On May 19, 2011, there was a pastor in Texas that was accused of raping a woman in West Virgina and, after being arrested, hanged himself in his jail cell. There are many people that have written things about this incident. Many people bash all Baptist churches (at least IFB churches) as a result of situations like this. Though there have been several incidents that have been uncovered concerning Baptist pastors commiting sexual sins, it is not just a Baptist problem.
Sin is a universal problem that we all have. Any one of us is just as capable of commiting such sins. Some may have more “self-control” or “discipline” than others, but we have something that we struggle with. It may not be sexual in nature, but it may be a so-called “lesser sin.”
Pastors, Baptist or otherwise, are no exception. Too many people put pastors on a pedistal and make them seem almost flawless. Pastors ought to live their lives as perfectly as possible, following Christ’s example; but the moment that they are lifted up too high, pride settles in.
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)
Not only is the person that is lifted up at risk of falling, but, when he does, those that have lifted him up are crushed. The image that they have constucted in their mind has been tainted and, unfortunately, they lose trust in all spiritual authority.
If it is the pastor that is lifting himself up, then the people should beware: the person that acts untouchable may be the next one to fall.
I have personally dealt with a situation where the pastor commited sexual sins. I was the Assistant Pastor at the time, and I saw all of the hurt that was left in the church, in his family, and throughout the community. Prior to that time, he had been a father to me – my mentor in the ministry. I realized, though, that I needed to have my focus on Christ rather than on man.
Nothing can undo the harm that is done in these situations: people have already been victimized, emotional scars have been left, and reputations have been ruined. Nothing excuses these behaviors: while we all struggle with sin, we ultimately have the ability through Christ to overcome the sins and temptations.