Were you aware that megachurches were suffering the same political turmoil as the rest of America? From time to time I’m asked to comment on this or that big scandal.
First and foremost: The first churches in the New Testament had them, too. Granted, the scandals were of a different nature, covering a different range of problems, but they were there nonetheless. This is part of our fallen human existence. To pretend that churches are immune to the same political manipulation as the rest of society is inexcusably stupid.
Satan is like an old toothless roaring lion, seeking to frighten the game out of the bushes and into the waiting jaws of younger stealthy lions (1 Peter 5:6-9). That parable suggests that if you aren’t standing in the power of the Spirit, his roar will frighten you out of your safety in obedience, and into places where you aren’t protected. Let him roar; that’s just the background noise of our existence.
Which brings up the second answer: The problem is not with religion, but with religion that stands too close to the secular society. Here in the US, our social structure is the symbol of all that’s wrong with Western Civilization in the first place. The Christian religion here in the US is nothing more than an echo of that same abomination. Every mainstream church is vulnerable to Satan’s attacks because they do not stand in the center of Biblical Law; they do not abide by the Covenant of Christ.
Let’s look at just one of the major failures — a biblical church is ruled by elders and guided by a priesthood. Why do you think the Apostles were so adamant about not getting involved in the politics of feeding widows (Acts 6:1-7)? It was an organizational matter and the pastors have no business getting bogged down in such matters. This reflects the ancient pattern of dividing the task of moral shepherding between king and priest, the Two Witnesses of Zechariah 4 and Revelation 11. And throughout the New Testament we are reminded that pastors are appointed, but elders arise organically from the body of heart-led people seeking God’s way. That’s how the Spirit works in the church.
A religious body that is not organized like an ancient Hebrew extended household is not a church. Creation itself is feudal; humans are hard-wired to live in a feudal social structure as family within a single household. This Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) feudal structure was God’s original design. Any other organizational structure is inherently sinful. We don’t expect societies and governments to understand this, much less embrace it, but believers have no excuse.
The magisterial organization of some churches was stolen from Germanic tribal heathens. The presbyterial council is a perversion of Roman politics. The democratic church structure was derived from pagan Greek culture. The only thing God will bless is His own design: ANE feudalism.
So American Christian religion will continue to flounder and embarrass Christ until believers start from scratch and get it right. What we see in the confusion and chaos of scandals is what we should expect as long as people reject the Covenant of Christ. Getting it right won’t stop scandals, but it will reduce them to just background noise while we stand secure in the Word of the Lord.