Point of View: Ministers more accountable to righteousness due to God’s call
by JOHN SULLIVAN
Executive Director-Treasurer

Article Date: Aug 28, 2014

Every job or place of ministry has downsides. Don’t get me wrong. This is the best “job” I have ever had. I still like coming to work! However, most ministers live between “Thank you, Jesus” and “God have mercy.”

Recently, I almost rammed the bumper in front of me on the way home. My mind was preoccupied with some deep thoughts and, I confess, some mild anger. Or was it mild thoughts and deep anger? It was at least righteous indignation.
 
The thoughts that preoccupied me related to my family and call to ministry. 
 
The thoughts had been stirred by a series of phone calls about fellow ministers who had embarrassed their churches, potentially forfeited their families and had ignored their call to ministry and righteousness. 
 
This was not the first time such messages had reached my desk. Each time, my emotions had run the same pattern: 
 
► refusal to believe;
 
 pain for the church and family;
 
 need for clarification; 
 
 hope of restoration and reconciliation; 
 
 confusion at refusal of help from friends; and 
 
 anger.
 
My anger is most often about the over-simplification and justification for such behavior. 
 
I had only just begun ministering in my first church when a minister I admired fell into moral indiscretion. He sought to justify it by saying, “What I have done is the will of God. This relationship was made in heaven.” 
 
Even though I was young and not yet biblically sound on such subjects, my reply was, “Don’t blame your sin of adultery on God for any reason. It is right for preachers to do right. You have done wrong.” While this minister did eventually have another ministry through reconciliation and repentance, it never had the same impact.
 
To compound tragedy, a fallen minister many times preys upon the goodness of Baptist people to support a related religious enterprise. I realize it is not my business how people support ministry and ministers, but I believe a viable Christian ministry should be led by a viable Christian minister.
 
Some will accuse me of condemnation. And they are right. I condemn sin in the life of a preacher—even my own.
 
Others may see me as being “hard-nosed.” Right again. I make no apology for expecting more and better behavior from preachers. They are more accountable because of God’s call. To violate the call is more than a mistake. It is sin. God forgives sin. Every believer knows this and rejoices. There is not one sin that God will not forgive except sin against the Holy Spirit—an entirely different topic.  
 
My prayer for years has been, “Don’t let me live in the deep water all my life and die in the shallow.” May that be your prayer as well.

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morriswallace (8/31/2014)
Just wanted to say, Thanks, for your article in the Witness this past week. Point of View: Ministers more accountable to righteousness due to God’s call Your words were very reassuring to me. Morris Wallace Palm Coast, FL - Morris Wallace, Palm Coast, FL

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