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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My Pastor/Teacher Has Fallen...Now What???

(Note...I wrote this a year ago while the incident was fresh; if anything, the couple are worse now..I think they got married; I know they are engaged...)

I wish it was the first time I received such news.

Sadly, it is not.
But yesterday I learned that a pastor with whom I have a casual friendship and a woman I’ve known fairly well for several years are having an affair.
God knows who they are. Some readers know. If you don’t, please don’t try to guess.
As in the other times I’ve heard similar news; I feel pain in my gut, agony in my soul, and fury in my depths.
In this case…he was a pastor and she was a teacher/speaker with an expanding ministry.
And perhaps he was your pastor or you sat under her teaching.
What now?
I recall when Gordon MacDonald fell.
I am not gossiping. This is public record.
Decades ago this prolific author/pastor/teacher made public an affair, resigned his positions, and stepped out of the limelight. (His process of restoration is wondrous and all too rare…in his case repentance and a long process of restoration is a testimony of God’s grace as well as an example of how it should be done. If this makes you curious, check this out
When Gordon’s fall became public (long before internet etc…can’t recall how I learned about it) I was leading  a group of 15-20 college-age students through a study of his Ordering Your Private World (which remains one of my favorite books…if you’ve not read it give it a try)
So here I was leading a bunch of young adults through this great book by this great pastor…and…BOOM…he confesses to an affair!
What do I do now?
Should I continue with the study?
As I thought/prayed I sensed God giving me a Gibbs hit (if you don’t recognize that reference, that’s cool), and I heard Him say (no, not “literally,” but hopefully you know what I mean), “Yo, dummy, you still read Psalms don’t you?”
King David, the Spirit-inspired author of most of the Psalms, the “man after God’s own heart,” also fell…into adultery and sanctioned murder.
His sin did not negate the Psalms.
Obviously MacDonald wasn’t (and isn’t…and neither is any one else) “inspired” the same way David was…but his sin did and does not negate his teaching.
So if your preacher/teacher falls…compare his/her teachings with scripture, pray for wisdom/discernment, and press on.
Obviously pray for restoration for the fallen.
And…by the way…ask yourself the uncomfortable question that I ask myself…”How diligent am I in praying for my pastor?
And…what steps am I regularly taking to ensure that I don’t fall into garbage like this.
Lastly…if you wonder how stuff like this happens…in the words of Paul Little, “Collapse in the Christian life is seldom a blow out, it is usually the result of a slow, almost imperceptible leak.” Then google “Slow Fade” by Casting Crowns and carefully listen – with your ears, heart, and soul.
First Jack One Nineteen: “Any Christian is capable of any sin at any time.”

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