Choosing consequences for the fallen pastor versus practical grace

You seem to leave out much of the New Testament teaching on practical grace (“…the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable…”) comes to mind immediately. Your tone is one that demands justice and communicates a “serves you right” attitude for any pastor who has fallen. It’s the same short sighted mindset that says ‘you should have known better’. No kidding.

You are also incorrect, high profile or not, pastors and leaders who “fall” experience similar negative consequences including, but not limited to financial hardship, loss of dignity of themselves and their family, etc.

The cost is ALWAYS higher for pastors to confess their sin, because they know they will be judged, condemned, and lose everything.

Let me ask you, why do you get to choose the consequences imposed on pastors when they sin? Is your aim with those consequences to be redemptive and restorative, or simply to judge and condemn them.

It sounds as if you feel justified in keeping stones in your hands and somehow have forgotten the point of the Gospel in the first place.

[originally posted in reply to comments on my friend Ted Haggard’s blog Selling Service]

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5 thoughts on “Choosing consequences for the fallen pastor versus practical grace

  1. Oh but stones are more fun to throw. I think I get what you are trying to say here. There really is no high or low position. A fall is a fall. All falls hurt. But, life goes on and throwing stones serves to ease the guilt of the one’s throwing them.

  2. James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.”

    I have always thought this passage means that GOD will hold teachers to a higher standard, because of the damage a teacher can do if he teaches false doctrine. It seems that some people in the church believe it is THEIR job to hold teachers to a higher standard. But notice that verse 2 says “we all stumble in many ways.” That includes EVERYONE.

    So we need to remember Matthew 7:2″…with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”

    Clearly Scripture teaches that we are to have grace when people stumble, and “we all stumble in many ways.” We can’t afford to cast off pastors who stumble. We can’t afford to cast off ANYONE who stumbles. WE ALL DO! We need to be restored by grace. Paul wrote to the Galatians 6:1 “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.”

    I sometimes think that members of a local church think, “The pastor works for us, so we are justified in meting out consequences for failure.” In fact, the pastor works for our Lord, as do we all. Let us “restore him in a spirit of gentleness.”

  3. Thanks Tom, I appreciate your comment.

    It is normal for the majority of churchianty leadership to expunge the few sinners in their midst for the sake of “protecting the body” especially among their fellow leaders. They seem to leave off the list their own acceptable sins of pride, self-righteousness, and gluttony…

    What we need to construct is a practical application of grace that makes an effort, to at least try and embody the apostle Paul’s admonishment to “Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus…” (2 Tim. 2:1).

    It would be quite a paradigm shift for churchianity to practice Biblical restoration, instead of redefining it to mean “covering their backside” through image management. Our task is to speak the truth in love, and be grace filled truth tellers.

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