"Nothing more impressive than an intellectual and spiritual approach to seeking truth and a willingness to embrace it unconditionally."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Accusations: Where there is Smoke there is Fire?

In the recent floodgates of accusations that were opened against Republican presidential hopeful, Herman Cain, I have repeatedly heard people saying, "Where there is smoke there is fire." While I have many questions about all sides of this scenario, there is no proof that these accusations are true. Even more concerning than that is the attitude that if there are multiple accusations, then there must some truth to them.

It is particularly troubling that Apostolic ministers are expressing these sentiments. How is it that we have come to the place that a person's life and reputation can be destroyed on an accusation without proof? I hope and pray that the ministers expressing these sentiments have isolated their cynicism to the political arena. Unfortunately, many times I have seen this same kind of attitude expressed toward our fellow ministers.

If the unfortunate occasion should ever arise that I should be falsely accused of immoral behavior, I hope that I have some friends that are going to require that biblical model be followed and demand proof.

When it comes to the ministry, accusations should not be received unless there are 2 or three biblical witnesses (1 Timothy 5:19). Without 2 or 3 biblical and credible witness, accusations should be ignored.

In cases of ministerial accusation the natural tendencies are to ask all the wrong questions:

1. Why would they accuse him if he was not guilty?
2. Why would they accuse him if he did not do something?

These questions and more, reflect our willingness and readiness to believe accusations. The only thing that proof does for many is justify our acceptance of the accusation. Many times proof has nothing to do with whether we believe it in the first place; it only serves as confirmation. This is a tragedy!

The questions ought to be:

1. Can it be proved?
2. Is there real evidence?

We should never abandon a ministry over accusations that cannot be proven. What if they are true? If they are, God can reveal it in such a way that it cannot be denied. God is the one preserving the church, and He will. When God reveals, he does it mercifully, and not vindictively. He reveals at a time when the most mercy can be shown for all persons involved: the minister, the minister's family and congregation.

There are a large number of people that are never going to trust a person ever again if they are ever accused. It is a sad day when mere accusation can end a ministry. We need to be ever so careful in how we deal with these kinds of issues.

A perfect example is Morris Golder. A woman had accused him of committing adultery with her and many people believed it and disfellowshipped him. This went on for decades, only for the lady to later confess that she lied.

I don't whether Herman Cain is innocent or guilty. The world is not going to end if he is not elected president. My inclination is not to believe it; however, my only real caution is that we don't allow a "where there is fire" cynicism and suspicion to grip us in the ministry.