So Bill Gothard, who taught 2.5 million people his 32 hour Bible course, is widely accused of sexual harassment, but wealthy Christians attribute their family and business success to him.
2.5 million people study the Bible for 32 hours! Despite him, above him, around him, and quite possibly through him, the kingdom advances.
Joyce Meyer’s finances perennially raise eyebrows, but, on a blogger’s trip to Cambodia, I meet a young man who became a Christian after listening to her on TV for 3 months, and then converted his whole village.
And the Kingdom marches on.
And so I suspend judgement on all morally ambiguous preachers—lest I find myself fighting against God.
For somehow above them, around them, perhaps even through them, still the Kingdom advances.
* * *
The Lord gave the word; great was the company of the preachers (Psalm 68:11). Ruffian and ragamuffins, saints and scoundrels, great was their company.
They had affairs; their greed corrupted them; they gave full vent to their jealousies; their ambition was unrestrained.
They preached the word, they prayed, they spread the fire, strange or otherwise.
And despite them, above them, around them, perhaps even through them, the Kingdom advanced.
* * *
And through those who sighed and volunteered to teach Sunday school, and to lead youth groups. Through those who led Bible studies to which people thronged to talk about themselves, and to make friends—but who yet were hospitable. Through those who gave their widow’s mite to churches and ministries which squandered it on a leader’s ego. But on the kingdom too, a little. Oh yes, on the kingdom too.
Through all these, the kingdom advances.
* * *
Despite—or through–crusaders and inquisitors and conquistadors and colonizers with a Bible in one hand and a sword in the other, the Kingdom advances.
It advanced to Mangalore on India’s west coast, when the Portuguese converted the entire town to Roman Catholicism in the sixteenth century, and so Jesus was one the first words I spoke.
It advances through those who are mean about abortion or immigration or gays or women preaching or women bishoping. Who support guns and invasions and bombings and all things Israeli. It advances.
“Gold, girls, glory, power yes; mixed-up motives, yes; but still the kingdom advances.”
It is like a mustard seed, bursting into a tree, which one day shall cover every nation, every village, the entire world, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, and neither shall our shenanigans.
We forget about the Kingdom at times, and seek power and glory, but you, God, are not perturbed.
For you know it’s all yours, the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen.