"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The Process of Confession and Reconciliation Is Not Necessarily Easy, But It's Worth It

Years ago a woman came to my office and confessed she had inappropriate physical contact with one of our pastors. I called the pastor into the office and asked if what the woman had said was true. He said that it was, and though it had happened a year earlier and he had immediately recognized it as sin and nothing further had happened, he had never told anyone of his sin, including his wife.

Right then and there I had a decision to make. It would have been very easy to cover for this pastor. I could have said to them both, "Look, the kingdom of Christ and our church will be damaged if anybody else finds out. Let's work through this privately, confess and repent to each other privately, and move on." But I didn't. The problem with the "cover-up" mentality that pervades the church is the Holy Spirit is deprived of some incredibly powerful cleansing and healing in situations where His people have morally failed. We worked through this issue privately with the families and loved ones involved in the sin, but I knew if the pastor were to continue in ministry there would have to be a public confession of his sin and repentance, a public expression of our church's forgiveness, and a well established process of restoration and reconciliation for both this man and his ministry respectively.

We followed the path outlined in Galatians 6 and Matthew 18 and began to restore this man's marriage and his pastoral ministry. After confessing his "inappropriate physical contact with a woman not his wife and conduct unbecoming a pastor" to the entire church on a Sunday night,  the pastor tearfully acknowledged that God was using his sin and the exposure of it to break him of pride, show him what was really important in life, and placing him in total need of God's grace to even continue in any kind of ministry. He knew reconciliation with his wife was primary, and were he ever to return to ministry, it would have to be a decision of the church. Of course, everybody thought the sin was worse than it actual was (there was only touching and kissing on one occasion), but we were uninterested in trying to justify the pastor's behavior or making him look better in other peoples' eyes. And, to the broken pastor's credit, he didn't care that people thought he was a serial adulterer because in his mind, what he did was just as bad. That's the sign of true brokenness.

Our church family publicly and enthusiastically expressed forgiveness for this pastor that very night. We then set him aside from ministry for six months without pay, helped him find a custodial job to support his family in a neighboring shopping center, and set up a discipleship and recovery team for both the man and his wife. Had the sin been a crime, obviously it would be far more difficult, if not impossible, to restore the pastor.  Frankly, we would have encouraged prosecution were that the case, because God uses the courts as "ministers" to bring about His purposes. But because of the nature of this particular situation, our goal was complete reconciliation of the pastor's marriage, and full restoration of the pastor's ministry. We told the church that after six months the leadership team assigned his recovery would come back with a recommendation on whether or not he could and should be restored to pastoral ministry.

Those six months were hard. Not just for this man and his family, they were hard on me. I had people saying we were too tough on the man for forcing him to confess his sins publicly. Others said we should have kept his sin quiet and helped him find another church. I had others, including one very vocal deacon, tell me that if this man were ever restored to OUR church in terms of ministry, he would leave. He wanted his pastors "blameless." But we stayed the course. There were weekly meetings and counseling sessions, we reached out in love to the broken family, we made sure that there was food on the table because the custodial wages from the local shopping mall were quite meager.

After six months we had a restoration service. The man shared his testimony of brokenness because of sin, restoration because of grace, and what God was now doing in his life, his marriage, and his outlook on the world. His wife shared. The restoration team shared. It was one of the most moving, meaningful services in the history of Emmanuel. There was not a dry eye in the service. Remember, this is 180 days after his public confession. The church voted that night to make the man part of our pastoral team again and he served our church with distinction and honor for several years until called away to be Senior Pastor of a large metropolitan church.

In the end, this pastor had changed. He turned from being a legalistic, proud, often angry moralist, to a soft-hearted, grace-oriented, lover of people. Because we loved him enough to help him deal with the issues that led to his sin, he knew Christianity was more than a religion--it's about soul transforming relationships. Because we stuck with him for six months of healing instead of shoving him out the door, grace became more than just a word. Because we restored him to ministry and saw him become a more powerful and effective proclaimer of the gospel of God's grace, this man continues to impact not just Oklahoma, not just this nation, but the world for Christ.

This man continues to be one of my best friends to this day. I love him like a brother and I would literally die for him or his family. You see, friends who love you don't cover-up your sin; they help you deal with it. Friends who love you don't act as if you haven't sinned, they love you through recovery from your sin. Friends who love you will help you take the necessary steps to be restored in terms of ministry.

By the way, remember the deacon who was so upset for restoring the pastor after his sin? I performed his funeral a couple of years ago. When he was very sick, before he died, he grabbed me by the hand, tears in his eyes and said, "Pastor, I couldn't have been more wrong when I told you I would leave the church if we restored Pastor _____ to ministry. I want to thank you for leading our church into an understanding of how to confront sin and not only forgive the sinner, but restore the sinner to more effective ministry. I always thought I knew what grace was, but it was only when I saw it in action that I really came to understand the grace of God in my life."

When the Apostle Paul uses the word "restore" in Galatians 6 to describe the process through which broken sinners are brought healing through gracious people who care enough to confront, he uses a medical term that describes a bone that has healed through being reset. Doctors will tell you that "restored, mended" bones are stronger than they were before they were broken.

My prayer is that we conservative, evangelical Christians will (1). Stop playing our little religious games of cover-up, (2). Cease the erroneous rationalization that "friends" ignore sin and defend the sinner, and (3). Begin the Christian art of restoring a brother by confronting, helping him to confess publicly and clearly his moral failure, and then work hard to endure the process that leads to restoration.

In the end, we all will be spiritually stronger because of it.

In His Grace,

Wade

178 comments:

Bennett Willis said...

You were blessed that the man was willing to submit to the discipline and be restored. Many would not.

Wayne Joubert said...

Wow. Whether you realize it or not, Wade, as one reads that you can almost see the sovereign, gracious but firm hand of Holy Spirit working throughout that entire narrative. What a testimony of grace abundant touching ALL involved in the process. I hope this posting is read widely.

Frank Gantz said...

Wade, how refreshing to actually see a process carried out in this situation. When i was a pastor I sinned morally and went through the church properly handling it publicly and confessed and repented of my sin. However, there was not as clear a process involved for what was ahead.

I would love to have had that. Thanks for sharing this.

I Wonder said...

Thank you Wade for that..... we needed to hear that.

Thy Peace said...

Amen. I pray Ergun Caner will go through a public confession and followed by [public] repentance. After some time and being humble, broken and penitent, he can be restored as Dean and President of Liberty Theological Seminary. Then he would have more richer and fuller ministry of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Scott said...

Wade,

I would like to link this to my Facebook page with your permission. This post has stopped me in my tracks more so than any sermon at my home church in a long time.

Thanks,

Scott

Steve said...

This reminds me that staff issues has been reported as the #1 reason pastors of large churches leave those positions, even more than "roosters" and power-seekers among the membership.

Christiane said...

Hi WAYNE,

You wrote this:

"Whether you realize it or not, Wade, as one reads that you can almost see the sovereign, gracious but firm hand of Holy Spirit working throughout that entire narrative. What a testimony of grace abundant touching ALL involved in the process."

That was so beautifully expressed.
I like the part about the abundant grace coming from the Hand of the Holy Spirit to touch all involved.
Very beautiful.

The Holy Spirit, in my Church, is the One who turns the sinner's face towards Our Lord, and who causes the sight of Our Lord's suffering to pierce the sinner's heart with sorrow.

We have many prayers said at the time of reconciliation. Part of one I would like to share, as it has meaning for all Christian people:

". . . Our Saviour Jesus Christ
suffered and died for us.
In his name, my God, have mercy."

Another way this can be prayed:

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
have mercy on me, a sinner."

People in pain go into the process of reconcilation burdened and suffering.

The process, in all Christian traditions is difficult, yet healing:
Wade's description of the process of reconciliation in the Baptist tradition reveals that truth:
when we turn our faces towards Our Lord again, there is restoration to found in that grace that flows to us from the power of the Eternal Words of Our Lord:

'Father, forgive them'.

Anonymous said...

Great post and I'm glad you and your church are so grace-driven; however, I got the sense throughout your post that you were intimating that Caner needs to do exactly the same thing. While I may agree that he does, its none of my business and we should all leave the matter up to those in authority at Liberty.

I'm sure you won't agree but at least I put the thought out there.

Chris said...

Why are so many so argumentative? Why is this necessarily about Ergan Caner, or am I just ignorant to veiled references and subtle jabs, the cheap and dirty side of theological discussions.

Why shouldn't this be nothing more than a story about grace that is encouraging, that is an example, and that reminds us that most of us are loving Christians as we were called to be?

chaidrinkingfool said...

I think this story is awesome. It stands as an example of the way Christ works through human beings--so long as we don't stand in the spirit's way.

I'm curious, though--if the woman mentioned at the beginning of the story was a member of the church, or someone who regularly attended the church, I am wondering how she was treated.

Wade Burleson said...

chaidringfool,

We assisted the woman in a similar manner, the only difference is we protected her anonymity because we believed the pastor had a greater responsiblity and accountability in the matter than she.

Wade Burleson said...

Chris,

There have been a few folks on other blogs who have said I have no grace even though this blog is entitled Grace and Truth. This story is an illustration for people like Les Puryear, David Volfann, Peter Lumpkins, Tim Rogers and Tim Guthrie so that they can know what I believe grace is.

Wade Burleson said...

Scott,

Sure! Thanks for the kind words.

Christiane said...

Wade, I knew you would have done that.
I just knew.

God bless you,
L's

Paul Burleson said...

Wade,

A funny story. I have been with the pastor in your post in meetings several times across the intervening years.

The first time he was introducing me to his church on Sunday morning, he NEVER said my name. He did say "Our speaker is the father of the greatest friend one can have....." and spoke on about you for about three minutes in tears of rejoicing about being loved when broken.

I was amazed. I stood up and quietly said, "By the way I'm Paul Burleson" and the congregation roared with laughter.

There has been REAL restoration there by His mercy and grace. His ministry, as you know, continues to be anointed of the Lord.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to you and the church for avoiding the polar extremes that one often finds - immediate dismissal with no comment or assume it's been dealt with properly and move on.

People can pick at the particulars, depending on polity and other differences, but the goals of really dealing with the problem and restoration were properly paramount.

Louis

Anonymous said...

I have had the occassion to cover sin in my life, in times past, and promised God to give it up, if only He would let it remain silent. However, when I didn't confess to my wife this particular sin, I realized in my sinful heart that I just gotten away with sin, and if I committed this sin one more time, perhaps I wouldn't have to confess it. And so i did. The sin continued.

Then the Holy Spirit got hold of me and in one moment, i found myself on the phone with my best friend confessing to him. He held me accountable to confess to my wife.

There was healing and because of the confession, my chains were broken. I don't want to face the humility and the brokenness of my wife again, and now that I know the Holy Spirit will not let me continue in sin, i have not sinned in that 'way' again.

I would not have victory without confession...confession is good for the soul.

debbiekaufman said...

Unbeknownst to you Wade, that was the first time in my entire church life that I had seen grace in this way. It was the night that Christ began to do a work in my heart and I began to get away from the laws I had always tried to follow on my own and into the light of Grace. I gegan to understand what true grace really was.

Jon Estes said...

"Begin the Christian art of restoring a brother by confronting, helping him to confess publicly and clearly his moral failure"

How has your blog actually confronted EC?

Yes, you have written about the offense and given your opinion on the behavior and more but to know that you mean what you say, I ask...

How has your blog actually confronted EC?

Anonymous said...

Jon Estes, the sin that is the issue isn't necessarily the sin of Ergun, but the sins of those who cover up sin. Perhaps just the light that is being cast on all this is waking people up. Light is a good thing.

We're studying through 1 Corinthians in SS and I am struck always that Paul doesn't write a letter to the sinner being talked about, but his letter is to the church who hasn't confronted the sinner. Granted I know Ergun doesn't belong to Wade's church, but like I said, Ergun is an example of a big problem in the SBC. As a member of the SBC Wade has the right to speak on this issue.

K

Wade Burleson said...

Jon Estes,

AS you know, blogs don't confront, people do.

Wade Burleson said...

K above puts his finger on the problem.

The Squirrel said...

Wade,

Thank you for posting this. It is a wonderful example of grace at work.

BTW, did you know that your dad is really funny? That was a great story, Paul. :)

Squirrel

Jon Estes said...

Wade,

I don't know if you are intentionally skirting my question but I am not referring to this most recent blog entry but the few previous ones which have called EC out. How have they balanced with your statement.

"Begin the Christian art of restoring a brother by confronting, helping him to confess publicly and clearly his moral failure"

If you are not a part of the solution, which part are you and your blog fulfilling in demonstrating grace to EC and others?

Yeah, I know what the dog thinks and looks like many agree with him...

If it weren't for the blogs EC would have never been exposed and he would still be reaping the benefits of his lifestyle. If it weren't for the blogs, MB would not have been exposed...

Your blog plays with that team on these subjects.

Where does reconciliation fit this mindset? Where is grace being demonstrated to these people who have sinned? Offering to let them speak if they ________ (fill in the blank with my requirements).

I'll ask again...

If you are not a part of the solution, which part are you and your blog fulfilling in demonstrating grace to EC and others?

Aussie John said...

Wade,

Thank you for this article!

What a delight to read of a congregational leader expressing the very grace of which he has been recipient.

What a change from the chest thumping, self appointed spiritual sheriffs who ride the range of God's people, and, occasionally your page.

shadowspring said...

JE,

Doesn't Caner and others have their own blogs?

And as far as I know, anyone can post a comment here. I know I've never been moderated away.

Jon Estes said...

Shadowspring,

I am not defending EC. I am asking questions of Wade, his position on demonstrating grace and how that fits with the public discourse which has been anti-EC (this week)?

If it were your personal life he was exposing and not speaking directly to you about it, I would ask the same questions.

My mention of EC is only because it is in his recent headlines on his blog.

Wade Burleson said...

Jon Estes,

The Word of God is compared internally to a hammer, water, and food. All three analagous items are useful instruments. The key is knowing what tool is needed and when it is to be used. The Word of God is a hammer to the unbroken, water of refreshment to the worn out and weary, and food to the one in need of spiritual strength and encouragement. When I write, I write purposefully. You may not understand my purpose, but I do. Smile.

Jon Estes said...

Shadowspring,

Let me approach it from a different angle. Let's say you are a pastor (you may be, I don't know) and you were serving in OK (you may be, I don't know) and I found out you were candidating (sp?) for a church in VA (let's say Liberty Baptist... you may be, I don't know) and I thought it was wrong for you to do so. Would you agree and/or appreciate me stating such things on my blog (if 1000's of other baptists read it daily). Telling thew world who watches of your lack of commitment to your church in OK. Exposing such information simply because I have it.

Or would you desire for me to give you a call and talk to you personally about your wanting to leave OK and go to Liberty Baptist in VA. Whether or not the call came or not to VA, is this something to be discussed among the masses? Maybe you chose not to move because your spouses work or business. Is this something worth publishing for the masses?

This could be a good thing, why not discuss it? We discuss bad things all the time.

I think things like this need to be dealt with on a personal level. We don't need Christian Enquirer blogs spewing things to which they are not being a part of the solution of grace.

Jon Estes said...

Wade,

Does it bother you in the least that others see your blog as something that has become destructive rather than constructive?

You use the hammer too often and offer no water to one who has got to be very weary from the barrage of spears being thrown at him from fellow Christians.

Thy Peace said...

Does it bother you in the least that others see your blog as something that has become destructive rather than constructive?

JLE: I have tried to refrain myself from responding to your comments. I am unable to ...

I think you honestly do not know the meaning of the biblical words : Love, Grace, Confession, Repentance and Restoration.

I understand you are a pastor and you are experienced in pastoring. But from reading your comments, it leads me to believe you do not know the meaning of the above words.

I too did not know what those words meant. I thought I knew. Only recently I have begun to understand them in the scope of The Word.

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks Thy Peace,

By the way, one of these days I'm going to have to send you something by way of reimbursement for all your links and comments Maybe a a signed copy of the book I'm working on when it is finished! :) That may not be worth much, but your words, links and comments are invaluable to me. Frankly, you help keep me on track.

Wade Burleson said...

Jon Estes,

To whom is my blog destructive?

And which church has the honor of having you serve as their pastor?

If you can prove my blog is destructive by stating the person and giving the reasons, then I will be more than happy to stop writing.

Also, I am curious about your ministry and concern for those being harmed. Has my blog harmed Sheri Klouda? Tom Rich? Christa Brown? Has my writing been destructive to Thy Peace? To Debbie Kaufman? To James White?

I am curious.

Wade Burleson said...

Jon Estes,

By the way, for your information, two weeks before I ever wrote anything on my blog about Ergun Caner, I called Ergun's office twice and left my church number, home number and cell number and asked him to call me. I never heard from him personally, and since his factual statements that are contradictory were public, my questions to him were public.

Jon Estes said...

Thy Peace,

I do believe I understand them clearly. That is why I do not talk about you or anyone else on this blog to anyone else but you or the others here.

I love you enough to approach you with my concerns, if there are any. I want to demonstrate grace and love to you, not say I am being a person of grace and love to everyone but you. If There is a need for restoration, confession... I will seek you out to find it or offer it. I will not speak offensively of you or towards you outside the room we are in. If blogs are the place of information and you give out false information (not making an accusation) I will let you know on the blog you speak wrongly. If I do the same I hope you would offer the same grace and love. Not blog about it to everyone else.

Wade has some great things to say and he does well much of the time. He avoids too many issues right in his own backyard with a smile and a smooth pen.

What is happening her towards EC (and I am not defending EC) is not a demonstration of grace. If it is, I don't know why any lost soul would want something so "look how wrong you are" offer. That's only half the message of grace.

Josh from FL said...

Amen and Amen!

Jon Estes said...

Wade,

Attempts to contact do not a contact make. Your destructive comments are not towards any of those you list but your words have fueled the bitterness towards EC & MB to name 2.

I would not dare to ask you to stop writing but I would hope you would quit making it personal and more about extended grace. The IMB stuff was personal to you, I understand those pains.

I pastor a small church in NC. I have pastored large and small churches, I have never been a ladder climber. I have served in pioneer missions and internationally. My success is not determined by the church I pastor or its size but by His grace upon my life. I taught FAITH evangelism clinics for LifeWay for eight years, I am taking more than half my congregation on a mission trip the end of July, we will baptize about 25-30 people this year. I am just a simple pastor who believes you speak to the person you disagree with, not about him.

I am saddened you can't see the drooling posters who are waiting for the next church leader to fail so they can gnaw on the more flesh.

The problem with the questions you make being public is... can you be sure he is getting them because you should know that the drooling posters here are using them to further their disdain towards EC?

Thy Peace said...

Pastor Wade, thanks for your kind words. I consider it a blessing to read your blog and listen to your sermons. Pastor Wade you are a true teacher of The Word. God bless you, Sir.

Anonymous said...

I think it is EXTREMELY important to stop saying that people are showing 'distain towards EC'.

Reactions towards what a person DOES is not the same as 'distain towards a person'.

That is a small distinction, perhaps, but it has been overlooked by many people, either willfully, or not.

Good time now to refocus.

Wade Burleson said...

Jon Estes,

I think Anonymous above has made a good point.

I think you are confusing "disdain" for Ergun Caner with repugnance over what Ergun Caner has done.

Were Ergun Caner to make public a humble, contrite confession of his lies, keep it up for all to see, correct the record once and for all as to the truth of his Islamic background, and ask all who have been deceived by his embellishments to forgive him ...

There is not a Southern Baptist in the world who would not forgive him.

And, by the way, IF HE NEVER DOES THE ABOVE, there is no disdain in my heart to Ergun Caner at all, nor will there ever be.

Lastly, the IMB situation was not about me. It was about missionaries on the field who were being backdoored out of service through doctrinal policies that were unconstitional (not approved by the Convention), unbiblical and thoroughly impractical.

In His Grace,

Wade

Jon Estes said...

"I think you are confusing "disdain" for Ergun Caner with repugnance over what Ergun Caner has done. "

The confusion is not on this end.

Grey H. said...

Count me one who thinks it is Mr. Estes who is confused about calling sin of public leaders sin and loving the sinner all the same.

Anonymous said...

If you are not a part of the solution, which part are you and your blog fulfilling in demonstrating grace to EC and others?

Wed Jun 30, 05:35:00 PM 2010

Such as "exoneration" blogs?

Anonymous said...

"I am not defending EC. I am asking questions of Wade, his position on demonstrating grace and how that fits with the public discourse which has been anti-EC (this week)?
"

Sure looks like a defense of Caner but using "offensive" tactics such as trying to make Wade the problem. Good luck with that one.

Anonymous said...

"Does it bother you in the least that others see your blog as something that has become destructive rather than constructive?
"

Like other SBC pastors with stuff to hide?

Anonymous said...

"I love you enough to approach you with my concerns, if there are any. I want to demonstrate grace and love to you, not say I am being a person of grace and love to everyone but you. If There is a need for restoration, confession... I will seek you out to find it or offer it."

You mean like the time you went on BBC Open forum and blasted it because it "touched thine anointed". the BBC Open forum email was one click away but you did not attempt to contact that person before you started blasting.

So, Jon, tell us how what you did was ok but when others do it, it is not.

Anonymous said...

"I am saddened you can't see the drooling posters who are waiting for the next church leader to fail so they can gnaw on the more flesh."

I am saddened by your comments. Here is how I translate what you wrote based upon what I have seen in the last 10 years in the SBC:

I am scared to death some of my stuff will be outed and I will lose another job. Being a pastor is all I know how to do and people should not ever question pastors or dare rebuke them for anything. WE are special, set apart from the pew sitter. We should be treated special and it should be mandatory that our sins never become public. And if they do then people who actually discuss them are horrible people. AFter all, just because I chose to be on stage and chose this career, I should not have to be accountable to those who are not theologically as educated as I am. Look at how hard I work. And look at how many people **I**
Baptize! I am a great man of God.

Wade Burleson said...

You know the comments above have some good thoughts in them, but they would be so much more powerful if they had some names attached to them.

Christiane said...

Hi JON ESTES,

Are you upset because people are continuing to react to the Caner issue?

Would you like for it all to be over with and done?

Perhaps you sometimes read the Peanuts cartoon in the newspaper? One of my favorites contained this observation from blanket-holding Linus:

"No problem is so big or so complicated that it can't be run away from! "
Linus Van Pelt

Well, many SBC people HAVE run away from problems in the past, as is noted by Debbie on her blog. And now, many have chosen not to 'walk away'.

I'm not sure why the change, except that some of the people who are not 'powerful' are telling the truth,
and some people who idolize the powerful are covering up for someone who hasn't.

The 'truth' has a gravitas all its own. And if even only one person had stood up for it, it would still have had more weight in the Kingdom than all the denials, threats, cover-up attempts, and excuses that were sent against it.

Why do think that is, Jon?

Jack said...

At the risk of a shameless plug for my blog, I would say that much of what you have said I have echoed with a little different twist. A good post.

www.jackmaddox.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

john estes???? who is holding a gun to your head?? why in the world would you continue to submit yourself to something you deem "destructive" to yourself??

just wondering...

Jack said...

* 'suggestions' of understanding concerning sin and restoration - taken from my latest post "Close and Clean"

What should our reaction be? How should we respond? First of all humility and an awareness of our own sin and the grace of God in our lives is always the proper road to travel. I do suggest however the following guidelines:

1. Recognize that God does indeed forgive and often times will restore, but that every private sin has the great potential of being made public and there is always a reckoning this side of glorification.

2. The standard of ministry demands that we see the big picture. When the man of God sins it is no longer just about him, but it is now about the integrity of the gospel and vitality of the witness of the local church.

3. The local church is to be the place of discipline. Not the media and certainly not the blogosphere. Too many people utilize blogs to ‘out’ ministers caught up in various sin as if God needs them to help Him out. They are motivated by personal agendas and often times ‘cyber narcissism’ gone amuck. God dealt with His wayward preachers a long time before the advent of the internet. He is capable of righting any wrong today. You may think you are some kind of modern day reformer. Let me help you out. You’re not!

4. At the end of the day, Gods Word must be the final court of arbitration. Not our personal feelings, not our own sense of right and wrong, not our desire to ‘keep things quiet’. Gods Word, Nuff said!

5. Sin in the life of a Christian leader is not something that might happen, it is something that is ongoing. When that sin becomes public it must be dealt with publicly. Mercy should always be a guiding motif, but also justice and proper church discipline.

6. If we are unwilling to discipline the preacher in the pulpit, how in the world will we ever discipline the problem in the pew?

7. God will and does restore. When He does, do not think it a light thing or that the offender has somehow ‘gotten away’ with it. The offender will bear the scars of his sin forever until completely made whole in glory. (See David)

8. When the preacher sins, it does not hurt only him and his family, but the body as a whole. It is a time to mourn, not a time to say “I told you so!”

Jack

Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Kelley said...

Excellent post, Wade.

After reading it, and before looking at the comments, my first thought was that this could possibly be a post about which there might be no disagreement, and that all the comments would express only praise to our Father for His matchless grace, and a sense of awe and humility at seeing it so well demonstrated by His people. But my second thought was that such was unlikely to be the case, as there are some who seem to look for any opportunity to play "gotcha" and criticize what they, in their own minds, see as Wade's shortcomings. I am glad that there are many comments along the lines of my first thought, and sad that there are some along the lines of my second.

For me, your post was simply beautiful. As I have related in previous comments, I committed a very similar sin in a position of trust and ministry (on staff at a seminary, versus a church) And when my sin became known (as it always does), the immediate response I encountered was "an opportunity to resign or else face disciplinary proceedings which would most likely result in termination", followed by ostracization.

My repentance and extended work to restore my marriage were neither acknowledged nor supported -- friends and co-workers with whom I had prayed, ministered, and shared so much of life with suddenly had no time nor interest in any form of contact. Only one or two persons made any attempt to show kindness, and that was short-lived.

I do not say this to complain, as my losses were the result of my own sin. Others before me had fallen in similar ways at the same seminary, and the reaction had always been the same, including, I’m sad to say, my own. So I knew what to expect, and have no doubt it would be any different if someone else were to fall similarly today. I’m only pondering the contrast and its implications.

I'd like to say that my life since has been filled with virtue and devoid of any further reckless or willful sins, but that is not the case. I still struggle in many of the same things I have always struggled with. But, after reading this, I can't help but wonder how different things might have been had I been given the opportunity to experience the grace of discipline, accountability, and restoration that you and your church showed the man you wrote about. I can't blame anyone but me for my failings; yet, I wonder if I might have come out stronger and more holy today if I had been shown the grace you demonstrated.

God bless you.

-----
Tom

Wade Burleson said...

Tom,

A powerful testimony that teaches me so much. I'm honored and grateful that you have chosen to share it.

Darrell said...

thanks wade, sure wish I lived closer to your church. I can stand this kind of church.


about the guy at liberty, ya'll get over it! HE LIED!!! for heaven sake, grow up, fear God. there is plenty of film and audio tape to prove it. HE LIED. NOw, the bible lays out how this should be delt with. nothing elst gives glory to God. All half truths and excuses are total lies.

Have we forgot that the Graceful God is also the God of Judgement?

DArrell

Darrell said...

note to self...s-p-e-l-l-c-h-e-c-k-e-r-

Richard said...

Wade,

A great example of restoration. Praise the Lord.

We also need to distinguish between confession for spiritual and membership restoration; and confession to restore someone to leadership position.

In some biblical cases forgiveness do not result in ministerial and leadership restoration.

Moses was not allowed to lead God's people into the promised land.

Saul was killed by the Lord--removed from kingship and leadership position.

David was restored but later suffered four-fold discipline for a period of 15 years.

Ananias and Sapphira faced dying discipline for lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts5).

This area need serious development.

Darrell said...

Richard, I really like your question/observation about david, moses, saul.... but I have a question. This is for my own learning and I mean it as gracious as I can convey on a blog.

Would the only one we can use as an example in this discussion be the one in Acts as that is the only one after the Assension and after the promised Holy Spirit, and after the birth of the CHRISTIAN church.

I welcome the further discussion and develpement of this topic, and I love the way Wade's church handled it.

grace
Darrell

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
The best part of your story is the willingness of this pastor to walk on coals of fire.

If this ‘walk’ was so great that improved his life, why was the woman cheated from the same walk?

You said, “We assisted the woman in a similar manner, the only difference is we protected her anonymity because we believed the pastor had a greater responsibility and accountability in the matter than she.”

Do you think the Holy Spirit convicted him more than He did the woman? I believe the woman was convicted more because she reported it. She could have started the kissing.

Why were the facts NOT reported instead of letting people think the worse?

That’s like three men and one woman were kicked out of church with no reason given in order to “save embarrassment”. The reason was they disobeyed the pastor by distributing reasons not to move their church to another town. (The pastor was fired a year later.)

How many women in your church were under ‘suspicion?

Were there any that were not believed by their husbands?

I cannot think anything more stupid that would start tongues wagging.

If a person rededicates their life, do you required specific sins? That’s Church of Christ and Catholic confession.

I thought not long ago this bog’s rule of thumb was if a sin was known publicly then a public confession was required. And if a sin was private, it was to be confessed in private to those involved.

What happened to that ‘rule’? Sounded good to me.

Overall, this post about made me sick, and I’ll say to all that agree with it: ‘You have cast the first stone.’

I believe the pastor is a ‘great’ Christian because persecution makes us stronger, and he had plenty of it.

Legalistic rules try to keep sin out, but make prisoners within.

davidinflorida said...

Wade,

What would be your comment if this took place ?

1. The pastor after four months into the six month process stated " I have heard the audible voice of God, He had told me to get back into the ministry immediately".

2. He started a church on the other side of Enid.

3. He stated that this is what "Grace" is all about.

Jon L. Estes said...

"You know the comments above have some good thoughts in them, but they would be so much more powerful if they had some names attached to them."

For some reason, it seems, their fear of man is greater than their fear of God. And they want to be taken seriously. LOL

Jon L. Estes said...

"Count me one who thinks it is Mr. Estes who is confused about calling sin of public leaders sin and loving the sinner all the same."

Grey,

I see you don't understand what I have been saying. If I have a problem with EC or anyone else. I will go to them, not to you or anyone else. How hard is that to understand?

Jon L. Estes said...

Christiane said...
Hi JON ESTES,

Are you upset because people are continuing to react to the Caner issue?

There are some things being stated that I interpret as more than a reaction to the issue.

Would you like for it all to be over with and done?

No,I believe that if you don't like what was done, go to the man.

Perhaps you sometimes read the Peanuts cartoon in the newspaper? One of my favorites contained this observation from blanket-holding Linus:

"No problem is so big or so complicated that it can't be run away from! "
Linus Van Pelt

Well, many SBC people HAVE run away from problems in the past, as is noted by Debbie on her blog. And now, many have chosen not to 'walk away'.

Sounds like justifying our actions instead of following measures of grace. I'd rather not get my beliefs from a comic strip.

I'm not sure why the change, except that some of the people who are not 'powerful' are telling the truth,
and some people who idolize the powerful are covering up for someone who hasn't.

I have no idea who is idolizing the powerful or is covering this up. names have been dropped in the discussion but no facts to support. What is that called? Everyone has an opinion but as believers we don't have the right to speak them any time we desire. As a matter of fact, I learned from scripture that I have no personal rights. yes,the USA may give me certain rights but as a believer, they all do not apply to me. ie. As an American we have the right to free speech. As a Christian, we don't..

The 'truth' has a gravitas all its own. And if even only one person had stood up for it, it would still have had more weight in the Kingdom than all the denials, threats, cover-up attempts, and excuses that were sent against it.

Why do think that is, Jon?

Thanks for the support for my standing for truth. Your encouragement was a blessing.

Anonymous said...

"For some reason, it seems, their fear of man is greater than their fear of God. And they want to be taken seriously. LOL"

It is called the basic wisdom of being cautious. After all, many of us have witnessed first hand what some (many) pastors will do to keep their position or become celebrities.

But please feel free to think of me as a coward. I would have to respect you to care.

Richard said...

Darrell,

Remember in ALL Baptist churches re.: Tithing?

There is NOT one clear statement in NT about tithing except an allusion in Mt23:23. The principle of interpretation is: IF there is no explicit cancellation in NT means it is still ON in the NT. So Mal3:10 has been using Sunday after Sunday, even though STOREHOUSE is NOT a church in Mal3:10.

Hebrews using OT when speaks about divine disciplines AFTER Pentecost: Heb 12:5-6, “And so you yourselves have forgotten a principle of doctrine which teaches you as sons [Prov 3:11-12], `My son, do not make light of corrective discipline from the Lord, nor be fainting when you are reproved by Him [intensive discipline]; for whom the Lord loves He disciplines [warning discipline], and He skins alive with a whip every son whom He receives [intensive discipline].’”

Let us dig into Scripture MORE. After all our faith is not based on experience--even if it is a great experience of Wade's handling of a particular case.

1Cor5 was discipline AFTER Pentecost. What do you think of 1&2Timothy and Titus?

What do you think of Paul's thorn in the flesh for? Loving discipline--parental discipline to correct Pride maybe?

There is also 1 Cor 10:13.

After this phase of life there is still Judgment Seat of Christ. 2 Cor 5:10, “We must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, that each one of us [believers] may receive what is due him for the things accomplished in the body, whether good or worthless.”

Before that one we still have this one: Rev 3:1 “Those whom I love I reprimand [discipline] and I punish [intensive discipline]; therefore, be zealous and repent.”

Don't forget the divine severe discipline of some in the Corintian's church. 1 Cor 11:30-31. “For this reason [believers taking communion in sin], many believers are weak [warning discipline] and sick [intensive discipline], and a number of believers sleep [sin unto death]. But if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”

Darrell, AFTER Pentecost the divine discipline of His children is deepened not cheapened.

Paul Burleson said...

Am I the only one who thinks that to make Matthew 18 a "one size fits all" [sins] kind of thing is a mistake?

It is in the context of two people who have a private matter between them and have a group they both rely on for arbitation.

Public sin is a different animal as indicated by Paul in Galations 2where Peter played the hypocrite in word and deed before many and Paul confronted him.. "before all." [Gal. 2:14]

I would think the reason is because of the leavening effect of public sin as he indicated in 1 Corinthians 5:6-7"Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us" [A public couple in incest.]

Even elders who sin are to be handled publically....1 Timothy 5:19-20 "Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning."

There is more at issue sometimes than a private sin between brothers which Matthew speaks clearly to it seems to me.

Every case would require truth spoken/written in LOVE but whether private or public is not always easily answered. We have to weigh all scripture in context as I'm sure everyone knows. So I'll stop now. ;)

Jon L. Estes said...

Brother Paul,

Thank you for using Gal. 2:14

"Public sin is a different animal as indicated by Paul in Galations 2where Peter played the hypocrite in word and deed before many and Paul confronted him.. "before all." [Gal. 2:14]"

Just prior to making this confrontation public, we find Paul confronted Peter, face to face. [Gal. 2:11] Something that is not happening presently by many who are using cyber space to expose and demand specific retribution.

Anonymous said...

"Just prior to making this confrontation public, we find Paul confronted Peter, face to face. [Gal. 2:11] Something that is not happening presently by many who are using cyber space to expose and demand specific retribution."

And then the sinning celebrity can just refuse to meet. How convenient for you guys. Insist it means face to face but then never meet. What a system of scripture translation you have...to benefit yourselves.

Tell me, should Caner have to meet with every single person he lied to in the pews over 9 years?

Paul Burleson said...

Jon,

I don't think one should assume that Paul was practicing Matthew 18with Peter in Gal 2:11 or one would have to assume Peter was unrepentent for Paul to go ahead and address it with others present.

At the very least Paul continued to address what Peter did before others for some reason and would appear to be unforgiving if Matthew 18 was, in fact, his goal.

As I said, I think we have an entirely different animal here when a leader is involved with public sin. Different approach entirely.

Jon L. Estes said...

Paul,

I don't think Paul was thinking of Matthew 18 or the idea if Peter would repent or not, the point is before he went public he spoke to him face to face. He went to Peter. Who here who has pronounced EC's sin has gone to him prior to pointing it out publicly?

Maybe v. 11 means nothing to the concern we are dealing with but I believe it means much.

Thy Peace said...

Who here who has pronounced EC's sin has gone to him prior to pointing it out publicly?

James White [JW] spoke to Ergun Caner [EC] and did confront him about this matter. EC wanted this confession to be private, while JW wanted the confession to be public. When EC refused, JW took this public.

Paul Burleson said...

Jon,

Were you to mean by "go to him first" an attempt at contact or a phone conversation or and e-mail to convey what one is doing..I think that is a wise and thoughtful thing to do. [I wouldn't assume those were not done by many in the case before us.]

To condemn someone for NOT doing that [Not saying that you are..you would have convey your intent.] as someone who is performing a breach of biblical ethics would be a stretch I would think.

Thanks for the conversation. I know each of us will have to examine our ouwn part in any issue and present that before the Lord one day. It's good to onverse about it this side of that event.

Thy Peace said...

Also both Wade and Debbie tried to contact EC and failed to get a response from EC.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex, I think most of your questions are answered in the post.

We do make a distinction between what the Bible calls "an elder" (pastor) and someone who is not. The former has a much higher degree of accountability.

Wade Burleson said...

David in Florida,

You wrote:

"What would happen if:

1. The pastor after four months into the six month process stated " I have heard the audible voice of God, He had told me to get back into the ministry immediately".

2. He started a church on the other side of Enid.

3. He stated that this is what "Grace" is all about."

Answer: We would love the pastor as a person, deem him without the grace of God in his own life, never encourage anyone to be a member of his church and refuse to participate in community ministry with him. Not because we "disdain" him as a person, but because he broke his word (lied) to us about his being willing to complete his recovery process, resisted accountability for his actions, and would be engaging in ministry without true repentance. That might sound harsh to some, and I always don't like to answer hypotheticals because every case is unique, but I thought I owed you a response.

Wade Burleson said...

To All:

I multi-task when I am commenting (phone calls, writing, etc...), and most of my comments are short because they are written from my I-phone while I am at the hospitals, in meetings, and doing other ministry. But on occasions I am unable to comment. Today is one of those days. Blessings to all.

Jon L. Estes said...

"James White [JW] spoke to Ergun Caner [EC] and did confront him about this matter. EC wanted this confession to be private, while JW wanted the confession to be public. When EC refused, JW took this public."

The bravo for JW.

Who here is riding his coattail? Using JW's willingness to talk to EC as their stamp of approval to talk about EC instead of talking to EC?

Anonymous said...

We had a horrible situation a couple of years ago and the person that had wronged the entire church came forward, confessed the sin, and repented. There was love, fellowship, restoration, but a lot of pain and broken hearts. Many had questions and problems before the confession and repentance and a horrible "lack of respect", but after the meeting there was a great sense of joy and forgiveness and self-examination. We all understood that none of us were above or better than this person and we all embraced them and are still in fellowship and trust has been restored. This is b/c someone admitted that they were WRONG swallowed their pride and followed God's leading.

I ask you, is a college/seminary president above that?

Respectfully,
Ray Earley
FBC Cartwright

davidinflorida said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard said...

Anonymous,

I like your compassion and I need it.

Question: where in the Bible is it commanded to confess sins to the public? Please give some sample cases.

I am learning.

Richard said...

Anonymous,

I like your compassion and I need it too.

Question: where in the Bible is it commanded to confess sins to the public? And please give some sample cases.

I am learning.

Wayne Joubert said...

Paul,

Last night I picked up a book on my nightstand that I’ve had been meaning to get to for several weeks. It is a scholarly work by Baylor Professor Thomas Kidd, titled, American Christians and Islam (Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2009). As I started to read, I got curious and headed to the index in the back. Sure enough, there I found the following: Caner, Ergun and Emir, pages 147-150, 161. Though Kidd doesn’t paint an entirely flattering picture of the two (he assigns them partial responsibility for the Evangelical Protestantism view that all of Islam is violent and that Mohammed was a demon-possessed pedophile), he refers to them as “two of the key former Muslim apologists for Christianity since September 2001.” Note he didn’t say for people in Lynchburg or for Liberty University or even for the SBC. He mentioned – correctly – that the Caners had become the de facto apologists for Christianity (i.e., all who call on the name of Christ). This is important because the issue is not just an LU issue, as some have asserted. Let me just give you one example of how Ergun has impacted my own life.

Four years ago, around the time my oldest son considered which college to go to, I watched one Sunday morning a well done promotion of Liberty University by Dr. Falwell and excitedly called for the packet (I was about ready to sign up myself!). “Yeah. Liberty. That would be great.” I started dropping a few hints to him. “Son, that Liberty University looks pretty good. What a beautiful campus. Division I school, Debate Champions, etc.)…. until … the whole White vs. Caner debate fiasco took place. Those involved from Liberty – particularly Caner -- ended up coming off as juvenile, uncharitable and dishonest. I was scandalized by the whole matter. I never mentioned Liberty again to my son or any of my other three sons. My daughter’s father-in-law, who went to Liberty in the early 70s, asked me whether I had gone ahead and registered my son for Liberty. “No, we’re going to send him to another college,” is all I said. Never got into all the details.

So, Paul, because you used the word “leaven” in your post, I had to write, because I thought the same thing last night, that the Caner “leaven” had worked its way into perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives. ...for crying out loud, even into the book I had in my hand last night! It is an oil spill that has not been capped.

People are not looking for vengeance or retribution, as so uncharitably has been stated by some. All they want is some sort of assurance that an obvious fraud at a major University that claims the name of Christ has been confronted and not covered up. So far LU’s actions are more befitting of a corporation protecting its “Brand” rather than followers of the one who called Himself “The Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Wayne Joubert said...

Paul,

Last night I picked up a book on my nightstand that I’ve had been meaning to get to for several weeks. It is a scholarly work by Baylor Professor Thomas Kidd, titled, American Christians and Islam (Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2009). As I started to read, I got curious and headed to the index in the back. Sure enough, there I found the following: Caner, Ergun and Emir, pages 147-150, 161. Though Kidd doesn’t paint an entirely flattering picture of the two (he assigns them partial responsibility for the Evangelical Protestantism view that all of Islam is violent and that Mohammed was a demon-possessed pedophile), he refers to them as “two of the key former Muslim apologists for Christianity since September 2001.” Note he didn’t say for people in Lynchburg or for Liberty University or even for the SBC. He mentioned – correctly – that the Caners had become the de facto apologists for Christianity (i.e., all who call on the name of Christ). This is important because the issue is not just an LU issue, as some have asserted. Let me just give you one example of how Ergun has impacted my own life.

Four years ago, around the time my oldest son considered which college to go to, I watched one Sunday morning a well done promotion of Liberty University by Dr. Falwell and excitedly called for the packet (I was about ready to sign up myself!). “Yeah. Liberty. That would be great.” I started dropping a few hints to him. “Son, that Liberty University looks pretty good. What a beautiful campus. Division I school, Debate Champions, etc.)…. until … the whole White vs. Caner debate fiasco took place. Those involved from Liberty – particularly Caner -- ended up coming off as juvenile, uncharitable and dishonest. I was scandalized by the whole matter. I never mentioned Liberty again to my son or any of my other three sons. My daughter’s father-in-law, who went to Liberty in the early 70s, asked me whether I had gone ahead and registered my son for Liberty. “No, we’re going to send him to another college,” is all I said. Never got into all the details.

So, Paul, because you used the word “leaven” in your post, I had to write, because I thought the same thing last night, that the Caner “leaven” had worked its way into perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives. ...for crying out loud, even into the book I had in my hand last night! It is an oil spill that has not been capped.

People are not looking for vengeance or retribution, as so uncharitably has been stated by some. All they want is some sort of assurance that an obvious fraud at a major University that claims the name of Christ has been confronted and not covered up. So far LU’s actions are more befitting of a corporation protecting its “Brand” rather than followers of the one who called Himself “The Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Anonymous said...

What would be wrong with Caner's church handling this issue within their fellowship--and then telling the rest of you to butt out since it is essentially none of your business and he owes you no explanation.

Rodney Sprayberry said...

Jon and Paul,

As I am studying Galatians, I am struck by an interesting thought.

Many scholars believe Galatians to be Paul's earliest letter. Some even believe that it is one of the earliest "books" written in the NT.

Regardless,there seems to be a general consensus of dates that range between A.D. 49-55 for Galatians with Matthew written sometime in the 60s

It clear (and logical) to me that Jesus' teachings were available in some fashion before they were written down in the form that we have now call "the Gospels".

But if the timeline above is correct using Matthew 18 to interpet Galatians 2 may be problematic.

Though the "spirit" (intent/teaching) of Matthew 18 may have informed the intent of Galatians 2, the "letter" (codified process)most likely did not exist yet (if it ever has)

If anything, Paul was breaking new relational ground, being led by the HS and informed by the teachings of Jesus.

Richard said...

Anonymous,

You said:

What would be wrong with Caner's church handling this issue within their fellowship--and then telling the rest of you to butt out since it is essentially none of your business and he owes you no explanation.

This is basically the Independent Baptist view of how local church authority supposed to work. I think TRBC operates by this principle.

Jack said...

Richard -

no this is not the IBC way of operation, but it is the local church way of operation. Annons point is well taken and he is absolutely right. This is now a local church issue. We do not denominationally discipline individuals. All of the moderates howled when conservatives mentioned that IBC Little Rock discipline Clinton, but now you want a pound of flesh from EC and Liberty....
wow

Paul Burleson said...

Anon,

If I sin as a leader/pastor of a local congregation and my sin is known and, indeed, was done publically touching many lives outside that congregation, then the way that sin is handled is far removed from just that single congregation it would seem to me. Either in confromtation or confession.

I would hold this to be true whomever was being talked about as the one who sinned.

Christiane said...

In the discussion about how 'sin' is measured, I thought about something that I had kept in my files for long time. And it has to do with how very little we are able to understand the full impact of our sin against God.

Here is the quote:

"This thought should keep us humble.
We are sinners, but we do not know how great.
He alone knows Who died for our sins."
John Henry Newman

RRR said...

The refreshing thing about this account is the portrayal of true grace which insists upon the offender acknowledging and being accountable for their mistake and its subsequent consequences.

One valid reason given repeatedly on this blog as an explanation for the decline in our SBC is an increase in pride and arrogance by some of our top SBC leaders. Hypocrisy is also evident as pointed out in this blog when “celebrity” becomes a key qualification for inclusion into the inner circle of power players.

But another problem equally damaging is no doubt a lack of an application of church discipline to the general congregation that is similar to that applied in this one instance with the minister in Wade’s church. I wonder if Wade’s church applies any form of disciplinary action to church members in general?

I ask because it seems that life styles of professing believers are too often no different than non-believers. This is no doubt largely due to their being allowed to continue in participation and service in the church while living sinful life styles and not being held accountable.

As a result, lost outsiders are justified in saying, “My lifestyle is better than that of those hypocritical ‘Christians’”.

A lack of church discipline takes the savor out of our salt and makes our beacon of light a mere glimmer at best. This is no doubt as responsible for our SBC’s diminishing influence on the world as anything else.

Anonymous said...

Jon Estes said...

I think things like this need to be dealt with on a personal level.


and...

I will go to them, not to you or anyone else.

and ...

No,I believe that if you don't like what was done, go to the man.


Jon,
We get what you are saying, and your personal preference is not at all a bad practice. But it is time to get down off that high horse; I think you've already beaten it to death.

Although it may be that the Holy Spirit has convicted you personally to go to an individual personally when that person has have sinned publicly, your personal convictions are not God's rules for everyone. Sometimes the Holy Spirit gives us a conviction to place a restriction on our own behavior because that is something that we personally have had a problem with in the past. But He doesn't intend us to extend our personal rules and restrictions to others. That's called legalism.

And before respond that you are "just following Scripture", please stop to think about that fact that not everyone agrees with you about what the Scriptures teach in this matter, and your interpretations are not infallible.

Does it bother you in the least that others see as unnecessarily critical, arrogant, and lacking in humlity?

-----
Tom

Tom Kelley said...

The post at Thu Jul 01, 02:35:00 PM 2010 was from me. Blogger says I am logged in ... strange.
-----
Tom Kelley

Tom Kelley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Kelley said...

Anonymous said...
What would be wrong with Caner's church handling this issue within their fellowship--and then telling the rest of you to butt out since it is essentially none of your business and he owes you no explanation.

Thu Jul 01, 12:00:00 PM 2010


Anon,
That might be ok (although not required by Scripture), if Caner had never spoken "factual statements that are self-contradictory" outside of his own local church. But his proclomations were in multiple public venues. Using your logic, Caner's church could also have told Liberty University to butt out and let them handle it.

-----
Tom

Thy Peace said...

Thomas Road Baptist Church has as much chance to Church Discipline Ergun Caner as First Baptist Church of Jacksonville of doing Church Discipline on Mac Brunson for calling Tom Rich a sociopath and egging the local police to issue Criminal Subpoenas to get the identity of Tom Rich instead of Civil Subpoenas to discover the identity of Tom Rich, which would have been court challenged by Tom Rich to protect his identity.

Are we Christians this much gullible? Yes, we are. We appear to give a wide latitude to people speaking from the pulpits to speak lies and get away with it.

Richard said...

Dear pastors,

Since this is about APPLYING the Bible to a lying minister.

Please give Biblical rulings/commandments/injunctions regarding such a problem.

Please give some PRECEDENCE(S) how the early church handled such a case.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as denominational discipline except in the case of an errant church. The only discipline for Caner should come the church where he is a member--and like it or not, its noone else's business. Of course you could always petition his church to let you speak at his disciplinary sessions but I doubt that you would be given permission.

If you don't like what he said to you in a public setting then take your complaints to the ones who hired him to speak. This whole discussion is useless when there are so many other good topics to discuss.

Jon Estes said...

We get what you are saying, and your personal preference is not at all a bad practice. But it is time to get down off that high horse; I think you've already beaten it to death.

What has been beaten to death is the nonstop piling on of EC. You and others have settled the depth of his wrong and much ranting now is on how he ought to respond to your world.

Although it may be that the Holy Spirit has convicted you personally to go to an individual personally when that person has have sinned publicly, your personal convictions are not God's rules for everyone.

I was using scripture (Gal. 2:11). Do you disagree with that passage? My position is more than my opinion.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit gives us a conviction to place a restriction on our own behavior because that is something that we personally have had a problem with in the past. But He doesn't intend us to extend our personal rules and restrictions to others. That's called legalism.

Do you think there is no legalism going on in the demanding of EC to be beheaded (not there yet but give it another week) for his sins?

And before respond that you are "just following Scripture", please stop to think about that fact that not everyone agrees with you about what the Scriptures teach in this matter, and your interpretations are not infallible.

No one stated or thinks I am infallible, most of all, me. You can give me your interpretation of Gal. 2:11. Is it teaching that face to face confrontation of a public figure is a right thing to do, or was Paul wrong, or maybe to justify the piling on, Paul was right for that situation, it just doesn't fit out time and place.

Does it bother you in the least that others see as unnecessarily critical, arrogant, and lacking in humlity?

I am not afraid of being hated, or disliked. I would be fearful of talking about someone instead of talking to them. I see this clearly as gossip.

I guess no one else cares what others think of them, what think ye?

Is it possible that there is a bitterness and disdain for anyone who disagrees on the approach being taken? Why do you think this is?

jle

Anonymous said...

Wade,

I do indeed wish you were Caner's pastor and could deal with him in this grace method, but you aren't, so you can't. Its time to give it a rest.

tikatu said...

"Had the sin been a crime, obviously it would be far more difficult, if not impossible, to restore the pastor. Frankly, we would have encouraged prosecution were that the case, because God uses the courts as "ministers" to bring about His purposes."

When reading this account of how grace-filled church discipline worked in your congregation, I couldn't help but compare it to the situation in Concord, NH, where a 15-year-old was raped, made to stand before her church to confess her "sin" of getting pregnant by her rapist, and the man who raped her was able to confess only to the sin of adultery. She was sent far away from home; he was immediately restored to fellowship, and only now - 13 years later - is suffering the legal consequences of his actions.

Wade, thank you for showing the world how this kind of confession, forgiveness, restoration and reconciliation is supposed to work. I pray more pastors can learn from your godly example.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
You said, “I think most of your questions are answered in the post.”

Why did you say that since the post answered none of my questions which makes it obvious you don’t want to answer them either?

These were all my questions:
1. If this ‘walk’ was so great that improved his life, why was the woman cheated from the same walk?

2. Do you think the Holy Spirit convicted him more than He did the woman?

3. Why were the facts NOT reported instead of letting people think the worse?

4. How many women in your church were under ‘suspicion?

5. Were there any that were not believed by their husbands?

6. If a person rededicates their life, do you required specific sins?

7. I thought not long ago this bog’s rule of thumb was if a sin was known publicly then a public confession was required. And if a sin was private, it was to be confessed in private to those involved. What happened to that ‘rule’?

I believe the pastor had asked forgiveness and was cleansed by the Holy Spirit a year before you were involved.

That is called priesthood of the believer, but you did not trust the Holy Spirit to do His job. You, like the Pharisees, in adding hundreds of laws to the Ten Commandments, had to put in your two cents.

Outline of ‘TWO CENTS’:
1. “We…began to restore this man’s marriage…reconciliation with his wife was primary…” [What was wrong with his marriage before “we” got involved?]

2. “We set him aside for six months [did you draw that number out of a hat?]

3. “Of course, everybody thought the sin was worse than it actual was…but we were uninterested in trying to justify the pastor’s behavior…” [Or if the truth were know, were you afraid of being laughed at; so it would be better for them to think the worse?]

4. “Inappropriate physical contact with a woman not his wife” is lawyer talk that I believe evaded truth and boils down to lying.

5. “He didn’t care that people thought he was a serial adulterer…That’s the sign of true brokenness.” [No, to me, that’s a sign of being brainwashed by a cult.]

6. “We…helped him find a custodial job…” [In 1948, I went up high spiral staircases in Germany that were worn down by people forced to climb them on their knees while seeking forgiveness.]

7. “We…set up a discipleship and recover team for both the man and his wife.” [Oh brother! Sounds more like a cult all the time.]

8. “Our goal was complete reconciliation of the pastor’s marriage, [that you messed up] and full restoration of the pastor’s ministry.” [That you messed up.]


Wade, I agree a pastor is held to a higher degree of accountability than the person in the pew, and if he cannot maintain that degree, he should find another line of work.

Tom Kelley said...

Jon Estes,

You seem to switch between complaining about the frequency / number of discussions about Caner and the manner in which those discussions are carried about. If you are concerned about the former (how much this is being discussed), it is odd that you find it necessary to inject yourself into those discussions. If you are concerned about the latter (who is talking to whom about whom), you are free not to make comments you think are inappropriate -- but I still maintain that your personal preference or opinion on how to handle these kinds of situations is not what Scripture commands.

You can lump me in with anyone you wish, if that helps you in some way. But my statements about Caner have been very few, and mostly limited to acknowledging what Liberty also acknowledged ("factual statements that are self-contradictory").

Yes, I know you are claiming to "use Scripture", but my point is that you have expressed an opinion about what you think Scripture teaches, while others disagree with you about what the Bible is telling us.

In referencing Gal 2:11, it sounds like you assume that Paul spoke to Peter personally to his face before confronting him publicly, but the text doesn't say that at all. It could just as easily be interpreted (as I do), that the point at which Paul "opposed him to his face" (v. 11) was the moment at which he "said to Peter in front of them all" (v. 14) that Peter was doing wrong.

However, I may have misread you, and it you could be saying that it is fine to confront or speak against the actions of someone in front of others, as long as the person being spoken of is present. But even if that is your assertion, you still have no Scriptural command that such must be the case. You merely have an example of Paul recording what he did, not a absolute prescript of what must always be done.

This is a problem in how many people interpret Scripture, obtaining rules and laws demanding conformity to a certain behavior simply because it is recorded in Scripture that a person behaved in that way. But we also have Paul, in his letter to Timothy, speaking against the actions of Hymenaeus and Alexander, and we have John, in his letter to Gaius, calling out the actions of Diotrephes. So I call your one example, and I raise you two!

I think the only persons likely to call for Caner's beheading are within the religion he used to be a part of.

I only asked if it bothered you how people perceive you because you asked the same of Wade. My intent was to point out that a person who is convinced he is doing the right thing ought not be bothered by other people's perceptions of their actions, except to examine themselves in humility to see whether they may have a blind spot.

Perhaps some people get upset because others disagree with their approach. Or perhaps they get upset because people attempt to minimize their concerns and treat those who point out and discuss problems as if their doing so is a bigger problem than what is was they were concerned about.

-----
Tom

Anonymous said...

"There is no such thing as denominational discipline except in the case of an errant church. The only discipline for Caner should come the church where he is a member--and like it or not, its noone else's business. Of course you could always petition his church to let you speak at his disciplinary sessions but I doubt that you would be given permission."

This would be difficult unless one only teaches/preaches within their own church. Paul commended the Bereans for questioning him. Why is Caner more special? In any case, we have a duty to warn others of hirlings and wolves.

Jon, Paul did speak to Peter face to face...publicly. Then he wrote it down in a letter for billions to read for 2000 years.

Scott said...

I'm just going to state that I'm tired of people using using scripture to justify any and all positions. Heck, BOTH sides are throwing scripture around like it's Mardi Gras.

Seriously folks, we've conditioned ourselves to jump to a conclusion and then throw scripture around to defend our position. Just recently, a local pastor quoted scripture after scripture to justify his position that people that were against his church building a 200 ft. cross were actually against the Cross of Christ itself.

I'm sorry, but when both sides of a debate can throw around scripture to justify their positions, then something else needs to come in and justify their positions. Both sides claim God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit for that matter!

This is a little disjointed rant and probably not really applicable here, so I apologize to all who are debating here, but I just wanted to get this off my chest.

Gene Scarborough said...

Gene S said . . .

Again my Google account is messing up!

Wade--

You have given a clear example of how the local church should biblically handle a scandalous event in a proper fashion. Thanks for giving it.

The problem you cite is a big one today: Church leaders not living what the preach!

If we are to have any pubic respect, we must practice what we preach.

The Ergan Caner event is a classic example of how to CYA as does Corporate America and Political America: Hire a PR expert to tell you what to say and do!

If we can't figure it out according to what the Bible say, we are at a total loss.

You did it! I'm proud of you! I had a similar situation, BUT the deacons recommended to fire me rather than face the truth of this own kind participating in immorality.

It hurt my family to the point my children do not participate in organized religion these days, although they are both sincere Christians.

It also hurt my wife to the point she doesn't trust anyone claiming to be religious to tell them anything personal or intimate.

On the other hand, she is a powerful influence in her workplace for integrity and truth.

Actually, what I am saying is many people show more integrity in the workplace than in the church and this is a sad commentary on contemporary "churchianity."

Thy Peace said...

I sincerely pray that Ergun Caner will go through a public confession and followed by [public] repentance.

My Utmost For His Highest [Oswald Chambers] > December 7th

REPENTANCE

"For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation." 2 Corinthians 7:10

Conviction of sin is best portrayed in the words -

"My sins, my sins, my Saviour,
How sad on Thee they fall."

Conviction of sin is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man. It is the threshold of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict of sin, and when the Holy Spirit rouses a man's conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not his relationship with men that bothers him, but his relationship with God - "against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight." The marvels of conviction of sin, forgiveness, and holiness are so interwoven that it is only the forgiven man who is the holy man, he proves he is forgiven by being the opposite to what he was, by God's grace. Repentance always brings a man to this point: I have sinned. The surest sign that God is at work is when a man says that and means it. Anything less than this is remorse for having made blunders, the reflex action of disgust at himself.

The entrance into the Kingdom is through the panging pains of repentance crashing into a man's respectable goodness; then the Holy Ghost, Who produces these agonies, begins the formation of the Son of God in the life. The new life will manifest itself in conscious repentance and unconscious holiness, never the other way about. The bedrock of Christianity is repentance. Strictly speaking, a man cannot repent when he chooses; repentance is a gift of God. The old Puritans used to pray for "the gift of tears." If ever you cease to know the virtue of repentance, you are in darkness. Examine yourself and see if you have forgotten how to be sorry.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Wade,

Since you thought this story important enough share it with the world and invited comments, I, too, would be interested in hearing the answers to Rex Ray's 3rd, 4th, and 5th questions because frankly, this has bugged me ever since I read it yesterday.

This whole story kind of squicked me out, but Rex voiced what I think really bothered me about it. I'm not trying to ascribe ulterior motives because I do believe the main motives were repentance, reconciliation, and restoration, but it seemed the guy's "big sin" was made to seem worse than it was. I'm not trying to minimize whatever he and the woman did, but you said it was "kissing and touching" and "one time." It wasn't "the big one." It wasn't "an affair." Yet, the whole congregation was apparently left to wonder, and you know as well as I do that's exactly where everyone's minds went. Do women now give him a wide berth because they think he forced himself on a woman? (I probably would.) Even though he's been forgiven and restored to fellowship, can he still be considered "above reproach" to the world as is Biblically mandated for pastors?

Rex brought out another good point that I hadn't thought of. Since you didn't identify the woman, how many husbands were left to wonder if it was their wife, causing unnecessary doubt and strife in possibly more than one marriage?

I applaud you for dealing with this situation head on and not trying to cover it up, but I am bothered by the apparent fact that the church was told the nature of the sin in such vague and all-encompassing language. It reminds me of Bellevue calling a staff minister molesting his son over a period of 12 to 18 months "a moral failure."

Of course, I guess that finally sort of clears things up for the members of your church who read your blog! But how many still believe the worst?

Richard said...

Scott,

If you have a better solution to the issue based on or not based on Scriptures, please explain.

Thanks

Thy Peace said...

The Wartburg Watch > Caner’s Conundrum: When The Church Acts Like John Edwards

Tom Kelley said...

New BBC,
I think it was good that the church leadership was unspecific as to the extent of the physical contact. No need to be solicitous, and even if they had gone into graphic detail, people would still have thought whatever they wanted.

If we take sin seriously, neither the one who sins nor the rest of the congregation is beneffitted by specifics that might lead folks to think "no big deal".

And, trust me on this, when a man is guilty of any sort of "inappropriate physical contact with a woman not his wife", it is very much the same as "the big one" to the man's wife.

I don't know if things should have been handled any differently with the woman who was involved, not having all the details. And I don't know the answer of whether there is some sort of "statute of limitations" for restoration to ministry after such sins. Nor do I know exactly what it means to be "above reproach" or to "have a good reputation with outsiders", as individuals may vary as to what those things mean -- so who makes that call?

What I do know is that this was an imperfect situation involving imperfect peiople that was never going to be able to handled perfectly, but what Wade and his church did was far better than most other examples I've heard in smilar situations.


Now, what seems strange to me in all this is to see Rex Ray and Gene Scarborough disagreeing. Based on theological positions, I always kinda suspected they were really the same person. :)

-----
Tom

Richard said...

I think the red thread in all these posts is that most people, even those who know a lot about the Bible do not want to be accountable to nobody.

Seminarians, I was told, majority of them, do not want to be under local church authority. While in seminary, many do not attend church--just required chapel attendance for signature only.

They want to become professors--running around like lawyers and doctors or businessman or politicians; but very few want to live under authority.

Professors, if not required, many of them do not attend (not members of) any church.

If you live in the culture of accountable to nobody, no wonder many oppose church discipline.

Paul Burleson said...

Tom,

I'l bet you've thought, as have I, that a simply statement such as "both involved have been repentent, open, and honest with spouses" would settle any one being scared by lingering thoughts that their spouse might be the unknown participant.

I would assume that would probably have been thought of by those with responsibility for helping the congregation through the rough seas of repentence and restoration. { I have no first hand knowledge here.]

Christiane said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8KRHWJrRvA

The Great Song
of King David's Repentance
Psalm 51

Tom Kelley said...

Off topic:

Son of Hamas gets political asylum


(I can't believe I beat Thy Peace to that!)

Rex Ray said...

Tom,
You’re funny – Gene Scarborough and I the same person? He cuts trees down, and I build things. Now, I do admit we see eye to eye on a lot of things.

You said, “What Wade and his church did was far better than most other examples I’ve heard in similar situations.”

Tom, how did you hear of a similar situation if it was kept PRIVATE?

I agree ‘sin specifics’ were not needed, but it could have been said, ‘You’re probably thinking the worse, but it’s not the worse.’

Way to go on beating Thy Peace.

BTW, does anyone know where Bob Cleveland is? We could use some of his insight.


Paul, your “both involved have been repentant, open, and honest with spouses” would have been great.

Sometimes sons still need to learn from their dads, and of course hindsight helps.

I’m reminded of a church that had a celebration day of finishing their new church and people that worked were recognized with thanks.

Out of respect for his mother, one non-member had volunteered to do a $10,000 job on the ceilings. This lost man was there with his son who also helped, but their names were forgotten.

Elastigirl said...

Concerning Gene Scarborough's comment:

“Actually, what I am saying is many people show more integrity in the workplace than in the church and this is a sad commentary on contemporary "churchianity."”

Thu Jul 01, 06:31:00 PM 2010

*****

This is often true, in my experience. My feeling is that there is such pressure to follow the letter of the law in church culture -- people are pre-occupied with the letter of the law to the point that they miss the spirit of the law. It becomes a matter of following a set of rules and doing so with certain kinds of words, certain tone of voice, and a pleasant expression on one's face (for the sole purpose of appearing stereotypically "loving" or "having joy"). Just a behavioral checklist. A “Christian” uniform to wear.

This pressure comes from all sides -- from the pulpit in order to "PLEASE GOD" (yikes!), and from the members in order to be embraced by and fit in with the culture.

In contrast, people who are not steeped in the church culture of American Christianity seem much freer to simply be in tune with what is obviously right and moral. And to choose what is right for the pleasure of doing the right thing.

I can say without a doubt that that the kindest, most genuine, and by far the most integrous people I know are those who do not go to any particular church, including those who are Hindu, Moslem, and Buddhist. They just seem to be freer to do what is right. And to take pleasure in it.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex and New BBC,

(1). The woman was not cheated in the process at all. The rule of thumb in our church is private sins are confessed privately. Public sins, publicly. Except in the case of elders (pastors). We simply informed the church that both spouses of the two involved in the sin were part of the restoration and reconciliation process.

(2). The HS worked in both lives.

(3). We did not share details of the sin because the focus was on the pastor's brokenness. Any details would have put the focus on the particulars of the sin, and as in the case even in this comment section, people begin to debate the degree of sin rather than the work of grace in God restoring the sinner.

(4). No women were under suspicion because our church was focused on the pastor, not gossip.

(5). If people were told both faithful spouses were involved in the restoration, then if you are sitting in the auditorium with your spouse and don't know details, YOU KNOW YOUR SPOUSE IS NOT INVOLVED.

(6). The custoidial job was the only job where the employer was not expecting long term commitment. Remeber, it was a six month period of secular employment.

(7). ? A cult? Rex, I was on a task force investigating crimes that were occultic or cultic --I can assure you if you think this process looks like it comes from "a cult," you don't have a clue what a cult is.

(8). We messed up? How in the world would you know? Have you talked to the people involved? Of course not.

Rex, with more comments like the one you've given tonight, I'm beginning to be very, very thankful you are not a member of my church.

You seem to be a little caustic and crankly. But then again, you might just be having a bad day.


Wade

New BBC Open Forum said...

If people were told both faithful spouses were involved in the restoration, then if you are sitting in the auditorium with your spouse and don't know details, YOU KNOW YOUR SPOUSE IS NOT INVOLVED.

But you didn't say that. Your dad did. :-)

I never suggested nor believe that the details should have been shared with the congregation, simply that not clarifying what it was not left people to their own imaginations.

I still think you handled this situation much better than many pastors who've been faced with similar situations.

Richard said...

Many pastors are champions in privacy violations.

They forget the privacy of the believer-priesthood as affirmed in 1 Pet 2:9. “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood. . .”

Pastors forget that:

1. Our Lord dwelt with the disciples privately as “family business.” Mt 17:19, 24:3; Mk 4:34, 9:28, 13:3; Lk 10:23.

2. When a person sins, his privacy is still to be respected, Mt 18:15.

3. The functioning of the royal priesthood is predicated on the privacy. Col 3:17, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus. . .”

4. No believer has the right to intrude into the privacy of another. In Jn 21:21-22, our Lord told Peter to mind his own business.

5. Violation of privacy means judging others, Rom 14:4, 10.

6. Privacy includes the principle of live and let live, 2 Thes 3:11-12. “For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life. . . busybodies [violators of privacy]. . . . we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to . . . mind their own business.”

7. The arrogant believer violates the privacy of others, 1 Tim 5:13. “. . . they learn to be idle . . . but also gossips, intruders of privacy, constantly saying those things which ought not to be mentioned.”

8. Warning to privacy violators, 1 Pet 4:15, “By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler [one who violates the privacy of others].”

9. In the above text, privacy violation is compared to stealing and murder.

Wade Burleson said...

New BBC,

My dad wrote:

"I would assume that would probably have been thought of by those with responsibility for helping the congregation through the rough seas of repentence and restoration."

He assumed correctly.

:)

New BBC Open Forum said...

Wade,

Glad to hear it. I've learned assuming tends to sometimes make... well... you know. So I could only go by what you actually wrote.

Paul Burleson said...

BBC,

I totally concur with your idea that to assume makes...well you know. I guess when making assumptions, if ever, you'd better hope you know the real character of those who are the basis of the assumption. In this case I do/did.

But generally your statement is very wise from my personal experience. Especially when you know someone only from a distance. I will admit I often act in accordance with my 'Optimism Principle' [As I heard one describe it.] which states, "When in doubt, assume the best." [You know what that's based on I'm sure.] I've found if I'm not careful the pain I've experienced from the actions of others can/may rob me of that 'optimism princile' but when I remember what God has had to forgive in me It's reinforced a bit. [You can tell I struggle with not wanting to be naive but wanting to think the best. Oh well..struggle is good I suppose.] :)

Gene Scarborough said...

I am interested that Rex Ray and I would be thought to be identical. That would be a dirty trick and neither of us is a dirty trickster!

As a Pastor I seemed to be sent to churches with major problems requiring one with a steady nerve and biblical basis of ministry. Let me share another situation of immorality I faced.

This one involved, of all things, a quiet little country church where I reasoned, "Let's just have a good time where country people get along---NOT!

In this case a prominent male leader in his 40's began a affair with another prominent family's teenage daughter. Actually, she was the seductress and he was a stupid male thinking with the "wrong head."

It blew up one Sunday afternoon at a lake house. I got a call from the girl's brother that I was needed badly and he couldn't say more. I picked up one of our mature women with a relationship to both parties.

As we journeyed to the lake house neither of us could imagine what had happened. Suspicions were brought to the front up there by the girl's older sister who bluntly called her the "w" word. We came on a scene of deeply hidden sinfulness / a father of the girl wanting to shoot the man and carrying a gun in his truck / a wife humiliated by the stupidity of her husband. On top of that the Mother of the girl played the organ and the wife of the man played beautifully with her on the piano.

Yeah--it's the musicians again creating havok!!!

I was faced with dealing with each family separately and the 2 sinful ones wanting to talk together with me. Daddy didn't like the idea, but I assured him it would be a time of confronting reality with these 2.

They were so in lust that nothing I said made any difference. They could care less whom they had hurt and were not interested in confessing anything!

I was in a serious dilemma in a church which could blow apart because of family connections and people taking sides as they heard the story. The Deacons were sitting on their hands offering no help.

I called a female minister at an ajoining church to discuss with her my biblical approach of bringing them both before the church / giving them a chance to ask forgiveness / if not, cast them out!

The female minister gave me a more loving suggestion:

I tried her approach and at the end of the next service asked each member to choose a family to visit right now before going home. To offer to them whatever comfort and love they could, and pray with them.

To make a long story short--it worked! The problem and hurt feelings took several years to ease, but finally the pianist and organist played together again!

I believe the Holy Spirit was working in a powerful way. My female cohort had a better idea, even if it wasn't totally and simply biblical as Paul taught it.

It was totally biblical as Jesus said, "Love and forgive."

God handles "hot potatoes" when we can't and I affirm his work in this small church to bring peace out of chaos!

Gene Scarborough said...

I am interested that Rex Ray and I would be thought to be identical. That would be a dirty trick and neither of us is a dirty trickster!

As a Pastor I seemed to be sent to churches with major problems requiring one with a steady nerve and biblical basis of ministry. Let me share another situation of immorality I faced.

This one involved, of all things, a quiet little country church where I reasoned, "Let's just have a good time where country people get along---NOT!

In this case a prominent male leader in his 40's began a affair with another prominent family's teenage daughter. Actually, she was the seductress and he was a stupid male thinking with the "wrong head."

It blew up one Sunday afternoon at a lake house. I got a call from the girl's brother that I was needed badly and he couldn't say more. I picked up one of our mature women with a relationship to both parties.

As we journeyed to the lake house neither of us could imagine what had happened. Suspicions were brought to the front up there by the girl's older sister who bluntly called her the "w" word. We came on a scene of deeply hidden sinfulness / a father of the girl wanting to shoot the man and carrying a gun in his truck / a wife humiliated by the stupidity of her husband. On top of that the Mother of the girl played the organ and the wife of the man played beautifully with her on the piano.

Yeah--it's the musicians again creating havok!!!

I was faced with dealing with each family separately and the 2 sinful ones wanting to talk together with me. Daddy didn't like the idea, but I assured him it would be a time of confronting reality with these 2.

They were so in lust that nothing I said made any difference. They could care less whom they had hurt and were not interested in confessing anything!

I was in a serious dilemma in a church which could blow apart because of family connections and people taking sides as they heard the story. The Deacons were sitting on their hands offering no help.

I called a female minister at an ajoining church to discuss with her my biblical approach of bringing them both before the church / giving them a chance to ask forgiveness / if not, cast them out!

The female minister gave me a more loving suggestion:

I tried her approach and at the end of the next service asked each member to choose a family to visit right now before going home. To offer to them whatever comfort and love they could, and pray with them.

To make a long story short--it worked! The problem and hurt feelings took several years to ease, but finally the pianist and organist played together again!

I believe the Holy Spirit was working in a powerful way. My female cohort had a better idea, even if it wasn't totally and simply biblical as Paul taught it.

It was totally biblical as Jesus said, "Love and forgive."

God handles "hot potatoes" when we can't and I affirm his work in this small church to bring peace out of chaos!

Gene Scarborough said...

I am interested that Rex Ray and I would be thought to be identical. That would be a dirty trick and neither of us is a dirty trickster!

As a Pastor I seemed to be sent to churches with major problems requiring one with a steady nerve and biblical basis of ministry. Let me share another situation of immorality I faced.

This one involved, of all things, a quiet little country church where I reasoned, "Let's just have a good time where country people get along---NOT!

In this case a prominent male leader in his 40's began a affair with another prominent family's teenage daughter. Actually, she was the seductress and he was a stupid male thinking with the "wrong head."

It blew up one Sunday afternoon at a lake house. I got a call from the girl's brother that I was needed badly and he couldn't say more. I picked up one of our mature women with a relationship to both parties.

As we journeyed to the lake house neither of us could imagine what had happened. Suspicions were brought to the front up there by the girl's older sister who bluntly called her the "w" word. We came on a scene of deeply hidden sinfulness / a father of the girl wanting to shoot the man and carrying a gun in his truck / a wife humiliated by the stupidity of her husband. On top of that the Mother of the girl played the organ and the wife of the man played beautifully with her on the piano.

Yeah--it's the musicians again creating havok!!!

I was faced with dealing with each family separately and the 2 sinful ones wanting to talk together with me. Daddy didn't like the idea, but I assured him it would be a time of confronting reality with these 2.

They were so in lust that nothing I said made any difference. They could care less whom they had hurt and were not interested in confessing anything!

I was in a serious dilemma in a church which could blow apart because of family connections and people taking sides as they heard the story. The Deacons were sitting on their hands offering no help.

I called a female minister at an ajoining church to discuss with her my biblical approach of bringing them both before the church / giving them a chance to ask forgiveness / if not, cast them out!

The female minister gave me a more loving suggestion:

I tried her approach and at the end of the next service asked each member to choose a family to visit right now before going home. To offer to them whatever comfort and love they could, and pray with them.

To make a long story short--it worked! The problem and hurt feelings took several years to ease, but finally the pianist and organist played together again!

I believe the Holy Spirit was working in a powerful way. My female cohort had a better idea, even if it wasn't totally and simply biblical as Paul taught it.

It was totally biblical as Jesus said, "Love and forgive."

God handles "hot potatoes" when we can't and I affirm his work in this small church to bring peace out of chaos!

Richard said...

Gene Scarborough,

I have seen unbelievers solved their problems in the same fashion; using the same principle: "Love and forgive."

Just simple people, not pastors with degrees. They did it because they have the same principle in their own SOULS. And they solved identical problems without pastors' help.

Pastors tend to think they are big shots, but actually they are mistaken.

Problems must be solved from the principles in their own SOULS; NOT by pastors OUTSIDE. It is just temporary and shallow.

Pastors just teach doctrines NOT solving peoples' problems. People with doctrine in the soul solve their own problems.

RRR said...

Scott said...
"I'm just going to state that I'm tired of people using using scripture to justify any and all positions. Heck, BOTH sides are throwing scripture around like it's Mardi Gras"

Yeah, Scott! What in the world are we thinking??!!! Using the Word of God as a source for instruction! Maybe Oprah can give us some guidance!

Richard said...
"I think the red thread in all these posts is that most people, even those who know a lot about the Bible do not want to be accountable to nobody"

Duh...what did he say?

I think that it ain't time to not change this train of conversation or not.

Richard said...

RRR,

God always solves problems by principle of doctrine in one's soul = applying Bible doctrine. It must be done by the individual himself/herself. From inside the soul. NOT BY COUNSELING FROM OTHER SOULS OUTSIDE.

God always solves problems on the basis of Bible doctrine in the SOUL. And not by PASTORS OUTSIDE the soul.

What is needes is ACCURATE teaching and PERTINENT APPLICATION of doctrine.

So, pastors are to TEACH and people solve their own problems based on doctrine in their souls.

Doctrine is important, NOT the pastor. Pastors can die and people continue to solve their own problems.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
I realized I’m debating a man that’s never admitted he was wrong as far as I know on his blog.

With that in mind lets go back to your first reply to me saying “Rex, I think most of your questions are answered in the post.”

My question #1:
“If this ‘walk’ was so great that improved his life, why was the woman cheated from the same walk?”

Your answer:
(1). “The woman was not cheated in the process at all. The rule of thumb in our church is private sins are confessed privately. Public sins, publicly. Except in the case of elders (pastors). We simply informed the church that both spouses of the two involved in the sin were part of the restoration and reconciliation process.”


Your first sentence denies she was cheated. But you gave no explanation other than your belief.
Your next two excellent sentences deal with my question (7) in asking “What happened to that rule?”
Your “Except in the case of elders (pastors)” would be a sin as pointed out in the excellent comment by Richard. I’ll add another question: Since it’s a sin to NOT keep private what should remain private, why is it NOT a sin to sin against a pastor? (And him being held to a higher degree of accountability is NOT the answer.)
Your last sentence deals with my questions (4) and (5) about who was the guilty woman, but as New BBC pointed out - none of your reply comment came from your post. – so how were we to know?

My question #2:
“Do you think the Holy Spirit convicted him more than He did the woman?”

Your answer:
(2). “The HS worked in both lives.”

If you don’t want to answer the question, that’s your business, but in case you don’t understand what I was asking, I’ll rephrase: Who was the ‘most’ guilty? Was the pastor perused as the wife of the king with Joseph, or the other way around?


My question # 3:
“3. Why were the facts NOT reported instead of letting people think the worse?”

Your answer:
(3). “We did not share details of the sin because the focus was on the pastor's brokenness. Any details would have put the focus on the particulars of the sin, and as in the case even in this comment section, people begin to debate the degree of sin rather than the work of grace in God restoring the sinner.”


Hypothetical: ‘Brothers, we want special prayer for Wade. He has admitted to falling short of the mark in his office this morning. We’re not sharing details because we want to focus on his brokenness; so we will not debate the degree of his sin.’ (You had spit at the wastebasket and missed.)
Ridiculous, you say? I agree, and I believe it’s the same as your answer.


My question #4:
“How many women in your church were under ‘suspicion?”

Your answer:
(4). No women were under suspicion because our church was focused on the pastor, not gossip.

You gave a better answer in your (1).


My question #5:
“Were there any that were not believed by their husbands?”

Your answer:
(5). “If people were told both faithful spouses were involved in the restoration, then if you are sitting in the auditorium with your spouse and don't know details, YOU KNOW YOUR SPOUSE IS NOT INVOLVED.”

This is the same good answer you gave in (1) that was NOT mentioned in your post.


My question #6:
“If a person rededicates their life, do you required specific sins?”

I guess you forgot to answer this one.

My last question of my first comment #7:
“I thought not long ago this bog’s rule of thumb was if a sin was known publicly then a public confession was required. And if a sin was private, it was to be confessed in private to those involved. What happened to that ‘rule’?”

Your good answer was in your (1).

Got to leave as we are killing bugs with fog spray, so I’ll finish this comment later.

Tom Kelley said...

Rex,
Good luck getting rid of the bugs!

It seems to me that Wade has related an account of grace, healing and restoration with a win-win-win outcome, yet you seek cause to dissect and criticize it. Why the focus on rules and laws of what should have been done, when there is never going to be a perfect solution to dealing with the problems caused by sin? Wade and his church violated no clear and specific scriptural commands, and they sought to apply biblical basic principles of love and grace, yet that doesn't seem good enough for you and others.

It would probably save some time for you to just relate what you think should have been done, and be done with it. Opinions are like noses, ya know...

-----
Tom

Scott said...

RRR,

I can tell you missed my point that BOTH sides of the argument were using scripture to justify their own positions.

I was raised that God doesn't work against himself yet both sides are settled in on their stances with scripture thrown around to justify their positions.

I'm just growing tired of these debates becoming nothing more than a race to claim scripture, shoehorn into your stance, and then shout down any who would disagree or offer a differing perspective.

Jon L. Estes said...

Tom,

Would you think that even public sins need to addressed on the opportunity for restoration and not the specifics of the sin?

If so, would you agree that most conversation from Christian bloggers are focused on the specifics of the son and not restoration?

If not, why not?

Thy Peace said...

All the below posts are from CRBC Pastoral Blog [Tom Chantry]:

Encountering Charles Finney

Charles Finney’s Stepchildren

…and Finney begat Caner…

Banishing Finney

The nefarious effect of this crass substitution of the evangelist for the Spirit has all but killed Christian witness in our day. Whereas Christians once proclaimed a Triune, saving God, today's evangelicals become confused as to why the Trinity matters. Once Christians understood that salvation is all about the Father who ordains redemption, the Son who accomplishes it, and the Spirit who applies. Today we say instead that Jesus saves, so long as the preacher can talk you (or trick you) into letting Him do it. If therefore we would have revival, we must have preachers who, like Finney, can produce extraordinary conversion counts.

Anonymous said...

I'm just wondering if you guys spend as much time pastoring your churches as you do writing these endless and long posts. Perhaps your people would be better served if you got back to what God called you to do.

Tom Chantry said...

Anon,

You mean, like, commenting anonymously on other people's blogs?

I love this particular brand of comment. It reminds me of a guy who walks into a strip club, looks around, shakes his head angrily, and mutters, "What a bunch of perverts!"

Jon L. Estes said...

Tom Chantry,

Great comment. As a pastor coming to these blogs and reading all the anti-church and anti-pastor comments reminds me how great my people are.

Tom Kelley said...

Jon Estes,
Any sin that becomes known to another ought to be addressed with a goal of forgiveness, healing, and restoration, where possible. The nature and some level of detail of the sins may be relevant to how they are addressed, but the focus ought not to be on salacious details.

I cannot speak to the conversations of most Christian bloggers on any specific sin or on sin in general, as I don't read most of what is written by Christian bloggers. But, based on what I have read, if it is representative, I would say that it is not uncommon for people to speak to whatever specifics they know about the sins, and restoration may not be their primary focus.

However, repentance is necessary to restoration, and public repentance, and evidence of it, is particularly necessary to restoration when the sins are of a public nature. Therefore it is good and proper in such cases for calls to repentance to be public as well. It is my opinion that it is also good and proper for believers to discuss such things openly, whether the sinner is present or hears/reads those calls to repentance or not. The world is watching, and may see the reality and sincerity of our faith and our commitment to the standards of the morality we profess. Also, other believers who are undergoing similar temptations and struggles may take note and be encouraged and strengthened not to fall into the same sins. No man sins in isolation and without impacts to others, particularly to other members of the family of God. A wound to one member is a wound to the whole body.

Light disinfects inflicted wounds, truth binds them up, and grace heals them. Believers ought not to be afraid of light, truth and grace.

-----
Tom

Jon L. Estes said...

Tom,

Herein lies the problem. Why would anyone want to respond to the call for repentance and restoration when those making the call are also the ones listing the sins and writing thesis' on public blogs about the evils of said sins.

I'll agree that some among the bunch have shown grace but the guilty by association problem arises in this scenario.

I just don't think throwing stones at someone (with glee) will give them an ear when it comes time to be heard on the subject of repentance and restoration. Thus, the blog sites that major on the ugliness of the sin will be ignored, and ought to be.

Richard said...

Tom Kelley,

Do you see the havoc in the church should your prescription be followed?

I deem that pastors have no business taking peoples' sins to the public. Instead pastors should protect his peoples' privacy.

That nobody should come to church fearing gossip, judging, maligning, etc. Every member's privacy and objectivity must be protected.

Your concept of "public repentance" must be reconsidered. It can deceive many pastors; if it is not explicitly mandated in Scripture.

At this point I would say: just consider your point of view as private opinion, and NOT biblical mandate for pastors.

I consider the concept of public repentance is extra biblical.

Anonymous said...

Tom,

Since I'm not a pastor and therefore not one of the perverts, I can comment on the inordinate amount of time and space being taken up by pastors. We do have the right to observe don't we?

Tom Kelley said...

Richard,
It is simply my opinion, not a biblical mandate. Nor is it a biblical mandate that one must privately and personally confront sin before addressing it publicly Jon's opinion). But I consider my opinion to be more consistent with biblical principle than Jon's, which is why I hold it.

It's probably true that the behaviors I propose would cause a lot of problems in a lot of churches. But I believe that's because so many churches are not functioning anything like the body of Christ as described in Scripture. But for a church that is functioning biblically (as a family of believers who are follow Peter's admonition to "love one another deeply, from the heart"), I believe openness and transparency would be the normal and welcome expectation, and a very healthy and restorative response.

You consider the concept of public repentance extra-biblical. I consider the concept of private repentance for publicly known sin nonsensical. The phrase "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance" comes to mind, along with several similar admonitions to those who would forsake themselves and seek the kingdom of God.

-----
Tom

Tom Kelley said...

Jon,
I would hope that anyone who has the indwelling Holy Spirit would want to respond to calls to repentance, regardless of the imperfections of those making the call or their means of doing so. (I would hope that you don't rely on the degree of holiness of your own life to make your sermons effectual in the lives of your hearers.)

Certainly there may be some who throw stones with glee. Since your comments of this string began with your criticism of Wade's posts about Caner, perhaps you are claiming that Wade's comments constitute throwing stones, and perhaps you are claiming to have insight into his heart to know that he is gleeful about it. I hope that's not what you're saying, because you do not have any solid support for such claims.

-----
Tom

Lydia said...

Here is what I do not understand.
Today, pastors basically function as elders so when this sort of thing happens how can they be above 'reproach' to the outside for those functions in the Body?

After all, they did this while professing Christ in a leadership function. Any comments on why the "above reproach to the outside' in 1 Tim 3 and restoring folks to leadership after something like this?

CB Scott said...

Gene Scarborough,

You stated:

"In this case a prominent male leader in his 40's began a affair with another prominent family's teenage daughter. Actually, she was the seductress and he was a stupid male thinking with the "wrong head."

In North Carolina it is a legal obligation for a pastor to immediately inform Law Enforcement if you become aware of the sexual abuse of a minor by an adult.

In your story you make not mention of doing so. If you did not, you have joined a group of Southern Baptist pastors and ministers who have caused serious damage to many people by not taking the necessary and proper steps to deal with sexual abuse in the church.

It amazes me that no other person on this comment thread has questioned you relating to this breech of proper pastoral conduct before now.

Richard said...

Hi Tom,

I understand your burden here.

From Lydia's comment it seems that more is expected of pastors than mandated in Scripture (e.g, Eps4:11-16). It is simply: pastors teach Bible doctrine and the application is a private matter between the individual and the Lord.

So, pastors are NOT spiritual bullies.

Believers who sin we always have till the resurrection day. But this should not change a pastor's calling.

So, the ROLE of a pastor must be narrowed as narrow as what the Bible teaches.

I consider it in a very simple way:

Every believer is indwelled by the Holy Spirit (Eps1:13;etc).

But NOT every believer is filled by the Spirit (Eps5:18)

Holy Spirit works by means of Bible doctrine stored in the soul (Gal5:16).

Parents do not interfere in their adult childrens' affairs--their walk.

To make it sound extreme: church members' walk are NONE of the pastors' business. Providing the pastor has fully discharged his duty of equipping.

Every problem in life has a solution stated in the Word of God.

But believers who IGNORE & REJECT Bible teaching CAN NOT apply Bible to experience.

A person can ONLY apply doctrine residing in his/soul. A believer CANNOT apply doctrine in/from a pastor's soul.

So, counseling a person who consistently IGNORE & REJECT Bible teaching is a temporary band-aid comfort--not a personal and permanent solution. Not squared with Bible teaching.

Based on the inspired Scripture (2Tim3:16-17) there is no such thing as a problem in life that does not have a solution in the Word of God. Providing the believer is willing to learn all the biblical problem solving instruments.

I see believers who IGNORE & REJECT Bible doctrine can't apply Bible teaching. They are called:
The enemy of God, Jas 4:4. The enemy of the cross, Phil 3:18. Hater of God, Jn 15:23. “double-minded,” Jas 4:8. against/anti Christ, 1 Jn 2:18,22, 4:3; 2 Jn 7.
Disciple of the devil, 1 Jn 3:8,10.

Pastors' duty is to 'plant' Bible teaching in believers' soul. The application is a matter of privacy--between the believer and the Lord. NO RECEPTION OF TEACHING = NO APPLICATION OF TEACHING.

Sometimes pastors and counsellors are trying hard to become spiritual bullies bullying people against their volitional wills.

Pastors and counsellors are not supposed to bully empty souls to apply Bible teaching that they [pst and counsellors] have in their souls.

It looks noble, sounds good, and making the pastor a nice guy; but it is NOT his main thing to do.

I want to see the day when pastors quit meddling in people's lives--no longer needed by the members [having souls filled with doctrines to apply when needed].

The day in which members are equipped with doctrine to the maximum.

Richard said...

Hi Tom,

I understand your burden here.

From Lydia's comment it seems that more is expected of pastors than mandated in Scripture (e.g, Eps4:11-16). Pastors are teachers, NOT spiritual bullies.

Believers who sin we always have till the resurrection day. But this should not change a pastor's calling.

So, the ROLE of a pastor must be narrowed as narrow as what the Bible teaches.

I consider it in a very simple way:

Every believer is indwelled by the Holy Spirit (Eps1:13;etc).

But NOT every believer is filled by the Spirit (Eps5:18)

Holy Spirit works by means of Bible doctrine stored in the soul (Gal5:16).

Parents do not interfere in their adult childrens' affairs--their walk.

To make it sound extreme: church members' walk are NONE of the pastors' business. Providing the pastor has fully discharged his duty of equipping.

Every problem in life has a solution stated in the Word of God.

But believers who IGNORE & REJECT Bible teaching CAN NOT apply Bible to experience.

A person can ONLY apply doctrine residing in his/soul. A believer CANNOT apply doctrine in/from a pastor's soul.

So, counseling a person who consistently IGNORE & REJECT Bible teaching is a temporary band-aid comfort--not a personal and permanent solution. Not squared with Bible teaching.

Based on the inspired Scripture (2Tim3:16-17) there is no such thing as a problem in life that does not have a solution in the Word of God. Providing the believer is willing to learn all the biblical problem solving instruments.

I see believers who IGNORE & REJECT Bible doctrine can't apply Bible teaching. They are called:
The enemy of God, Jas 4:4. The enemy of the cross, Phil 3:18. Hater of God, Jn 15:23. “double-minded,” Jas 4:8. against/anti Christ, 1 Jn 2:18,22, 4:3; 2 Jn 7.
Disciple of the devil, 1 Jn 3:8,10.

Pastors' duty is to 'plant' Bible teaching in believers' soul. The application is a matter of privacy--between the believer and the Lord. NO RECEPTION OF TEACHING = NO APPLICATION OF TEACHING.

Sometimes pastors and counsellors are trying hard to become spiritual bullies bullying people against their volitional wills.

Pastors and counsellors are not supposed to bully empty souls to apply Bible teaching that they [pst and counsellors] have in their souls.

It looks noble, sounds good, and making the pastor a nice guy; but it is NOT his main thing to do.

I want to see the day when pastors quit meddling in people's lives--no longer needed by the members [having souls filled with doctrines to apply when needed].

The day in which members are equipped with doctrine to the maximum.

Richard said...

Hi Tom,

I understand your burden here.

From Lydia's comment it seems that more is expected of pastors than mandated in Scripture (e.g, Eps4:11-16).

Pastors are NOT spiritual bullies, they are teachers.

I see it simply:

Every believer is indwelled by the Holy Spirit (Eps1:13;etc).

But NOT every believer is filled by the Spirit (Eps5:18)

Holy Spirit works by means of Bible doctrine stored in the soul (Gal5:16).

Parents do not interfere in their adult childrens' affairs--their walk.

To make it sound extreme: church members' walk are NONE of the pastors' business.

Believers who IGNORE & REJECT Bible teaching CAN NOT apply Bible to experience.

A person can ONLY apply doctrine residing in his/soul. A believer CANNOT apply doctrine in/from a pastor's soul.

So, counseling a person who consistently IGNORE & REJECT Bible teaching is a temporary band-aid comfort--not a personal and permanent solution.

I see believers who IGNORE & REJECT Bible doctrine can't apply Bible teaching.

Pastors' duty is to 'plant' Bible teaching in believers' soul. The application is a matter of privacy--between the believer and the Lord. NO RECEPTION OF TEACHING = NO APPLICATION OF TEACHING.

Sometimes pastors and counsellors are trying hard to become spiritual bullies bullying people against their volitional wills.

Pastors and counsellors are not supposed to bully empty souls to apply Bible teaching that they [pst and counsellors] have in their souls.

It looks noble, sounds good, and making the pastor a nice guy; but it is NOT his main thing to do.

I want to see a day when pastors quit meddling in people's lives--no longer needed by the members [having souls filled with doctrines to apply as needed].

The day the members are equipped with doctrine to the max.

Lydia said...

It amazes me that no other person on this comment thread has questioned you relating to this breech of proper pastoral conduct before now.

Fri Jul 02, 08:52:00 PM 2010

I'm slipping. :o) But don't always read all the comments each time. I usually skip over Gene's because of all the monkey metaphors. Sorry Gene. :o)

But your are right, CB. This one should have gone to the authorities if she was a teen.

Richard said...

I am very sorry it got posted several times. Twice rejected for length but actually all went through.

Elisabeth said...

CB Scott,
I agree with you about what you said to Gene.

And Gene,
When I read that I was thinking a few things:
1. I really hope she was at least 18.
2. Saying she was the seductress and he was just a stupid male and thinking with the 'wrong head' is one of the most incredibly sexist things I've heard in a long time, and also putting more of the blame on the girl, which is wrong.
and
3. Even if she was of legal age, for a "relationship" between a church leader so much older than the young lady to form, generally the guy does at least some power play, if not downright preying upon her innocence. This is abuse, not true consent.

CB was right. You did not take the necessary steps to deal with sexual abuse within the church.
CB was right. Attitudes like this

Thy Peace said...

Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog [James White] > The Caner Scandal Becomes the Evangelical Cover-Up

I well know that the cost is escalating here, but again, I have no choice. Yes, the world is watching, and I hope they see that some evangelicals are still willing to pay a price for truth and consistency without retreating into pious platitudes. Yes, the Muslim apologetic community is watching, and at least some well know the truth of this situation. And ironically, may I point out that heaven itself is watching, and it is in that Court of Final Arbitration that I place my final appeal and trust. What will history say about all of this? I don't know, but I cannot stand before any audience and proclaim myself a follower of truth if I can so easily sell my commitment to it for the price of popularity and political ease. May the Lord of truth, the King of righteousness, send forth His Spirit to convict of sin, to bring true confession, and to bring glory to the name of Jesus Christ.

Tom Kelley said...

Lydia said...
Here is what I do not understand.
Today, pastors basically function as elders so when this sort of thing happens how can they be above 'reproach' to the outside for those functions in the Body?
After all, they did this while professing Christ in a leadership function. Any comments on why the "above reproach to the outside' in 1 Tim 3 and restoring folks to leadership after something like this?


These are good questions and deserve solemn consideration and scrutiny by any church faced with a situation of this sort, and by the pastor who has sinned like this.

One of the difficulties is the somewhat subjective nature of what it means to be "above reproach" (since any sin could be a source of reproach in someone's eyes, and no human is sinless), and how to define "having a good reputation with outsiders" (since there are some outsiders who will never have a positive opinion of any Christian minister, due to their own biases against Christianity). But these things must be wrestled with, and some form of consensus reached, at least within the congregation most directly impacted by the sin.

I'm not sure that there are cut and dried answers, a on-size-fits-all approach, but it is bothersome that it is too often assumed that restoration to a position of leadership is a given. This ought not be the case.

As always, Lydia, you bring up good thoughts to consider.

-----
Tom

Tom Kelley said...

Elisabeth,
Your post at Fri Jul 02, 09:50:00 PM 2010 was exactly what I was thinking to say, until I saw you'd already said it so well.
-----
Tom

Tom Kelley said...

Richard,
Thanks for your reply. I see where you are coming from now. (Perhaps it became clear when I read your comments for the third time. Hahaha. I've had it tell me it didn't post when it did, too -- and that it did when it didn't. Gotta love technology!)

You said:
Sometimes pastors and counsellors are trying hard to become spiritual bullies bullying people against their volitional wills.

So very true.

-----
Tom

Rex Ray said...

Scott,
You said you were tired of people using Scripture to justify their positions.

What you do about that is get use to it because it’s been going on since Bible times. For instance Paul and James used Abraham to make their points:

“Don’t you remember that even our father Abraham was declared good because of what he did…his faith was made complete by what he did, by his actions, his good deeds. So you see, a man is saved by what he does, as well as by what he believes. (James 21-24 Living)

“But didn’t he [Abraham] earn his right to heaven by all the good things he did? No, for being saved is a gift…For God declares sinners to be good in his sight if they have faith in Christ to save them from God’s wrath.” (Romans 4: 4-5 Living)

I believe James saying “Faith without works is dead” is completely wrong - he should have said, ‘Belief without works is dead’ because God doesn’t give junk or something dead.


CB Scott and Lydia,

Until my ‘friend’, Gene, tells the age of the girl; cannot a teenager be 18 or 19? If she was younger than that, then I’m afraid he was thinking with his heart and not his head.

I agree, Lydia, that monkey up a tree gets a little old. :)

CB, you said: “It amazes me that no other person…”

Well, it amazes me that no other person has jumped on Wade for breaking God’s laws that Richard quoted in his comment on Friday July 2, 2:31 AM.

I asked the question: “Since it’s a sin to NOT keep private what should remain private, why is it NOT a sin to sin against a pastor? (And him being held to a higher degree of accountability is NOT the answer.”

Anonymous said...

Reading these comments reminds me of "Groundhog Day."

RRR said...

Scott,

I don't know if you're continuing to read this stream or not.

I understand your frustration with folks using Scripture as a basis for their position. But we have to have a ruler, a standard, or measure, with which to compare the truth from deceit and falsehood.

I'm sure that the problem lies in all of our limitations to know exactly how to apply God's Word to specific issues and situations. I'm sure that I adopt a position on certain issues and I try to support it with Scripture but those who have a different position will do the same. The reality as I see it is that there are so many things that we will just not know for certain until we're in the fullness of God's glory. Until then, we do the best we can to obey and serve based upon His Word.

But I hope that we don't take this as a limitation of God's Word but rather on our ability to apply it. I imagine that you and I would find that we see things the same way if we had the opportunity to sit and talk about things.

RRR said...

Richard,

I'm sorry, brother. I just don't get what you're saying. But that's okay, please don't try to explain it further. I'm sure it's just me.

Richard said...

RRR,

My emphasis is: ONLY Scripture in one's soul is God's instrument to solve problems. Pastors ARE NOT problem solver.

Each one must apply Scripture planted already in the soul.


No Scripture in one's soul and no volitional will there is NO solution.

1000 counsellors and pastors can only bully; but one person with doctrine in the soul CAN solve his/her problem.

It is just me.

Rex Ray said...

Richard,
This thread of comments ranges mostly ‘off topic’ (Caner), but you keep hitting the nail on the head in bringing out that pastors violate priesthood of the believer when they “bully” with their counseling - private matters that should stay private.

My father said his chaplain training covered counseling; and when a soldier presented a problem for the chaplain to keep his ears open because the soldier would also reveal the solution.

It makes me wonder if Wade had his ears ‘open’ when the lady was presenting her problem a year after the fact. What ‘solution’ did she present? Did she want the pastor fired?

To quote Wade on his post, he said; “Right then and there I had a decision to make.”

No, Wade, only CEO’s, dictators, and cults make decisions on the spot. You had the option of presenting the problem to the deacons and pastors for their views.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

I'm confident you feel you would have handled the situation better than I. I am also just as ocnfident what you criticize has been a wonderful process of healing for many.

Blessings,

Wade

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
On our church bulletin board is how your father’s church makes decisions. I believe the key thing he said was:

“I also believe the end is never MORE important than the means. I also believe that leaders can be right/wrong. The congregation can be right/wrong. The deacons can be right/wrong. But who's right and whose wrong is not THE MAIN ISSUE for me. All being loved, valued, communicated to, being able to communicate with leaders and all being led to find/follow and love the Lord is the REAL ISSUE. Whatever is decided will pale into insignificance to all that.”

Wade, I believe you still don’t understand what I’m saying since these words are revealing:

“Rex, I'm confident you feel you would have handled the situation better than I.”

You say ‘I handled the situation’ whereas I believe if you had talked it over with others, you would have said ‘WE handled the situation’.

Did you ask the pastor if he had a clear conscious with the Holy Spirit? If you didn’t, it seems you became his Holy Spirit.

Also WHY did MANY have to be healed when it started with only TWO?

I mentioned “cult” because what you had the pastor do; I believe it would have been easier for him to drink Kool Aid.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex Ray,

The pastor involved not only desired the process, he believed it was the process outlined in Scripture (as do I). When you are looking to a standard other than peoples' opinions, you have clear direction, even when folks disagree.

Bart Barber said...

Wade,

The following comment is not related at all to Ergun Caner. I keep the name of the person confidential for my own reasons.

Are you saying that it is always the obligation of the Christian, upon knowing that another Christian has made public statements that are false, to reveal the falsehood publicly and to press for public apology? I have had occasions in my life when others—not friends or "allies" but even people with whom I've engaged in contrarian debate—have made false public statements and I have deliberately foregone any seeking of public correction. I have done so for several reasons: (1) As an attempt to extend to others the mercy that Christ has extended to me, (2) In order to beware the possibility that my own sinful motivations might be pushing me to unholy retribution, and (3) Out of the realization that even those who see things differently than I do are people with a family, a ministry to a local church, etc.

Is it your position that I am wrong for keeping such things private?

Wade Burleson said...

Bart,

You ask,

"Are you saying that it is always the obligation of the Christian, upon knowing that another Christian has made public statements that are false, to reveal the falsehood publicly and to press for public apology?"

I believe that if public falsehoods are stated then a public apology is warranted. It would be best for the one who who spoke the falsehood publicly to be confronted privately, and the repentance be made public. However, the "tell it to the church" statement of Jesus, seems to me to imply that if private urgings to repent are resisted, it is mandated by Christ that the confrontation be public.

Christiane said...

I am wondering this:

did anyone ever consider the consequences to the families of our Islamic citizens (husbands, wives, children and babies) of all of the 'Islamophobia' being promoted by so-called 'Christian' people?

Any response that 'all they are doing is trying to convert Muslims to Christ' is pure bologna. Why?
Because it involves high-profile 'Christian' speakers preaching intolerance to their base: other Christians, who lap it up.

Result: the seeds of that intolerance are planted in the young of those 'Christians' and they have acted out against innocent Islamic children in schools and in neighborhoods.

So, if families are being considered (and they should be), lets start with the victims of intolerance.
And ask: is it a great sin to sow hatred and intolerance among people and claim that it is a 'Christian' teaching? Is it a great sin to mock minorities and women and serve this up as entertainment to people in a 'Christian' audience?

I'm all for protecting families, but if someone has behaved in unconscionable ways that cause harm to innocent people, and they are confronted, and their supporters cry 'foul' 'this could hurt their families';
maybe the Christian care for ALL families in the beginning would have been more integral to the honorable service of Our Lord.

Just some thoughts.
the time to think about families is a little bit delayed.

Islamophobes are hate-mongers and spread intolerance. Those who support them and their efforts are also responsible for the harm that WILL come to the innocent targets.

Very sad, this.

Rex Ray said...

Bart Barber,
I first thought you were going to comment on ‘topic’, when you said, “The following comment is not related at all to Ergun Caner.”

But then you asked Wade, “Are you saying that it is always the obligation of the Christian, upon knowing that another Christian has made public statements that are false, to reveal the falsehood publicly and to press for public apology?”



Wade's topic boils down to: Should a pastor’s private ‘one time’ sin of over a year ago be exposed publicly? But your comment outlines what Caner did.


Wade,
Thanks for making my point of ‘actions/process’ being like a cult when you said, “The pastor involved not only desired the process, he believed it was the process outlined in Scripture (as do I).”

See, you’ve brainwashed him that the Scriptures that deal with PUBLIC sin (Galatians 6 and Matthew 18) also include PRIVATE sin. That’s saying the people that willingly drank Kool Aid made it right.

Richard pointed out the Scriptures that dealt with private sin:

They forget the privacy of the believer-priesthood as affirmed in 1 Pet 2:9. “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood. . .”

1. Our Lord dwelt with the disciples privately as “family business.” Mt 17:19, 24:3; Mk 4:34, 9:28, 13:3; Lk 10:23.

2. When a person sins, his privacy is still to be respected, Mt 18:15.

3. The functioning of the royal priesthood is predicated on the privacy. Col 3:17, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus. . .”

4. No believer has the right to intrude into the privacy of another. In Jn 21:21-22, our Lord told Peter to mind his own business.

5. Violation of privacy means judging others, Rom 14:4, 10.

6. Privacy includes the principle of live and let live, 2 Thess 3:11-12. “For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life. . . busybodies [violators of privacy]. . . . we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to . . . mind their own business.”

7. 1 Tim 5:13. “. . . they learn to be idle . . . but also gossips, intruders of privacy, constantly saying those things which ought not to be mentioned.”


Wade, you said, “When you are looking to a standard other than peoples' opinions, you have clear direction, even when folks disagree.”

I believe you’re saying, ‘When I am looking to a standard other than peoples’ opinions, I have clear direction, even when folks disagree.’

I guess you are referring to “standard” as Scripture to go by, and that God gives you “clear direction”.

Again, I will refer to that type of thinking as from a CEO, dictator, or a cult; when no one else’s thoughts are important – only the big “I” counts.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

Have a great week!

Anonymous said...

For those who may not be familiar with Barber and his position on the Caner matter:

http://praisegodbarebones.blogspot.com/2010/04/steely-backbone-of-school-of-jerry.html

Notice the date

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
Have a great week? What? Is this Jack Maddox’s “No more talkie –talkie”? :)

How can I have a great week when I can’t figure out how to limp with both legs?

You see, I added to my bad left knee my right big toe when I kicked a wall with no shoes on.
The reason for the kick was a reaction to pain in my finger for failing to squash a wasp.

After three days, the swelling pushed the stinger out, but the black toe bleeds when I put shoes on. Right now I have my foot in a pan of ice water.

I feel like the guy that yelled going down the slide – “Be with Meeee Lorddddd!” (Didn’t know I was doing evangelical work when I built that thing. :) )

Thy Peace said...

Probably no one will read this comment. I am copying a comment James White left on Arminian Today blog ...
-------------------------------------
DrOakley said...
Greetings:

The term "imbalanced" is far too weak to describe this amazing contribution to the strangeness that is the Ergun Caner Scandal. A man who makes up a past in Turkey as a son of an Islamic scholar, trained in jihad, being converted in high school in Islamic clothing with broken English---what a story! Yet, the reality, now shown by legal documentation, is that he was born in Sweden, grew up from age 3 onward in Ohio, was a regular kid of divorced parents in high school (even acting in school plays, which is tough to do if you have broken English). Evidently, the conversion of nominal Muslims is not good enough in his radical Arminian world.

This post is a symphony of absurd accusations that are opposed to the facts of the case. But I wished to respond to one particular argument. Matthew 18 is about personal sin between believers. I have never met Ergun Caner. This is not a matter of personal sin. His frequent and serial lies have been told in public, behind a pulpit, as a minister of the gospel. You do not deal with public, sinful actions in private. Despite that, when I verified personally his lies concerning his claims to have debated Shabir Ally, I did, in fact, contact him personally about the matter. When he refused to confess and repent of the issue (he issued, ironically, a public "apology" for "misstatements" which is not the same thing as confessing a lie and repenting of it---I wonder why you do not attack him for that?) I then went public with the information relating to his false public statements regarding debating Shabir Ally (and Abdul Saleeb). This led to the further inquiry into Caner's story that has led to all the revelations that have resulted in his no longer being the Dean of Liberty Seminary.

What we have not seen is almost any concern at all about the integrity of pulpit ministry; we have seen almost no concern about the integrity of ministry to Muslims. Instead, as this post shows, anti-Calvinism gives men excuses to impugn the characters of those who have consistently defended the gospel for decades. What an amazing commentary.

James White

July 4, 2010 8:14 PM

-----------------------------------

Rex Ray said...

BTW Wade,
Through the years, when someone (we know who they usually are) attacks your post, the ‘attacker’ gets stomped on by many commenters including myself.

But on this post, not many or maybe no one has come to your defense against the ‘attacker’ (me) and has left you on your own.

Do you think that is strange?

Anonymous said...

RexRay, good point.

ThyPeace, James White is right about Caner... but completely wrong about "anti-Calvinism". This is about Christian integrity, not high theories on salvation. What a huge disappointment, that he would take this cheap shot to supply a convenient scapegoat. Another lesson in not whitewashing (pardon the pun) any of our leaders. Even Wade.

Anonymous said...

Last week a relative on my wife's side of the family had "church discipline exercised on him. I'm not so sure everybody is including the church leadership is now saying it was worth it. So the background story is this man is well respected in his community and served as alay leader in his church. He was laid off from his job almost a year ago and was not able to find employment due to the poor economy right now. So last week his pastor and some other church leaders invited him to lunch. Well as it turned out it wasn't exactly "just lunch". It turned out to be an intervention meeting. They proceded to tell him that he was a disgrace to his family and church for not being the man of his home and finding employment to support his wife and kids. Well he didn't react very well to this. So he left and went immediately home to tell his wife what had happened. When he got home he was more surprised to find that his wife was in the process of packing up and moving herself and the kids into an apartment across town. She was leaving him. Well he snapped. He drove over to the apartment where they were unpacking and shot and killed his step son, shot his wife and kid napped his 7 year old son. He ended up dropping his son off at a friends house when an amber alert was released. The friends had no idea what was going on until several hours after the fact when they saw the news. The man was eventually spotted by the police which resulted in a high speed chase which ended up ending in a mutli-car fatality accident. He survived. the others were not so lucky. So now This man is facing murder charges as well as several other charges and will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. All because a church was so hell bent on "practicing church discipline" rather than pray for, help, and uplift their brother in need. Do you think his son thinks it was worth it? How about his wife? Or his dead-step son?

Steven

Tiffany Thigpen Croft said...

Steven/Anon. -
What a terrible tradgedy. My heart goes out to you and your wife's family, and all others involved. This is certainly a very poor outcome to an already sad situation.
None of us know all of the details or what was said in meetings...cannot judge what was done properly or improperly in other words. But this certainly is the exception to the rule as far as "church discipline" - things can and do get out of hand.

I love how the wife in the tradgedy you mention (in your family) handled the response it can be viewed in this clip

http://www.whiotv.com/video/24229613/index.html
She certainly has shown much grace and mercy even after the in comprehensible death of her son and kidnapping of another. What grace.

Rex Ray said...

Steven,
Yours is truly a sad and tragic story, but from what you said the ‘church authorities’ did, I don’t believe the ‘pressure’ they put on the husband would hold a candle to the ‘pressure’ put on the pastor in Wade’s church.

One could wonder how close if ever the pastor came to ‘snapping’.

Another story happened many years ago when a woman married a Baptists. Her church believes they’re the only ones going to heaven. Even though they had children, the church finally convinced the wife she would go to hell if she remained married. Years after their divorce, the husband took his life saying he couldn’t live without her.