Speaking out for the oppressed is not tarnishing the reputation of Christ. In fact, we see it as the epitome of Christlikeness.
We grieve that we have to speak out about allegations against those who claim to represent Him, but we still hope and pray that many of them will repent and confess and turn to grace and truth, righteousness and peace.
The Bible is full of examples of God exposing sin. God was not concerned with His reputation when His chief leader and king of the nation of Israel was caught in sin. God exposed the sin to show that He was just, and called David to repentance. God records the sin of Adam and Cain’s murder of Abel. Achan had to account for his sin in a very public way, and Paul had no problem warning the brothers not to associate with Alexander, the man who did him harm (2 Timothy 4:14-15).
In fact, it is not the exposing of sin that tarnishes the name of Christ, but the sin itself.
Here we’ll quote from Dale Ingraham’s book Tear Down This Wall of Silence: Dealing with Sexual Abuse in Our Churches (an introduction for those who will hear).
A common concern felt by many well-meaning Christians is the fear that admitting that there’s a problem with such a heinous crime within our churches will hurt the efforts of the churches or ministries, who are trying to lead people to Christ. Faith and I have heard this concern expressed many times, at conferences and churches where we’ve spoken, and in other venues.
My response to that is: Have we absolutely lost our minds?
It is the sin that hurts the work of Christ and brings shame to the church –not exposing it! Not telling the truth about it! Not actually dealing with it! How can dealing with abuse and holding offenders accountable for their sins possibly hurt the name of Christ?
Ephesians 5:11-12 reminds Christians, “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.” We are commanded by God to expose evil. Why would God tell people to “expose” the works of darkness, if doing so would hurt His work? If there is ever a biblical mandate for dealing with this sin, it’s right here in these verses.
If a church fails to expose the truth about abuse and biblically deal with it, then it’s safe to conclude that there is little or no light in that church. Christians need to be aware of the wrong beliefs and fears that get in the way of making right decisions when it comes to this issue. They need to be informed, to be vigilant, and to take appropriate action when needed.
God’s will is that these works of darkness need to be exposed. It is the light of truth that exposes the evil. This is one of the very best ways possible to help the cause of Christ.