My heart was broken this morning as I read a lead story of a bankrupt church's request. The Crystal Cathedral was requesting that food be donated by parishioners for Mrs. Schuller because she is suffering from pneumonia. A normal benevolent request. But the food would be delivered by limo even though the church has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The story also stated that the family has taken lavish salaries despite the financial picture. I'm not casting stones. Really. I am calling for us to ask who defines a true picture of church and faith.
Steven Khoury told us that to maintain integrity when challenged about his support of Israel, he states clearly that some actions by the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) are wrong. But those actions do not define his Biblical covenant support of Israel. As Paul put it in Romans, Not all Israel is Israel. In the same way, the actions of the Schullers do not define the church. When there is anyone who claims to be a Christian and yet acts in ways that brings shame to the Name of Christ or His church, they do not define the church. Some critics will say they do. But remember that Jesus stated that there will be people like that whom He will clearly say, I never knew you.
We must stand firm on the true Biblical definition of who and what the church is. We can never defend or explain away sinful actions or abuses by those who claim a commitment to Christ. If we do, we lose credibility. The Lord is doing powerful things through His Church and we can glory and stand in that.