Lessons from an Apocalypse

What Russell Moore calls an “apocalypse” in this article in Christianity Today carries lessons for every Christian leader. Concern for the church’s image should never result in a “coverup,” even in the name of evangelism! This is in direct defiance of the solemn apostolic admonition given to us in 1 Timothy 5:17-21. 

When a congregation or body develops what anthropologists call a “shame/honor” culture, steps taken to “protect” its reputation can lead to dishonoring, disregarding, disparaging, or even destroying victims of abuse within its ranks, instead of caring for them with the lovingkindness of Jesus. 

It can also result in extreme disparities and distortions in its overall ethics and emphases, as Moore graphically describes:

“Who cannot now see the rot in a culture that mobilizes to exile churches that call a woman on staff a ‘pastor’ or that invite a woman to speak from the pulpit on Mother’s Day, but dismisses rape and molestation as ‘distractions’ and efforts to address them as violations of cherished church autonomy? In sectors of today’s SBC, women wearing leggings is a social media crisis; dealing with rape in the church is a distraction.”

Russell Moore

Those of us who are outside the SBC must take care lest we decry what is happening “there,” without remaining vigilant against it happening “here.” We must never let the depth of our friendships or the duration of our relationships keep us from doing what the Apostle Paul commanded with the full force of Holy Spirit inspiration,

“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. […] Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.”

1 Timothy 5:17-21 NIV

May God help us all, and may God help those good people within the Southern Baptist Convention whose hearts are broken by what is happening, and who are tasked with righting these wrongs.



Author: Mark Brand

Born in 1960, Mark was raised by ministry parents in the USA and South America. A fourth generation pastor, he sensed his own call at a very young age. Before coming to Dallas in 2003, Mark ministered as an itinerant preacher, Bible school instructor, and career overseas missionary in partnership with Teresa, his best friend and wife of more than thirty years. While living in Paris, they helped lead a French-language congregation and trained emerging spiritual leaders throughout Europe and in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. In 2011, the Antioch Church family embraced Mark’s vision to relocate into the heart of downtown Dallas. Mark and Teresa’s greatest earthly joy is their two children, Charity and Jean-Marc, who were born to them as answers to prayer following many years of infertility. In addition to serving as a Team Antioch ministry volunteer, Teresa home-schooled their children in partnership with the Coram Deo Academy where she teaches elementary school while she pursues her MA in Teaching at Dallas Baptist University. Mark holds a Master of Arts from the University of Birmingham (U.K.) and has begun his DMin at Fuller Seminary as part of their Holy Spirit Leadership and Ministry Practice cohort. Antioch Church website: http://www.teamantioch.com Mark's former blog: http://teamantioch.blogspot.com

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: