Skip to main content. When a Pastor Commits Adultery. Todd Pruitt. July 10, Pastors, like all Christians, struggle with sin. And, like all Christians, pastors need grace.
But when a pastor falls to those sins which disqualify him from this role of spiritual overseer he also needs the correction and accountability of the church. He needs clear speech and direction not sentimental sweets. In recent months several high profile pastors from various denominations have acknowledged committing adultery.
I had not planned on commenting on this. Also, some of the confessions from these pastors have been, quite frankly, wholly inadequate and even deceiving. Adultery is the grossest violation of the marital bond. In fact the violation of adultery is so great that God, who hates divorce, nevertheless allows it in cases of adultery.
Adultery fouls relationships and brings ruin to entire families. When a pastor commits adultery the consequences are exponentially more damaging. When those vows are flagrantly violated there must be proper acknowledgment of the sin and clear evidence of repentance. Otherwise, grace is mocked and sin is trivialized. As I considered these heart-breaking situations and one particular public statement from a recently fallen pastor I jotted down a few thoughts….
Evangelicals have become so steeped in therapeutic language and categories that they seem scarcely able to see sin as anything other than a private issue of personal flourishing. In other words, contemporary evangelicals seem to no longer understand sin as an offense against God and an insult to the grace of Christ. King David was a great sinner but he was and remains the quintessential model of proper repentance. Psalm 51 is his prayer of repentance after the prophet Nathan confronted him for his adultery and murder-by-proxy.
When a well-known and beloved pastor falls to sexual sin it is considered bad form to actually grieve for what his sin has done to the reputation of Jesus and the witness of the church. Any public statements must be limited to expressions of cheap grace for the offending pastor whether he has repented or not. We may want to quibble with David over the fact that his actions were indeed against others as well.
That is, while sin almost always has deleterious effects on other people, it is more than anything else a mutiny against God. Those words to Cain ought to ring in the ears of every believer and especially those who are pastors. Our enemy who is likened to a thief, a liar, a murderer, an angel of light, a deceiver, a menacing lion, and much more takes no holidays. He is fighting with all the spitting anger of a defeated tyrant. Let us not be surprised by the ferocity of the battle or the cunning of Satan.
Pastors should not only be unsurprised by the heat of the battle but they should expect it. Their position will not insulate them from the arrows of the enemy.
Indeed the fact that their reputation impacts the reputation of Christ ought to cause them no small amount of trembling. Pastors are walking targets in a spiritual war.This particular one has to do with church leaders, sexual sin, and church discipline. Here is the question and below that is the answer I gave.
What do you think about my answer? What procedure s would you follow, with respect to his position as a church officer, to satisfy the requirement of Scripture regarding adultery?
Cite the Scripture upon which you would base your decision. The accused man is a deacon in this scenario and not an elder, yet both offices are official positions of leadership in the church. I would ask the deacon if he has committed adultery. If he admitted to the adultery, I would inform him that he committed a public offense that must be immediately brought to the attention of the Church Leadership Board. The Board along with myself would immediately convene to investigate the matter as discreetly as possible.
I would prepare written documentation concerning the witnesses, accusations, and evidence and submit these to the Board. As soon as is practical to call a special church business meeting, the deacon would be officially terminated from his office upon recommendation by a majority of the Board and a majority vote of the voting members present.
The following Sunday I along with the Church Leadership Board would delicately, yet publicly, announce the situation to the congregation, including its final outcome of the man being removed from his office as deacon. Moreover, so long as the ex-deacon openly confessed and repented of this sin, there would be no further need to continue with church discipline and the congregation would be exhorted to lovingly embrace this repentant man as a Christian brother still.
Scriptures I would cite : Matthew ; 1 Timothy ; ; Proverbs Sorry to hear about this, Mandy.
When a Pastor Commits Adultery
I would encourage you to sit down with your pastor and explain your beliefs and understanding of Scripture. Pray about it. God answers prayer! Photo credit: jinterwas Creative Commons Here is the question and below that is the answer I gave. Search this website.The study included pastors and youth pastors, and was commissioned by Josh McDowell Ministry and Cru for an April summit. In comparison, 47 percent of men and 12 percent of women in general seek out porn at least once or twice a month.
And about 27 percent of Christian men and 6 percent of Christian women actively look for porn during that time. Another 46 percent of youth pastors and 37 percent of pastors have flipped through adult TV channels or movies, and 30 percent of youth pastors and 12 percent of pastors have searched for porn on social media. With good reason—4 in 10 adult Christians said pastors using porn should be fired or asked to resign, while 3 in 10 said that they should be asked to take a leave of absence until they stop using it.
Fellow pastors are much more lenient. Only 8 percent said that pastors using porn should leave their positions. More than 8 in 10 pastors recommended that pastors struggling with porn find a professional counselor, while 6 in 10 said pastors should hold themselves accountable within a group of mature Christians. About 45 percent said they should seek counseling with a fellow pastor.
However, only 7 percent of pastors said their church had a program designed to help those struggling with pornography. Seven in 10 youth pastors said that at least one student has asked them for help related to pornography usage in the past year.
7 Steps For Handling A Church Leader Caught In Sexual Sin
Most of those asking for help are boys in high school. Adults in the church are asking for help, also. Married men seek the most help; they're also the category of men who uses porn the least. Married Christian men actively search for porn less than single men or teenage boys: 18 percent said they look for porn more than once or twice a month; 61 percent said they never looked at all. Married women, too, are less likely to look for porn. Two percent of married Christian women look once or twice a month, compared to 9 percent of single women.
Simple as that. Half of teens said they come across porn at least once a month, regardless of whether they seek it out. This number increases to 70 percent for young adults. The number jumps to 38 percent of adults who are ages 18 to 24, and drops again to 25 percent of those ages 25 to Some porn is personal. When ranking a list of morally objectionable items, teens and young adults said not recycling was more unacceptable than viewing pornographic images.
Practicing Christians are twice as likely to feel guilty as others, Barna said.As many as 65 percent of men and 55 percent of women will have an extramarital affair by the time they are 40, according to the Journal of Psychology and Christianity. A Christianity Today survey found that 23 percent of the pastors who responded admitted to sexually inappropriate behavior with someone other than their wives while in the ministry. In Dave Carder's and Duncan Jaenicke's book, Torn Asunder: Recovering from Extramarital Affairs MoodyCarder notes that adultery and divorce rates in the evangelical population are nearly the same as the general population in the United States.
Being a Christian does not lessen our chances of having an affair. Through his counseling experiences, however, Carder has found several "shared threads" woven throughout the experiences of married couples who become tangled in an affair.
These patterns can serve as warning signals that married couples should be alert to. Forewarned is forearmed. So we talked to Dave Carder about what to do whether you are contemplating an affair, have experienced an affair, or even if you never expect an affair to impact your own marriage.
All types. There's the "Class One" affair, which is the one-night stand. Then, there is the "Class Two" affair, which is a love relationship that starts as a friendship and grows primarily because of a deficit in the marriage. These often have a powerful emotional connection and involve a shared task or orientation, such as a common ministry or a shared passion. And there is the "Class Three" affair, which involves sexual addiction.
Other addictions often go along with it, and many times there is a history of molestation or sexual activity on the part of the person before puberty. We're finding that these types of affairs are happening when men and women are in their late thirties and forties. There's a pattern to them. Usually they happen in a marriage where there is little spousal interaction. Maybe the couple does everything as a family. When the children in the family grow older, the spouses become vulnerable.
Tell us more about emotional affairs. If there's no sex, just the emotional attachment, is it as serious as a sexual affair? An emotional affair without sex occurs when two parties share their feelings for each other.
These affairs are supercharged with emotion.
The sound of her voice, the style of his email—they are all loaded. But if you confront them, they'll insist they've done nothing wrong.A minister falls into adultery and it becomes public knowledge.
This becomes a sad, sad day for everyone who knows him. And yes, I am aware it takes two people to commit this sin. However, this blog is directed toward pastors and other church leaders, so the minister is the focus of our comments here. The other ministers nodded in agreement. He is called by various names such as Satan, the devil, Lucifer, that old serpent and the slanderer. Jesus called him a liar and the father of lies John If you do not, if you believe that your sins are of a nicer variety and deserve less severe treatment from God, you have more problems than we can deal with here.
If anyone should be above the law and able to come and go sexually as he pleases, it ought to be the king, right? When King David sinned with Bathsheba, and then committed manslaughter to get her righteous husband out of the way, he was in major trouble with God.
Second Samuel chapter 12 tells the story. David received many surprises when God called him to account for his behavior. He was surprised to learn that …. We can beg to differ with that—and we do—but to the one struggling under that great load of guilt over his wrongdoing, it felt that way. Was he the worst? Not even close. Sign in. Log into your account. Forgot your password? Password recovery. Recover your password. Church Jobs Shop Subscribe. Get help. Overcoming Your Fear of Praying Publicly.
On Becoming Conservative Liberals. Is the Bible the Foundation of Our Faith? Latest News. Popular Articles. Can a Christian Drink Alcohol? Articles for Pastors July 26, Today I read a shocking statistic. Forty percent of pastors surveyed admitted to having an extra marital affair after entering the ministry!
How does that happen? Of course, it is common knowledge that there have been pastors that have had moral failures, after all we are dealing with human beings. Is anyone else shocked or am I just naive? There is a process involved, a process that might have been years in the making.
Rather, the opposite has been the case. The expectations placed upon a ministry couple can be crippling! Ministry, while fulfilling, can also be one of the loneliest jobs on the planet! What can we do to help our ministry couples affair-proof their marriages?
Well, a Standing Stone retreat is one great way to help. We offer many locations throughout the US, with many outstanding mentors. Another suggestion is to ask your pastor, or better yet his wife, for ways that you can bless them and care for them and their marriage.
A weekend away from the church is a good place to start. Offering childcare for a date night is another idea. Be creative. A healthy pastor with a healthy marriage will result in a healthier church. Look for future posts on this subject. It is a very important topic! Toggle navigation. Share this. Log in with your credentials. Forgot your details?The health of a pastor is about more than germs and disease; it is as much about thoughts and temptations.
Adultery is one of those temptations, and Edward F. Mrkvicka Jr. It is a fire that has and can consume clergy as much as the parishioner in the pew.
But there is a higher bar to be reached by pastors and church leaders. Church Executive asked him about what he has found on the topic within the church:.
Do we have any evidence of the prevalence or impact of adultery within ministry?
The alarming statistics of adultery are applicable to all; i. Truth be told, because of counseling obligations, the lure of adultery to clergy, if anything, may very well exceed the norm; e. As the Bible says, adulterers will not inherit the Kingdom, they most assuredly should not be practicing clergy here on earth. They are mutually exclusive. On the other hand, when God, instead of self, becomes the center of our universe, suddenly the natural flow of life becomes obvious — and makes sense.
What salvation is available to those who have committed adultery? Repentance, repentance, repentance. We must repent or perish. This is not salvation through works, as such a thing is not biblically possible.
10 Things That Happen When a Pastor Commits Adultery
It is instead, a holy response to the completely unmerited gift of everlasting life given to us at such great cost by our Savior. Do you recommend this approach? I recommend we do whatever is necessary to remain clean and holy, as long as the approach is not in conflict with the Word. From a secular perspective, there is usually more than one answer to a problem. From a Christian point of view there is only one — we, as an expression of our love of Christ, must remain obedient so we have the right to claim his name.
How can wives help their husbands in this tricky territory; where do pastoral couples go wrong in working this out together? My experience is that the number one mistake couples make in this regard is reacting after-the-fact instead of being vigilant before-the-fact. Here the mistake is that we try and save the marriage, without realizing that the marriage cannot be saved until the adulterer first gets right with God.