June 22, 2017 | Above Reproach

“In the same way, encourage the young men to be self-controlled in everything. Make yourself an example of good works with integrity and dignity in your teaching. Your message is to be sound beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be ashamed, having nothing bad to say about us.”
[Titus 2:6-8 HCSB]
Above reproach
Above reproach – that is the biblical calling. It means that in behavior and speaking, a Christian cannot be successfully accused. This standard is why I manuscript ever message and have a team review all my speaking. “Above reproach” is why I never meet alone with any female not named Janna Braudrick and why our current U.S. Vice President has the same policy (though in his case, the lady is named Pence, not Braudrick.) Of course, the world doesn’t understand and chooses to see such wisdom as restrictive. They are so misguided! Being above reproach is freeing, rescuing one’s life from the possibility of scandal. It is also appropriate, an expression of one’s reality in relationship with God and (if married) with one’s spouse.
Samuel James wrote an excellent summary 2 ½ years before Mike Pence made the news for not eating alone with another woman:
Biblically, the primary relational obligations of a husband and wife are to each other first, preempting other relational obligations. This doesn’t undermine biblical community but instead forms the basis of it by privileging the one interpersonal relationship that in its very existence portrays the Gospel. Marriage is not something in which individuals gain membership but a spiritual reality that transforms individuals into a mysterious one-flesh union, a union that is in its very nature different than and relationally primary to all other relationships.
Protecting and honoring that marital relationship mirrors the Tri-unity of God. Men and women, being above reproach doesn’t mean people won’t attack you. It means those attacks will be shameful and easily proven meritless. Being above reproach doesn’t remove temptation. It does put us squarely in the place where victory is found – an honest recognition of both our weakness and God’s strength.
Billy Graham rule
The practice of not being solo with one not in your family often goes by the name “the Billy Graham rule.” It’s based on a 1948 decision by the Graham team in Modesto, California. They called it the “Modesto Manifesto.” I recommend you partake in a little research on the Modesto Manifesto. It’s easy to look up and the background is informative.
In the aftermath of the Pence brouhaha, the best analysis I read was by Kelly King. Kelly, head of women’s ministries for LifeWay, is a very talented thinker and writer, and I highly recommend her regular columns. (The simplest connection may be to follow her on Twitter @kellydking.) Here is a summary of her post “Why I agree with the Billy Graham Rule:”
1. If you are married, adopting this policy shows respect for your husband and respect for your relationship.
2. We are all vulnerable to temptation.
3. Affairs don’t happen overnight.
4. Christians are told to not give the appearance of wrongdoing.
5. Not being above reproach can hurt your testimony and how the world sees the church.
6. The rule is easy to keep when it is part of the workplace policies.
7. What if you’re single? If you are single and you are dating someone, there are going to be times when you are alone with that person…If you are single, it is safe to say that you should never dine or travel with a married adult.