A Congresswoman’s Gaffe is Really a Spotlight on the Body of Christ
On July 26, 2023, a Republican Member of Congress, Nancy Mace (R-SC) stood up in front of the 13th Annual South Carolina Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., hosted this year by Senator Tim Scott and bragged about her ability to resist temptation that morning with her fiancé trying to pull her back in bed. Her point — she had to get to the prayer breakfast in time. It was important!
“When I woke up this morning at 7, I was getting picked up at 7:45, Patrick, my fiancé, tried to pull me by my waist over this morning in bed. And I was like, ‘No, baby, we don’t got time for that this morning,'”
After joking that this was probably “A little TMI” — meaning “Too much information” for those over the age of 50 — she then made the statement, “He can wait. I’ll see him later tonight.”
Shockingly, she spoke so candidly about their premarital sex life in front of her pastor, Greg Surratt of Seacoast Church. What a gaffe?!
Later on X, formerly known as Twitter, she said, “I go to church because I am a sinner not a saint! Glad those in attendance, including @SenatorTimScott and my pastor, took this joke in stride. Pastor Greg and I will have extra to talk about on Sunday. 😊”
For the Christian world and even the conservative Republican world, it was a shock and many publications have written about this incident really appalled that this smart woman would make such a huge mistake at a “prayer breakfast.”
A Relatively New Believer With an Amazing Story
How does a Member of Congress go in front of a mostly Christian audience as a professing Christian and make such a huge mistake? It baffled people.
Then her follow-up tweets make her look even more ignorant of the Bible’s teaching on the subject. In her mind — was it sin for her and her fiancé to be living together outside of the covenant of marriage or was this just a joke to show her humanity to a religious audience?
When Nancy started running for Congress in 2019, we met in Dallas for a lovely lunch. We shared our experiences — my race for Congress in 2018 and everything I had learned and her current adventure in her race. We talked about Jesus and faith. I loved Nancy’s transparency and authenticity. I discerned she was a real believer.
Nancy is a smart and an accomplished woman. Her story from a high school dropout, to working at Waffle House, to graduating magna cum laude from the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina is an American success story. Not only that, but she was the first female to graduate from the Corps of Cadets in 1999. Her book – In the Company of Men: A woman at the Citadel was published by Simon & Schuster in 2001. What she has accomplished should make us all proud.
In no way in writing this article am I condemning Congresswoman Nancy Mace who shared publicly that she just got saved four years ago. In her words, Pastor Greg saved her life after Tim Scott invited her to his church.
She said in her speech “Seacoast changed my life, and Seacoast changed the life of my family. And that’s because of you, Tim. 100 percent because of you. I would not be where I am today. Having the purpose that I have in life had I not had that moment for me, and it’s changed my family. … We love you, Greg, and I love you, Tim, for that,” she added.
Let me say here that I also don’t want to throw this huge national gaffe at the feet of her pastor as well. I don’t know their church culture, their discipleship methods, and how they bring biblical truth into people’s lives.
On another level all together, Members of Congress have no time — so whatever Bible study she has probably received — it has probably been at the Capitol with colleagues or quick counsel and prayers from the pastoral staff at Seacoast Church.
Today, my motivation is to take this very public situation and ask some key questions of the Body of Christ at large and especially all of us as leaders in the Church.
The Incident Raises Important Questions
How are we bringing people into the Kingdom? Are we explaining to them that the Bible is a love letter from Jesus but also an instruction manual on the best way to live our lives?
Are we asking new Christians hard questions about their walk with God and the way they are living their lives — not to condemn but to serve them to walk before the Lord rightly?
When was the last time we heard a sermon at our churches on the covenant of marriage, purity, holiness, sexual immorality and the boundaries that we need to keep to protect our bodies, souls, and spirits as Christians?
Are we personally being discipled in some way and are we discipling someone else? Are we pouring into someone else and speaking the truth in love when needed?
When was the last time that we heard a Christian brother or sister refer to their “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” in the context of their living quarters and question them in love about their living situation and provide some biblical wisdom for them to consider?
These are hard questions that we must ask ourselves and must be asked to the Body of Christ at large.
Going to the Word
When was the last time if ever have you heard a message from the pulpit on one of these scriptures or any on sexual immorality.
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” (I Corinthians 6:18)
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:28-32)
How many of us church folks need to be confronted with one or more items on this list?
And how many of us in leadership continue to remain silent as the people that we serve continue to follow the culture to the damage of their own souls and their own bodies? Let alone their spirits that are being separated from God by their actions.
Focusing on Appealing, Not on Discipling
I was discussing Rep. Mace’s story with my friend Susan Wright the other day and I asked her if I could quote her because what she said was so profound.
To put Susan’s comments in perspective, she is the widow of former U.S. Congressman Ron Wright. He passed away in 2021, and she then ran for the Congressional seat to continue his conservative legacy. She is one who has studied and fought against the decline of our culture inside and outside the Church for years.
Much of our Christianity today in the United States is centered on appealing to people. We have our fancy coffee bars, nationally known headline speakers, movie nights, and social events in our churches — rather than spending our time and money instructing people and helping them deepen their relationships with Jesus. Just as in the later days of the Roman Empire, the Caesars were focused on the people’s pleasures rather than what made Rome great — namely, discipline, unity of the Empire via shared adherence to Roman principles of honor, diligence, faithfulness to Rome. Later in the day — Rome wanted people happy and gave them what they wanted — good food, drink, entertainment at the Coliseum and more, instead of emphasizing work and personal discipline.
Rome fell because the underpinnings of Rome fell.
Christians need their pastors and faith leaders to instruct and to guide them through The Message — the Word of God. We must have these leaders apply God’s Word to the world we live in today. People crave leadership, guidance, and the truth, and failing to find it in the Church, they will inevitably seek it in the culture.
The problem is, they won’t find life, hope, purpose, and protection in the culture. They will only find it in the family of God. Yet the family of God is not stepping up and bringing love and nurturing — as well as correction and discipline.
A National Famine for the Word of God
We are in a national famine of the Word of God, but we as ministry leaders must stop responding to the culture and give people the Word of God. Period. The Word is the only thing that will bring life.
Revival looks like something! It looks like us going back to the simplicity of walking with God in truth and then empowering every believer to do the same. In the end, we will come alive through the Word and the Spirit and realize that we are here to know God and make Him known. This only comes through giving them the full counsel of the Word of God. No exceptions. No compromise.
The Church culture that turned the world upside down and spread Christianity like wildfire through the first century was led by church leaders who weren’t afraid to tell the new believers to separate themselves from the culture. We must be “not of the world,” just as Christ was “not of the world.” (John 17:14)
And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:40-42)
May we be that church in our time.
May we repent, share the Word of God with tears of love running down our face, but “preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2)
For the sake of the next generation of American Christians and national leaders — we must.
Bunni Pounds is president and founder of Christians Engaged — a ministry activating the Body of Christ to pray, vote, and engage regularly. Formerly a congressional candidate and 16-year political consultant, she is a motivational speaker and preacher of the gospel. Her book – Jesus and Politics: One Woman’s Walk with God in a Mudslinging Profession comes out nationally on 2/6/24. Preorder it now.
Bunni is also the host of “Conversations With Christians Engaged,” seen here on The Stream each week — a podcast dedicated to helping believers continue walking in faith while navigating the muddy ways of politics and culture. Connect with her on Facebook @bunnipoundsTX, Twitter @bunnipounds, or Instagram @bunnipounds.