What is a church anyway? Is it the building, or is it the Christians who use with the building? When I hear something like, “Curtis Glendell Matthews, head of the historic Springfield Baptist Church in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, was arrested at his home on Wednesday on charges that he arranged sexual liaisons with a minor.” I Immediately ask myself, why is the that the age of he building or its role in history is important to the story? It is people who reflect the true nature of a church. Why must we always associate the church (building) with the corrupt practices of the its people? It is just a building. It means nothing. What about the Christians who use the building? What of them? How many are morally corrupt like their pastor?
Matthews has been the pastor at Springfield Baptist Church for the last 15 years. He’s also collecting unemployment…I’m not sure that’s ethical. Matthews faces two felonies. If convicted, he will go to prison for a few years.
A common theme in cases like this is that predators will migrate to places like churches, schools, and youth organizations where the pickings are easy. While I agree that there are pedophile pastors who fit this theme, this case does not. Instead, it fits another theme all together, and it is far less appealing. If the allegations are true, then Matthews is a hypocrite who does not believe or practice what he preaches. To people like Matthews, being a pastor is a paycheck and nothing more. And morality, it is subjective and loses when pitted against one’s baser urges. That’s why being a pastor appeals to amoral people; one can lead a church while defining the pedestal from which they preach.
In a case like this, where the pastor has led a group of Christians for over a decade, I often wonder how much of the pastor is in his flock? When people follow a morally corrupt pastor, does it rub off? Are his followers Christians in the true sense of the word, or, are they worshiping the cult of personality staged by their pastor? I think the answer is that they too are corrupt, although I doubt they will admit it.
Hat Tip to Afolabi Emmanueal.