In defending the reasonableness of Christianity, it is worth acknowledging that many understandably reject it because its most public figures are not always great examples of the truth they preach. Most notably, church leaders who have abused young children have shown shameful disregard for the consequences of the sin they have harboured, often justifying such blatant double standards and clear contradictions to the values they otherwise articulate. Yet even the most modest of apparent hypocrites bear out a truth that accompanies the good news of the Gospel; we are all fundamentally tainted by sin. Some of it has much graver consequences for other people. None of it is ever excusable.
It is a sad irony that secular governments have needed to legislate on the duty of care that churches (and others) owe to those for whom we have some measure of responsibility. The breach of trust that has been perpetrated, even if only by a minority, so often obscures the enormous amount of good work, welfare, and community support that Christians have provided (and continue to provide) and which can easily be taken for granted. So for some to spurn the need for risk assessments, policies and working with children provisions as somehow opposed to ‘the work of ministry’ is to miss the fact that ministry involves caring for people with the compassion of Christ and this needs dedication and diligence. Care needs to be well thought out and systematically enacted. We live in a new era with new realities.
It is blindness to such realities that have led to some shocking evils in the past. These have not only occurred with celibate priests, but numerous married ministers. And the very transforming power of Christ that is preached must be seen as the visible reality that it is, lest a new generation of cynics be unwilling even to examine the truth behind the very costly lie that is the very life of some of its once-trusted exponents.