Over a week ago (which is a small eternity in internet time) there was a hashtag running through my Twitter feed. #IstandwithSGMVictims. So I tweeted it. Because I did. Because I do. Because telling someone about the abuse you suffered, and then not being believed, but instead being slandered, being ignored is terrible. I am brokenhearted that any organization would do this, but I am sickened that it would happen in the name of Jesus. I want people to know that I do believe them, that I do stand by them, that I do care.
Probably, that was not the only reason I tweeted it. I don’t like the theology of Sovereign Grace Ministries. More than I don’t like it, I believe it is damaging. I think that the way they view God and the gospel contributed to the ways they reacted to the allegations of abuse in their ranks. Probably, I think of SGM as a them in the dichotomy of us versus them I tend to put everything in. If I am totally honest with myself, with you, I don’t just want people to know I stand with SGM victims. I want people to know I stand against SGM, and that I was right all along.
A midst the hashtag activism, a voice of reason piped up that the conservative side of the theological divide is not the only one dealing with sexual abuse and cover-up. There is an entire documentary about the abuse, and the purposeful ignoring of victims within JPUSA, an organization with theology that matches mine much more closely. In the us versus them dichotomy in my mind, JPUSA is an us. Notice I didn’t tweet anything about that.
But I am still thinking about it. Over a week later (an eternity of internet time) I am still shaken by my own heart’s willingness to ignore the horrendous behavior of an us, as I publicly call out the thems of this world. I want to stand for all victims. Period. I think I am that person, until I am confronted with the idea that I am not.
I think it has something to do with the way things are being framed. On the internet, yes, but also in my own heart. I think the cover-up at SGM has a lot to do with the things they believe about God, about the gospel. I think they are wrong and so of course terrible things happen. Terrible theology leads to terrible realities. I think that is real.
But good theology does not protect us from terrible things. And that is what I want to believe. I want to believe that if people believe the right things (right things being of course, things that I also believe) then they will always do the right things. I want to believe that we can be saved by our theology. The internet isn’t helping this inclination. Enough time on Twitter and I really start thinking that the world can be saved by everyone thinking the right things, my things. I start believing that all good people believe good (read my) things. In all my talking about God and what we think about what He thinks, I lose track of what He did, and why.
For God so loved the world that He gave his only son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have ever lasting life.
I forget that it is Jesus who saves. Period. No more, no less.
Good people do bad things, bad people do good things. Everyone thinks some wrong things about God, we just aren’t going to get it all right on this side. That doesn’t mean it isn’t important to try. That doesn’t mean theology doesn’t matter. I think it matters very much. I just need to remember it doesn’t protect us. I need to remember it is only Jesus who saves.