Don't Reject God Because of Human Failure Study No. 177

As a young man growing up in a small midwestern town, I attended church on a fairly regular basis. Until one day I found out about a scandal that was common knowledge throughout the congregation. Seems one of the elders of the church was having an affair with the wife of another member of the congregation. This elder was a prominent man in the community and a heavy financial contributor. The pastor was aware of the problem but took no disciplinary action.

This hypocrisy offended me to the core. I stopped attending. I threw in the towel on religion and even questioned the existence of God. "If this is supposed to prove there is a God, I don't believe it" was my thinking.

My grievous error is an example of going against the adage, "Don't throw out the baby with the bath water."

A few years ago circumstances arose that led to my resignation from the church organization for which I had pastored for thirty years. This time, my departure did not involve giving up on God and the Bible. I became part of a new church that was formed to preserve the same basic truths that I had proven, preached, and committed my life to.

Unfortunately, thousands of members who experienced similar circumstances are sitting at home - hurt, confused and turned off on "organized religion." One man began a tape ministry to reach out to some of these scattered members. Yet even he has overreacted to the hurt he experienced in his previous church affiliation. In a recent letter to his sermon tape recipients, this man wrote, "churches or religious organizations are simply entities of mere men." Another case of throwing out the baby with the bath water.

How many people make this tragic mistake? Some who experience spousal abuse become soured on the marriage institution because of a bad experience with one person. Some children who grow up in dysfunctional families vow never to marry because of the distorted image portrayed by their parents. How many women hate all men? How many men hate all women? Again, same problem.

All these examples involve rejecting a basic aspect of life that God instituted for our good. Jesus said, "I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18). God established the marriage institution "at the beginning" (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-8). He also made us male and female (Genesis 1:27), with differences that can lead to harmony and productivity, or chaos and strife.

What should be tossed out are the problems, not the basics that God established.

Another much traveled saying suggests, "If all else fails, read the instructions." Instructions for happiness in marriage, information on male and female differences, and teachings about the importance of church are all found in the pages of the Bible.

Unfortunately, some who claim to represent the teachings of the Bible misunderstand and misrepresent the truths of the Scriptures. "Even supposing that some of them have proved untrustworthy, is their faithlessness to cancel the faithfulness of God? Never!" (Romans 3:3, Moffatt translation). "Let us think of God as true, even if every living man be proved a liar" (Romans 3:4, Phillips version).

Don't throw out the baby with the bath water.