Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The ORU Lawsuit

A lot of people have predicted for a long time that something like this would happen. However, the fact that it has should not be an excuse for schadenfreude on the part of either unbelievers who cheer when a Christian ministry is brought into disrepute or for the blood thirsty mob of wrong headed believers who cheer every time a high profile spiritual leader is brought down. Rather this should be a time for quiet introspection into our own lives to make sure that we have removed the beam from our own eyes before we begin working on the splinters in others. Most of us don’t own red Mercedes convertibles or large private jets but we can sin just as easily in our dowdy little sedans and coach seats if our hearts aren’t in the right place.

If the allegations against the Roberts’ are proven true, they are devastating. The fact that they have been filed in a lawsuit means nothing. All that means is that there is enough possible evidence to prevent the filing attorney from facing a Rule Eleven charge. This is a very low standard. We should all take a deep breath and remember that in America, even in civil court, the accused is presumed innocent until proven otherwise. By law, the Robert’s enjoy the benefit of the doubt at this stage of the proceedings.

I have an opinion about the allegations based upon my own observations over the years but I am keeping it to myself. I am not a member of the ORU Board of Regents, an attorney on the case or a member of one of the investigating organizations. So, I am in no place scripturally to hear or repeat an accusation against this particular elder. Further, even if this were not the case, for the sake of the many good people connected with the Roberts family, ORU and the Roberts Ministries, I will not add to their problems during this terrible time by repeating rumor, gossip and speculation.

It is a shame that this matter had to be resolved in the courts. Over the years, during my service in the local Christian community, I have had occasion to try to bring serious Christian misbehavior to the attention of a person’s pastor, church elders or other spiritual overseer ... everything from the garden variety slander that is common among Christian busybodies right up through child snatching, perjury and abuse of legal process. Trying to invoke church discipline to resolve matters of this magnitude is an exercise in futility. As one high profile local pastor recently observed, the Old Testament required that priests not have damaged stones. He continued that the problem today is that many pastors stones aren’t damaged, they just don’t have a set at all.

And that, in the end, is the real problem. The scriptures tell us to handle these things privately and to make them public only if all else fails. The real failure here may not be on the part of the Roberts who are taking the heat right now but rather on the part of the Regents and the high profile spiritual leaders who could and should have reigned them in quietly in a scriptural manner and did not.

It is very possible that judgment day is coming to 7777 S. Lewis Ave. in the near future. But, we should all be fearfully reverent if it does, because when God’s judgment falls, He will be just and He may well settle accounts with a lot of people, not just the Roberts. And, whether the allegations are true or not, we should not allow ourselves to sin in this matter by gossiping, carrying tales, railing, and improperly judging, thus bringing the gospel into further disrepute.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Paul Tay said...

Perhaps Rev. Roberts should have spoken through his duly appointed attorneys?

5:26 PM  
Blogger Bill Kumpe said...

R.R. did the right thing by stepping down. If it was truly voluntary, it was a classy move on his part. In the meanwhile, Billy Joe Daugherty has strong ties to the school and the Roberts family, has a wonderful reputation and will be able to keep the school on track while the Regents sort this thing out ... hopefully.

5:48 PM  
Blogger Floridadude said...

I personally worked as a staff member for ORU for 5 years. I have had conversations with Security guards, other staff members and knew Richard and his wife on a "work" relataed basis. I am not going to gossip or make any assumptions to this law suite. Did I enjoy my tenture at ORU? yes. I will say that some things such as other bloggers have brought to light are true. Popular high profile students or kids of well known evangiilists who "messed up" were buried in the activities reports. My conversations with the security guards were based on their observations. It is not a big deal as the events were what you would expect from kids and if anyone can sit there and say just because these kids are from high profile evangiilists who attend a Christian University, they are human. While on my job in the heat of problems I heard co-workers swear, I seen kids making out late at night in secluded areas, I mean if anyone has this vision of walking on campus and seeing angles swooping down fine, but people are human, especially kids. I can verify that the rumors of certian members of the Roberts family having a cigarette now and then has been discussed more than once. Is it true? I can not say yes or no. I can not prove it. In my 5 years with ORU I can say the employees are one big family, I never had any problems with anyone and Richard worked hard to get the University solvent and debt free. It has been a while since I worked there and people change. I hope nothing happens to ORU as it is a good University. If changes need to be made then let it happen. If the Roberts family messed up then they need to answer to their charges. Let the courts and the board decide.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Bill Kumpe said...

Re: Floridadudes comment ...

Concerning the student body, I would be amazed if there was any measurable difference in actual behavior between them and the kids on the street. We now have pretty good statistical studies that show that on average "Christian kids" do just about the same things that other kids do and may be more prone to some undesirable behaviors such as premarital sex. If these statistical studies are to be believed, and frankly they look pretty solid, then the only difference between modern Christian kids and other kids is the degree of denial by their families.

All schools cover things up and if you are a student from a powerful family, it is much harder to get in trouble. That is a fact of life on any college campus.

But, while I do not condone any possible misbehavior by either the students or the Roberts, my primary concern is that we do not allow the evil one to use this difficult time to cause people who are not involved to sin by tale-bearing, gossip and improper judging. The Roberts deserve a fair hearing on the charges and they deserve to be either convicted and face the consequences or, if they are found innocent, cleared and restored. The problem is that that is nearly impossible if they have already been tried by gossip, sentenced by tale bearing and incarcerated by character assassination before anyone hears anything more than rumors and allegations. Where do they go then to get their reputation back even if the court clears them?

Don't get me wrong. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Swails and the rest of the folks that came forward. It takes a lot of courage to blow the whistle. But, as Christians, we should let the system work and try to avoid "judging a matter before its time."

12:10 PM  
Blogger books said...

I have not issue with kids, the preacher's kids or otherwise smoking, making out, or otherwise doing things young kids typically do. however, the bigger issue here is the finances and administrative abuse at ORU. I do hope this is corrected, if in the wrong.

9:23 AM  

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