I saw this headline, Ky. Church Ordains Registered Sex Offender, a few days ago, and was finally able to read it. And, I finally decided to actually post something on my blog, rather than twitter.
I have to say this brief article causes me no small amount of anguish. I cannot imagine what both the man in question, the ordaining officiant, the congregation, the denomination (if any), and the surrounding community are feeling. Yes, the article provides some quips, but depth is required with such a report, not quips.
First and foremost, do all the “Christians” affiliated with the situation (including the surrounding community) truly believe:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
I am not saying this to be snarky. I have to admit, I say I believe it, and I experienced it. However, when it comes to my children, will I need something more? What would ever satisfy most parents that their child is safe? How does a church prevent a minister from being with children? It can’t, I think, and expect to be effective.
How does the church be redemptive in such a situation? Is it a no-win situation? Who will gamble their children?
I cannot question the guy and his faith. I can certainly question the wisdom of the elders of the church, the denomination, and the ordaining officiant. Were they oblivious?
I saw this mentioned on GetReligion and I must admit I’m as baffled as you are at the lack of details in the story. From just a practical standpoint, unlike nearly any other classification of criminal, our society has generally decided to continue punishing people who have committed sexual crimes against children long after they have served their sentences. (I have a LOT of issues with this but I won’t raise them here.) How can this man even serve in a church when he is most likely not allowed to live near one?
But on a spiritual level, you raise an important question: how complete is his redemption and what does that mean? If I remember my Sunday School lessons correctly, sinners are supposed to be forgiven of their sins by the blood of Jesus Christ. If the sinner is sincere, his sin is literally “covered” from view in God’s eyes. That doesn’t, however, mean that the rest of “fallen” humanity will automatically ignore the incident of sin as if nothing happened. One does not, for instance, get to walk out of prison the moment one confesses Jesus as Savior — there is still a societal debt to pay in the form of jail time, fines, restitution, etc.
Business owners routinely ask job applicants if they have ever been convicted of a felony and, while they still *might* hire an ex-con, generally those applications don’t rise to the top of the stack. There’s always a question: will this person repeat their criminal behavior?
So… from a spiritual perspectictive, it seems to me that this new minister has found absolute redemption with regard to his eternal soul. The church leadership seems convinced of his sincerity enough to stick their necks out for him, after all. From a practical (flawed, sinful, fallen) Human perspective, he has a lot to prove to those who don’t know him well. Perhaps they can have him work with the Senior Citizens Bible study group or something.
Your friendly neighborhood Atheist. 🙂
I’ve still been mulling this over, especially as we have been experiencing life with one of these now perpetually condemned by society. I have to say that my heart aches for this person. While this person definitely did something stupid (I’m guessing out of anger, but that’s just a guess), to get where they were, at the same time, I wonder what the church and the system could do better. A lot, that is for sure. I really wish there was an easy answer, but there never is.
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