But it’s been headline after headline, scandal after scandal, and the hits keep coming.
Minister after minister keeps landing himself in hot water and making headlines in local and national media.
I’m weary of it, and I’m guessing you are, too.
In recent years, we’ve seen Ted Haggard resign from the pulpit after being accused of buying drugs and having sex with a male prostitute.
A south Alabama preacher was charged with killing his wife and stuffing her in a freezer after she caught him molesting their daughter.
Earlier this year, four young men accused mega-church pastor Eddie Long of luring them into sexual relationships when the four were teenagers. After vowing to fight the charges, Long now plans to settle the civil lawsuits, according to CNN reports. The legal strategy was no doubt the advice of his attorney and doesn’t necessarily indicate guilt, but it sure doesn’t look good.
Pastor Cecil Newton, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton’s dad and Georgia pastor, admitted to seeking pay last year in exchange for his son playing football at Mississippi State. The deal, obviously (and thankfully for us Auburn fans), fell through, but such solicitation is against NCAA rules and, therefore, a departure from Christian standards.
It’s not my place to condemn these men — and they do always seem to be men. I know that but for the grace of God, there go I.
God’s forgiveness, though, is available to all, and some of these men already have moved on in the ministry. (God will judge whether they were right to do so.)
However, I regret the way the scurrilous headlines reflect on Christianity. Many people — believers and nonbelievers — will turn away from God, or never come to him, because of the failings of men. With so many headlines in recent years, it seems as though the fallen minister is a pervasive phenomenon. The truth, though, is that most of these men were prominent in their rise to popularity and, therefore, prominent in their fall from grace.
But, for every male minister who lands himself on the front page under claims of less-than-godly behavior, there are hundreds, even thousands of God-fearing men who quietly go about the business of preparing Christ-centered sermons, faithfully caring for their flocks and leading by example.
Local men like Bob St. John, Carlton Weathers, Bob McClain, Rick Searle, Marcus Dunn, Mack Amis, Billy Springer, C.O. Grinstead, Dennis McKinney and others are examples.
We don’t worship these men; we worship Christ. But we do appreciate these men for not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.
If yours is that kind of pastor, e-mail or call me with his name, the name of your church and a few words about him, and I’ll mention him in this space.
I know there are many pastors out there who honor Christ. They just don’t get the media attention.
I’m weary of that, and I’m guessing you are, too. Let’s do something about it.
Anthony Cook is managing editor at The Star and pastor at Christian Fellowship Bible Church. Reach him at 256-235-3558 or firstname.lastname@example.org.