Gal 6:1-5 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. 5 For each one will bear his own load.
A handful of times in my service as a pastor, we have faced the situation of what to do when a ministry leader is no longer qualified for leadership because of personal, relational sin. Thankfully the Bible gives clear direction for such times if we have the courage to follow. In this entry, I want to point you to those passages with some overview thoughts to get you started.
Why are Some Dealt with Publicly & Not Privately?
ANSWER: Serious Leadership Sin Must be Confronted & Confessed as the First Step Towards Further Discipline Or Restoration to Jesus, His Family & His Mission.
1Tim 5:19-20 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. 20 Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.
James 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.
Titus 1:7-9 7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, 8 but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.
The Bible holds spiritual leaders to greater accountability in practical holiness. This is because they are meant to be trusted models who carry greater influence on others. They are also often in position to take advantage of weaker, less mature members of Jesus’ family. This is why it is so critical to follow the Biblical principle of dealing with a spiritual leaders serious sin publicly within the spiritual family.
When a Christ follower in the church falls into ongoing sin, those who are aware are also meant to lovingly confront and correct for the person’s own good. this happens through intentional relationships grounded in truth & grace. There is no need for this to become public or involve other people, UNLESS the person denies, deceives, resists or fights. When we understand the depth of damage sin brings we cannot sit by silently while a brother or sister shipwrecks their lives without seeking to draw them back to the safe harbor of the cross.
Our attitude & response must be anchored in the whole gospel. Sin can still trap us and God still takes it seriously. Though public sin seems so sudden. It never come out of nowhere. Moral earthquakes come from spiritual faults. Though world cultures continually seek to minimize, redefine and ultimately take pride in their sin, followers of Christ should only boast in the cross. The gospel’s message about sin is true. Whether we believe it or not, sin brings death. Redemption & restoration come through the cross. We can only come to the cross through confession & repentance that is anchored in our faith in Jesus.
I’ll take up two other aspects on this topic in following posts. If you are in town this weekend, we’d love to have you worship with us at Parkview Baptist Church in Lexington. Service times are 9:00 and 10:45. Visit us as www.parkviewfamily.com.