Pastors and Sexual Sins

A while ago I heard that a well-known Korean-American pastor disappeared when he it was found that he was having an affair. Some guilty pastors simply lie and deny their guilt even when confronted with evidence. To his credit this pastor chose to disappear rather than face his accusers and lie.

When I heard this news I felt mixed emotions. I felt sorry for him, his family and his congregation. On the other hand I felt angry that he shamed God and became a stumbling block to the advancement of the Gospel. Pastors who commit sexual sins are usually not bad people, but men of integrity and good pastors. I think that their falls are caused in part by Satanic assault.

Both clergy and lay-people, especially shepherds, should expect spiritual assaults like these. So giving even slight room for temptation should not be allowed. When counseling members of the opposite sex, it must be done in the presence of or delegated entirely to one’s spouse. Driving or dining alone with the opposite sex should also be avoided.

Married couples should be considerate to their spouse’s sexual desires and try to satisfy it. The Apostle Paul says this: “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Cor. 7:4-5) Husbands and wives should consider satisfying their partner’s sexual desire as a sort of ministry.

A well known pastor, Gordon MacDonald, has written many books on spirituality and we used one of them as the text for a spiritual class when I was in seminary. Many years ago he voluntarily confessed to having had an affair. He then went through a rigorous repenting process. He immediately resigned from his senior pastor position and placed himself under another pastor. He went through marriage counseling with his wife and served as a lay person. After about 5 years, he was reinstated as a pastor at the recommendation of the pastor who had supervised him. Now he is helping other pastors (as well as other men, including President Clinton), using his experience and regaining the respect of his fellow pastors.

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