I wrote a book, The Stain That Stays,
that deals with the problem of sexually fallen pastors and Christian leaders. I argue that in most every case the minister should resign and only after a long time, and in some cases never, return to pastoral care and leadership. This is not the place to further advance that argument. If you like you can read the book. It is available at our resource link at ACT 3 Online.
Perhaps the most frequently asked question I have gotten over the years is not about adultery in the ministry at all. It is about pornography and addiction to pornography. I wish to make it clear that I do not think this is a small problem. The numbers that I have seen suggest a large number of male ministers are addicted. This presents serious problems to an effective and truly powerful ministry. For one thing most men who are addicts are unable to preach with real power in the area of moral purity and they are in deep bondage to their own sense of guilt as well.
But the question remains: Does a problem with pornography mean a man should get out of the ministry? My answer may surprise you. I would say, simply put, "No." At least in many, if not most, instances. The man needs help and he needs it soon. But the problem itself does not mean he should quit. I find far too many ministers resign for the wrong reasons and far too many remain who should more than likely not be in the ministry. It is not for me to say who should stay and who should go. My role is to encourage faithfulness and purity but also to encourage ministers to truly seek God and not give up their calling too easily. This is a fine line often. I believe wisdom dictates a lot of latitude is needed in helping men deal with this issue, especially today. There is a line between easy grace and rigid moralism but sometimes it is not clear.
A good friend, Gene Redlin, writes an interesting blog. He has been a minister and now serves in a Lutheran Church as a charismatic prophet. He often comments on my blogs and writes things that are often provocative. I sometimes disagree with him and he with me but this has only made us even better friends. This guy is real, very honest and a truly delightful person with a world of good experience now that he is in his 60s and has understood life very deeply. I love him and count him a real buddy more and more. Check out his good blog on this provocative question at his Northern Gleaner site. Even if you disagree with Gene he will push you to think about encouragement in a powerful way. He did me.
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JA’s book, The Stain that Stays, was the first book of his that I ever read years ago.
I highly recommend it to others.