When Leaders Fail Us, Christian Cancel Culture, & the Danger of Celebrity

March 4, 2021 @ 6:37 am

The headline is far too common- prominent Christian pastor, evangelist, or leader caught in an affair, financial indiscretion, double life, or leadership failure- leaving countless wounded, confused, hurt, angry and almost everyone questioning, “how did this happen? Why did this happen? And Why didn’t we see it coming?” The anger is justified. The confusion merited. The questions fair. That leader is responsible for their sinful, duplicitous decisions and should be held accountable.

And…then there’s the world of the internet, where hot takes regarding any leader’s moral failings abound via tweets, YouTube videos, and all manner of online content. Commentary is offered and blame is cast on everyone and everything. Everything regarding the leader and their ministry is churned up, questioned and called into scrutiny- every sermon ever preached, every book ever written- even their own salvation and relationship with Christ. After they have been thoroughly scrutinized, gutted, examined, blamed, and called out, that figure and all of their contributions to the church at large are decisively and forever cancelled in a terminal act of judgment- never again to be known for anything other than their failures and sin.

But is this how it’s supposed to be when a leader fails us? Are we to decisively and finally “cancel” them and all their work, or is there another response we can give? And if we didn’t cancel them, wouldn’t that just be justifying and excusing their sin?  What are we to do with our questions, confusion, hurt, disappointment, and anger? Is there any hope of redemption or any road back for a leader who’s fallen?  


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