The Caner scandal once again raises the general issue of religious scandals. Unbelievers often cite religious scandals to discredit the faith.
But there’s another way to look at these scandals. In the providence of God, religious scandals often have fringe benefits.
Consider the downfall of Jimmy Swaggart or Jim and Tammy Faye. On the one hand, Evangelicalism took a hit in the popular media, even though Evangelicalism in general wasn’t to blame.
However, let’s look at this from another angle. Suppose Swaggart or the Bakkers hadn’t been brought down by personal scandal. Consider the long-term effect if they continued in their position of influence?
They would have done far more lasting damage, absent their downfall, then as a result of their downfall. Same thing with other disgraced preachers like Richard Roberts and Robert Tilton.
Not only do they lose followers, but it makes it makes others more wary of prosperity preachers in general.
And this applies at the institutional level as well. The church of Rome, with its institutional corruption, involving pedophile priests and nuns, as well as bishops who facilitate their crimes, has opened the eyes of many.
Scandal is bad for the wrongdoer, but it can be good for the Christian community at large. It helps to purify the church. The short-term harm is more than offset by the incidental, long-term benefits of pruning the dead branches.