Culture

Have the Duggars Made Christianity Look Bad?

I’ve never been a fan of the Duggars. It has nothing to do with them. I just don’t watch reality television, or much television of any kind. My knowledge of the abnormally large family has been entirely secondhand. I know they’re conservative Christians, as am I. I know they’re popular among that crowd. And I can tell that they like to have kids.

Given my lack of interest, I’ve been fairly successful in ignoring the ongoing controversy regarding Josh Duggar’s confessed crimes against young girls committed in his teenage years. I was content to remain blissfully ignorant and unconcerned about the hubbub, right up until I read this column from Michael Reagan berating presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for speaking in defense of the Duggar family. I then listened to Christian broadcaster Brannon Howse opine on the subject and interview Reagan here.

Reagan and Howse seem to share the opinion that the Duggars and their business associates have undermined the integrity of the Christian mission by, well, engaging in the Christian mission. Apparently, if you’ve ever done something horrible, you should never serve in a missionary capacity or otherwise stand publicly for Christ. It makes the rest of us look bad, Reagan and Howse claim.

They might want to tell that to the Apostle Paul, who before becoming the greatest first century Christian evangelist whittled away his days hunting and killing Christians without mercy. After that, they might want to chat with King David, a murderer and adulterer who nonetheless authored Psalms and served under God’s grace.

After those conversations, they may want to take a good long look in the mirror and consider prayerfully and honestly how wretched their own condition remains. I know mine does.

Look, I don’t know Josh Duggar at all. I’ve never watched his show. I couldn’t pick the guy out of a lineup. He could be a pinnacle of Christian virtue with a dark past, or a monster hiding in plain sight. I don’t know either way.

What I do know, unequivocally and without the slightest shred of doubt, is that no man or group of men can make Christianity look bad. If you claim to understand what Christianity is, yet continue to look to men as indicators of its merit, your understanding may need tweaking.

The situation with Josh Duggar stands as a tremendous opportunity to communicate the Gospel, to demonstrate our need of a savior, and potentially — depending upon the condition of Josh’s heart — to witness the power of God to transform lives. That should be the focus of Christian commentators and believers, not a conventional view of public relations, as if the world’s opinion matters.

Whether Josh Duggar is an unrepentant child molester or a good and faithful servant of Christ, the power to compel the lost remains with the Holy Spirit. It’s not on Josh Duggar or his family or associates to put on a good front so the Gospel can work. It works in all times and circumstances.