Swaggart’s position

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Jimmy Swaggart has made the news again, and again he has embarrassed the Church. Professor Volokh asks whether this is something Christians really accept, and if it is not why we do not denounce Jimmy Swaggart.

Of course, the reason for this is that Jimmy Swaggart has been denounced for a long time within the Christian world. He is a heretic on many levels, and so it seems extraneous to renounce someone who has no voice or authority within the Evangelical world.

However, this being said, it seems from Professor Volokh and others on the web that our perspective on Swaggart is not clear. So for these words specifically, Swaggart should be denounced. That he could even think of killing someone and lying to God about it, let alone say this in front of a congregation is beyond the pale of any semblance of Christian thought. Whether meant as a joke or not, these kinds of words justify the bias much of the world has against the church, a bias not against our Christlike positions, but against precisely our non-Christlike positions. That those outside the church have a richer grasp of the Christian ethic in this regard than someone who has had a purported ministry for as long as Swaggart is sad.

He has long disgraced himself, disgraced the church, and speaks words for God that God does not speak.

Yes, there are moral questions dealing with the issue of homosexuality. However, there are deeper moral issues at play here which relate to the love of God for all people. Swaggart despises those who God loves and treasures. Swaggart condemns those who God wants to save. Swaggart rejects those who, even with their particular flaws, are made in the very image of God.

Swaggart isn’t simply wrong, he’s a heretic. Heretics speak for God in a way which does not reflect God. They make God into their own image, and in rejecting his care for those in this world they reject the work of the Holy Spirit who yearns for all in this world.

Volokh suggests that if Christians disagree they should denounce Swaggarts words. I do. And I have.

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