been awash with the confession of one Ese Walter. For those who somehow haven’t read it yet, it’s here. This is the most recent of all the scandals that the ‘church’ (by this I mean the entirety of Christendom not a particular church or denomination) of recent has been plagued with and it seems to be getting more and more common sadly.
What’s my take on the issue? I think the first question on everybody’s mind is: Is it true? At first glance, I am inclined to believe the lady’s story. I mean no sane human being knowing the sort of backlash that would likely ensue especially given the society and culture and environment she is in, knowing the condemnation sure to follow will release such a tale and go so far as to publicly identify HERSELF even have her account publicly accessible and her photo shared. Ese would know the names she would be called and the curses coming her way yet she still went ahead. That alone is enough to make me think she is telling the truth. Of course, in UK there have been cases of women accusing men of rape and going so far as to have these men arrested only to be proven false, so this is not conclusive enough. And let’s not forget the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife’s false accusation.
Now, assuming Ese Walter is speaking the truth, the next question is: Did she handle the issue the right way? Is publishing a story publicly ‘naming and shaming’ (so to speak) the right thing? Before I comment let’s see what Jesus prescribed. Matthew 18:15-17
1 1. Private discussion. Vs 15: “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.”
2 2. Witnesses. Vs 16: “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.”
3. Calling Out. Vs 17: “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” It is worth noting that the original Greek word used for church in this verse is ekklēsia, from a compound of ek ex and a derivative of kaleo; a calling out, that is, (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both): - assembly, church. (just for the record according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, calling out means To cause to assemble or to challenge to a duel. In essence the entire Church (in essence the entire body of Christ is entitled to know the truth... the heads can decide whatever action to take)
If, therefore, Ese is telling the truth in her confession, I am convinced she has gone about it the right way using Jesus’ words above.
Next question: To respond or not? Some have said the accused should respond. Well, let’s remember the in Bible…and in life… everyone is different. That one person responds immediately doesn’t mean another should. I mean Jesus responded to the Pharisees a lot, and yet when he was about to be crucified, he refused to respond to the same Pharisees and to Pontius Pilate. Mind you, in this instance, I don’t believe he needs to consult an oracle to know that he needs to respond if the story is false. Then again, I am not God so…..
I think a very crucial issue for Christians is how do you as an impartial observer respond? No, I don’t believe in the ‘Pastor X for life propaganda and he can do no wrong and she is a sl**, she is bringing curse on herself, all those accusing are cursing themselves’ but I don’t support the ‘good for him, ehen the truth is out, I’m not surprised, that XChurch sef’ crusaders who seem to be almost gleeful in their response. SO what then should our response be? The Bible says this:
Proverbs 24:17 - “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,”
Matthew 7:1 - “Judge not, that you be not judged “
1 Corinthians 13:6 - “It [love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.”
I believe the appropriate response should be to wait for a response from the accused to be furnished in due course. If necessary all facts pro and against should be shown. As for me, I hope it is not true, not because I worship at COZA, I don’t, but because whether we like it or not, we are all part of the body of Christ and when one part fails, the rest feel it. 1 Cor 12:26-27: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
If it turns out to be true, I am still sad and hope that the pastor in question gets help and settles it with God until then I don’t feel it appropriate for him to have a leadership position in church. If proven true, the response should be along the lines of ‘it’s sad but it is helpful that the truth is out lest others be led astray.’
Whatever the case, I don’t believe anyone should automatically decide to condemn a church or stop attending unless God specifically convicts you too, after all one man does not a church make. Whatever the truth let’s remember that the Bible says there is nothing done in secret that will not be revealed. Until then, whatever we do, whatever church we attend we should always make sure we cross-reference whatsoever words a pastor speaks with the word of God. No man is above reproof and no, not one of us is above sin; we are all guilty one way or another.
Ultimately, rather than use this as a chance to advance an anti-church agenda or play the blame game, this should be a reminder to each of us to look inward and ask God for the grace to keep ourselves until we are called home. Remember 1 Cor 10:12, ' Therefore let he who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.'