The law of God, the law of Man…and Josh Duggar
First of all, I promise you that this will, in all likelihood be my only posted page about Josh Duggar. There’s already plenty of commentary out there on this situation and I have no desire to continue beating a dead horse.
There is one aspect of the situation that I do want to talk about though.
Much has been made of the fact that several months before Jim Bob Duggar went to police he talked to the Elders at his Church to address what Josh had done.
It’s herein we have a problem. As many of you already know, I’m a Christian. Now, I’ll be the first one to say that a lot of so called “Christians” get so many things about the faith and in particular, what Jesus himself said and did, completely wrong and mangled.
This is one of those (unfortunately far too many) times.
When making decisions, a religious person typically takes into effect his religious beliefs as well as human laws. Sometimes they are in agreement. For example, both the Ten Commandments and most of codes of law condemn murder as an immoral act.
Other times the picture is not so clear. What’s acceptable in the Bible may not be acceptable in human law (for example slavery). Or what’s acceptable in human law may be see as immoral by the Bible (for example bisexuality).
Now the Duggars went to the Church first, so they clearly felt that regardless of what it said about this particular situation, God’s law took precedence.
Setting aside for a moment the multiple condemnations of sexual immorality in the Bible, let’s take a look at what the good book says about following human authority.
We’ll start in the Ten Commandments. What is generally considered the 5th Commandment states:
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Obviously, our mother and father are our usually prime earthly authority for the first 18 years of our lives.
When it comes to matters of following the law there’s oft quoted words of Jesus pertaining to paying taxes in Matthew 19:
Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
But that’s not all. Now, let’s look at the writing of the Apostle Paul in Romans 13:1
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
Suddenly the Duggars going to the Church first and not the police is starting to look like a really bad move…but we’re not finished.
From Titus 3
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
And finally, we come back to Jesus himself and what is generally regarded as the greatest of all commands He gave. From John 13:34:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
When you love someone, you do whatever you can to protect them, to keep them safe, to keep them healthy, to make them flourish. This is ESPECIALLY true of Children.
At this point I think we can safely say the Duggars have failed on multiple levels here.
Personally, I understand the difference between Church authorities and the authorities of Law. Let’s say I committed a violent crime and decided to turn myself in. Obviously I’d go to the nearest police station to do such a thing BEFORE engaging my Church leadership, knowing full well I’d face consequences from both parties.
That is the logical thing to do. That’s the moral thing to do.
Heck, that’s even the BIBLICAL thing to do!
From anti-vaxxers to faith healers to anti-LGBT bakeries, there’s no shortage of folks who think that earthly laws shouldn’t apply to them because the Bible tells them otherwise, but nothing could be further from the truth.
It’s a very simple and obvious reality: When a serious crime has been committed, the first reaction of a Christian who truly follows Jesus should be to go to the POLICE, not the Church.
From just about any angle you look at this, secular or religious, the Duggars messed this up…badly.