After an eight month hiatus from the public eye, popular millennial Christian comedian broke his silence through social media on Wednesday. Last November, Charisma News broke a story detailing numerous allegations of sexual misconduct carried out by Crist.
Before the sexual misconduct scandal, Crist had amassed millions of followers online, had a popular standup tour, was a few weeks ago from the release of a Netflix comedy special. He had become a social media sensation among evangelical millennials for poking fun at the Christian subculture.
Crist notes the overwhelming support he’s received from fans.
With a scandal of personal sin, I feel like there are two primaries camps where Christians find themselves. And I think that this is interesting, not just because of Crist, but because it’s a microcosm of how we view sin.
On the one hand, you have the cheap grace crowd. When this scandal first came to light, I remember seeing posts online which totally overlooked the severity of what Crist had done and said things like “no one is perfect,” “well all make mistakes,” “Christians aren’t supposed to judge,” “I guess you must be perfect.”
For this group, there’s no real need for repentance or transformation. Christians often get painted as being too judgmental and critical. I actually think a larger issue in Christendom is that we’re often too dismissive of sin and quick to excuse it away under the guise of grace.
But that overlooks the victims. Crist was a predator who used his fame to exploit women. That’s a truly terrible thing for a person to do. I’m not suggesting that Crist is irredeemable. That’s the good news of the gospel. No matter what a person does, no matter what sin a person commits, there can be grace through Christ and what he has done. But we can’t mitigate sin itself.
When Crist’s misconduct came to light last November, he said at the time:
“While I am not guilty of everything I’ve been accused of, I confess to being guilty of this—I have treated relationships with women far too casually, in some cases even recklessly. My behavior has been destructive and sinful. I’ve sinned against God, against women and the people who I love the most. I have violated my own Christian beliefs, convictions and values, and have hurt many people in the process. I am sorry for the hurt and pain I have caused these women and will continue to seek their forgiveness. I have also hurt the name of Jesus and have sought His forgiveness. Over several recent years, I have privately sought and received regular professional treatment for my sexual sin and addiction struggles.”
Another camp that people can fall into is being cynical. Not believing that he’s truly repented and that he’s working to change. This view is also dangerous. All are sinful and need to repent and to turn to Christ.
The reason why it’s easy to be cynical is that people so often let us down and fall. It’s easy to be cynical because much of our society is cynical. We paint in broad brush strokes. We judge people from the past based on the values of today. If a person commits a sin in the eyes of the popular culture, the mob comes after them. It seeks to bring punishment instead of forgiveness. The mob seeks to punish, to tear people down, to assume the worst. Christians can be tempted to fall into this too.
I think that the appropriate response is in the middle. Yes, there is grace and we should rejoice in that. But talk is cheap. True repentance and true faith bear fruit. So I think we should take a person at their word when they apologize and seek help and seek to change. But we should also expect to see the fruit of that in their life.
To specifically critique today’s statement from Crist, I wish he would have more specifically called his actions “sin,” and talked about repentance and dependence on his faith. In many ways, I think his initial statement was better than what he said in his video. I also would have liked to have seen him specifically apologize for what he did instead of vaguely referring to “a lot of poor choices in my personal life” which “hurt myself, that hurt other people, and embarrassed myself.”
Crist goes on to say “the most embarrassing part of this whole thing is the biggest hypocrite was me.” I can think of more embarrassing aspects of this scandal.
I’ve been a fan of Crist for a few years. One of the first dates my wife and I went on after getting married was seeing hi perform stand up. It’s truly my hope that he has changed.
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