Grace For The Fallen Leader?

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89 Responses

  1. Babylon's Dread says:

    You know my take on this

  2. Michael says:

    Feel free to restate it… I’m rethinking the whole thing.

  3. Rick says:

    I think it is dangerous to restore a person who has abused power to a place of power. I am more confident when part of the fruit of repentance is the individual forsaking the position that gave them access to the temptation that they gave into, if that makes any sense. It is why few ought to become leaders–and why the judgment for leaders and teachers is more strict.

    Forgiveness, yes–restoration to fellowship and partaking in the life of the church, yes. Restoration to the previous position–at least in the near term, no. Default weaknesses are too present a temptation.

    I struggle with this as you do, Michael–there is no easy answer.

  4. ( |o )====::: says:

    “A fallen leader” is much like a “cheating spouse”.

    Forgiveness motivated by grace is moving, even inspiring, but once trust is broken, there is rarely a time when we humans can restore such a person to the same status, place of honor and trust.

    This is why Jesus permitted divorce because of adultery.
    This is why we humans rarely practice polygamy, polyandry, polygyny, or “open marriage”, because it’s not about sex, it’s about trust and commitments.
    Institutions of trust are about intimacy, believing in “the other”, trusting “the other”, that there will never be a time when the exception will be made to betray.

    This is why we do everything possible to strengthen bonds of trust.

    I learned about the Because I Said I Would Movement
    http://becauseisaidiwould.com/
    from its founder, the featured guest speaker, at a recent “All Team” retreat sponsored by the organization I work for. it’s a simple paradigm, to be a person of commitment and follow through to respect the commitments and relationships in one’s life.

    So, grace, yes!
    Restoration to a former position of trust?
    http://sd.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/i/don-t-get-any-big-ideas-they-re-not-gonna-happen-2.png

  5. Michael says:

    Rick, G…good stuff.

  6. ( |o )====::: says:

    Thanks Michael, and happy day 😉

  7. Nonnie says:

    Abundant Grace, fully forgiven, completely restored….yes!!
    Same position in a church as pastor…not so sure about that.
    Why not serve Jesus and others without “needing” the position in the church as pastor.

  8. Em says:

    grace seems to be harder for us than it is for God 🙂 we confuse it with denial and with enabling… both in practice and when theorizing… G wrote some very good thots IMHO

    i am not qualified to use actual people who have been discussed here – leaders that have “fallen” – those who have carried on as if their calling was in perpetuity simply because they put on a good show… what kind of grace is due them? … they are operating under God’s forbearance, i suspect

    then there are others who are humiliated, confessing and honest- penitent before man and God – what kind of grace is due them? God’s grace? they’ve got it…
    where do the good guys, the honest ones, go from here? whose is that decision?

    and… which is worse, fiscal sin or sexual?… right now, i’m rethinking that one, too

    “What we have done is to remove from our presence and our vision those who now know the true grace of God by experience, not hearsay.”
    we don’t want to do that… anymore… perhaps, good will yet come from Ft. Lauderdale

  9. EricL says:

    Restoration is vital, some of it should happen quickly, some slowly.

    As fast as the person repents, they should strive to relearn how to be close to our God. That might not be a quick process, but the delays aren’t on God’s part. The sinner might have a hard time trusting and depending on Him- but keep pressing in.

    As fast as the person repents, they should be restored to Christian fellowship (though it might require limits for some sins like sexual sins and abuse sins)

    Slowly, should be the restoring to any authority and responsibility in ministry. The person may never regain what they once had, just like the adulterer may never regain his/her spouse.

    We should be extravagant in our forgiving, just like He was toward us. But we should also zealously guard the weak, the powerless, the past and possibly-future victims. Both are possible, for Jesus modeled both to us.

    To use a dog analogy: jump up and down in joyous welcome when the sinner comes home, but guard God’s house and God’s kids against any danger. Keep on barking, Michael. Its the loving thing to do.

  10. Xenia says:

    What is the definition of grace?

    “Grace is the very energies of God himself. The Orthodox Church believes that through the Trinitarian ministry of the Holy Spirit these energies are mediated to mankind. That is, how God acts in forgiving and spiritual healing. Grace is the working of God himself, not a created substance of any kind that can be treated like a commodity.”

    Sometimes it seems like people equate grace with “niceness.” I think this is a mistake.

    You can almost say grace is the Holy Spirit Himself, or better stated, His uncreated energies.

  11. Babylon's Dread says:

    Fallen leaders are to be dealt with according to the mess they make. All things can be forgiven not all things can be restored. A man who tramples his vows and uses his power over others to ruin their lives has to face all he has done.

    Leaders who fall and yet restore their vows, reclaim their lost families and bring restitution where they have wreaked havoc have an open door. Anyone who nilly willy seeks restoration without addressing the mess they have made is unlikely to be restored.

    I believe in radical restoration even to ministry. The same qualifications that made them fit for ministry must be re-adhered for being restored. Even then one observation that I make is that people seldom regain the voice they had once before they broke trust.

    Of course restoration must address the issue

    Was it financial — then restitution and accountability
    Was it moral — the issues of power must be addressed and access limited
    Was it abuse — ah the MD matter… this is a big matter of power. I was interested in the basketball coach from Rutgers who was removed for his violence with his players. The depth of his repentance is manifest… his humility profound. He has a chance… MD with his “stricken shepherd” narrative doesn’t even see his culpability.

    I am radical about restoration and repentance.

  12. Xenia says:

    One of the things that bugs me about insisting that a fallen leader should be restored is the idea that he somehow deserves or is entitled to his leadership role in some special way. As if he just couldn’t go on with life if he didn’t get to be a pastor anymore. Well, the vast majority of Christians don’t get to be pastors, even if they wanted to be one. If a pastor screws up, he gets to join the unwashed masses with the rest of us and continue doing God’s work in a different capacity. The idea that “Oh my gosh! He can’t ever be a pastor again! His life is ruined!” says to me that the role of pastor is held in such high esteem that to continue life as a shoe salesman or software engineer is almost a life not worth living.

    And I’m not a big fan of “He’s such a great teacher; his talent (from God) must not be wasted.” If he can’t even practice what he preaches, he’s not that great of a teacher.

  13. JoelG says:

    A restored fallen leader preaches the gospel more clearly through the experience of his fall, repentance, and restoration as a leader than any words he said beforehand. Just my 2 cents.

  14. Xenia says:

    I personally know of three restored pastors who fell again and pretty quickly.

  15. Bob Sweat says:

    I agree with Dread.

  16. Xenia says:

    Make that two…. Number three is a unconfirmed rumor.

  17. Bob Sweat says:

    I would also echo what Joel said.

  18. Michael says:

    I’m not speaking from Sinai…just wanted to open this up.
    I do believe we are doing a dismal job modeling both grace and repentance to the church and the culture.
    I am moving closer to BD’s model when repentance is tested and proved.

  19. dusty says:

    hi everyone. (((hugs))))

  20. dusty says:

    happy birthday big brother!!!! hope it is full of love and joy.Love you ((((hugs)))

  21. Michael says:

    Hi, Dusty…thank you!

  22. Xenia says:

    Hello Dusty and happy birthday Michael!

  23. dusty says:

    Xenia @ #12

    you go girl!! 😉

  24. Michael says:

    Thank you, Xenia. 🙂

  25. Babylon's Dread says:

    @Xenia #12

    I agree … no one deserves or is entitled to serve

    No one is so gifted that the kingdom must have them

    Additionally,

    No one is dispensable we need them all

  26. Em says:

    Happy Birthday to Michael

  27. JoelG says:

    Xenia #12 – Can anyone really practice what they preach? Holy cow I’m sounding like MLD 🙂

    If it’s the Gospel that is preached, who better to teach than a fallen / repentant/ restored pastor?

  28. Michael says:

    Thank you, Em. 🙂

    JoelG…good insights today.

  29. EscondidoSurfer says:

    The huge amount of money and power sloshing around the big ministries makes restoration problematical for such as lead them. If being a big time preacher was not so profitable, motives would be easier to sort out.

  30. Ms. ODM says:

    “And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” – 1 Tim 3:7

    Hard to get back a good name when it’s been blotched.

    Happy Birthday Michael
    XOXOXOXOXOX

    [Those are agape hugs and holy kisses 😀 ]

  31. JoelG says:

    Thank you Michael. 🙂

  32. mk says:

    Happy Birthday, Michael!

    I agree and like what #3 Rick, #11 Dread, and #12 Xenia have written.

    Currently, I’m struggling with how church is done here in S. Florida – had spent over a decade attending CCFL (listening to Coy and considered him my pastor), then eventually made my way over to Coral Ridge to listen to Tchividjian for a few years. I represent a small percentage of people who have attended both places.

    I find myself upset with these two men – what they claimed to represent – and the choices they eventually made. Through their selfish actions, they have caused much damage, not only to their own families, but to the church at large. How as parents do we even try to explain this to our youth?

    I don’t have anything profound to say…just venting and trying to work through an array of emotions. Mostly I’m sad and must remember to be mindful to pray for all those hurt.

  33. Xenia says:

    I’m not saying fallen pastors can’t be restored to the family of God. Of course they can, no one here is denying that, I’m sure. They don’t need to have their old jobs back, though. In fact, they might be a better testimony to the community as to the consequences of adultery in the role of store clerk than they’d be as a restored pastor, back the pulpit telling his story which sort of says “Yes, I fell but here I am, back in the saddle again. Ain’t God great?” But if you see the former pastor working a humble job at Costco you will see a living cautionary tale for sure.

  34. Michael says:

    Thank you, Ms. ODM. 🙂

  35. Xenia says:

    AND I think it would be better for his own soul if he moved into another line of work.

  36. Michael says:

    mk,

    Thank you, my friend.
    You are in the unique position of being twice burned and that’s a tough place to be.
    One of the things that concerns me is that you probably won’t have a opportunity to share with either man what consequences their actions had on you and your family.
    I think that’s wrong…I think that these men should still be disciplined and restored to fellowship in the assembly so they know all that they have to be forgiven for and that they can receive both the rebuke and forgiveness they need to hear.

    I’m thinking out loud more than anything… 🙂

  37. JoelG says:

    Good point Xenia. Tullian tweeted today: “An excruciating but freeing discovery is that the high place is actually the low place…while the low place is actually the high place.”

  38. Babylon's Dread says:

    Good discussion

  39. Xenia says:

    Here’s something I was trying to say last week on the topic of homosexuality and adultery and the reactions of Christians to both.

    The idea was that we had no business making such a fuss about homosexuals because the church has done such a pitiful job curtailing hetero adultery. But it is this very “grace” that we are talking about today that might be part of the problem. As I said then, no Christian church encourages adultery or divorce and I suspect many pastors spend much of their counselling time trying to prevent divorce and to bring adulterers to repentance. But because the feel they should show grace towards the wayward, the fallen are quickly brought back into fellowship, almost as if nothing happened. I am not saying this is a bad thing, I am just pointing out that this practice has not done much to discourage adultery and divorce because the consequences seem so slight. Everyone rushes to show their forgiveness and acceptance of the fallen- and this is probably the right thing to do.

    So I don’t have an answer about lay people who fall. They need to be welcomed home, that much is certain. (They don’t need to be turned into heroes, which I have seen happen.) I think most churches fall over themselves to show grace to anyone who seems even remotely repentant.

    Celebrity pastors though… we have that sinful desire to see their grinning faces rubbed in the mud, don’t we?

  40. Jim says:

    Assuming repentance, restoration to fellowship is a no brainer. Restoration to official elder status flies in the face of Paul’s words to Timothy and Titus.

    One doesn’t need to be an elder to be a conduit of the grace they have received.

    The majority of men in any given congregation will be unqualified to be an elder. It doesn’t make one a second class Christian, or “less than”, in any way. It’s just the way things are.

    Contentment is a virtue, and the opposite might be idolatry.

  41. Em says:

    agreeing with BD – good discussion

    grace is not a commodity – nor is grace interchangeable with “nice” – echoing agreement with Xenia on those points …

  42. mk says:

    Thanks Michael and I hear you. Yes, we’re definitely in an unique position. If ever asked to speak to both men, my husband and I would welcome the opportunity. I believe we could do so constructively.

    With time, I’ll write my observations – the similarities that each place shared. Honestly though, what are the chances of attending both of these churches?

  43. Xenia says:

    I agree with you, Jim.

  44. covered says:

    mk, I am sorry to hear what you have experienced in church. Many people who have seen what you have in a church find it easy to give up and walk away. You are setting a great example by coming here not to vent but to participate. It is evident that your faith is in a God full of grace over man who is full of deceit. Well done…

  45. mk says:

    Covered-

    Thank you for that – your post is an encouragement to me. The theme I’m seeing with both church experiences is the need for us to keep our eyes on The Lord foremost. Man can disappoint….the Lord never does.

  46. David says:

    I seem to remember a ton of grace for Jim Bakker when he came out with his “I Was Wrong” book. He renounced his former life of the prosperity gospel, his adultery, and the sins that came along with them. I remember the feeling of relief and joy that a lot of Christians had — notably from the people opposed to PTL and the whole mess.

    Then he got on TV, became a pastor of sorts, and got weird again.

    To us, grace meant “You are forgiven! Come on down and fellowship with the rest of us in a life of repentance!” To others it seemed to be “You do the right thing, go to the right conference, say the right words, and give the right interview, and Jesus has an amazing “Undo” button up there that clears up that whole ‘You Getting Caught’ problem you had.”

    We think “LEADERSHIP(TM)” is deserved and amazing. In modern evangelicalism it’s the ultimate calling. What I wouldn’t give to see a few leaders give up the pulpit (and the Twitter Feed, book deal, podcasts, conference tours, and blog that come with it) and go clean toilets for a year while no one notices.

    My ex-roommate spent 10 years cleaning toilets at a college, slowly gaining the love and trust of the students he was there to train in basic work ethic. Now he’s wanting to spend a few years in education in an obscure country. To me, there is no reason a Mark Driscoll or even Todd Bentley couldn’t do this. This is not a demotion, it is a calling to a self-denial and a new life.

    We shout in retaliation “Yes, but I have gifts! I’m enigmatic and can work a room! I know budgets!” and the Lord says quietly “Feed My Sheep.”

  47. Em says:

    off topic
    after spending some time the last few days trying to track multiple items on this computer i have to say something about Michael…

    how does he do this? day in, day out tracking multiple trains of thought and unexpected issues that require addressing… now i know i’m old(er) and slow(er), but a steady diet of this? i’m here to tell you… the man has a gift…

    Michael, lots of folks here saying “I love you,” but you are scary 🙂 in a good way

  48. Em says:

    #46- David – amen from this corner

  49. covered says:

    em, your 47 speaks volumes about our friend. One thing that I appreciate most about our host is how he will pick up his phone so I can vent. He has wept with me. He has talked me off the ledge a time or two and helped me during some intense, spiritual battles. We (most of us) love you Michael. Happy Birthday!

  50. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    A fallen pastor due to sexual sin or even financial sin once repented of can still preach the gospel and do the work of the ministry but not in an eldership position at least right away. Nothing stops him from street witnessing, door to door ministry, open air preaching so he still is able to preach the word just not hold an eldership position right away.

  51. Paige says:

    Amen, Em #47. Thank you Michael….. What a blessing, a true labor of love (and compulsion, I’m sure) this place is.. God bless you…. Hope your birthday has been a great day.

    Restoration….. grace and forgiveness for leaders….. As someone whose former spouse (pastor, leader, church planter, etc) went completely sideways, yet never stopped seeking another platform to preach and teach and be recognized WITHOUT EVER APOLOGIZING TO ANYONE, my position and opinion is…. the whole process of restoration revolves around humility, repentance, change of behavior, on going fruit and evidence of a deep, soul change.

    Frankly, IMO, the 12 Steps of AA would be a good model to follow, and that model includes ‘making amends’…. and totally owning responsibility for the failures.

    Then IF, big IF, there is obvious humility and on going acknowledgement of ‘what happened’ and remorse for the damage they caused, then, I could see that person back in some form of leadership…. and potentially having an enlarged grasp of Grace.

  52. brian says:

    I think grace for a “fallen” leader depends on if said leader can still drum up business and keep the franchise open. Grace for the regular folks, like myself, I use to believe in that with all my heart, now it, like many things is an unreasonable expectation at best. I still deeply desire it because I am too dense to get the major hints.

  53. Sinner and Saint says:

    Michael,

    I’m glad you’re thinking through this issue. It’s certainly an important one. I didn’t “fall morally” but I’ve seen first hand how long time pastors can be treated when they fall from people’s “grace.” The only thing more lonely than being a pastor, is being an ex-pastor…I pastored for a long time and essentially have no friends now that I’m not pastoring. Whether you romped around with someone who isn’t your wife, change your theology, or resign and move on…we live in a “what have you done for me lately” culture…we treat ex-pastors like we do seniors; “you have nothing to offer me, you’re dead to me.”

  54. A Friend says:

    I think the particular “church” should show as much “grace” to the Leader…as they do to the sinner/sheep that offends the pastor or that church/denom/movement….which is less than zero.

  55. filbertz says:

    I would attend a church & support a man like Bob Sweat who fell, repented, and was rebuilt–but never restored to ministry–re-entering pastoral ministry as before. He has clearly shown accountability, transparency, teachability, and established a track record away from ministry which would provide a ringing endorsement of his credibility. He is a model of what we speak about in terms of restoration. Yet, he remains sidelined from what I believe is his calling. Dread’s outline above is Sweat’s silhouette.

  56. filbertz says:

    each of us should speak of and demonstrate grace more fully and passionately because of our personal repentence and forgiveness…

  57. A Friend says:

    “each of us should speak of and demonstrate grace more fully and passionately because of our personal repentence and forgiveness…”

    Why?

    How?

    It sounds nice, but sounds like a load of bull. What in the heck does it mean in real world terms?

  58. A Friend says:

    Agreed about Bob Sweat. Good dude. Rare rare rare good example of what you described.

    But in this era, God really doesn’t seem to care or at least the ‘church” doesn’t…it must be “permitted” now like Slavery and Sex Slaves and executing your children was in the Old Testament.

  59. Patrick says:

    I don’t know why people are surprised when a “leader” falls. If he has been faithfully teaching the Law and the Gospel it shouldn’t surprise us that NO ONE is incapable of falling.

    I mean, sure we like to hold people on pedestals(I’m as guilty of this as anyone), but honestly if we really believe that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, why are we surprised that someone sins?

    I know that when I feel let down with a “leader” falling, it’s usually because I want someone, anyone to live the life so that in some small way I don’t need Christ ALONE but can somehow saddle Him up to my supposed good works and feel like I’m actually pulling it off. You could say that I want some skin in the game so to speak.

    I have to admit that when I look at Scripture it seems that there is no prescribed season or discipline; Peter was restored as the leader of the disciples a few weeks after denying Christ three times(even taking an oath that he didn’t know him). Jesus’ reaction to Peter wasn’t, “ok, sinner, after six months or two years and after you’ve gotten your act together, you can feed my sheep.”

    I’m just rambling, but the one thing I know is that grace offends all who think the offender should get theirs(I don’t mean serious crime here, we exist both Coram Deo and Coram Mundo and there are horizontal consequences for some sins).

    Meanwhile a guy can stay in the pulpit while teaching falsely, being covetous, idolatrous, lustful, a gossip, adulterous, etc. and people don’t care so long as his life looks good.

  60. filbertz says:

    AF,
    my reference point is that we count on the grace of God individually whenever we acknowledge our sin, repent, and seek forgiveness. If I benefit from it, perhaps I should extend it to others when they screw up too. It is a scarce commodity in the Church experience these days, I admit.

  61. A Friend says:

    Thanks for clarifying.

    I half agree.

    There is a clear dichotomy in the ‘perfect’ bible…one for Leaders/Pastors/Bishops/Apostles….one for the regular schmuck sinner.

  62. A Friend says:

    You supposedly have the God of the universe in the flesh walking and talking and giving us two very clear very contrasting examples and demonstrations of how God deals with Religious Leaders and how he deals with regular sinners like the prostitutes and tax collectors etc.

    But, like with everything, 30,000 sects, everyone with their own opinion…but the “bible is inerrant!” ya right…you’re errant which makes your interpretation of the bible errant.

  63. The identity of A Friend was a mystery for about a week. 😉

  64. A Friend says:

    A week? Man you’re getting senile. 🙂

    I’m about as subtle as herpes.

  65. A Friend says:

    …about as hard to get rid of too LOL

  66. Jonnyb says:

    We observe the grace of God, and his providential care and goodness.

    and

    We have a friend…

  67. Bob Sweat says:

    Fil,
    Thank you for your post. You truly are a man of grace. I’m going to be 70 next month, so I have given up any desire to return to pastoral ministry. But that’s ok! God has led my wife and me to a church who’s pastor is fresh out of seminary. I meet with him often, hoping to be a support as he matures in his calling.

  68. Ixtlan says:

    ” The idea that “Oh my gosh! He can’t ever be a pastor again! His life is ruined!” says to me that the role of pastor is held in such high esteem that to continue life as a shoe salesman or software engineer is almost a life not worth living.”

    That is more true than most are even willing to consider. I often found it strange that pastors who are speaking at conferences will say what a blessing it is to speak to the audience. Why is it a blessing? Could it be that such an expression is latent pride in expressing happiness for the opportunity to be the one who is on the stage?

  69. Neo says:

    IXatian…or maybe it’s gratitude for each, every, and any opportunity to preach the Gospel.

  70. Bob Sweat says:

    Neo, you nailed it.

  71. j2theperson says:

    I think the term “grace” has been thrown around, discussed, debated, and brought up in all manner of circumstances so much that it has lost all meaning. It’s basically just a tool for abusive people to be able to continue to abuse, for victims to be re-victimized, and for good old boys to remain good old boys.

    As an administrative professional, I’ve seen plenty of people who aren’t qualified to be administrative professionals. The requirements aren’t that hard–you need to be able to use computers, read, write, interact with people both in person and on the telephone with people in a polite and helpful manner, and at least vaguely be able to think through minor problems and problem solve without always being told what to do by others. The skills aren’t that hard to gain, but some people simply don’t have them. When they crash and burn they have no one but themselves to blame for choosing a profession for which they were not qualified, and hopefully they are able to pick themselves up and move on to a job for which they are more qualified.

    Some of the skills pastors needs in their chosen profession are the ability to keep their penises in their pants, their hands off the offering plate, and their egos in check. Really, those are laughably simple to do, and thousands of pastors have no problem with it. Millions of non-pastors have no problem with it either. When those who lack those simple, basic skills crash and burn why should people even be put in the position of feeling like they’re the jerks if they recognize that the person who failed as a pastor failed as a pastor. Rather, as countless people in countless other professions have done, the fallen pastors should dust themselves off and go off and find a career for which they are better suited.

    If those fallen pastors genuinely care about ministering to people there is literally nothing that will prevent them from continuing to minister to people. Not having a private jet, or an inflated salary, or thousands of people listening to me on a weekly basis has not prevented me from trying to be nice, caring, and helpful toward the people in my life, so I don’t see why these pastors need the salary, housing allowance, audience etc in order to minister to people.

  72. j2theperson says:

    Also, Christians bristle at how homosexuals portray them. Christians say, “Hate the sin; love the sinner,” and are frustrated when they are portrayed as intolerant homophobes if they voice even mild concern or disapproval about homosexual behavior or beliefs.

    But, a pastor abuses people, commits adultery, steals money, whatever, and the people who voice the belief that that disqualifies him from ever being a pastor again will invariably face accusations that they are not showing grace to him. So what does that make pastors? The homosexuals of Christianity?

  73. Ixtlan says:

    Neo, Bob,

    And maybe its not.

  74. Josh The Baptist says:

    j2p said “Some of the skills pastors needs in their chosen profession are the ability to keep their penises in their pants, their hands off the offering plate, and their egos in check.”

    And I believe that says it all.

    Totally agree.

  75. Bob Sweat says:

    lxtlan,

    For some, maybe most.

  76. Surfer51 says:

    Neo #69

    “IXatian…or maybe it’s gratitude for each, every, and any opportunity to preach the Gospel”

    I got a sense that that is your own heart.

    I believe the Lord would say to you:

    That which has been was not all of Me or My doing.

    Waters that have already past the mill wheel can no longer turn it.

    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
    (Jeremiah 29:11)

    I have heard the cries of your heart and I am placing you where you might represent Me.

    Love My people and serve Me, feed My sheep…

  77. Eric says:

    Here is a story of someone who knows God’s grace very deeply.

    As the worship director in Australia’s biggest church and the most-sung songwriter in the country at the time, he burnt out, left the ministry, broke up with his wife and later had an affair.

    Through all this he realised the depth of his sin and the enormity of God’s love. His popular early songs are about God’s greatness and have a feeling of optimism about how good it is to have Christ in us. Some of his songs after that are simply about grace – our works are nothing, Christ has done it all.

  78. Linnea says:

    I’ve been thrice burned by pastors who were restored….only two points make a line, but three confirm the hypothesis in my mind.

    Make no mistake….I love the Lord, but have trepidation about associating with an organized church. There are ways to honor and serve the Lord, to reap restoration for a weary soul, apart from an organized church. That makes me sad, just typing that, and I know that it grieves the Lord’s heart.

  79. j2theperson says:

    I read the Geoff Bullock article Eric linked to in his 77. Geoff pretty much lost me at this part….

    ***That was two and a half years ago. Today Geoff is married to his old friend and is returning rather reluctantly to public life.

    “I can’t shake the impression that God has pushed us back into the spotlight so people can see his grace, not just the fall of one man. The reason we are here is not to vindicate ourselves. We are only vindicated by the blood of Jesus. Our sin is as great as any others, and our righteousness is, and always has been, as great as Christ’s could possibly be.

    “Our story is the story of redemption – a very public example of it. And as painful as it has been, our mourning has finished, a time for rejoicing has come. The restoration that God has done in our lives – in each other’s love, and in his love – is overwhelming.

    “We’re here simply to talk about the grace of God. I didn’t want to come back into ministry. I thought I was finished, I wanted it to be over, but God has a job for us to do.”***

    Yeah, you got the new wife and now you’re trying to get your old job back and be the center of attention again. Good for you. The hubris of saying, “God is pushing me to be famous so that He can make such and such a point” takes my breath away. And I flat out don’t believe he didn’t want to come back into “ministry”. I think he has to say that so that he doesn’t look like a fame hungry attention whore.

    He claims that his story is one of redemption and restoration? What restoration? He didn’t leave the woman he committed adultery with and go back to his wife and children and make things right with his family. He ditched his starter wife and is on to model number 2. That’s not restoration.

    I’d have more respect for him if he went through the rest of his life unattached and celibate.

    I know a man who’s wife divorced him not because of adultery or any sort of sin but simply because people “drift apart”. He fought the divorce all the way to the supreme court of the state they lived in, but the divorce was eventually granted. That was like 20 years ago. To this day he wears his wedding ring, and he has not remarried or tried to remarry because he considers himself still married in the eyes of God regardless of what the courts have said and he is seeking to honor the marriage vows he made to the best of his ability eventhough his wife has left him. That, frankly, is a much more powerful image to me of someone who’s life has been changed by God than some singer divorcing his wife, marrying the woman he committed adultery with, then getting back up on stage and seeking the spotlight all while claiming things are so great and so different and so new and restored.

    All he is is a christian pop star so I don’t have a problem per se with him seeking his old job as I would with an actual pastor seeking to get back into pastoring. But I read his story and I think he’s really fake and is lying through his teeth, maybe to himself as much as to everyone else.

  80. j2theperson says:

    Plus, he posted that article on his own website. He didn’t just post a link to an outside website. He. Posted. The. Story. On. His. Own. Site. That seems so narcissistic and self-serving.

  81. Erik says:

    Here is the latest confession of our previous president Jimmy Carter on gay marriage.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/jimmy-carter-i-believe-jesus-would-approve-gay-marriage/ar-AAcJlYa?ocid=mailsignout

  82. passin throgh says:

    So…what?

    Jimmy Carter has fallen? He needs grace??

  83. Al says:

    I would say Jimmy needs grace repent and get born again.

  84. passin throgh says:

    Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

    Doofus.

  85. Donner says:

    To MK (and others here): I’m in the same boat. I left CRPC and went to CCFTL and witnessed Coy’s downfall and resulting destruction in the church. In fact, I posted here after Tullian’s fall, but received quite a different reaction from many here than what you got. The lack of support, even when I pleaded with people here to pray for us and South Florida Christians, greatly added to my hurt and sadness. (One member here actually took me to task for suggesting that those early, first tweets from Tullian did not demonstrate repentance!)

    I’m not sure why I’m bothering to post now, except that I received much solace from PhxP last year during the Coy mess. I’ve been lurking and occasionally posting since then. And this place has people just like me…Christians doing the best they can in a broken world.

  86. Nonnie says:

    Hi Donner, I’m sorry you didn’t receive the support you needed here when you shared. I can’t imagine how painful it must have been to attend 2 churches where the pastor commits adultery.

    Don’t give up on us here. You are correct, “And this place has people just like me…Christians doing the best they can in a broken world.”

    God bless you.

  87. mk says:

    Hi Donner, just seeing your post! The revelations of what has happened to these two churches this past year has felt surreal – a disappointment for sure. Thanks for posting and reaching out. I too have read here over the years and this community has helped me heal and move on in my walk. My prayers added with yours and others will go forth for all those hurt here in South Florida. Blessings to you and yours.

  88. Donner says:

    Thanks Nonnie. :). And thank you, mk.

  89. pstrmike says:

    The first three pastors I had in my life committed some type of sexual indiscretion. The first when I was 9, the second at 20, and the third at 23. It happens far too often and its devastating. I could only continue to put one foot in front of the other, and at times only motivated by the need to be a faithful witness to others in my life. I eventually got through it by God’s grace.

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