Protecting the Church’s Reputation…?

It occurs to me that Jesus really didn’t seem to care much about protecting the reputation of the synagogues (proto-churches) or the religious leaders of his day. He pointed out their crooked financial practices, their hypocritical way of dressing, their ridiculous prayers, their pretentious religious paraphernalia, and their hard-hearted domestic lives. He called the temple a “den of thieves,” and the religious leaders “snakes,” “brood of vipers,” “sons of satan,” “white-washed tombs,” and “destined for hell.” Phew.

The Pharisees, on the other hand, were far more careful. They had a lot of private meetings about Jesus, but never called him out publicly. They were very tactful. They just asked him a lot of questions. They did not want to cause trouble or be seen as taking sides. They were very proper and correct. They would not have wanted to cause disrepute or lose esteem in the eyes of the public. They tried to deal with their problems internally, and probably would have killed Jesus secretly, if they could.

…and yet the Bible says, “The name of God is blasphemed among the unbelievers on account of you!” Whereas Jesus said, “I honour my father.”

In this day and age, I don’t think we are fooling anybody. With media shining an unfavourable light behind the doors of the church, sex scandals rocking the evening news, and situations close to home sending ripples through our communities…everyone knows that there are real people with real problems in the church.

…so tell me, what is more honourable? What brings more disrepute on the church, and glorifies God best? Being silent about abuse, sin, hypocrisy, legalism, and failures in the church, “to protect our testimony”? Or calling them out? And daring to point the way towards something better?

What do you think? What would Jesus do?