Dec 272016
 

So, my friend wrote me to tell me that a lot of folks in Boise are struggling with the fall of the long time Calvary Chapel pastor there.

What do they do now?

The question honestly irritated me.

It irritated me because it’s built on false premises about pastors, the church, and Jesus.

Jesus didn’t fall.

 

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever…if your faith is shaken it was in the wrong person.

That’s called idolatry and the pastors fall was the best thing that could happen to you spiritually.

Now, you will always focus on Him.

My friend further asked me if I’d written anything about what to do when pastors sin.

I’d write non stop the rest of my life to cover that…all pastors sin, just as much or more than you do.

What the vast majority of us do is avoid disqualifying sins.

The pastor in question did not, and he hardened his heart as he went to avoid repentance.

He is now disqualified.

Next…

The church itself seems to be in good hands with another pastor who will hopefully install effective accountability structures to help him walk the straight and narrow.

If you understand that the “church” and the “pastor” are not synonymous, that will help you transition.

If you think they are synonymous, refer to my paragraph on idolatry.

The church is all of its members together (with the pastor being one of them), under the headship of Christ.

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

(Romans 12:4–5 ESV)

Biblically, you’re as important to the health of the Body as its elders are.

Right now, the Body you were part of needs all hands on deck to recover and function.

Some of you are upset and I’m going to make you more upset.

You turned over the complete care and feeding of your soul to one man and his name wasn’t Jesus.

You showed up and you probably tithed, but you were content to let others determine the health of the church and the accountability of it’s officers.

You went to and invested in a church where the members have no say in anything, expecting some special anointing on the pastor to protect you from the doctrine of total depravity.

It didn’t work and now you feel betrayed.

You were.

Some of you are looking for another man to hand what’s left of your faith…if his name isn’t Jesus, don’t do it.

The lesson is to find those places that value each member as the Bible states they should and be willing to be involved in very level of the church you can serve in.

Demand open and transparent finances and demand that policies be presented to the people for consideration.

Demand to know the church by laws and the accountability structure for pastors and elders.

Too many churches withhold information because they believe that the “sheep” are dumb animals incompetent to deal with “spiritual” matters.

Stay away from them.

Finally, take responsibility for your spiritual health and that of your family.

No one will do this for you.

In your new situation…trust, but verify.

If you loved the fallen pastor, pray for him and deal with him as another fallen sinner…with as much grace as you can.

If he taught biblical truth, it’s still truth…God has spoken through many asses in redemptive history.

Just ask my church…

  74 Responses to “When The Pastor Falls”

  1. IMO, for whatever it’s worth, what those hurting church members need, is a season of being allowed to grieve and not be told ‘you shouldn’t have xyz” or not acknowledging the loss and betrayal.

    One of the biggest errors in these situations so far has been to just carry on as if nothing happened, except a change of the figurehead.

    Members should be seeing others, including leadership grieve and demonstrate lowliness of heart and the humility of knowing that we are all total sinners. While most sin is not as spectacular or harmful as a lying adulterous pastor, none of us are in a position to throw the first stone.

    A wound of this nature takes time and attention to heal, though a scar will be left. IMO

  2. Paige,
    Well said…IMO… 🙂

  3. Firstly, I would expect it to be hard on church members when their pastor is disqualified, even when they know their faith is in Christ, they attend to their own spiritual life and not have unrealistic expectations of their pastor & church.

    I agree that having a church owned & controlled by and over-reliant on its pastor makes it vulnerable. Churches with that structure seem to open, close, move and change their names more frequently. Churches that are pastor-controlled without open finances are often the ones doing the mini-sermon before the offering.

  4. Let me hasten to say that I wrote this as a dialogue, not a monologue.
    This community can speak to these issues better than most…

  5. Michael,
    This is the most important article on church matters you’ve published in a long time. It is cutting and it is convicting to some, because that is what the Law is for – to bring repentance.

    If anyone wakes up any single day and doesn’t think they have something to repent of, then they have even bigger problems than a fallen pastor. Therefore, no one should take offense at your article or suggest you wait for a grieving period. You are correct to go timely with this advice, before anyone makes any soul-endangering moves such as quitting Christ’s church altogether.

  6. Regarding my #5, when I wrote “quitting Christ’s church altogether”, I wasn’t suggesting people stay at the CC in Boise, I don’t know that church. However, I would confidently suggest leaving any Moses-model church. It is a defective model, and Boise is just another example of the damage that the Moses-model, combined with terrible theology (if what has been described by many participants here is also true of Boise) can do to souls.

  7. What do they do now? My hope is the new leadership will use this tragedy to bring some very real truths to those who are under their care. That includes counseling for those who have been sent reeling.

    I believe we are all capable of having our faith shaken no matter how long we have walked with God. It’s how we respond that’s important. That could take some time.

    If any church chooses to rush through something like this as if all’s well they make a huge mistake no matter how much they think they’re protecting the sheep.

    I’ve seen a lot of wounded and disillusioned people come and go from this blog through the years. Some were treated viciously and others were hurt in different ways to different degrees. This place helped many on their road to healing and years later some are still impacted by what they experienced.

    It’s a crying shame that pastors choose to engage in adultery and even worse when they lie about it or confess only after being exposed.

    Having been down the road of pastoral betrayal my hope and prayer for Boise is God will work powerfully in the midst of a hurting church.

  8. Would the sadness and greiving be the same if the fall from grace had been the pastor ran off with all the money? Or would everyone be up in arms wanting his butt to be thrown in the police?

  9. “If he taught biblical truth, it’s still truth…God has spoken through many asses in redemptive history.” AMEN! ! !

    what do the sheep do now? follow the gracious advice given in this post … IMNSHO

  10. MLD @8…. I imagine we have some examples of that through the years. I suspect the emotions people would be experiencing would be quite different as opposed to an adulterous and lying pastor.

  11. Good stuff here, Michael, and I’ve dealt with more fallen several pastors both as a church member and pastor myself. I think your point is well taken, but the generalization of idolatry is too broad and a bit harsh. We have to leave room for the genuine grief of sincere Christians who loved and trusted a pastor who sinned to the point of disqualification.

  12. Paige said it better.

  13. “We have to leave room for the genuine grief of sincere Christians who loved and trusted a pastor who sinned to the point of disqualification.”

    Absolutely.

    I wrote it hastily and feared it a bit harsh, but that’s where the community steps in…and they have. 🙂

  14. Yes, indeed, Michael, and you create and model that sense of community beautifully with comments like that.

  15. IMHO, most general congregants really don’t “feel” that they are that useful to the ministry, especially in a Moses Model. At best,(no matter what their knowledge or maturity) they’re pushed to “set up chairs” to start off their “ministry career” as if that’s somehow a typical/normal method with God’s “stamp of approval.”

    Then, somehow, God will see that you get “promoted” to a leadership level after however many years of setting up chairs.

    With such treatment, is it really any wonder that people look to leaders as “spiritual giants?”

    (perhaps this comes across a bit off topic, though)

  16. Excellent Post. Very Much Needed.

  17. Great post Michael! Perhaps as already mentioned, a bit harsh & generalistic in tone, but the overall points are well worth it! 🙂

  18. Michael, I don’t see the harshness here. I see hard truth.
    When our CC pastor sinned (not adultery, but lying and slandering, which I can assure MLD carry just as much shock and disillusionment), the first thing I heard God speak was that I had trusted in man instead of Him. This was by no means intentional. It happened over the course of many years of being conditioned to accept the pastor as someone more anointed than the rest of us.

  19. preview full 10 Min Seminary bob Caldwell 2000×90010 MINUTE SEMINARY: MAINTAINING HEALTH/AVOIDING BURNOUT
    10-20-2016
    From his teaching his wife is his best friend.
    Poor Kathy. Another Bob miss placed Jesus. Can someone send Bob to the church lost and found box in the back of church. Bob is lost!

  20. It seems that so many problems are from not following the pattern that God gave and just plain disobedience. Indeed, people have followed a man-made system–not the one given in the New Testament. The CC “Moses Model” that was instituted by Chuck Smith was wrong from its inception and definitely became an excuse for absolute power among too many pastors. There were objections to it along the way, but Chuck wouldn’t listen. There was this “Santa Claus” aura about him (and people got their eyes off of God), so the top heavy model, with no power to the sheep was allowed to stand. How do you go against Santa Claus, after all. No matter what he said about not being a Reverend, etc., it was all shown to be lip service because he did not stop the adoration and he did not step down when he, himself, was Scripturally disqualified. The leaven of adultery among pastors began with him and was proliferated by his policies. People lovingly compare his failures to that of David the king. I do not. I compare his failures to the priest Eli. His sons sold themselves to debauchery and caused the whole nation to suffer. These constant “moral failures” are a blight upon the body of Christ and hurt not just the body to which the pastor belonged, but all of us corporately. As was discussed in another thread, the aftermath of a pastor’s adultery is like an emotional nuclear bomb.

    Chuck may have told himself it was for the common good that he did not step down, but any of us who have suffered under either an oppressive CC pastor or one who has condoned sexual license to the point of harm among the sheep would differ with that assessment.

    I would not exist if my faith was based upon the behavior of one of the weak and selfish pastors that I sat under during my long sojourn at CC’s. Corinthians says we must put away childish things and grow up. Hebrews says we should be able to handle “meat”. We must mature and put away our dalliances with idolatry. Pastors come in all sizes. Some good and some bad. The good ones deserve respect. The bad ones do not. CC needs to step away from taking all the power and share it with the flock so they can grow and use their gifts to edify each other. Churches/pastors also need to be more transparent and quit being babies when people ask questions. Pew warmers need to quit putting up with a model that leaves them powerless and leave a church that will not repent of this. In short, we need to be more responsible for ourselves and more careful where we put our trust.

  21. Glad to read this post Michael and all the comments. It’s a healthy discussion of what CCB and those in the Treasure Valley affected by Bobs voice are processing since the news broke the weekend of December 15th that Bob has been living a double life and has betrayed the sacred trust – his words – of the people that gave that trust to him.

    Yes we have made the pastor position an idol – not just this pastor but pastors in general. The consequence of idolatry is disillusionment which the Lord allows so we come back to Him fully and rely on Him only. We are no different than the Israelites of the Bible and are prone to idol worship. But thankfully the Lord brings each of us to the end of it in one way or another. The key is to learn from it and not go down the same path again.

    Bob was our second test. Our first test took more than a decade to realizeWe held our pastor and his family in too high esteem in our hearts and priorities. The Lord allowed a lot of pain in our situation there to wake us up to that truth. Choosing to extricate ourselves from the orbit of that pastor and his family caused pain to others too which we don’t minimize. With Bob we chose to remain unattached so to speak because we didn’t want to put ourselves in the same position. But if not for our first experience we would have. Such is common to man.

    I do believe people need to grieve and feel their pain. It is a great loss and you can’t hurry it up or tell folks to get over it. Often we are grieving more than that one loss. People are complicated and each person is unique but there are tools to help through the process. Talking about it freely with a sympathetic listener is one of the healthiest tools to use. That’s what friendship is for – free therapy.

    The Lord is with those who grieve leading through the valley of death but there is hope for a brighter day on the other side of it. What’s more is He will salvage our pain to comfort others with the comfort we have been given somewhere down the road for those who go through a similar thing.

  22. J Keller,
    Great words borne of the pain of experience in CC. We always believed that the pain we feel would be used one day to comfort others down the road. Not there yet…

  23. This individual must have been a long time Bob follower and is struggling. Having first hand knowledge and having attended services when the pastors made the announcement, yes you can see a sense of shock, disbelief, their were tears but the support for the pastoral team was overwhelming and their truly was and is a sense of freedom. Christmas Eve services were full at least the first 2 I saw, their hasn’t been a mass exodus. I see the opposite people are excited for this new season and have been since bob moved on about 9 months ago, I got the feeling people were like who is bob? Anyhow that’s my observation.

  24. “If you understand that the “church” and the “pastor” are not synonymous, that will help you transition.”

    Yep to that.

  25. I think all relationships are built on trust. And there’s a sense of betrayal when that trust is violated. So I get where where this person is coming from.

  26. Lots of disconnected thoughts for my part.

    I was asked to take over in a church where the pastor morally disqualified himself. Not too many left because of his actions, but because of mine. I changed the format of the service, the “vibe” if you will. These same also left because I didn’t cater to them as the other guy did. In this case, the “celebrity” was how church was done. That was an interesting and unexpected dynamic considering the circumstances.

    In the context of larger churches, my experience with working at one with a young(er) pastor was that the church became a platform for his “gift” of communication. It became a marketing machine with billboards, radio, and TV. While those things certainly do bring people in the door and can keep them, for a time, I can tell you first hand that all of those new believers, the unchurched, and/or people interested in the “experience” that is a service, are not growing. I know because I was partially responsible for their growth in depth and was not allowed to do my job because it wasn’t marketable, not bite-sized. If that pastor were to fall, their only connection to the church would be gone. Some would be hurt, others, who had no relationships, would just go down the street to another marketing church.

    And this is something that surprised me at first, though now it doesn’t. Churches like this carry insurance for when something happens to the lead pastor who is responsible for the income ($$$) of the church. It’s for if the celebrity dies, they know that the money will drop because he was the draw, not Jesus, so they have insurance for it. It must also apply if the pastor is fired, quits, or falls. But the fact that this kind of insurance exists is kind of sickening.

    More and more I’m seriously considering that it might be better if pastors are not full-time. I was bi-vocational when senior pastoring for a small church. When I was “resigned” from the larger church, I was basically self-employed doing whatever I could. I found both of those extremely valuable. When you start to get a grip on what the actual job description is for a pastor, you will find that what a lot of guys do has little to do with it. I’m not saying I would never receive pay for ministry, the Bible is clear that that should happen when appropriate. But I would want to make sure that I’m doing what needs to be done, not what doesn’t need to be done. Like book tours, radio interviews, and videoing bumpers for my TV show. At that point, do what Francis Chan did and leave pastoring to pursue building the church in that way and let others build up those healthy sheep.

    OK, enough random venting for now.

  27. Michael

    A very good piece. One phrase stands out to me among all that you wrote. Speaking of the congregation you said,
    “It didn’t work and now you feel betrayed.”

    Pastoral relationships are complex, to say the least. When trust is placed in a pastor by a congregant, it always carries with it the risk of betrayal, as in any long-term relationship. Betrayal is somewhat like a death and, if we cared for the person who betrayed us, we go through the same process – Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally, Acceptance.

    My guess is that it will be much the same with this congregation, with individual members going through the process at differing rates and at differing times.

    I will, however, differ with some others about matters such as these. All details do not need to be known. All the questions of who, what, why, where and when, do not need to be explored in detail. Voyeurism has little to do with good church order. Yes, learn from what has happened, put in place safeguards, provide a process for accountability… but then let it go.

  28. I find it a bit odd that to the question “When a Pastor Falls” that no one – unless I missed it said “pick him up.”

    When our pastor fell from the grace in his pastoral office, we (at least most of we) picked him up, dusted him off (should have given him swats) put him on a path to recovery, and allowed him to repent and reconcile.

  29. MLD – Would your actions be the same if he were caught in adultery with a member of the congregation?

  30. Now, when they guy who led the Saxons to America, in what would become the LCMS – Martin Stephan was soon caught with his hand in the money jar and his you know what it the ladies – the church took his belongings, put him in a canoe an had him go to the other side of the river in excommunication.

    So I guess the punishment is open to individual church thought. 😉

  31. Josh – obviously I couldn’t tell you as we have not faced that.

    But let me ask this – should they not be same? Perhaps instead of 1 yr off it would be 10 – I don’t know.
    The text says that to be qualified you need to meet the standard. Does that mean a life time ban or is it until you are not that any longer. If you are a drunk, does that ban you for life or until you are no longer drinking and you are sober.
    Same with adultery – what happens when you are no longer participating in adultery? – I don’t have all the answers for the world – just our church as we work through the issues.

    But I did find it odd that no one offered the option to pick up your fallen pastor.

  32. What if it seemed he was using his well-known position to score with chicks?

    I mean, there are real scumbags in the world, and some find they can make money and have power in the church.

    Though I would agree with your 10 year ban. If he sticks around for 10 years without the title, he is probably repentant.

  33. Corby– great observations and ones that help put my experience in perspective.

    Once our means of living come from a ministry, it’s easy to confuse the two.
    You gained much wisdom from your experiences.

  34. I noticed when the new pastor read the confession from Bob Caldwell, followed by a general statement from the board, he said something like “Bob will no longer partcipate in ministry in “this” church.”

    That was a cue to me that Bob will continue in ministry in some capacity somewhere at some time.

    That was the mo of CS. I don’t doubt that BC will do just that. What else are these guys in their 60’s going to do to support themselves after having been supported through church offerings for 40 years?

    I have no doubt that there is a circle of friends surrounding BC who’s goal is to pick him up MLD. In reality, the brother will have a lot to offer in some capacity even after this unfortunate downfall.

  35. What if a pastor doesn’t make enough to live on? Would it be deemed acceptable that his wife work full time to support the family while the children are home schooled by dad? I imagine a lot of pastors face this situation. Is the solution that dad works so mom can stay at home with the children? Any here who have had to face this challenge?

  36. In our parish, and most small Orthodox parishes (at least, the Slavic ones) the priest has a 2nd job somewhere and often his wife works, too, once the kids are school-aged. He still manages to visit everyone who is sick in the hospital and has time to meet with everyone who needs to talk to him. We all have his home phone number and he is always available.

    This goes a long way to nixxing any temptations towards becoming a celebrity because for most of his week he’s an ordinary person, no one special, in the eyes of the people he works for and with.

  37. A “10 year” ban would ever wouk because, in the CC system someone would scream “where’s the grace?” And then put him back in leadership way too early.

  38. Let them get a regular job like the rest of us who are struggling through paying the bills and working on/in ministry.

    It’s the typical method in CC anyway…

  39. Stephen,
    “A “10 year” ban would ever wouk because, in the CC system someone would scream “where’s the grace?” And then put him back in leadership way too early.:”

    As long as you leave in the CC system I have no argument with you. I was speaking of our system.

  40. Iconoclast for sure! 🙂

  41. I would consider myself one of those long time attendees of CCB, over 10 years, who are struggling with this news. I have not been back to Calvary since the announcement

    I am not struggling with my faith, or Jesus. Bob didn’t control or direct my faith and I’ve been in this rodeo called Christianity long enough to know better than to put my faith in any man.

    Truth be told I let out an ironic chuckle when I heard Bob had committed adultery. It is sad but a powerful, charismatic pastor committing adultery isn’t even news anymore. Immediately I was saddened for his family and then I learned that his resignation 9 months ago was not some great word from God as he had lead us to believe but an attempt to conceal his actions.

    As the words from Bob’s final sermons and the celebratory send off at the arena downtown filtered back through my mind I began to get really angry. Bob hadn’t just committed sexual sin he was lying to all of us and we bought it. In a way I’m mad at myself for getting conned.

    And Bob didn’t disappear 9 months ago. My understanding is he worked more on Send Hope and went to India and they were making a documentary. The church still used his cabin in Garden valley for retreats and Bob still was ‘mentoring’ the pastors until 2 weeks before the announcement. If you went to the website or the CCBoise page they both encouraged you to follow Pastor Bob.

    Anyway, I taking time to talk to a lot of people but as of right now I can’t see myself attending CCB moving forward although I think my wife would like to stay.

  42. I once tried to broker a divorce situation with a pastor and his family. The pastor wanted to divorce his wife, without cause (he admitted that he simply did not love her or want her anymore). The wife had been faithful and raised their children. He simply wanted the church to sustain him while he put her away. He expected her to remain in the congregation and restart her life. It would all be very civil.

    The church rejected the matter. He then attempted to get them to support him for a year while he started over. They rejected that as well. I attempted to communicate with the leadership appealing to them to support her for a transition. I thought they could give a severance to her instead of him. She after all was the aggrieved and was innocent of any wrongdoing.

    They refused to hear it for all kinds of reasons, none that were rooted in compassion. They both recovered and have gone on to new relationships. But I would like to see transitional care given to the pastor’s family when the pastor is fallen.

    I have spoken many times about restoration. In the case of a pastor divorcing without cause I would not restore him to his position. Primarily because divorce is refusing to restore your covenant partner/wife. That could be a long discussion.

    I thought the article was pretty good and everyone knows that I am usually radical about restoration.

  43. I was the pastor who followed an adulterous pastor. In fact the previous three pastors all went on to either divorce or commit adultery. Interestingly the adulterous pastor restored his family and went on while the others dissolved their marriages.

    The wounds in the church were palpable and I chaffed at being charged with paying for crimes I had not committed. I went on to have 9 years as their leader before I got involved in charismatic renewal. My own actions were far more devastating to the congregation than the sexual affair of the predecessor. The people paid for my spiritual ‘infidelity.’ “You weren’t like this when you came,” they complained. They were correct. I removed myself but the church suffered terribly by division. At least the infidelity of the predecessor did not divide the people from one another.

    They saw me far more sinisterly than the adulterer. I get it and grieve it. We hurt people and that is not our intent or our calling. It is not always fallenness. It is often simply change. My former congregation is once again thriving and they have recovered but it took many years. The man who followed me was a good and kind man with great pastoral love. He has retired.
    Anyway that is not too germane but I got to musing within myself.

  44. “Bob hadn’t just committed sexual sin he was lying to all of us and we bought it. In a way I’m mad at myself for getting conned.”

    Yep. Smoke and mirrors and lies. I wonder how big the circle of the cover up is?

    I wouldn’t be mad at yourself. Why wouldn’t you believe everything was in order? That being said, one of the biggest problems in dealing with issues of sin is that most people don’t want to believe that their leader is capable of impurity.

    I have to give CC Boise some credit for going public about this, although I suspect, someone forced their hand.

    I’m not as big on restoration as Dread. We have some terse exchanges about this over the years. I don’t think Caldwell should be considered or endorsed for ministry any time soon, if at all.

  45. BD’s suggestion that the severance be given to the wife is spot on…

  46. pstrmike hits on a number of points that are worthy of consideration…if we even want to know the answers…

  47. I have twice taken over the pastor’s position in churches where the pastor had been disqualified through immorality. It’s messy business. In both churches, someone asked me, “I trusted him and he betrayed us. Why should I trust you?”. Tough question to answer. I said, “If I build trust with you, then I hope you can trust me to some degree. But, you have to trust Jesus more than anyone”. Life will NOT go on as normal in the affected congregation. It IS somewhat like a death, and many people would simply say, “We’re fine”. But as it all sets in, the church is not fine, and needs time and loving care to heal.

    Should a pastor be “allowed” to serve in leadership again? Should it be 1 year or 10 years or?? An English clergyman once said, “”When a preacher of righteousness has stood in the way of sinners, he should never again open his lips in the great congregation until his repentance is as notorious as his sin.” I think that is a good rule to follow.

  48. DavidM,
    “he should never again open his lips in the great congregation until his repentance is as notorious as his sin.” I think that is a good rule to follow.”

    This sounds good but what does it mean? If Bob Caldwell took out full page ads in every Idaho newspaper (assuming we were still in the day people read newspapers) – full page ads expressing his repentance and sorrow – contrition as I would say – does that meet the qualification?

    Do we see a biblical reference to lifetime bans on clergy. And so I am clear – I am probably the most unforgiving, insensitive person on this blog – but I force myself.

  49. MLD, ” I am probably the most unforgiving, insensitive person on this blog”. Do I hear any amens??

    Right, what does it mean? I think it depends on whatever process of love, care, accountability, and restoration is utilized. Anyone can herald his own righteousness, his new clean life. But, if a fallen pastor is truly broken and desirous of healing and restoration, he will hopefully allow himself to go through a thorough program of rebuilding his life. That is a simplistic answer to a complex issue, but each situation has its own variables.

  50. It will be far easier for CC Boise leadership to move forward than it would be for Bob to be living in secret sin, unknown to almost all of the congregation, while working to undermine that same leadership from out of the pulpit.

    Bob now can’t utter a word of criticism or make any claims against that church. He has shown himself dishonest, not just in the sin but in the way his departure was handled months ago. He has zero credibility and it now matters not that this church was founded and grew under his former leadership.

  51. May be a good rule, but it is quite nebulous.

  52. My 41 was in reply to ” “”When a preacher of righteousness has stood in the way of sinners, he should never again open his lips in the great congregation until his repentance is as notorious as his sin.” I think that is a good rule to follow.”

  53. How about this….You know how pretty much all churches have a website and those websites usually have some sort of bio information on the pastors and staff (at least in evangelical circles which is our context).

    Whenever a disqualified pastor pops up at a new church in some leadership role, just make it clear in the internet bio that “Pastor X served from the years Y-Z at Church ABC until his sin of adultery was discovered and he was forced to resign”

  54. Oh..and in those cases where the guy marries his mistress, make sure to include that too.

    Pastor X’s adultery lead to divorce and he is now married to new wife, Z.

  55. Steve, but I can see the website bio being turned into a “righteousness / testimonies” piece.

    “But through the loving restoration of our Lord, Pastor X was given to our congregation to show that God loves all sinners. Come listen as Pastor X preaches what he has received – God’ love and forgiveness to you.”

    And congregations are suckers for sob stories.

  56. MLD, so be it. A whole bunch of folks though won’t…and at least everyone decides with eyes open and the truth known. Nobody is duped.

  57. I guess he could wear a scarlet letter.

  58. See, I think these guys need a good ass kicking behind the church and sent on their way. But my question was is there a biblical calling for a lifetime ban?

  59. If a church actually did that Steve & MLD, that would be a church I would actually want to visit! If they actually had the guts and transparency to post the truth, I would be inclined to believe the pastor truly was repentant. Churches operating in the light are far more appealing to me than those clouded in deception and secrecy.

  60. Faculty can always “lay hands” on the offender. . 😛

  61. Well, we often speak of the corporate climate of current evangelicalism. In the corporate world, when you have time gaps in the resume, you are expected to explain them.

  62. The scarlet letter was a public shaming. The only people looking up a pastor’s bio online are those interested in or already connected with that church. Thus, the only question is if such people have a right to know.

    I know I’ve immediately cut ties when informed of the truth of some sins. And if I was worshipping and serving at a church, under a pastor that I then found out was booted for adultery a few years prior, (emphasis on few as my reaction might be different if we are talking 20) I would split most likely and at minimum would have a serious conversation with him about his past. Even the 20 year guy would lead to a discussion though of a different nature.

    A lot easier to avoid all that through an online church bio.

  63. The Scarlet letter was a joking, sarcastic comment, but man Nathaniel Hawthorne was a prophet.

  64. Been thinking about things that Dread said, along with DavidM’s question, “Why should I trust you?”.

    I think my answer to that would be different than most.

    I would probably say “You probably shouldn’t trust me. Trust the Lord. Keep an eye on the rest of us. I’m a sinful human who is bound to let you down. Maybe I’ll surprise you in ways, and if so, good, but I’d ask you to just love and trust the Lord, and consider allowing me to walk with you as a friend.”

  65. Are talking about trusting pastors in general or previously fallen pastors?

  66. It was a though re: DavidM’s 47. Read the first couple of sentences.

  67. Very center verse of the Bible is Psalm 118:8.

    “Better to put your trust in the LORD than to put your confidence in man.”

    Absolutely!!

  68. Costco – so you don’t trust your pastor? 😉

  69. always so much thot provoking input on the PhxP…
    it may be debatable as a truism, but there’s the old saw, “those who can, do – those who can’t, teach”
    maybe the latter half does apply to our pastor/teachers… God’s Truth is an absolute and those who qualify to teach it are given a standard of behavior to meet… and i’m thinking…
    it seems reasonable that a pastor, being a mortal could fall, without falling off a cliff to his doom… hopefully, there are those who can pray and over time mentor him back to fulfilling what God gifted him to do… or help him face the fact that he needs to sit down, shut up and become teachable cuz teaching wasn’t his gift? dunno – just thinking

  70. About trust – why would a congregation call a pastor and THEN wonder if they could trust him?

  71. Well trust is a progressive thing. I wouldn’t ask a wounded person to immediately trust me with their emotional well-being simply because I’m a pastor. I Would advise them to take care of themselves and look to the Lord.

  72. Church discipline should be consistent whether its with the congregant or the pastor. Restoration is the ultimate goal. This will rarely if ever work in the CC system where the senior pastor pretty much is in charge of everything. I would like to see an article on “when a congregant falls” because the process should be fairly consistent, however I do think there needs to be greater accountability for the pastor. Sorry but if you commit adultery and your not removed immediately from office of pastor, there is something wrong. Regarding being restored to the office, I’m not sure but I think you just blew that career for a lifetime. I think you should probably find a job doing something else. Maybe I’m too harsh and pastors need more grace than the rest of the folks in the pews. If that’s the case, they should get of their high horse Moses Model authoritarian trip and give up this philosophy of ministry completely. Its a disaster.

  73. A-MEN!!

  74. Double AAAAMEN to Steve’s comment.

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