A pastor/minister morally fails. People are devastated, hurt, confused, angry, sad and their faith is shaken. The church is thrown into turmoil. This appears to be happening more frequently in our present time.
Are there signs we can watch for, that something is seriously wrong in the life of a minister? We continually see headlines of ministers and church leaders committing sex crimes as well as other criminal activity. They involve various groups across denominational boundaries.
I will share one thing I learned through the years and red lights appear whenever I hear it happens. When a minister is harsh in sermons and outside the pulpit, BEWARE. There is an enormous difference between speaking in love against sin, or what one perceives to be sin, and when people are ripped apart, made examples of, and treated in a manner void of love. There is also a problem when no sin is involved, but a minister gets irritated at someone and ridicules them in front of others.
For instance, it was reported that this is what Edwin Young, a Oneness Pentecostal minister, did for years and years. If similar things happened in a healthy church, the pastor’s wrong behavior would have been addressed when it happened or soon after. But at this church, it wasn’t. It was tolerated, allowed, and even thought to be proper conduct. Many ‘amened’ and cheered him on when he did these things. It isn’t proper behavior. It is far, far from how a minister is to act.
This is a huge problem in unhealthy churches and is often a gradual process. When it gets to this point, the people have been conditioned through previous teachings and incidents, to accept what is happening. The pastor is ‘the man of God.’ You don’t ‘touch God’s anointed.’ The pastor ‘watches for your soul and has to give account of you.’ The pastor knows more than you and what is best. If the pastor is wrong, all we can do is ‘pray about it and let God correct him.’ So when people have this type of mindset, it opens the door for abuse and other wrong actions.
Learn how a pastor is supposed to be. Go to your Bible and search this out. A main characteristic of a minister is they are not to be lords over people, but rather they are to have the heart of a servant. A servant doesn’t call the women in the church heifers. A servant doesn’t point people out in service and berate them and tear them to shreds. A servant doesn’t make up lies and call people who leave the church homosexuals or fornicators or drug addicts. This is NOT what a real minister does. This is NOT what one who is acting through love does.
It is no surprise to me when pastors such as the one referenced have fallen. Too often those who teach and do things without love as the motivating factor, have something in their life that they are hiding. It is interesting that when they are caught and exposed, they don’t want the same treatment they gave many others who did far less than themselves.