Wednesday, April 14, 2010
I watch another Dateline episode about a pastor behaving badly. It caught my eye for a couple of reasons. For one, it all took place about three islands south of me. Secondly, in the promotions for the episode they showed an interview with a woman who kept saying, “But he was such a spiritual man.”
In case you didn’t see it (and I will put a link to it if you want to watch it with the title of this blog entry) it was about a Christian child prodigy. Apparently when he was a small boy, he either was injured or very sick and his father was rushing him to the hospital. His father prayed, “God if you save my son’s life I will dedicate him to Your service.”
The boy lives (unfortunately . . . I know that sounds cruel but just wait and see the damage he does). From an early age he was destine to be a pastor. I can’t remember his name while I’m typing this so I will just call him “Don.” I will refer to his wife as “Marry.”
Eventually Don became the youth pastor of a fast growing charismatic church. He was well liked. He married a local gal, Mary, who people deeply admired.
Probably the first strange thing that happened was that he started a marriage counseling “ministry.” In that ministry, he eventually started meeting with just the five wives (the husbands were not invited to come back.) He became very close to each of the women.
He started to confine in one of the women (I will call her Doris) that he was loosing interest in his wife because she had gained a few pounds (maybe 5-10). This was bizarre because Don himself was very fat. Then Doris began to prophesize that God was telling her that He was going to take Mary home and then she, Mary, would be with Don.
Mary was okay with that . . . assuming it was God’s will. She even told her parents that God had something big in store for her that would mean her death.
Doris told Don during their next meeting that God said that Mary was going to die on December 14th (I think). That night when his wife was still a live Don called Doris and was crying, “It didn’t happen. Why didn’t God’s will come true?”
Doris answered, “Well, sometimes God wants you to carry out His will.”
On December 27th Don’s house burned down with Mary in it. What a horrible death. (Later he would confess to Doris that he put a plastic bag over her face and killed her before he set her on fire. So maybe he was a spiritual guy, you know doing God’s will with compassion).
Then, within two weeks of his wife’s death, Don was having sex with all five of the women he was counseling. He simply told them that God wanted them to sleep with him to comfort him during his loss. Yes, Doris was one of the women he was sleeping with. I think it was when she found out about the others that she went to the police with the “rest of the story.” By that time, the death had been ruled an accident.
Lastly, when Don’s mother-in-law, that is Mary’s own mother, came to visit, Don persuaded her to sleep with him too. Sick.
Only one of the five ladies volunteered to be extensively interviewed by Dateline (although the mother-in-law did give a few comments). Let’s call this woman “Rose.”
The interviewer looked at Rose and said, “You are a strong Christian woman. You believe in marriage. You believe that adultery is sin. So, how were you so willing to have sex with this pastor?”
She said something to the effect, “He was such a spiritual man. He said that this was God’s will and I believed it.”
Here is my point. So I stand by my view that we Christians have a screwed up view when it comes to “godliness” or spirituality. I say this as someone who was considered “godly” by myself and others. It is a farce. I stand by my statement, “You should never trust a godly person.” Actually we should never trust anybody . . . in a naive way. I agree with Philip Yancy who basically says that there is virtually nothing different between the most godly person and the most evil (in his book, What’s so Amazing about Grace.)
We can respect one another. We can honor one another as tremendously valuable creatures in God’s image. We can even do the both for non-Christians as well as Christians. But when we start trusting someone because they say (or others say) that they are godly . . . then be careful.
Posted by MJ at 1:40 PM