Restoring Fallen Pastors: Alan Hawkins

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109 Responses

  1. RiBo says:

    On a roll…good direct, concise and clear article. Presents the balance of some sort of restoration after true confession and repentance.

  2. filbertz says:

    a healthy and helpful perspective on restoration. I particularly welcome the broader perspective of the gospel, the Church’s witness, and the glory of God.

  3. RiBo says:

    Hey, if there is no forgiveness and no grace, we’re all screwed. My personal opinion is that the real “God” really is love and mercy and grace…to all…eventually. But, there are consequences to pay for bad choices made, can’t always by-pass those…especially when you make a career of putting yourself out there as a spiritual guru to be followed.

  4. Tiger says:

    Great truths here, Alan. Would that the whole church be so committed to restoration as this.

  5. When we say restore, what does that include – like after rehabilitation he works his way back up? Starts back as an unpaid intern for 12 months, then can apply for a position with the church as an assistant pastor etc – then moving up after 3 yrs?

    Or are we talking, hey son, here’s the keys to the pulpit?

  6. Andrew says:

    I think its myopic to only consider the pastoral office or the fallen pastor that needs to be restored to fellowship as if they are the only member in the church community that can be disciplined or for that matter restored. The topic would fall more into perspective if pastors weren’t singled out as “special” and if the topic was about restoring the erring sinner in general. We know that teachers will be judged more harshly than others, however, I simple don’t see the concept in the bible to single out pastors as a special case of fallen sinners. Those who are spiritual should try to restore all those that have fallen back into the fold and bring them back home.

    “Can they feed the flock once again? Indeed they must in answer to his call. Let the spiritual ones do this hard work of restoration. Let the kingdom come on earth as in heaven.”

    What is needed is a comprehensive biblical understanding of church discipline and restoration that takes with no short cuts for efficiency purposes so the spiritual ones will not be hampered in doing the work they are called to do.

  7. Xenia says:

    I personally believe they are disqualified for life. This doesn’t mean their life is over, unless the only kind of life that is meaningful to them is being a senior pastor. <— This is probably true in some cases.

    Doctors, lawyers- all kinds of people lose their licenses for malpractice and misconduct. This does not mean they can't run some kind of ministry somewhere (running a homeless shelter, manning a soup kitchen, etc) because there are jobs in the Kingdom that are just as important as being a senior pastor although I know this is difficult for some people to believe.

  8. Andrew says:

    Great comment Xenia!

  9. Xenia says:

    While restoring a fallen pastor to the top spot might demonstrate God’s forgiveness, the sad spectacle of a fallen pastor continuing his life in humility, working a secular job and explaining that he lost his pastorate because of sin <—- This also teaches a valuable lesson, a better one, IMO.

  10. Alan Hawkins says:

    Xenia,

    What is the position of the Orthodox faith on this matter?

  11. Gary says:

    This is a good beginning. A fallen pastor is akin to a fallen husband. He must prove himself and that takes time. No foxhole conversions. I like the concept of first dealing with the church members (or non members) then becoming a servant of the same, which is what he is supposed to be anyway. Full biblical restoration brings glory to God. On the other hand, quick fixes do not. I pray that those CCers who have nowhere else to go would read these blogs. Wouldn’t it be great to see Bob Coy volunteering at CCFL as an usher or parking lot attendant? That, to me would be serving with full restoration in mind. Even if he never preached from the pulpit he would be preaching a message by being humble and willing to use his other gifts.

  12. Francisco says:

    The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Psalm 51:17

    Brethren if we fall like Saul, David, or Absalom and the Lord sends a Samuel or a Nathan our way, may we choose to not to reject God’s Truth but receive it gracefully and repent like David.

  13. Xenia says:

    Dread, an adulterous pastor is defrocked.

    A repentant adulterous priest is completely forgiven by God and by us but he’s disqualified himself. This is a choice he made, remember, not some calamity that came upon him.

    It is the best thing for his own soul and serves as a warning for others.

  14. Gary says:

    Wouldn’t it be great to see Bob Coy volunteering at CCFL as an usher or parking lot attendant? It is the best thing for his own soul and serves as a warning for others.

  15. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Does a Pastor get disqaulifed for a love of Money? Because if so, a bunch of em better start packing their desk. Or what about Pride? Lying Lips? These are no less sinful than Adultery. Also the women that commit adultery with these Pastors must also be held accountable, no pass jus becasue you are a Woman. Women are every bit as evil as Men. The Institutional Chruch bends over backwards to treat woemn as harmless little flowers and not hold them accountable for anything they do but instead play the “Lets always blame the Man Game”. The Bible sure doesn’t give Women a pass but the Church today sure does. The Bible talks about women who were judged for their sin.

  16. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “Wouldn’t it be great to see Bob Coy volunteering at CCFL as an usher or parking lot attendant? It is the best thing for his own soul and serves as a warning for others.”
    And you know this? What about the Prodigal son?So typical of the Institutional American Church, turning repentance into a systematic step by step process rather than gauging the Heart.So he has to earn his repentance in your eyes by working in the parking lot?Maybe he should walk on his knees to church everyday to satisfy those who want to see him humiliated and made a public example of.How about David who repented? Bob Coy’s repentance is between him and God and he doesn’t need to satisfy your expectations.Adultery isn’t some extra special sin, it’s just more noticable than say Greed and Prode and Lying which pulpits in this country are full of.

  17. Andy says:

    “Does a Pastor get disqaulifed for a love of Money? Because if so, a bunch of em better start packing their desk. Or what about Pride? Lying Lips? These are no less sinful than Adultery”

    How about anger? That one would eliminate so many pastors out there.

    “The Institutional Church bends over backwards to treat women as harmless little flowers and not hold them accountable for anything they do”

    This is true. What sort of church discipline will they be under, since Bob Coy got his? A full investigation is under way, yes?

    “he doesn’t need to satisfy your expectations”

    Well there are plenty of people with expectations. Which is why, you’ll find some pastors that were “defrocked” from one church, just go and start another church, and God uses them.

    **God is ALWAYS easier and more gracious than any man makes Him sound**

  18. erunner says:

    Isn’t it just speculation that these women are from the church or has that information been released?

  19. Jtk says:

    “Or what about Pride? Lying Lips? These are no less sinful than Adultery.”

    As my Latin teacher called it “stercorous toro.”

    I don’t know a wife on earth that thinks that. Do you?

  20. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Lying Lips are an abomination to the Lord

    Sorry to say but being cheated on isn’t the end of the World, life goes on and God will restore both people if not the marriage itself. Again adultery isn’t some special sin. Let’s not put marriage as an Idol!

  21. SolRod,
    “Again adultery isn’t some special sin.”

    You may want to check that (I can’t right now) but isn’t adultery a particular sin that Jesus says you join His body in with your sin? If I am right, this one may be of a higher kind.

  22. Andy says:

    “Let’s not put marriage as an Idol!”

    The world always does that, doesn’t it?

  23. Lover of Jesus says:

    I am so thankful to have read this article. I really do believe this is God’s heart. The gospel is full of stories of God’s forgiveness and grace. The church has some growing to do in the area of grace, forgiveness and unity. Situations like this (Bob Coy’s sin and resigning) really show the heart of people. Some beautiful hearts and some self righteous hearts. I think that the more we see just how much we’ve been forgiven, it is much easier to grant forgiveness to others. Thank you for sharing these truths.

    Just a note to reply to those wanting Bob Coy to return to his church as a servant. Calvary Chapel does not allow that. I’m not sure why, but I do know that they won’t allow a fallen pastor back to his church. We’ve been a part of a church where something similar happened.

    May the Lord continue to purify His church as we wait for His return.

  24. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    MLD,
    Adultery is just as forgivable as any other sin minus Blaspehmy of course.

  25. erunner says:

    sol rod @ 20 “Sorry to say but being cheated on isn’t the end of the World, life goes on and God will restore both people if not the marriage itself. Again adultery isn’t some special sin. Let’s not put marriage as an Idol!”

    That’s a bit heartless it seems to me. Try telling that to the families that have been torn apart by this sin. The ramifications last a lifetime and tremendous impact on the children if divorce is the result.

    I believe God can and does restore marriages but there’s a reason He allows for divorce when adultery takes place.

    Life goes on is a terrible way to look at it.

  26. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Bob Coy’s restoration with his Wife is between her and him PERIOD!! He is a grown ass Man and she is a grown ass Woman they don’t need people from the peanut gallery putting their two cents in. Bob ask God for forgiveness and then his wife and kids and those that were under his leadership and there it is. Let’s face it many of these Mega Pastors become marks for themselves and thats the problem. What disgusts me, is people like Linda Pappas turning the adulteress into a victim, I call BS on that big time and her credibilitly to speak on the subject took a hit right there with her Pathetic statement on this situation. When we stand before God on judgment day, no one will be able to play victim and blame a “Man” or a “Woman” everyone Women included will be held responsible for their own actions.

  27. erunner says:

    SolRod, then why are you spending so much time commenting on it and bringing what took place on another blog here?

  28. covered says:

    Lover of Jesus, I believe you are mistaken. I know of CC pastor’s who have fallen into sexual sin and were brought back to the pulpit. Not only that but no one called it “moral failure” they called it what it is, adultery.

    Not so sure about going back to the church in which they were pastoring when they fell but I do know of pastor’s who are still in the business after committing adultery.

  29. Xenia says:

    I should say that I am not talking about specific people here- what happens in Fr. Lauderdale is none of my business. It’s something for those folks to decide. I am just talking generalities.

    Also, I would not like to see anybody humiliated. A secular job does not have to imply humiliation. My husband has a secular job and believe me, we do not see this as a humiliation!

  30. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Erunner,

    You are preaching to the choir on that one but nonetheless Paul tells us not look back in Phillipians and Jesus says not to take our hand off the plow and look back or we are not fit for the Kingdom of God. The cheated spouse should not spend a great deal of their life ruminating over the betrayal but rather forgive and turn the page so that they in turn will be forgiven their sins. I am the product of a divorce where my Dad cheated on my Mom. I was cheated on in my marriage and I also cheated on my ex wife so I know the consequences.

  31. erunner says:

    SolRod, maybe your experiences have jaded you a bit? Having grown up in a home ruled by alcoholism I know the impact sin has on the wronged spouse and children. It can take a lifetime to get over and it’s our job to encourage and be there for all. It’s a lot more difficult for the majority than I think you realize and that is not sinful on their part. It’s part of life…

  32. Rob Murphy says:

    @21 – S.R., this is a poor point; this sounds spiritual but is completely ignorant of reality. There are sins that carry much different weight, to say otherwise is preposterous.
    Someone Stealing your remote control is bad, it is theft, it is sin.

    Someone Raping and murdering your wife IS worse. There is no comparison.

    To equate all sin as equal is ignorant of the Bible.

    MLD’s point is correct, Paul says that other sins are committed outside the body. Sexual sin has entirely different weight and consequence than a temper tantrum, than being a drunk or a glutton.

    Pastor Alan’s notes deal with the heft and reality and cost of sin. This is a great article and a great discussion, but the interruption with simplistic and ignorant defense of ‘all sins being equal’ distracts from useful practice and thought.

  33. Frosted Flake says:

    I loved Alan’s article and it is a near complete picture of repentance and restoration. However, there is something so insidious and incestuous about sleeping with the “sheep.” I know Bob but I also am still in favor of leg iron’s, stocks in town square and a side of tar and feathers.

  34. What did Frosted Flake say? Bob was sleeping with sheep??? 🙂

  35. Gary says:

    YIKES!!
    Solomon Rodriguez says “The cheated spouse should not spend a great deal of their life ruminating over the betrayal but rather forgive and turn the page so that they in turn will be forgiven their sins.”

    YIKES!! You need counseling dude.

  36. Frosted Flake says:

    Solro,
    Repentance, forgiveness and restitution can be very long roads that require much more than “just do this and just do that.” Page turning is fine unless the “novel” is 600 pages long.

  37. Alan Hawkins says:

    So let me confess my only misgiving about this issue. The trust of the pastoral office is beyond the trust of any relationship on earth other than husband and wife. At least that is the way I see it. The pastor has access and information and intimacy with people by virtue of his office that other people do not have. Additionally, the pastor has an artificial relationship based on the esteem that is garnered from expounding scripture and opening hearts that causes people to see in an elevated way a false impression of goodness, virtue and value. When those things are avenues of entering a relationship that breaks the covenant of marriage I understand the impulse that says you can never trust that person again. It is a violation so dire as to engender ongoing suspicion that can scarce be removed.

    But for the mercies of God it would be impossible to conceive restoration. I have no trouble with those who say I am wrong in my contention that restoration is the highest and best. It is a debate that is reasonable. Nevertheless, I see it as a token of the promise of the restoration of all things.

    Thanks for the willingness to consider this article.

  38. Gary says:

    Alan,
    If, by restoration you mean relationships are restored I agree, but if you mean the man should be put back in charge it just doesn’t make sense. He will have a ministry but not one with so much authority.

  39. Not that Bob says:

    OK Read the thread and have to ask, “Why and to where does Bob Coy or any other fallen pastor need to be restored to?”

    I see nothing special about Bob Coy to return him to ministry.. The man was a professional pastor who had a gift for gab and motivating people to serve him. He reminded me more of Tony Robbins than some one who loved God. Now mind you I only know him from his video sermons, which I found quite lacking in anything beyond milk, so maybe there’s more to him than those cutesy “sermons” show.

    The man hurt literally thousands of people overnight and now jeopardizes the financial well-being of many more, not to mention his immediate family, and you want to restore him to what?

    No I don’t get it, or could it be we all think, “but for the grace of God go I…”

    Sorry, I think he should clean dishes for more than a while.

  40. Bob Sweat says:

    Alan,
    Well said!

  41. erunner says:

    Thanks Bob!! 🙂

  42. Bob Sweat says:

    I was referring to Alan in Albuquerque, not Alan in BuenO Park.

  43. covered says:

    Not that Bob, I can’t speak for Alan but I’m guessing that his article wasn’t about Bob Coy specifically.

  44. Linda Pappas says:

    @ 26: ” Linda Pappas turning the adulteress into a victim

    I think you misunderstood what point I was making regarding Mr. Coy’s choices compared to the woman caught in adultery. Please read again. Jesus told this woman to go and sin no more. She was in the world, not preaching and not claiming to be in Christ and certainly not among those who were attempting to use her to trap Jesus.

    Based on what has been reported, Mr. Coy has a long road to recovery and bearing the consequences of the betrayal, using treachery to exploit, cheat, lie, and cover up. Part of those consequences involve making amends and earning the trust that now has been broken as a result of the choices he made. What more, this is very much the business of the church community—-he took vows and made agreements, he broke them and now it is up to him to do everything that is possible to do the work that would enable him to restore that which was broken and so thorougly violated.

  45. Michael says:

    Linda,

    Well said.

  46. It IS incestuous in the broader sense to have sex (even if the pastor was unmarried) with a congregant, because the Pastor has power over his people, as Alan implies. Just like a father or teacher or doctor or counselor or President does. Specifically, extra power to attract if not seduce or coerce.
    “The full nature of the sin….” I am concerned about what part the nature of our institutions contribute to the downfall of pastors. I mean the way we do church, the systems we create and call Christian. If there is to be restoration, “full nature” should mean an exploration both the personal and institutional roots when there is a breakdown.
    I do think the question should also include at least financial matters. We can easily see how crooked a mess that can become sometimes.

  47. Lover of Jesus says:

    “Covered”, I guess I do have trouble understanding Calvary Chapel’s policies. They restore some pastors with more grievous sins and remove others with “lessor” sins. For the ones they decide to remove, they are not allowed back (just for clarification). Either way, my prayer is that the Calvary Chapel Leadership would put together a program to minister and help these broken families. I was a wife of one of these pastors. We were given no support or help. The leaders and their leaders did not know what to do. I am praying that God would work in this area. Broken and hurting people need support. To me this is less about position and more about loving one another. I pray that Bob Coy gets more support than we did.

  48. Should Fallen Pastors Be Restored?

    By John MacArthur

    It has always saddened me over the years as I’ve watched church leaders bring a reproach on the church of Jesus Christ. What’s shocking to me is how frequently Christian leaders sin grossly, then step back into leadership almost as soon as the publicity dies away.

    Some time ago I received a CD that disturbed me greatly. It was a recording of the recommissioning service of a pastor who had made national news by confessing to an adulterous affair. After little more than a year of “counseling and rehabilitation,” this man was returning to public ministry with his church’s blessing.

    That is happening everywhere. Restoration teams–equipped with manuals to instruct the church on how to reinstate their fallen pastor–wait like tow-truck drivers on the side of the highway, anticipating the next leadership “accident”. Our church has received inquiries wondering if we have written guidelines or a workbook to help restore fallen pastors to leadership. Many no doubt expect that a church the size of ours would have a systematic rehabilitation program for sinning leaders.

    Gross sin among Christian leaders is a signal that something is seriously wrong with the church. But an even greater problem is the lowering of standards to accommodate a leader’s sin. That the church is so eager to bring these men back into leadership is a symptom of rottenness at the core.

    Some have claimed that a leader’s failure makes him more effective in shepherding fallen people. That is ludicrous. Should we drag the bottom of sin’s cesspool for the most heinous sinners to lead the church? Are they better able to understand the sinner? Certainly not! Our pattern for ministry is the sinless Son of God. The church is to be like Him and her leaders are to be our models of Christlikeness.

    We must recognize that leadership in the church cannot be regarded lightly. The foremost requirement of a church leader is that he be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2, 10; Titus 1:7). That is a difficult prerequisite, and not everyone can meet it.

    There are some sins that irreparably shatter a man’s reputation and disqualify him from a ministry of leadership forever. Even Paul, man of God that he was, said he feared such a possibility. In 1 Corinthians 9:27 he says, “I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”

    When referring to his body, Paul obviously had sexual immorality in view. In 1 Corinthians 6:18 he describes it as a sin against one’s own body–sexual sin is in its own category. Certainly it disqualifies a man from church leadership since he permanently forfeits a blameless reputation as a one-woman man (Proverbs 6:33; 1 Timothy 3:2).

    Where did we get the idea that a year’s leave of absence and some counseling can restore integrity to someone who has squandered his reputation and destroyed people’s trust? Certainly not from the Bible. Trust forfeited is not so easily regained. Once purity is sacrificed, the ability to lead by example is lost forever. As my friend Chuck Swindoll once commented when referring to this issue–it takes only one pin to burst a balloon.

    What about forgiveness? Shouldn’t we be eager to restore our fallen brethren? To fellowship, yes. But not to leadership. It is not an act of love to return a disqualified man to public ministry; it is an act of disobedience.

    By all means we should be forgiving. But we cannot erase the consequences of sin. I am not advocating that we “shoot our wounded.” I’m simply saying that we shouldn’t rush them back to the front lines, and we should not put them in charge of other soldiers. The church should do everything possible to minister to those who have sinned and repented. But that does not include restoring the mantle of leadership to a man who has disqualified himself and forfeited the right to lead. Doing so is unbiblical and lowers the standard God has set.

    So why is the contemporary church so eager to be tolerant? I’m certain a major reason is the sin and unbelief that pervade the church. If casual Christians can lower the expectations on their leadership, they will be much more comfortable with their own sin. With lower moral standards, the church becomes more tolerant of sin and less tolerant of holiness. The “sinner-friendly” church is intolerable to God–that is a frightening condition.

    Conservative Christians have for most of the previous century focused on the battle for doctrinal purity. And that is good. But we are losing the battle for moral purity. Some of the worst defeats have occurred among our more visible leaders. The church cannot lower the standard to accommodate them. We should hold it higher so we can regain purity. If we lose here, we have utterly failed, no matter how orthodox our confession of faith. We can’t win if we compromise the biblical standard of moral purity.

    What should you do in the current crisis? Pray for your church’s leaders. Keep them accountable. Encourage them. Let them know you are following their godly example. Understand that they are not perfect, but continue nonetheless to call them to the highest level of godliness and purity. The church must have leaders who are genuinely above reproach. Anything less is an abomination.

  49. Linda Pappas says:

    48.TheGhostofBelleStarr says:
    April 10, 2014 at 10:36 pm .Should Fallen Pastors Be Restored?

    By John MacArthur

    Beautifully written. As much as depends upon us individually and as a community of believers, we need to stand up and carry the banner that does not enable, compromise, or cosign that which should not even be mentioned among us. Let us each present ourselves as a living sacrifice, fit to do the work that the Holy Spirit has empowered and enabled us to do until that time He calls us home. Amen.

    Thank you, Michael.

  50. Alan Hawkins says:

    I would be happy to discuss the matter with Pastor John. He seems to have one issue. He is fussed about the matter of hurrying someone back to ministry. No one here has suggested that. As for ‘disqualified’ he and I agree that it is possible to do precisely that. What we would seem to disagree over is whether one can be restored to a status of ‘qualified.’

    He has not made his case. John MacArthur has a habit of making his point by using the worst examples. He is a master at that technique. He is however unpersuasive in light of the radical nature of the Gospel. He preaches grace and enforces merit in this particular matter.

    When the care I have prescribed above is taken it is a very different matter than the what I read above.

  51. Frankly Mac has let Scripture “make the case”. Scripture tells us a church leader should be beyond reproach, he should be a man who has forsaken his flesh ( as Paul mentioned beating his back so he would not be disqualified)….Scripture is full of examples where one failed to met God’s qualifications for the role he was called to and consequences ensued. Moses misrepresented God and he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. David was not allowed to build God’s temple, the one thing his heart longed for yet God did not allow it. Yes one can be forgiven and restored to fellowship with God and the Church Body-but not to a leadership role, sin can be forgiven but it always has consequences. Pastors and leaders in the Church are taught quite well there are 3 things that can (and often do) bring a man down 1) Pride/Power 2) Sex 3) Money —knowing this those in these positions should know the devil will tempt them strongly in one if not all of these areas…the guarding on his heart, mind and body should always be a diligent effort in these areas.

  52. Alan Hawkins says:

    There is no question of whether sin lays a man aside. The question which frankly is highly debatable in scripture is whether the failures you mention are permanent and terminal. I maintain a good case can be argued that they are not. Peter is far closer to Jesus and to us in the timeline of scripture than your examples and he certainly got reinstated. Is his case definitive? No, it can be argued that he fell in ignorance before his empowering by the Spirit. Nevertheless we see extreme mercy given him.

    All I have done is argue a case that God’s mercy is bigger than you claim.

  53. Lover of Jesus says:

    Alan, I really, really appreciate your stance. Mercy triumps over judgement. The more I grow in God’s grace, the more I realize that He is more gracious than my human heart can understand.

  54. Linda Pappas says:

    “Peter is far closer to Jesus and to us in the timeline of scripture than your examples and he certainly got reinstated.”

    How can we use Peter as an example or for that matter any example using the disciple as an example prior to them receiving the Holy Spirit? Once they received the Holy Spirit—their hearts were transformed and so was there passion for following after Jesus.

  55. Linda Pappas says:

    That is, unless Mr. Coy did not possess the Holy Spirit. In this case, he could not have been called to be a pastor. And if he did not have the Holy Spirit, he was not a Christian. So would it be fair to say that he could become a Christian which in turn could receive the calling to then be a real pastor?

  56. John Mushenhouse says:

    I understand grace and mercy in the life of the sinner. It has been given to every Christian. What I want from a Pastor is one who has been tempted and through the grace and mercy of Jesus not fallen into sin. That is the leader who I want to listen to.

  57. Andrew says:

    Curious, if we find a pastor to have been “unqualified” after they pass away, I wonder how people will judge their fruit of their ministries?

  58. Gary says:

    To Linda’a point- Peter is not a good example. Right. Jesus said to Peter “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

  59. Gary says:

    Mercy? What is mercy? It’s not being sumarrily judged and sentenced to punishment. Ie stoning, prison, or excommunication. Mercy is allowing the guy to keep going to that church as a regular member. What about mercy for the flock? And protection?

  60. Monk says:

    This Hawkins Post reminded me of a related incident here in the OC CA.

    David Hocking has said that he thought that his ministry was completely over until Smith offered him a position at CCCM.

    While at CCCM a woman tried to sabotage him by getting him to enter a room under false pretenses so she could make the claim that he had tried to molest her there. Fortunately there was another woman who wittnessed the event and corroborated David’s version of the story. .

    http://calvarychapel.pbworks.com/w/page/13146640/hocking-adultery

  61. Gary says:

    Monk,
    How extensive was Hocking’s adultery? I only heard rumors back than and the rumors said it was a one time encounter with Hocking removing himself from the encounter.

  62. Lover of Jesus says:

    I so appreciate those with the heart of compassion and mercy. I believe that this is the heart of God. I’m not speaking of the kind with no consequenses, but the kind that honors Bob Coy even in his fallen state. Honor what God did through him. He is broken and in need of our prayers and grace right now. I know that each and everyone of us would want the same thing if we were in that position. But by the grace of God, go I… I am deeply saded that the Christian community crucify their own when they are down. We should all be so gentle in our words as to help restore Bob Coy. The wisdom from above is peaceable. My heart is just so heavy because of so many carelss word being slung around. God hears. God sees. I so appreciate this article because it encourages the fallen. It blesses those that aren’t perfect. It brings hope of redemption. And that is exactly our Lord! He brings beauty from ashes.

  63. Gary says:

    I had left CCCM before the Hocking move but my brother told me when Chuck led him out on stage how everyone cheered. Our dad had just become a Christian and was an usher at Hocking’s church at the time.

  64. Laura Scott says:

    This may be simplistic, but I believe it is worth asking: Is any ministry worth less or matter less than others?

    I say no.

    If you read through the comments on this thread and on other blogs, I see a lot of pride showing up. Do men called to leadership have a divine-pry-it-from-my-cold-dead-hands right to leadership forever after? Is that really our call?

    I see that the Lord maintained David’s leadership after his many falls and I do not see that as a right, I see that as a consequence of his sin. It could be that David would have wanted to disappear back into the wilderness to escape all the hurt he caused. Mercy, like love, has a decided sandpapery side that the Lord uses to correct, teach, and clean us up.

    I think of someone I know in my hometown that won’t participate in ministry outreaches unless he can be assured of a leadership post in doing them. While that may not sound so bad, the reality is that he does not get involved in much because of that. The man refuses to be a follower and get known in the community so in time, if the Lord wills, he can be raised to leadership. Following is simply beneath him.

    Should Bob Coy be restored to ministry, would it be so bad to be back in the pack? Is the traffic ministry such a come down? I think not. I know folks who serve proudly in that ministry week after week. You know why? Because they know what many here forget: any service in the Lord’s name is a privilege and as we get selected specifically for that task or ministry for as long as the Lord needs us there, it is the best He can give for us to give our best.

    Sadly, many view the pulpit the only place to serve with heads held high and that is simply ridiculous. Perhaps that is some of the lesson the Lord has for Mr. Coy, especially if the stories of preferential fellowship for money are true. It’s not about us. Ever.

    The greatest punishment is to have no fellowship with the Lord. Next to that, being called by Him to a ministry position, even that bathroom-cleaning one, looks pretty dang good.

    It’s a matter of perspective.

  65. Andrew says:

    I do think it is possible for Coy to be restored as a pastor some day but I say that with a lot of reservation. He needs to heal big time first. I think part of the issue is having the correct understand of a pastor. A mega church superstar comedian CEO is not what I think of as a pastor.

  66. Andrew says:

    The very best advice I received from one of my pastors in the past when I was considering entering full time ministry was this:

    If you can find any thing else to do with your hands other than serving in the ministry full time, than DO it. His point was ministry work is the hardest work around and there is nothing wrong with being a car mechanic or lumber jack for your profession. I like the way the Lutherans emphasize vocation. That is important in my estimation. Possibly Coy should go back to the music industry where he started. Maybe that was God’s plan all along.

  67. victorious says:

    Praise God that his eternal purpose to conform each of us, including Bob Coy into the image of Christ’s not thwarted in any way by sexual sin, pride of position or other idolatries or lusts. God does use “all things” together for good to accomplish this purpose.

    It is this purpose and out working of God’s character into a person that brings Him the greatest glory and is the supreme testimony toHis amazing mercy and abundant love.

    Restoration should involve restoring a person to the pursuit and practice of this purpose within their lives and watching to see if actively participate in such an endeavor in a disciplined way that displays joy, contented essays a concern for the welfare of others.

  68. victorious says:

    Wow. The spelling corrector tries to be an editor even after he fact . Oh well off to work. Contented essays was contendness.

  69. Ps40 says:

    “Bob Coy’s repentance is between him and God and he doesn’t need to satisfy your expectations.”

    This is so indicative of an American/Western ethos. I would challenge you to define Christianity in purely “individual” terms. You cannot. Communion-community-in the church-in the Godhead is thematic throughout Scripture. When I sin there are members of my family and members of the Godhead who are offended. They are mysteriously connected , and so for me to make it a “personal” issue is both a copout and an uncovering of my lack of knowledge about the kingdom in general.
    Furthermore, How does one determine when it’s time to “move on”? It is a community effort. One that depends on the Spirit to resonate a genuine work in a believer. I have seen this happen and it is beautiful.
    We are so individualistic and isolated in our faith culture that we are working against the Spirit’s healing work in community: IMO
    The above quote turns my stomach and grieves my soul.

  70. Ps40 says:

    Furthermore, I LOVE this article. It is a salve to my own post-restoration soul. If we do not believe in the principles presented here, we have no good news to tell! However; I am afraid many will be tempted to cut to the chase and “claim” this exravegant grace/mercy and skip right through to the reinstatement part.(Re: BC) or countless others. This is why we need the restoration to be done in community, and not by merely erasing his/her existence–abdicating our own responsibility in the matter.

  71. Michael says:

    Ps40,

    Those were two golden comments.
    Excellent.

  72. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “YIKES!!
    Solomon Rodriguez says “The cheated spouse should not spend a great deal of their life ruminating over the betrayal but rather forgive and turn the page so that they in turn will be forgiven their sins.”

    YIKES!! You need counseling dude.”

    The Bible supports my point of Forgiving because if you do not forgive you will not be forgiven and you will end up in Hell if you die in that state. Go keep listening to OPRAH! Looks like you need the basics of the Word of God taught to you!

  73. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “By John MacArthur
    Beautifully written. As much as depends upon us individually and as a community of believers, we need to stand up and carry the banner that does not enable, compromise, or cosign that which should not even be mentioned among us. Let us each present ourselves as a living sacrifice, fit to do the work that the Holy Spirit has empowered and enabled us to do until that time He calls us home. Amen.

    Thank you, Michael.”
    I wouldn’t quote that Wolf if my life depended on it. A guy who says you can repent after taking the Mark of the Beast is the worse kind of Wolf!

  74. Andy says:

    Solomon wrote: “The Bible supports my point of Forgiving because if you do not forgive you will not be forgiven and you will end up in Hell if you die in that state”

    Actually I don’t personally believe that the person will be in hell for not forgiving, but it will disrupt the healthy relationship they should be having with the Lord. Grace turns the commentary on the law in the sermon on the mount, backwards (Ephesians 4:32), where the person under grace is already forgiven by faith in Jesus, and ought to therefore forgive.

    But the other point you are making, I agree with personally. That a person somehow takes being cheated on in the adulterous way, as if they now have a golden ticket to hold against that person for the rest of their life. But in reality, they are just as big a sinner, and their sin debt is infinitely larger than the act of adultery committed against them. So they need to let it go, and forgive, and heal.

  75. Andy says:

    Solomon wrote: “I wouldn’t quote that Wolf if my life depended on it. A guy who says you can repent after taking the Mark of the Beast is the worse kind of Wolf”

    Gotta agree with you on this one too. MacArthur basically teaches works for salvation, which can’t save, and then he turns and says someone can take the mark and still get saved, which also contradicts Scripture. In Scripture, once someone takes the mark, they’re locked in the unsaved position.

  76. Andrew says:

    Not sure the mark is being delivered just yet unless its being sold at Wal-mart. Haven’t seen it yet in the market place.

  77. Alan Hawkins says:

    The shear irrationality of risking public shame, financial ruin and relational suicide should cause us to wonder at the moral failures of pastors. Do people really think that pastors do these things with impunity? Only the smallest percentage would do such a thing. For most who fall there is behind the sin a set of prevailing factors that in themselves are too painful and sometimes shameful to expose.

    These men who are loved by many for what they bring are not invalidated by their worst moments. Neither are you. If the worst thought and desire of any person was publicly exposed no one could survive the scorn it would bring.

    These disqualifying sins are rooted in human pain, shame and struggle. Every person has had moments that they looked back upon and wondered what on earth happened to them. Am I asking for understanding? Yes. Am I excusing the behavior? Absolutely not. We ministers are accountable for our actions.

    Those of us who do pastoral work encounter the worst human behaviors of others every day. Moral failure does not cost most of them their job. It does not get announced to everyone who knows them. It is not a cause to invalidate them. We actually endeavor to help people recover from their worst moments into lives that can be celebrated and honored. You do not get into this work to diminish their lives. When you overstep bounds and commit the acts that you are trying to prevent in others it is the worst of all pain.

    I have not written one word on this thread about Bob Coy directly. At this point I will. I do not know him but I suspect he is in sufficient misery without our adding to it. Further, the good he has done is not cancelled by the sin he has covered. May those who received from him now minister to him. When Cain sinned against the Lord he was judged severely and in the midst of it fell under the protection of God. When people sin and their sin is found out by either confession or discovery they have a choice to make. They can confess and forsake or resist and cover. We too have a choice to make. We can humiliate and shame or we can protect them from what they deserve because they are our family. Let Bob Coy come under the protection of the church he has served for 30 years. Time for family to heal.

    This post is not about returning him to ministry but receiving him as family. I think we can agree upon that.

  78. Michael says:

    Alan,

    The fallen could ask for no better spokesman than yourself.
    This has been an excellent work.

  79. Lover of Jesus says:

    Alan, A BIG Amen to you! I am so very thankful for a voice, I believe, is the Lord’s heart. Thank you. Thank you!!!

  80. Bob Sweat says:

    Alan,

    Your words continue to ring true. Thank you again for sharing!

  81. Alan Hawkins says:

    Bob,

    Thank you. If I may reciprocate, few things on this blog are as golden than your own testimonial message.

  82. Ps40 says:

    #77, #78 are so spot on. Perhaps this is a way to “minister” to the Body? Teaching flailing churches how to make this a “family” matter, instead of a “courtroom” deal. Of all the Biblical imagery, the familial narratives are the ones that flood my brokenness with hope. Not the punitive language. Problem is: almost none are equipped to carry out this task. Our culture works against the Body this way. Throw-away mentality:(
    It’s time for a ministry of reconciliation to avail itself to the Body with resources that highlight the main principles and clear through the confusing Scriptural manipulation. This is a ministry whose time has come.
    Lord raise up this ministry and help your church learn to heal in community, and not out of her camp! Help us live out Your good news!
    Alan–your contributions today bring a smile to my heart.

  83. Bob Sweat says:

    Let me add, God blessed me with people like Allan who loved me regardless of the sin that I committed. I remember one dear friend that I avoided for months. I finally agreed to have lunch with him one day. I made sure that the conversation remained superficial during the entire lunch. We I got up to leave, he grabbed my arm and told me that God still loved me, and wasn’t finished with me yet. How he could say that after what I had done, I couldn’t understand. But now I do.

  84. Loved by Jesus says:

    Alan, do you have any ties to Calvary Chapel?

  85. Bob Sweat says:

    If one has truly repented after sin, they don’t need others reminding them of their sin. As David said in Psalm 51, “My sin is always before me.”

  86. Scott says:

    #77 was so beautifully put. I mean really, which one of us could survive the public laundering of our sins, present or past. Just picture people out in front of your house, church, work place or business carrying picket and protest signs naming a list of your sins. How would you feel? Would you survive? If your boss knew about your current and past sins, would he keep you on the payroll, or, would he fire you? If your customers knew these things about you via the click of a mouse, would your business survive? Etc., etc., etc.

  87. covered says:

    Alan, you spoke well. Being a pastor, this stuff terrorizes me. I can’t help but wonder if we can determine what percentage of pastor’s who have fallen like Coy can also be restored to the pulpit. Not just by their groupies but by God. I can’t help but believe that Bob Sweat is one of those but it’s a very small percentage who can reveal and own their sin the way he has.

  88. Alan Hawkins says:

    Loved by Jesus,

    I have no connection to Calvary Chapel. I know some pastors and people from the CC but I have never participated in the life of a CC congregation.

  89. Loverr of Jesus says:

    Thank you for your answer Alan. I’ve been praying for years for Calvary Chapel to have a restoration process for Pastors (not specifically for position). The Bible says for those that are spiritual to restore such a one with gentlness. I know several pastors that had no such help, care or love and it breaks my heart. I was hoping you could help this organization with this missing piece. I will continue to pray until the Lord establishes that. Blessing to you!!!!

  90. Alan Hawkins says:

    A process for restoration has to be preceded by a value for it. Even then a process seldom holds together. It gets hung up in the details of how long and who and a list of requirements. I would suggest that restoring a pastor to the trust he once enjoyed can only happen in an environment of trust and within relationships of trusted leaders.

    The ‘spiritual’ ones that are called upon my Paul for restoration are the key. Restoration requires vital relationships and it requires that the good ole boy systems give way to fatherhood. True fathers yield a fellowship of trusted sons and daughters.

    My quest has been to establish a firm value that we will not go on without one another. In military terms it is a leave no man behind system. For restoration to work we have to decide ahead of time that we will not tolerate failure.

  91. Lover of Jesus says:

    Wow! Yes and Amen! Why do you suppose that leaders don’t value restoration? Why is it that there is such a strong good ole boy system? Why do you think that many leaders aren’t trustworthy? We’ve seen this firsthand and it is heart breaking.

  92. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “#77 was so beautifully put. I mean really, which one of us could survive the public laundering of our sins, present or past. Just picture people out in front of your house, church, work place or business carrying picket and protest signs naming a list of your sins. How would you feel? Would you survive? If your boss knew about your current and past sins, would he keep you on the payroll, or, would he fire you? If your customers knew these things about you via the click of a mouse, would your business survive? Etc., etc., etc.”

    Yup so many people have a High Tolerance for others peoples pain. Thank God he is not like us and forgives our sins and forgets them as far east goes to west

  93. Gary says:

    Alan said; “This post is not about returning him to ministry but receiving him as family. I think we can agree upon that.”

    This is what I’ve been waiting to hear. Dude, what took you so long?

    I am currently working with someone who just needs to be loved.

  94. Alan Hawkins says:

    Gary,

    “This post…” meant #77 not the original essay which I stand behind. So please understand clearly. I had made no reference to Bob Coy until #77 but others kept defaulting to Bob. So I answered with regard to Bob in that one comment.

    I continue to advocate for a return to pastoral ministry with proper order and process. I personally know nothing about Bob Coy not even the sound of his voice.

    As for Bob I would suggest that pastors have a track record of how they treat people with “moral failure” think about the model they set when you set a path for how to treat them.

    And I join you in advocating love.

  95. Wyatt Stonebridge says:

    A recent conversation overheard in the bathroom.

    Tooth brush:”I hate my job.”

    Toilet paper: “Oh please.”
    ____________________________

    Things could be worse for Bob Coy. He has slipped up but he still has a safety net around him that others have not. And he has all of us scholars of such things to read.

    And yet.
    There are many fallen among all of us that have no prominence or recognition. No one will be discussing them or their folly on the net.

    They have wounded and are wounded themselves.

    May all of them find grace and mercy and wonderful Christians to come along side of them and help them in their time of need.

  96. a pastor says:

    Alan:

    You profundity is appreciated. Well spoken, and obviously from the heart of a true pastor.

  97. Gary says:

    Alan,
    I have no problem with restoring a pastor to the pulpit who makes a one-time mistake but someone with a lifestyle like Coy needs to be removed from pastoring permanently.

  98. Alan Hawkins says:

    Gary

    If it is a lifestyle then he must step away with only the barest hopes of return. He must recover himself from the snare of his sins. No one can endorse a lifestyle of untrustworthiness.

  99. Regarding a pastor preferring to fellowship with those who have money: isn’t that a normal part of church life? It is extremely common. I have learned to take it for granted. (I didn’t hear any details of this man’s story.)

  100. a pastor says:

    #99 — adrien:

    James 2:1-4 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

  101. Gary says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Alan. I can’t imagine placing my family under such a man.

  102. JimB_CCGB says:

    Alan, this is an excellent article and excellent comments from you all around. Several others have some amazing comments as well. I vigorously contend for dealing with each other in the church as family, as you suggest, and majoring on restoration of a fallen pastor with the heart of fathers, just as you suggest. If a church body is willing and able to do this work themselves, this will prove the maturity and depth of the love of Christ within them, plus make their light shine so much brighter to their community. I would hope that every fallen pastor and his family would at least have someone come alongside and share their burden and heal their wounds, and it grieves me that many have had none to do that.

    The issues before any pastor who has fallen in this sin of fornication should not initially include even the thought of returning to public ministry of any type. He should be focusing upon restoration of his own spiritual relationship to Christ, restoration of the love and trust of his wife, and restoration of the relationship with his children. Plus, he will need to find another means of employment to support his family if his wages have come from the church. These relationships are not easily restored, and it takes much time to undue what has been broken and trampled upon. It is not until these relationships have truly been healed that any kind of public ministry should even be considered. To put ministry even in the picture in the beginning of this process is a recipe for disaster and future failure, not to mention the fact that a purified character will likely be skipped. I don’t see how the restoration with relationship with Christ, trust and love of wife and kids could take place even in a couple of years. But, when those relationships have been sufficiently restored, then there can be considered a restoration to public ministry, and only then.

    John Angell James once remarked, “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.” There is great wisdom here. The entire community needs to witness the repentance of a fallen pastor before he should be allowed to resume public ministry.

    I do believe that it is possible for a fallen pastor to be restored to public ministry, but the restoration process must not be rushed. In the engineering world I once heard the discussion of how to accomplish an engineering project normally requiring 3 years in just 1 year. Someone remarked that this would be about as feasible as the length of a woman’s pregnancy being rushed by having 9 women the baby for one month. Its impossible. Such a process as carrying a baby to term requires the proper amount of time, and such also must be the case with a restoration of a pastor to public ministry, it is a process that must require much time.

    ~JimB

  103. Linda Pappas says:

    Agree with #102.

    As for what was written by John MacArthur, it had value and merit.
    As for his statement regarding the “Mark of the Beast” and being able to repent, it is not valid.

    Two thoughts: One with merit and one without. Does this cancel out all truth spoken by him or does it reinforce the lesson that we need to sort out all things and understand that truth is not determine by the one speaking it, but rather it stands on it’s own?

    Forgiveness cannot be receive unless one truly repents. Reconciliation is impossible to achieve and thus even though a betrayed spouse chooses to forgive, this does not mean that they are able to continue in the relationship as if nothing had happened—for it only places her in a position of enabling while being expected to participate in her own abuse and the witnessing of seeing all that is near and dear being destroyed while her walk with the Lord is being compromised by token of tolerating such things.

  104. Linda Pappas says:

    Forgiveness cannot be receive unless one truly repents. Reconciliation is impossible to achieve and thus even though a betrayed spouse chooses to forgive, this does not mean that they are able to continue in the relationship as if nothing had happened—for it only places her in a position of enabling while being expected to participate in her own abuse and the witnessing of seeing all that is near and dear being destroyed while her walk with the Lord is being compromised by token of tolerating such things.

    So too, this can be applied to the church and pastors who falls. Without true repentance, no matter how forgiving the injured may be, reconciliation is impossible No matter how much blood may have been spilled, unless one repents, they cannot possibly say that they walk with Him, nor can they claim to have the Holy Spirit, for without repentance, their conscience at best be, being pricked or at worse have become seared.

    Thank God that He is not so easily done with us and thank God that He does not tolerate our shannigans, but let sin have its way to bear its fruit to be exposed in such a way (publicly and or privately) that one cannot hide nor can they deny what has now become evident by token of the destruction it has born in the heart and mind first, then upon others who God will use, sooner or later, to bear witness to hold one to such an account. May we be slow in being to hurried in the restoration process when it comes to those things that violates that which was to be kept holy between husband and wife, and then to those who bear His name.

  105. Gary says:

    Way to go, Linda. You said what I’ve been wanting to say, trying to say. Clarity. That’s what’s wanted around here.

  106. Linda Pappas says:

    At #95 ROTFLOL

    Simple admonition to us all—thank you.

  107. Alan Hawkins says:

    I always ask myself about a man that I am thinking of for a staff position. does this man love his wife? The question has a conviction behind it. If a man does not love his wife how can he be trusted to love the bride of Christ? Thus when that love is violated and diminished by breaking the one flesh union we must begin there. The restoration of the marriage is foundational to going forward. Where it is not restorable I am without confidence that more can be done.

  108. Linda Pappas says:

    Alan @108.

    I couldn’t agree with your discernment more. If you ever want to know the character of a man who is married, most of the time (not always), you can just look into the eyes of his wife and see what may be, being hidden by him. Jack Stevens, CC Cypress.

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