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Josh Duggar, Ashley Madison and the need for godly authority
When it was revealed several months ago that Josh Duggar fondled his younger sisters as a young teenager, Leftists squealed with glee. It was a disgusting sight to behold, as people gloated over it. Most of these people have no concern whatsoever for his victims or his family - they just were giddy that they collected another "hypocritical" Christian scalp. It was sick. But this is instructive for Christians, and there are important doctrines to consider here.
First of all, this celebrity worship has to stop. Every time a "conservative" says something that angers Leftists and gets national attention, "conservatives" rush to make him or her a national hero. We saw it a few years ago with Miss USA contestant Carrie Prejean, who had serious problems with modesty and was clearly "not ready for prime time" in terms of being a national spokesperson on a heated political issue. It was a disservice to her to thrust her into the national spotlight, and was a selfish and cynical decision by pro-marriage organizations to do so.
Even if Josh Duggar's wicked sexual sins had never happened, what did he actually do to earn a leadership position in the pro-family movement and a position with the Family Research Council? What are his accomplishments? What are his qualifications? What had he done on the ground? What is his experience? The answer to all of those questions is this: Nothing. He was a reality TV celebrity. His parents are famous. That's all. He earned his positon on celebrity, not merit. This is a bad thing, and should not be encouraged or celebrated.
When Duggar was 14, both his parents and his church failed him. He should have been submitted to the civil magistrate for justice. Does this mean that he should have went to prison for years? Not necessarily, but God has created three realms of authority (the church, the family and the state) for a reason. Crimes are to be dealt with by the state. This does not mean that the family or the church has no role in dealing with criminals, but they should not short-circuit the authority God has placed on the civil magistrate. That is rebellion, and is no different than witchcraft.
Duggar claimed when the fondling was revealed that he had "repented" back then. The fact that he maintained a paid Ashley Madison profile demonstrates that probably was not the case. But repentance, forgiveness and consequences for sin are all things that exist and operate independently of each other. One can repent and be forgiven and still face consequences for his sin. The fact that there are consequences for sin does not negate genuine forgiveness and repentance, as we see with the life of King David.
Forgiveness is required independently, because we are all required to forgive sinners. Bitterness and the refusal to forgive are also sins. For an example, see the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant.
We are all sinners and deserving of God's wrath, so ultimately none of us are any better than Duggar. One example was King Manasseh, who was one of the most evil men in the Bible. (See II Chronicles 33.) He burned his own children to death in a pagan ritual, yet was forgiven when he repented. The issue isn't whether someone "deserves" forgiveness. No one does. The issue is God's limitless mercy.
Finally, the fact that Christians commit severe sins (assuming Josh Duggar is actually a Christian) does not negate the truth of the Gospel. Of course Christians are going to sin. The entire point of Christianity is that we are all sinners, that we cannot save ourselves, and only the unmerited grace of God saves us from His wrath. Even as Christians are sanctified, we will always sin. Only God is perfect and holy, and our salvation is a gift from Him that we can in no way deserve or earn. What is amazing is that He saves any of us.