How far does "Restoration" allow?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Joshua Rhodes, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. Joshua Rhodes

    Joshua Rhodes
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    Redeemed. Forgiven. Restored. Delivered. Pardoned. Reinstated.

    What do these words mean in Baptist life, really?

    A good youth pastor friend of mine in Texas (nameless because he doesn't know that I am asking this question) shared his testimony to his youth group a couple weeks ago. This testimony included, minus gory and raunchy details, a struggle with internet pornography. He left the ministry for a year, and was restored to a ministry after counseling, time and alot of prayer on his and his accountability group's part. He later shared with his pastor that he had told the kids, and his pastor has asked him to step down.

    He believes that the Lord directed him to share that part of his testimony, and the restoration story with the students. And because of it, two boy students came to him with admissions of a similar struggle. Now he's being asked to step down... is this the right course of action? Because he's my friend and I'm part of his accountability group, I'm a little close to the situation, but I believe restored and forgiven means that those things are in his past. If the right safeguards are in place, I don't see the problem. The Lord has taken this horrible situation he was in, and brought him up from it. Should he not share that story?
     
  2. menageriekeeper

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    I have lots of questions that you need not give me an answer for.

    Did his pastor/church know before they put him in this position of his struggle with pornography?

    I'm seeing this from a liability viewpoint. Porn is an insidious tool of Satan that can lead a man to more perversion than he ever thought possible. Even though your friend has repented and sought restoration, the temptation is always going to be there. It worked very well for Satan once, maybe it will again so Satan is going to do his very best to trip him up with this again. What if he(satan) comes at it from the angle of an accusation of some sweet young girl in the youth group that your friend "made a pass" at her? Will his testamony be able to stand or will Satan win because public opinion is going to be on the side of the girl and not the side of a man with an admitted history of problems with porn? This is why our leaders are to be above reproach.

    Was he saved when his problem began? A lot of churches will "forgive" what a man has done before salvation but not what a man has done after he is supposed to be a "new creation".

    What does this man's wife think/feel? Has she been willing to stay with him? Could the pastor be afraid she will change her mind and will lead the church to a messy divorce situation?
     
  3. Joshua Rhodes

    Joshua Rhodes
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    I'll answer as I can, obviously being far from the situation.

    The entire church does not know. The Personnel Committee that brought him to the church and the former pastor know. Their new pastor has only been there 3 months or so. He was unaware before this.

    Noted and understood.

    He was single when he went through this problem. His wife knew before going into their relationship that this was a struggle for him. There's no chance of a divorce situation because of this. He has an accountability group that has access to his computer and bank records. He has software on his computer that keeps a record of sites visited and forwards the list once a week to his accountability group and wife. Please be in prayer for him and his wife, as they are now at a crossroads what to do. He has said that he doesn't want to create division in the church by causing a public stir.
     
  4. menageriekeeper

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    Therein lies a big part of the problem. The senior pastor should have been made aware of this when he came in and told (if correct) that the deacons and personel committees supported your friend.

    In our church, the new senior pastor has 6 months (the one we have now has a year) to make whatever personel changes he wishes no matter what the reason. It may just be that the new pastor simply doesn't want to deal with this sort of thing.

    I'd say that a sit down, all on the table meeting with your friend, his accountability group, the pastor, deacons and personel committee would be a good next step in this situation. Only in togetherness, openness and much prayer can wise decisions be made in situations of this sort.

    I like the sound of how your accountability group works. How long do you suppose that you can maintain it?
     
  5. Joshua Rhodes

    Joshua Rhodes
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    Hopefully indefinitely MK. He is a dear brother... and his struggles do not define him as they once did. I hope this can be resolved, but if not, I know that the Lord will use him wherever He moves him. Thanks for letting me vent/talk this out.
     
  6. Martin

    Martin
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    ==Well, first off, I think your friend has done everything just right. When he realized he had a problem he stepped down, allowed the Lord to restore him, and then returned to the ministry. The lessons he learned are priceless. Imagine the number of people who can greatly benefit from his warnings. The pastor of his church is making a mistake. Maybe he is under pressure from some parents or something, I don't know, but he is making a mistake. Maybe your friend should have checked with the pastor first? I don't know. However if the pastor is now asking him to step down that maybe the best thing for him to do. Of course that is a choice he will have to make with the Lord's leading. I would not dare to say what he "should" do.
     
  7. Salamander

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    Be sure your sin will find you out, time and time again. Sin is very unforgiving.

    The pastor has the right to ask him to step down whether or not he ever knew of the situation is another matter.

    If the pastor knew and instructed him to keep it quiet, I'm sure he'd have good reason, but to allow some one with a recent past such as his to lead a youth group remains questionable.

    I believe there is an admonition to follow here, stay away from sin as far as God has cast it from the east from the west.

    Restoration? That is into fellowship and has nothing to do with being qualified to hold such a, delicate in the eyes of the simple, position.

    Our youth pastor catches it from all angles: for taking the youth to go snow-tubing which required pants on girls (well, snowbibbs), going to arena football where the music seems more important than the game, coupled with all the nakedness.

    Since a pastor is to be without blame, and this young man is holding a pastoral type position in leading the youth, his past hinders him to a degree but most definitely brings on too much open suspicion.

    I believe it is a very wise, yet hard decision for him to make.

    Let time have her perfect work in patience and don't let your emotions rule your person.

    Sounds like he either needs to stick with the stuff, respect his pastors' authprity and prove himself or simply move on.

    Moving on might be looked at as if he were possibly still guilty. Sticking with the stuff might give him his position back after proving himself, but most assuredly he will honour the Lord by stopping the mouths of the gainsayers.

    Too much is possibly worshipping a position these days, he'd be best sitting down and be preached too for awhile. A year ago, or 3 years ago, maybe too soon to reinstate him to such a high position in the church.
     
  8. Salamander

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    Amazes me how people who are only looking at things from a distance making such rash judgements to say this pastor is "making a mistake".

    Sounds to me like the pastor has a very high concern about the reputation of the House of God and for the youth of his church as well.

    The young man can help others in that area of sin, but learning by this example isn't best, learning from precept upon precept is far better, the Lord tells us so.

    I don't have to jump off a 100 story building to know it'll kill you, I learned that it was too far down using the laws of physics to live through it.
     
  9. 2 Timothy2:1-4

    2 Timothy2:1-4
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    Any thoughts or judgments made on this board with regards to this youth Pastor are from a distance regardless of what side you take.

    Even with this Youth Pastor in place the "reputation" of the church is not in jeopardy. Moses shepherded Israel and he was a murderer.

    Having this Youth Pastor in place does not jeopardize the youth of the church either. Based on what was told on this board this is an overreaction. Removing him from service most certainly is not Biblicial.

    His sin is forgiven and forgotten by God but not by man. I think "christians" forget what it means to forgive. It means to treat them as if it never happened.

    Its sad the we refuse to acknowledge the grace of God. If he wants to be bivo he can come help me with this new church plant. I will serve with such a man of integrity.
     
  10. Salamander

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    Um, it seems like you judged this from a distance yourself. A man of integrety? I don't think playing the hellywood theatrics in any youth group is anything considered integrety.

    I believe this pastor may have alot more credentials in the matter. I'm sure there is alot more behind this than just that.

    I believe you have a very shallow view of position in the Church.

    It was the SIN of Moses in disobeying the LORD that kept him out of Canaan, duh!

    BTW< just when did Moses get saved? was he saved b4 he murdered the Egyptian or after? Your example is rather moot.

    Also, since when did this AA attitude make its way into the Canon of Scripture? I thought the Bible taught to preach Jesus and Him crucified and NOT ourselves!

    Romanticism and emotionalism do NOT reign in the House of God!
     
  11. Salamander

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    The grace of God doesn't excuse sin. The grace of God allows the Blood of Jesus to wash sin away.

    James 1:14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

    Jam 1:15Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
    Jam 1:16Do not err, my beloved brethren.

    His position is not resurrected by his restoration, ONLY his fellowship

    Are you mocking at God?
     
  12. Joshua Rhodes

    Joshua Rhodes
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    They were discussing the importance of a witness testimony. They had studied Paul's testimony before Agrippa in Acts 26, and then he gave his testimony as a contemporary example.

    There was no "preaching of" himself before these students. He shared how he messed up, received Jesus' grace and mercy, and was restored. That's all.
     
  13. Lagardo

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    Many pastors get nervous about any controversey surrounding the youth group. I've known youth pastors to be fired for teaching aspects of the Bible that people didn't want to hear.Most churches want happy babysitting services rather than the truth of the Gospel.

    Of course, without being there in the situation, its hard to know at all why certain decisions were made. It seems odd that a testimony would lead to termination. I can't help to think that there is more to both sides of the story
     
  14. saturneptune

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    Not knowing all the facts, it is hard to comment. However, as a general rule, forgiveness and restoration is part of what the Gospel is all about, so I have to agree with Martin.

    There is a very destructive attitude amongst some religious circles, usually the Pharisee mindset, that once a sin is committed, the person pays the rest of their life. There is no Christ like quality in that. I have seen it in healing broken marriages, second marriages, sins committed by pastors, deacons, etc. For those of you in leadership positions on this thread who subscribe this man should in essence, never be restored to a ministry again, tell me, just what makes YOUR sin any less than what this man confessed to in the eyes of God? Who are you to put certain sins on a pedestal? Are you jealous because you have not confessed some sin in your life, so feel quite good about yourself since it is not "known."
     
  15. guitarpreacher

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    Joshua,

    Does the sr pastor want him to step down because he formerly had a problem with porn, or because he discussed his former problems with the youth?
     
  16. TaterTot

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    I dont think that legally, he can be asked to step down for something that he did before his time at that place of service. I (being the *gasp* female that I am teaching my youth at church, and sometimes even in pants lol) try to be as transparent as seems appropriate with my kids. But that is only to point toward the Lord, for His honor, and never includes specifics like were mentioned.

    I have a friend who was involved in pornography as well, and his was a very public deal when it was found on his work computer. He stepped down from every ministry position, sought forgiveness and counseling, and stayed out of any leadership roles for 3 years. He is now back teaching a SS class, and seems to be really doing well. He has a similar accountability system in place. I hope that it really works.

    I do believe that God can and does deliver His children from struggles such as pornography. Who are we to keep a brother in bondage just because we think he should stay there? I say let him be free.
     
  17. Joshua Rhodes

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    Because he told the kids in his personal testimony.
     
  18. Martin

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    ==This pastor may also be heading in the direction of being a Christian Pharisee. There is no reason not to allow this young minister to continue at that church. If God has restored him then this minister has no right to deny him grace. As for using his tragedy as an example to teach the young people, well, I think that was good. These young people are more likely to listen to this guy, and learn from his sins and failures, than they are going to listen to some preacher (etc) who thinks he is sinless.

    ==Funny how the Bible gives example after example for us to learn from. Even Paul, in 1Cor 10:11, makes this point. We can learn alot from other people's mistakes and failures. For example we can learn how not to make those same mistakes.

    ==In light of 1Cor. 10:11 I don't see how that is a good point.
     
    #18 Martin, Jan 31, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2007
  19. Martin

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    ==Nobody said it did. Your position seems to deny restoration to the fallen believer. That is not Biblical. If Joshua's testimony about this young minister is to be trusted, and I strongly believe it is, then this young man has done what he was suppose to do. He fell into sin, he repented, he left the ministry while he went through the restoration process, and then he returned to the ministry when the Lord lead him to that decision. We can't hold past sins over someone's head for the rest of their lives. God does not and we should not. Doing so is not grace.

    I am not talking about "blind trust". I would not blindly trust anyone in any position of leadership in today's world.
     
  20. Martin

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    Wow, very good points.
     

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