Church: It's Time to Get our House in Order

July 9, 2023
3 mins 37 secs
Tanner DiBella

The Pharisees paid a great deal of attention to their appearance, making sure they appeared righteous to the community. But, these religious leaders were more concerned with appearing righteous than being righteous. That’s why Jesus Christ referred to them as hypocrites.

Justice is a major theme in Scripture. In Psalm 89:14, David said, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of [God’s] throne.” A core characteristic of God is his heart for Justice. The Lord told the Prophet Amos that He wants justice to roll like a river. In other words… He wants a LOT of it.

Many churches are quick to address cultural and political injustices in the world. They talk about the hyper-sexualization of our schools, the corruption of our government, and the wickedness in culture. All valid areas of concern that the Church should be talking about. But what about the House of God? Does the Church address those same issues impacting the Body of Christ?

Many leaders will claim that an article like this will degrade the reputation of the Church — nothing could be further from the truth. The Apostle Paul said, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”1 We must expose darkness — especially when it creeps into our churches.

When we bring things into the light, we work toward repairing the damage. We work toward redemption, reconciliation, and ultimately healing.

It’s time to get our House in order, Church.

Before we call to account the injustices in American society, we must first have an accounting of the House of God.

The Catholic Church has been at the center of profound controversy, with thousands of sexual abuse allegations mounting against clergy and priests through the decades.

More than 300 priests in Pennsylvania were found to have abused children (~1,000) over 70 years. In Illinois, the Attorney General released a report that found almost 2,000 children under 18 were victims of child sex abuse.2 In a French report on child sexual abuse, more than 330,000 children had been abused over the past 70 years within the Catholic Church.3

The Protestant church is not without her own blemish.

Hillsong Church, one of the largest and most influential religious communities in the world — has been, very publicly, called to account. Pastor Brian Houston, the former lead Pastor, pled guilty to a DUI that took place back in February of 2023.4 This came after multiple allegations surfaced that Houston covered up his father’s abuse of a boy.5 Claims of mishandling funds, covering up abuse, and engaging in relationships that are outside the scope of Scripture is rampant in the Church.

As the Body of Christ, we can hide it. We can deny it. We can reject it. We can project it. Or, we can work to build a good reputation, as King Solomon suggested (Proverbs 22:1). We do this by being honest, being accountable, and being vulnerable to our own mistakes, failures, and evil deeds.

We must understand our History but not obsess over it.

I am always leery when an opponent of the Church references the historical injustices of the church in America and abroad. Most of the time, it’s a strategy used to discredit her witness and reputation - so I rarely engage.

It is important to understand some of the wrongdoings of the church through her history — not to vilify her, but to understand her. After all, the church is made up of broken, sinful people. Christ’s church is perfect, but the institutions that man creates around it is full of sin and misdeeds. If we do not learn our history, we are doomed to repeat it. Understanding our failures and tragedies allows us to learn from those moments, reconcile, and move forward in a way that is redemptive and transformative.

The Church has also been one of the most benevolent institutions in human history. Alvin Schmidt’s definitive work titled, How Christianity Changed the World provides poignant examples of how Christians influenced government.

In Ancient Rome, Christians advocated outlawing infanticide, child abandonment, and the brutal gladiator games. In Europe, they helped end the practice of human sacrifice. In India, they passed laws to ban pedophilia and polygamy and prohibit the burning of widows.

William Wilberforce, a committed Christian, was the impetus behind the successful effort to abolish the slave trade in England. Carl Henry was an American evangelical Christian theologian who provided intellectual and institutional leadership in the mid-to-late 20th century: “This has been the historic witness of Christians concerned about the government, promoting good and restraining evil. Christians should work through civil authority for the advancement of justice and human good to provide “critical illumination, personal example, and vocational leadership.”

History has profound moments of triumph and success and terrible records of evil, wickedness, and atrocities. As the church, let us understand our role in that history — not to operate in shame or guilt, but to understand how we, as the body of Christ, can better represent the Divine.

The Bottom Line

The Pharisees paid a great deal of attention to their appearance, making sure they appeared righteous to the community. But, these religious leaders were more concerned with appearing righteous than being righteous. That’s why Jesus Christ referred to them as hypocrites.

There is profound brokenness in culture. As church leaders — let us be sure to speak truth to the brokenness both in society and in our own homes. We must apply the same moral standards to our churches as we apply to culture.

It’s time to get the House in order, Church. Let’s start in our own pews.






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Tanner DiBella
Tanner DiBella serves on the Executive Leadership Team at Destiny Church and also is the President of the American Council, one of the most influential Christian advocacy groups here in California. Tanner is a children’s author, a speaker, and a pro-life advocate who, through the American Council, is empowering a generation of Christians to stand up, speak out, and redeem our culture.

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