Can Fallen Pastors Be Restored? -- By: Jim Showers

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 05:2 (Fall 2001)
Article: Can Fallen Pastors Be Restored?
Author: Jim Showers


Can Fallen Pastors Be Restored?

Jim Showers

Vice President For Development
President Of BBC Foundation
Baptist Bible College, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania

Introduction

The Current Crisis

A growing trend of pastoral immorality in America is creating a moral crisis in the church today. The problem of pastoral immorality has become broadly known with the failure of several national television and radio ministry pastors in recent years. But the problem is not limited just to national personalities. Most believers in the church today know of at least one pastor who has fallen morally, although often it is not a pastor from their own church. No church seems to be exempt from this problem. Pastoral immorality seems to strike without notice and catches most churches by surprise.

Just how serious and to what extent does the problem of pastoral immorality exist? Based on the number of responses and inquiries I have received since this issues forum topic was announced, I would say there is a great deal of interest in this subject, indicating that many people see pastoral immorality and pastoral restoration as significant issues of our time.

But a better measure of the seriousness and extent of pastoral immorality can be seen in a survey that was conducted by Leadership journal in 1988.1 A survey dealing with the topic of temptation in ministry was mailed to 1,000 pastors; approximately 300 responded. The results of the survey indicate that there is great reason to be concerned about sexual immorality amongst pastors. Consider some of the significant findings:

  • Almost one in four pastors, 23 percent, said that since becoming a pastor he has done something sexually inappropriate with someone other than his spouse.
  • 12 percent said they have had sexual intercourse outside of marriage since becoming pastors.
  • 18 percent admitted to having other forms of extramarital sexual contact.
  • Of those pastors who have done something sexually inappropriate, only 4 percent said their churches found out about what they had done.
  • When asked whether they ever fantasized about someone other than their wives, 95 percent said “yes,” of which 61 percent admitted they do it daily, weekly, or monthly.
  • Amazingly 39 percent of those pastors felt fantasizing about someone other than their wives was harmless, and another 20 percent said it depends on the circumstances.

The crisis of pastoral immorality is real and pervasive! Other surveys that have been conducted on this topic seem to confirm that these results are realistic. The Full...

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