And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. (Luke 16:1-9)
In this parable we find our Saviour telling the story of a sinful man for the Scripture repeatedly labels him as unjust. Yet we also find that same unjust man acted with some wisdom and was rewarded in this life for those wise actions. So we find then that an unjust or sinful man can apply wisdom and have it work out in his favor.
The bearing of the above parable on our own question is clear. Many a wicked preacher in all evil in the midst of the congregation has applied sound Scriptural principles in his public ministry and had some good come out of it as a result. Even a bad cook - if she faithfully follows the instructions contained within the recipe and uses proper ingredients - can obtain some good results.
For example, Scripture teaches that men will respond in love to one that loves them first. We love him, because he first loved us. (I John 4:19) A preacher, even one harboring wickedness in secret, can produce a group of people who love him exceedingly by pouring compassion on them first. Scripture teaches a soft answer turneth away wrath. (Proverbs 15:1) A preacher, even one harboring wickedness in secret, who applies deft care in handling interpersonal relationships will draw a crowd by virtue of the fact he does not drive off very many people. If he then begins to teach others how to handle well the intimate relationships of life even more people will flock to hear him.
Many an inwardly wicked man has drawn a crowd and thus been deemed a success because he simply applied and taught some Scriptural principles.
One of the continuing tragedies that befall the cause of Christ when such a man’s secret sin is exposed is that men often question the very principles that he taught from the Scripture. Certainly some do not question Scriptural principles in such a situation out of sincerity. Rather they will use such secret sins exposed as justification for their own rebellion against sound Scriptural teaching.
When Nathan pointed his finger boldly in King David’s face and told him that his secret sin was the sin in question he also instructed David that such a secret sin had given God’s enemies terrible opportunities. In fact, the death of the child that was God’s divine punishment in this sad situation was a direct result, not just of David’s adultery and murder, but of the excuse that David had furnished to God’s enemies to blaspheme Him. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. (II Samuel 12:14)
But whether such criticism of Scriptural principles is done in pretence or in truth, the fact remains that it is often done. Men’s wicked hearts will lead them to place the blame where it does not belong, namely, on the very Scriptural teachings that were functioning in spite of the secret sin of the teacher. Thus it is that the cause of Christ is damaged in yet another way. Such attacks often lead to justification of sin in yet another person’s life and the vicious cycle is repeated.