Making sense of the Josh Duggar adultery website scandal
posted by Rebecca
Last night it was revealed that Josh Duggar of “19 Kids and Counting” apparently had two accounts on the uber-secret-private “Life-is-short-have-an-affair” Ashley Madison adultery website. (Well, it wasn’t so uber-secret-private that it couldn’t be hacked and its contents spilled out for all the world to see.)
Back in the spring, because when he was a teenager he had molested five minors, Josh Duggar had made headlines. Headlines because of the show, but not only that, headlines because he was part of the Family Research Council and made his living talking about morality.
Back in the spring, he was both attacked and defended. Attacked because if he did something like this as a teenager, he should not now be representing a group whose mission is to talk about morality. Defended because he was only a teenager, he had seen that what he did was wrong, and now his heart was right with God. (And yes, we do affirm that Jesus Christ does make bad people good by giving them a new life.)
So what are we to make of the screen shots that this newest revelation, which gives every appearance of being genuine?
Is this a time to say, “This is a private issue between him and his wife?”
When our children were growing up, we taught them that the exposure of their sin needed to be to as large an audience as the sin affected. The repentance needed to be before all who were touched by their sin. When a man is a public figure who takes a stand against the very kind of thing he is secretly practicing, it becomes a public issue, and it’s appropriate for his exposure to be public. I hate as much as anyone that Christianity is mocked in the process, but hypocrites need to be exposed.
Is this a time to say, “What about you you’ve looked on someone with lust,” and “We’re all sinners so we just need to forgive”?
For one thing, the adultery website isn’t a case of a person falling into an emotional affair with someone he was working with in ministry, for example, though that would be terrible too. This is a case of a man going out and seeking a woman with whom to commit adultery. Can you see how bad this is? Can you see that this is worse than looking at a woman and lusting after her, which Jesus called heart adultery? (Which is still a sin, but is early on in the progression of sin, so if it is caught and repented of at that stage, it need not progress further.)
For another thing—and this is extremely important—apparently Josh Duggar was living a double life. How else is this to be explained? And the double life is called hypocrisy in the truest sense, the deepest, darkest sense of the word.
Why is this important to us at BJUGrace? Because we are telling you that we know about people in the tightly woven network of Bob Jones University who are living double lives. They graduate from BJU and go into a BJU-supported ministry, behind the pulpit of a BJU-partnering church or on a BJU-supported mission field or teaching in the large BJU-partnering Christian school. In a beautiful BJU church, they lead a Good News Club or sing in the choir.
And they have done evil in secret.
When one of them is exposed, perhaps by one of his victims whom he brutally raped twenty years ago, we will be sure to hear the voices. “That was so long ago! He doesn’t do that sort of thing anymore! Forgive!”
But he lived a very successful double life then, never having been caught (but moving from ministry to ministry when a situation got a bit too hot for him). Do you not see it? Why would he have stopped living a double life?
The fact is that there ARE wolves in sheep’s clothing in our churches and Christian ministries. Do you think they’re going to look like wolves? No! They’re going to look like sheep! Jesus said that it is by their fruits we will know them. If we ignore the fruits of their lives that their victims and others are trying to tell us about, how can we ever protect the innocent and purify our churches?
Pay attention to the Josh Duggar adultery scandal, because it has a lot to teach us. About what some “good Christians in ministry” are doing in secret. About how kind and innocent and moral these wolves can appear.
After all, sheep never wear wolves’ clothing.
Update: Josh Duggar acknowledged his sin of a secret pornography addiction and double life here. We know that he acknowledged it because he was caught, but we hope that it will be genuine repentance anyway. We hope that many who have been living double lives can be caught and will genuinely repent.