I thank God for the Ashley Madison hack. Right along with the Planned Barrenhood videos, this hack has exposed the dark heart of men and women and the reality that our sins are never committed in secret. Our sin will find us out. However, on this list of names from the Ashley Madison hack, I have to admit my disappointment when I read an article about someone I look up to being on that list. The most recent example is R.C. Sproul Jr., you can read what he has to say here, and you should before reading more of what I have to say below.
Sproul Jr. is somewhat of a hero to me. I actually went to a General Assembly meeting for the Covenant Presbyterian Church…and there he was. I sat in on the business meetings and listened to him to talk and argue with fellow ministers, and I noticed he was barefoot. I followed him to the cafeteria (at a safe distance so he didn’t think I was following him, but I was) and I even had a cabin next to his out in the woods (aren’t I cool?). I was quite excited to be there and to be near Sproul Jr. I have read his books, listened to his lectures and sermons, follow his blog, and digest his podcast as soon as it is downloaded on my phone. I look up to him as a husband, a father, and a pastor because I have learned a great deal from his wisdom and humility.
Then I saw that his name was on the list.
To be honest, my first thought was that he was on the Ashley Madison site doing some digging on a new book or something. Then I thought, that if he really did entertain this sort of sin in his heart, he is the guy who will come out, admit it, and repent of it, and receive all the consequences that follow, because that is what he has always taught me to do. I was greatly relieved when I read his account of what happened, and I praise God that Sproul Jr. repented of his desire and never went back to the pile of vomit, the pit of death.
Here is how we handle this as Christians. We should not be surprised by sin. Our heroes, even if it is your local minister who never wrote a book, made it on the radio, or whatever, are not free from sin. We believe the first T in TULIP, don’t we? We believe that all the desires of man are corrupted, and that the sin in our hearts is waging war against the Law of God in our hearts. We believe this, not because we see it in other people, we believe this primarily because of our own experience with sin and God’s Word testifies to it.
I am not mad at R.C. Sproul Jr. Actually, I am filled with joy. He repented. He is restored. He repented and Jesus’s blood covers him. He committed a sin with serious consequences, and apart from the grace of God, where would I be? Would I repent, or defend myself? What if God put my thoughts from the last two days on a jumbo-tron for the world to see? What would those who look to me for leadership and guidance think? “Oh. He really is a sinner.” You betcha. What if my history was dug up and plastered on the internet? What if the sins any of us have committed were held against us now? Where would we stand? What could we do?
The same thing Sproul Jr. did, the same thing we must always do. Plead the blood that saves. God never turns away the repentant child, and since God accepts repentance, so should the church.
Do you remember that guy in the first century who would go around dragging Christians away from their families and then sentence them to prison, and on occasion approve of their deaths? Remember that guy with blood on his hands? The one breathing threats against the church like a vile dragon? This is what he said after God granted him repentance, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1.
Praise God from whom all repentance flows.