My Facebook wall is awash with news about the indictment of David Yonggi Cho, the pastor of the alleged largest church in the world, the Yoido Full Gospel Church. The news is a bit late but someone had dug it up. It occurs some time in last March. I’m uninterested in whether Cho is guilty or not. That’s up to the Korean court of law. No one should rejoice in this kind of shame, after a full year of scandal ranging from Rick Warren’s Facebook picture to Mark Driscoll’s plagiarism, but my interest is in the typical responses from evangelicals. Their responses are so typical that we can almost create endless parodies on youtube, but I won’t. Sometimes, the church leaders also give the same responses. Here’s the list of stereotypical responses.
1) “Satan is attacking the church.”
2) “Don’t judge.”
3) “You small-church people are just jealous.”
4) “The media is always attacking the church.”
Looking in from the outside, all this has to look very suspicious. Let me deal with each objection.
1) “Satan is attacking the church.” How do you know? Evangelicals are notoriously amazing when it comes to SEEING what Satan’s doing because frankly, how do you know? Did you talk to Satan this morning? Are you a Satan mind reader? What if Satan is NOT attacking the church? Ever thought about that? Like one of my good friends said, sometimes the devil is just sitting back laughing at us doing his job for him.
2) “Don’t judge.” Is that a judgmental statement? If we call “wrong” wrong, does that make us judgmental? Is “don’t judge” itself not a judgmental statement? Besides the misquotation of Matthew 7.1 which I blogged about elsewhere and wrote about in my book, the whole “don’t judge” mentality basically is ironically judgmental. Can anyone suspend judgment forever other than the ostrich with its head in the sand?
3) “You small-church people are just jealous.” Again, how do you know? Besides being an excellent mind reader of Satan, evangelicals are also great at reading the minds of their critics. I mean, if you don’t believe in the supernatural, you should because miracles happen all the time in evangelical responses to their critics. Some are so sure that they’ve read other people correct that they really should open up their own fortune-telling business.
4) “The media is always attacking the church.” All right, finally, you’re getting somewhere. Is media exclusively attacking the church though? Well, last week, Richard Sherman, the NFL superstar made some controversial statements and all I’ve been seeing on sports pages is news about Richard Sherman. Wait a second, the media is NOT always attacking the church. Let’s use Richard Sherman as an example. Sherman could say, “The media is always attacking me.” Is this a true statement? Well, no. The media also attacks Tim Tebow, Terrell Owen, Ronda Rousey, and John McEnroe. It’s time for the church to get used to the public square. IF you want to play the game as a public witness, then you will have to answer to the public. IF you want to give people stuff to write about, they will write.
To summarize, let me say what the Christians look to the outsider while making excuses. Christians frequently talk to Satan to know when Satan’s attacking the church. Christians don’t make judgment period. Christians can read minds that they can tell when someone is jealous. Christians are also really paranoid because they think that the press is out to get them. You can see why people think Christians suffer from psychological problems, can’t you?
Why in fact is the church so used to using the above unreasonable defenses for its celebrities? The answer is very simple. No one likes to see his or her idol as having clay feet. No one wants to say that the king is naked. So, even if the idols have clay feet, the worshipper will continue to prop up the idol in any way, shape or form, even going to ridiculous length and logic to justify that worship. Even if the idols have no clothes, the worshipper will throw on rags of ill-logic to cover up the shame. No matter whether the idol is Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Mark Driscoll or Yonggi Cho, we will continue to see the cycle repeat until we decide to worship God.