I was deeply saddened this week to hear of an extremely close pastor friend of mine who had succumbed to temptation and committed adultery. He has not been married for very long, he was pastoring a growing church and he was also the vice president of a Bible College. I have yet to ascertain all the details, and I am currently trying to contact him in order to offer help, support and counsel. But, for certain, his marriage has been devastated by this (hopefully not irreparably), his congregation is distraught and he has stepped down from all of his duties. The effect of all of this has been nothing short of catastrophic at so many levels and I am sure the fallout will continue for many months, even years, to come.

There is a fascinating article here by Harry Schaumburg written for the Desiring God website about the whole issue of sexual sin in the ministry. It is a brutally frank, devastatingly straightforward but pastorally applicable piece of writing. Please take some time to read it – it is extremely helpful.

As I have thought about my friend a couple of things have struck me again.

  1. My initial reaction to the news was shock, sadness and unbelief. I just didn’t see it coming. This was a serious man of God, with solid, theological convictions. It was a stark reminder not to put my trust in ‘princes and men’ but in the only true sinless one. Good, Reformed theology and ecclesiology means nothing if our hearts are far from the Lord and we are not daily walking in step with His Spirit.
  2. It made me both fear God and be thankful at the same time. Fearful, because I know what I would be capable of as a fallen sinner. Could I honestly say that I would not fall into the same sin if all of the circumstances were ‘right‘ to do so? I’m not so sure. My heart is as sinful as my friend’s and I am only ever a second away from sin if I take my eyes off the Lord Jesus. Thankful, that God in His grace thus far has spared me from my sinful heart inclinations. News like this makes me want to draw closer to Jesus for His help and protection.
  3. It reminds me to ensure that I keep vigilant in my own life and maintain the safeguards I have in place in my ministry when it comes to dealing with the opposite sex. I am sometimes criticised for my ‘aloofness’ to women and my ‘unavailability’ to them here in Niddrie. I am far happier for that critique (although I try to be friendly and pastoral ‘with boundaries’) than if I were known for ‘over familiarity’.

The article gives out a challenge at the end and it is one I would echo if there are any reading this who are struggling and/or involved in similar sin.

If you are a pastor stuck in sexual sin, no matter how well you have attempted to cover those sins with layers and layers of lies, I plead with you, step out from the darkness of those sins. Step into the light. Get help. You will never find life in the shadows.

Please pray for me and for all pastors that we would be ever vigilant in these areas and never be so arrogant to think that it, ‘couldn’t happen to us’. 

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Comments
  1. Greg says:

    What a great reminder of both our fallen potential and the realiy of that Snake that is roaming the earth seeking those whom he can devour. Thanks Mez!

  2. Gordon says:

    Cheers Mez, scary stuff that needs to be talked about.

  3. fran says:

    It’s good that you speak out about such things. I pray that many will read it and be convicted and saved from further damage. I also pray for those who are affected that they may be healed and forgive. He can restore the love to something that is better than before! He is a GREAT God.

  4. DOROTHY McKEON says:

    This is SO true Mez; right at this moment in time my previous pastor back home in Ireland ( and now returned to his own native land) has left his beautiful wife and four children and is preparing to marry his ‘new’ partner..another married woman with a devastated husband and young children.
    The awful thing is to watch and hear how DELUDED he is……he thinks this is ok, believes that “God understands” and is deluded enough to believe that God will bless him and his “new wife” in a new church that he plans to plant and pastor as soon as he “ties up the loose ends of his previous life!”
    It is really SCAREY just how some people can be completely blinded by sin and even worse to hear it being dressed up in phrases like “others have done it and are still in ministry” or “God understands that we love each other and didn’t plan it” or even worse “he knoweth our frame”.
    Thank you for your complete honesty and also for calling sin just that ….SIN

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