Grace for the Disgraced: Showing Forgiving Mercy to Former Ministers

My friend, Tullian Tchividjian, and I co-wrote the following article, which was posted on his website yesterday (August 16, 2018). Here's the introduction, followed by a link to the full article. 

In light of the numerous scandals that have erupted over the last five years alone with regard to church leaders, my friend Chad Bird and I co-authored the following article that we hope encourages, provokes, and enlightens the conversation so that ultimately all eyes are fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

Over the past five years, we have seen more Christian leaders (including ourselves) exposed for their sin and deposed from their positions than at any other time in recent history. Allegations (and in some cases, admissions) of adultery, addiction, and various forms of abuse have rocked worlds, shattered lives, broken hearts, ended marriages, and split churches. Each case is distinct, but all of them are tragic, scandalous, and destructive in one way, shape, or form.

Obviously we can’t speak to the incidents themselves (except for our own, which we have done elsewhere), nor would we want to. We don’t have all the facts. And we definitely don’t believe everything we read online (and neither should you). In some severe cases, illegal offenses such as sexual, physical, or financial crimes have taken place. In those criminal situations, it is up to the state to prosecute and punish. But what we do know is that these things happen inside a complex framework of falleness that only God can fully know and understand and that in all of these situations, real people are involved—children, churches, families. 

These real people include the leaders themselves--both men and women. And, in this article, it is their struggle with the aftershocks of their sin that we want to discuss. The ones that dominate media coverage are so-called “celebrity pastors,” but most are largely unknown outside their communities. Famous or not, however, when they have been “found out,” most now live isolated and ashamed inside the consequences of their self-inflicted wounds.

We know this all too well. We’ve bled from those same self-induced injuries. And, because our stories are relatively well-known, many of these former ministers have reached out to us. Now, on their behalf, we reach out to the church...

Click here to read the full article.