making and maturing disciples of Jesus Christ in Birmingham and for the world

Kevin Spacey, Liam Neeson, Michael Jackson…

Dear Friends,

I probably don’t need to tell you what these names have in common.  If so, then it’s easy enough to find out on the internet.  They have all become toxic in recent months, accused of things like sexual abuse, racism and child abuse.  And they’re not the only ones.  The list could be multiplied many times over.  Once adored by fans, seemingly unable to put a foot wrong, now nobody wants anything to do with them.  Actually, not quite nobody.  There are those who refuse to believe what they are accused of, and those who maintain that while what they may have done is indefensible their ‘art’ is still valuable and good.  But they have been generally and widely denounced.

What are we to make of this?  Clearly what they are accused of is appalling (admittedly to different degrees), and when we cease to be appalled by such wrongdoing there is something seriously wrong.  But if we know what the Bible says, without being less appalled, we will be less surprised, knowing that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), ourselves included.  Do we not know that, given the circumstances, we too could have done such things (and maybe have)?

And is there no redemption, no possibility of restoration and forgiveness?  There may still be consequences, even prison.  But surely the cross of Jesus tells us there is redemption.  As we love to sing, “The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.”  For the truth is that I too am a vile offender and I too need that pardon.

Yours warmly, in Christ,

Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister/Vicar)

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