I really am saddened once again about a failure of a famous pastor.
The founding pastor of The Church at Brook Hills has been suspended from his evangelistic ministry and resigned as chaplain of Samford University’s (my alma mater) football team after he admitted having an extramarital affair.
The pastor is a widely known evangelist who has given the invocation at NASCAR races, built The Church at Brook Hills from 30 members to some 4,000. He retired in 2005 amid health problems, including two brain surgeries, one an emergency operation for an aneurysm.
Read about it here.
Bob Cleveland wrote about it here.
[Update] Wade Burleson wrote about it here.
I read stories about this I am am heartbroken. This pastor is one of the most dynamic speakers I have ever heard. I still remember the message vividly that he preached at a conference I went to in 2001. It was the best message I’ve ever heard on Spiritual Gifts.
Ted Haggard was a pastor I respected for years. I listened to the CD’s of his praise band called Desperation. Yet he was living a lie and that was exposed last Fall.
Joel Gregory has the best “preacher” voice I’ve ever heard. My brother was visited by Dr. Gregory when he was pastor of 1st Baptist Dallas. Yet he wrote in his book Too Great a Temptation about his affair while he was pastor at 1st Dallas.
Gordon McDonald wrote books about healthy marriages then it comes out that he was unfaithful to his wife. This really hit home with my wife because she had just read his wife’s book.
The list could go on and on. Charles Stanley, Jim Bakker, and Jimmy Swaggart all have had marriage problems or sexual sins that have become public. I understand that we all are sinners but what is going on? Is there something that happens to people who make it big even in Christian circles? It is very disheartening to read these stories.
I wonder how and why God uses these men while they are in the middle of living a lie? I really don’t get that. There are many fine pastors, staff members and church members who trying to live a Godly life and yet we will never see the success that some will. Yet God allows a man having a 25 year affair to build a church from 30 to over 4000. Several have made fortunes writing books about their failures. Others have greater ministries than they did before.
I don’t get it. It makes me more Calvinistic everyday. It is obvious that I won’t understand God. He can do whatever He wants and I guess I’ll ask Him when I get to heaven. I may never be famous and probably would be better off not being known if it means throwing away my integrity and my family. I would rather be know for loving my wife and kids then building some great ministry for God if it means I have to compromise my standards or lose my family. I guess I will never get it.
The good news is that Jesus forgives all of us for the sins in our lives. This doesn’t excuse us and allow us to go out and run wild. But I am grateful that God will forgive everyone who asks Him forgiveness.
What do you think?