Call me behind the news, but I just found out two days ago what it seems that everyone in evangelical circles has known for some time now – Steve Fee, worship leader at Northpoint Community Church (and Passion conferences), gifted songwriter, and lead singer for the band Fee, confessed to having an affair with a band member’s wife for the last four years or so. Steve is another in the long line of worship leaders whose ministry has been marred by sexual impurity. As my wife Sarah said regretfully, it seems like this is more and more prevalent. Several questions arise for me.
1. How much is the current evangelical culture to blame for the rise and fall of such Christian celebrities? (See my previous post on Pastors as Celebrity)
2. I’ve scanned the host of blog entries about Steve Fee, and there’s always some sentiment on a blog or comment board about not judging him. “Judge not lest ye be judged,” seems to be the most quoted Scripture. Have these people read 1 Cor recently? We are to judge those within the community of faith. (Read 1 Cor 2-5 in particular.) However, our judgment of the sin is to be restorative, not condemning. We are to extend grace, but we are to judge it nonetheless. Forgiveness begins by naming the sin for what it is – evil, repulsive, and heinous. Only from there, can true restoration happen. What Steve Fee did was regrettable, sad, and tragic because he lost everything, but even more, what Steve Fee did was repulsive because it was against a holy God and a committed wife.
Now I know some will say, “are you without sin?” Absolutely not. In fact, without the grace of God, I myself am only a few decisions away from making shipwreck of my faith. As Luther’s sacristy prayer said, “God, if you remove your hand from me for a moment, I will surely bring [the ministry] to ruin.” Still, while acknowledging the propensity of my own heart to wander, it does not prevent me from judging this brother. My standard is not my own life, but the counsel of God. I call it sin in hopes that Steve will repent and be restored not for the sake of his giftedness, but so that he will experience fullness of joy in a covenantal marriage that expresses God’s faithfulness to him.
3. A final question that I have is what do you do with the music that he has written during the season of infidelity? Does it now make all of his songs off-limits? He has written some amazing music. I think what lies behind this is a theology of art. Does the integrity of the artist disqualify his/her art? Should Steve Fee’s songs be avoided because he committed adultery?