Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.(Proverbs 1:20-23)
I believe that one of the ways Wisdom from God cries out in the streets, is through notable current events. Through the media culture we are instantly and constantly apprised of current events and developments ; be it in sports, politics, entertainment, or news, there is often a message beneath the event, for Him who has ears to hear.
The Duggar family has become a popular cultural phenomenon through the reality television shown “19 Kids and Counting.” Hundreds of thousands of Americans have followed the openly Christian, homeschooling family through their daily routine of feeding, shopping, chores, building a large house for the family, family prayer, countless births, courtships,proposals, and even marriages.
There has been something fascinating to many, about this insight into a middle American culture of large families, Christian values, chores, sharing and respect that many Americans and even others, thought was long gone.
The Duggars has been a larger- than- life witness to an entire subculture that is very much alive and even thriving in much of America.
But there is a new twist to the story.
Evidently, the oldest of the 19 children, Joshua, had to confess recently to molesting some of his sisters and a family friend, 12 years ago, when he was 14 -15 years old. He has expressed his regret and stepped down from his position on the Family Research Council. What can we hear Wisdom saying from this unfortunate episode?
1) That the True Witness of Christ is not a “perfect family” but Redemption. The subculture that the Duggars spring from is straight out of developments within evangelical Christianity in the 1970s and 1980s.Born again Christians rejected the “anti-child” , ZPG,(zero population growth) ethos of their time. There was also a tremendous evangelical reaction to the liberal indoctrination and usurpation of the public schools, resulting in the Christian school and Homeschool movement.
Out of this sprang a vast new emphasis on family, discipline, the biblical role of the Husband and Wife, biblical work ethic, the rejection of the dating culture in favor of courting, and the attempt to protect the children from worldliness in the toxic culture.
I confess, in the interest of full disclosure, that this is very much something I whole heartedly agree with, and see as positive.
However it can lead to an unfortunate emphasis on the external . The temptation is to think that doing ‘family’ just right, and being a perfect example of a Christian family, each kid in submission and everything in order, is the ideal Christian witness.
The problem is original sin.Even if we deliver our children out of the abominable public schools, and get them to read the classical literature, and teach them to work hard children are still sinners.
There will be sin, and there is a Christian way to deal with it. The witness is Redemption, not external perfection.
The Duggars did deal with their sinning son, he was exposed, he confessed his sin. Years later when his future wife and her parents were introduced to the family, Josh told them openly of his sin and that he had been helped by God to overcome it. “Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret,” Duggar said in a statement posted on Facebook on Thursday. “I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. “We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.” What more can you do? Should Duggar be considered a danger? Should he be made a Pariah? But for those of us who have forgotten what the true witness if Christ is, this will be a severe trial.
2) Who says you are supposed to put your family on Television? I think Wisdom might be warning us of the dangers of setting ourselves up as an example. I realize that “we are the light of the world” and the “Salt of the earth” but I doubt that meant we should present our entire family on television for years on end. I cringe when I see the Duggars and the Duck Dynasty clan, because I know that even the finest families are composed of sinners, and I also know that those who would viscerally hate all that these traditional families stand for, the sexually deviant, and the Feminists, would absolutely love to uncover “dirt” on either one of them to discredit the idyllic scenes of family prayer and faith and the public statements against the cultural transgressions. As a Pastor and Blogger I do live a somewhat public life, however on a very severely limited scale. I wouldn’t want my little ones or my grandchildren to have to live their tender, developing years on television for all to see. If I am attacked that is one thing, but to expose my wife and children to attack, is unthinkable.
3) The reaction to this incident reveals all we need to know about the Duggars friends and critics. There are some Christians and moralists who are already savaging Josh Duggar. They believe that he has damaged the gospel, by serving on the Family Research Council,knowing of his previous sin, or by being on Television at all. But would anyone want their sins from the age of 14 to be held against them twelve years later? Is there not Redemption? Didn’t Jesus die for his sins?
The sexual deviants are rejoicing! So too are the rest of the Anti-Christians. They are so happy that , that “Holier than thou”, “perfect little family” has been shamed and their nakedness has been exposed! They love to see the dirty laundry of a pro-life, pro-family, pro-American Christian family. The Washingtom Post online article featured a video clip showing Josh Duggar calling for Marriage as being between one man and one woman, as if his previous transgressions nullifies everything he has said.
What is their answer?Is it that there is no use protesting sin, we should just succumb to every evil proclivity? I would rather live among people like the Duggars, who though imperfectly, tried to stem the tide of evil in their own families, than among those who just “normalize” perversion as though it is inevitable anyway.
Then there are those of us who are grieved. Grieved for the Duggar family and the exposure of their shame. Grieved to be reminded that even in the most sanitized, and seemingly protected environment, Sin still destroys and rears its ugly head. We are grieved for the young women whom Josh touched inappropriately 12 years ago, and the willingness of sinners to re-open any wounds that have been healed.
If those who rejoiced over the Duggars shame ever thought about it, they would realize that the same God who allowed for the exposure of Josh’s sin, will one day call each of them to account for their sins. Jesus told us, “There is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed, and nothing whispered in the ear that shall not be shouted from the roof tops”.
4) This little episode is a heavy warning about the power and danger of sin, and the fact that neither homeschooling, courting, manners, morals and ethics, are any substitute for the need of full Redemption through the blood of Jesus. All of us are sinners, we all need grace and cannot afford to throw stones at anyone. Being reconciled to God through the death and resurrection of Jesus is the only antidote to sin. Please pray for the Duggars and their family. Pray also for the outspoken deviants and moral anarchists who rejoice in their shame. Pray for the Moralists who are now tempted to hate this family, for their failure in the past, and for having the audacity to present their family as some kind of testimony.
The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations. The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down. The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.(Psalm 145:8-15)