This in-law is laying it down. Ben Seewald's dad, Michael Seewald, ripped his beleaguered in-law Josh Duggar in a new blog post titled "Grief, Shame, and Taking the Lord's Name in Vain" on Monday, Aug. 31, after the former reality star's recent Ashley Madison scandal and subsequent cheating confession.
"In commenting on this I do not wish to add any more distress to a family still recovering from the indignity of the publication of a police report detailing Josh’s sins as a teenager," the Seewald family patriarch, whose son Ben is married to Jessa Duggar, wrote in his post. "Though I have never gotten to know Josh very well, I have great respect for his sorrowing parents and immense sympathy for his dear wife, Anna, and their four children. I myself have been mourning over the irreparable damage that has been done to many by this whole circumstance, yet the reason I feel obliged to make these remarks is an overwhelming desire to vindicate the name of God."
Seewald, whose family has appeared on TLC's 19 Kids and Counting with the Duggars, used scripture to illustrate his points, bringing up stories from the Bible to convey how certain figures dealt with infidelity. "Jesus instructs us in the first petition of the prayer he taught us to pray, that we might hallow the name of God. Of all the things that he told us to pray about, consecrating the name of God is at the top of his list. God is holy and he cares how his name is handled," Seewald shared. "When ancient Israel’s King David committed adultery with another man’s wife and murdered her husband by proxy, the prophet Nathan declared, 'By this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme…' 2 Samuel 12:14. The same is true when those who call themselves Christians rob God of his glory by living a scandalous life. The world takes its cue from us, and blaspheme they do."
Seewald went on to acknowledge Christians' imperfections, but said Josh's case was particularly disturbing for several reasons. "It is not shocking that men and women lie, cheat, steal, hate, fornicate, and commit any and all other sins. It happens every second of every minute of every hour of every day. It doesn’t surprise me that thirty nine million people are members of the Ashley Madison adultery website, nor do I think it surprises you," he wrote. "What is troubling is that many who take the name of Christ are among its members. It doesn’t trouble me because I think Christians aren’t capable of doing the worst of things, but that we profess that we are no longer the slaves of sin, but servants to God. By professing that we love God with our mouth, yet secretly serving sin, we are found to be hypocrites."
"Yes, true Christians can fall into grievous sins, but one of the evidences of a true Christian is that they bring forth good fruit," Seewald continued. "It is not congruous that a Christian lives a wicked lifestyle… It distresses me to say that Josh Duggar’s greatest sin is a byproduct of the sum total of his secretly sinful lifestyle. That is, that by his hypocrisy, he blasphemed the name of God. He claimed to be a Christian, but by his deeds he has suggested otherwise. With the name of God on his lips he lived a covert and extensive lifestyle of evil."
In his statement released on Aug. 20, Josh called himself "the biggest hypocrite ever," and revealed that he has "secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife."
Seewald called out Josh's double life as troubling. "While proudly saying things like, 'Our family is like the epitome of conservative values,' he was looking at porn and soliciting affairs. He took a job at the Family Research Council that exists to promote the traditional family, all the while undermining his own family by violating his marriage covenant. He flourished in the fame of his family and the success of their television show, all the while betraying their trust and Christian values," Seewald wrote, ripping apart his pregnant daughter-in-law's brother. "The thing that is so hurtful is that he was a loud voice endorsing Christian ethics and he has been shown to be a fraud. I am profoundly grieved that he attained such a platform only to bring shame on God’s holy name and the Christian faith. After hearing of Josh’s scandal when he was a teenager, I publicly stated that Josh appeared to be a changed man, was walking above reproach, and living out the faith that he professed. I stood in solidarity, encouraging him to use the scandal to build humility and grace. Sadly, he had deceived us all. The name of God has been blasphemed and God is jealous for his name." (Indeed, this past May, Seewald wrote an extensive blog post defending his in-law amid Josh's molestation scandal.)
"To the person reading this, I want to caution you. Josh was a pretender," he wrote. "True Christians fail often, but their lives are truly being conformed to the image of Christ. Do not look at Josh and justify your own sins by dismissing the reality of genuine faith and a holy God. When you stand before God, you will not be compared to hypocritical Christians. You will be judged by God’s holy law. When you are found guilty, you will not get to say, 'But what about Josh? I’m better than he is.' God’s wrath will burn against you because of your own sins… In Josh’s case, as well as yours and mine, there is only one place forgiveness can be found, and thank God, it is in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ."
Amid the fallout from his second scandal in 2015, Josh, 27, checked himself into rehab last week, as was confirmed by his parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, on their family's website. "Yesterday Josh checked himself into a long-term treatment center," the parents of 19 shared. "For him it will be a long journey toward wholeness and recovery. We pray that in this he comes to complete repentance and sincere change."
Like her husband, Anna Duggar is also receiving counseling as Josh receives treatment for the second time. "In the meantime, we will be offering our love, care and devoted support to Anna and our grandchildren as she also receives counsel and help for her own heart and future," the Duggars wrote last week. "During this time we continue to look to God—He is our rock and comfort. We ask for your continued prayers for our entire family."
Anna and Josh share four kids, Mackynzie, 5, Michael, 4, Marcus, 2, and Meredith, 1 month.
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