Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Do You Know Better?

According to an article which was brought to my attention by the American Family Association (AFA), Mark Hourigan, a registered sex offender was ordained at the City of Refuge Worship Center in Germantown, Kentucky. This is causing quite a stir in the Christian community and among the community of those abused by their religious authoritarian figures. For me, it's also upsetting, but not for the same reason that everyone else is getting all up in arms for. It's upsetting to me that people are so quick to cast judgment on this man without even bothering to think about the type of people God uses to do His work, as if you all know what kind of person can do His work and who can't.

Yes, it's true that he was charged for sexually assaulting young boys, a crime that has caused a lot of problems in the Catholic Church. The question that all of you have to ask yourselves is, "Can people change? Can sex offenders change?" If you don't believe that people can change, then you also don't believe salvation is possible, and therefore we're all in trouble. The Bible says that when you become a disciple of Christ that you are new creature in Him, that you know the truth and truth sets you free. The Bible also says that now that we are of the Spirit of God, we are no longer of the flesh. If we are of the flesh, then we cannot be of the Spirit of God. It stands to reason that if this Pastor Mark were serious about his ordination, then he would have renounced his old ways and taken up his cross to follow Christ.

The truth is that God does not need Holy Joes and Pure Penelopes trying to work their way into positions of authority within His Church. The Church is merely the people who make up the Body of Christ, and that's all of God's children. So in that sense, we are all equals, but the Bible is clear that there are divinely given gifts called the Five Fold Gifts. We are called to use these gifts to uplift each other, but as of late leadership within Church has turned man-ward instead of Heavenward. Any leader, of anything, should be the servant of the people he or she has under their followership; that is and has been the rule of leadership since the beginning time. Unfortunately, this brand of leadership has been nearly obliterated and in its stead a selfish and power-hungry leadership structure has become commonplace.

God does not call the equipped like Holy Joe and Pure Penelope, but He equips the Called. God has called all of us to do something, but what is up to God, not you. Too many people want to be something that they are not called to be, as if they know better than God what they should be doing; God doesn't stop you, but He doesn't bless what you're doing. Another thing, which brings this whole thing back to what my point with newly ordained Pastor Mark Hourigan, is that God loves to take the wretches and filthy sinners and use them to bring Him the most glory. He took a murderer like Moses and made him the leader of the Hebrew children. He took a liar like Jacob and with tenacity and determination, blessed him and his family. He took a lowly scribes' daughter and made her queen over a nation and save the her people. He took a man like Joseph, despised and cast down into slavery by his own flesh and blood, then rose him up to Pharaoh's second in command and helped his family survive the famine. He took a prostitute like Rahab and used her to harbor the spies who eventually allowed the Hebrew children to bring down the city. He took a thief like Levi and made him into the disciple Matthew. He took a pair of fishermen like Simon and Andrew and made them into disciples. He took a murderer like Paul and made him the spiritual guardian of the Church and the author of more than half of all the books in the New Testament.

So I ask, do you know better than God who can serve as an ordained minister? Can Mark Hourigan fulfill his pastoral duties? He certainly fits the bill of a person God would take and use for this purpose. Do you know better than God?

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