Once we received a flyer promoting a youth event at a nearby congregation. While some of the speakers were unfamiliar, nothing seemed wrong. Later, however, a friend called to ask if I had seen the unedited flyer. It turned out the unfamiliar speakers were from denominational churches, and identified as such by handouts circulated in-house at the host congregation.
When I called to ask why we received an edited version, the preacher who mailed out the flyer was blunt in his reason. He knew if they fully identified the speakers, our congregation would not promote the event.
The Whole Truth
Duplicity, while appalling, has grown common among our fellowship. Integrity, in contrast, was central to the work of the church the apostle Paul commended to a young evangelist:
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. (Titus 2:7-8)
This was the standard Paul set for his own ministry:
But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Cor. 4:2)
No dirt under the rug, no hidden agenda, nothing of which to be ashamed — an “open statement of the truth” empowered Paul’s work.
Nothing but the Truth
We must ask ourselves: are we permitting shady practices and ominous teachings to hide in dark corners of our fellowship? Not only must we keep ourselves honest, we must be forthright in asking honest questions of others and in demanding honest answers.
Some problems facing the church spring directly from a cover-up of error; many more spring from a passive complicity in not exposing the problem.
“Sunlight,” Justice Louis Brandeis once observed, “is the best disinfectant.”