Sexual Assault and the Scandal of Repentance
By Trevin Wax - Posted at The Gospel Coalition:
True repentance over sin is more than remorse over consequences. It is a change wrought in the depths of one’s heart. Sexual offenders no longer dismiss or downplay their actions. No longer do they blame the victims, retreat into defensiveness, or seek to discredit the men and women who come forward. The church calls the offender to agree in naming the evil deed and refusing to make any excuses for it.During his lengthy tenure as an evening commentator on CNN, Larry King often posed two questions to pastors and theologians who came on as guests.
First, is Jesus was the only way to God? This was Larry’s way of seeing if the Christian representative would insist on the uniqueness of Jesus no matter how offensive that claim might come across in a pluralistic world. You mean good people from other religions might be condemned?
The second question came from a different angle. Could a serial killer, or someone like Hitler, or a rapist, or a pedophile receive forgiveness and wind up in heaven? This was Larry’s way of seeing if the Christian representative would insist on the offer of grace, no matter how offensive that pronouncement might come across in a world that demands justice. You mean abhorrently wicked people might repent and be saved?
Larry King is not a Christian. But he knows where the scandalous power of Christianity is found. It’s in the narrowness of insisting on universal, eternal condemnation for all sinners who fall short of God’s glory, and in the broadness of calling everyone to repent of their sins, trust in Christ and be saved. Everyone, even the “vilest offender,” in the words of the old Isaac Watts hymn.
The “vilest offender” today is the person who engages in sexual assault and abuse.