Should a convicted clergy child abuser stay in the ministry?

Open discussion on general Baptist-related topics of interest to Baptists around the world.

Moderator: Dave Roberts

Re: Should a convicted clergy child abuser stay in the ministry?

Postby David Mwangi » Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:25 pm

Jim wrote:This is the usual “judge that ye be not judged” approach applied to those who make decisions based on common sense while in no way judging anyone else’s standing before God, whether stated by that person or not. A decision not to allow a convicted abuser to function in a church role, whether paid or not, has nothing to do with “throwing stones.” No overt punishment is meted out, verbally or physically. The self-confessed-recovered abuser is not damaged in any way, since his faith is personal (between him and God) and therefore not susceptible to any impingement from outside his own psyche. Since church leaders can’t see “into the heart,” they must make decisions based on what’s tangible, something like a court record or the cause of a prison term. Nothing could be more stupid and un-Christian than for a church to knowingly expose its children to a convicted molester (or even a suspected one). You may do that, but you do so at the peril of both you and your family and your own church membership if you’re a church leader.

Then the question then becomes "should a person convicted of a crime stay in the ministry". I guess I think it is wrong to choose one sin over another for judgment. I understand that God often takes people out of the ministry when they sin, but I also know that God forgives and allows people to stay. I have known a man who suffered from pedophilia, but he was never convicted of a crime, that doesn't change the sin, but it changes people's opinion of him since they often don't know. He doesn't keep it a secret, but he doesn't scream it from the mountain-tops (kinda how we all deal with temptations that we've struggled with). Of course in fairness to "the question" he took his problem to God before he entered the ministry. So the example I'm thinking of is more like that of Paul, who committed terrible sin, but still went on to be a great minister, and less like David who committed sin while serving as God's servant and didn't loose his position but was punished severely by God.
Once I was asked "who owns your church?". Kinda makes you pause and think...who does own your church?
User avatar
David Mwangi
 
Posts: 119
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:16 pm
Location: Tanzania

Re: Should a convicted clergy child abuser stay in the ministry?

Postby Jim » Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:23 am

David Mwangi wrote:
Jim wrote:This is the usual “judge that ye be not judged” approach applied to those who make decisions based on common sense while in no way judging anyone else’s standing before God, whether stated by that person or not. A decision not to allow a convicted abuser to function in a church role, whether paid or not, has nothing to do with “throwing stones.” No overt punishment is meted out, verbally or physically. The self-confessed-recovered abuser is not damaged in any way, since his faith is personal (between him and God) and therefore not susceptible to any impingement from outside his own psyche. Since church leaders can’t see “into the heart,” they must make decisions based on what’s tangible, something like a court record or the cause of a prison term. Nothing could be more stupid and un-Christian than for a church to knowingly expose its children to a convicted molester (or even a suspected one). You may do that, but you do so at the peril of both you and your family and your own church membership if you’re a church leader.

Then the question then becomes "should a person convicted of a crime stay in the ministry".

Au contraire! The question then becomes "should a person who's ever sinned stay in the ministry".

I guess I think it is wrong to choose one sin over another for judgment.

Well...which is it - crime or sin? To what judgment do you refer? God's judgment, in which case you play no part? Man's judgment, by which responsibilities are established?

I understand that God often takes people out of the ministry when they sin,

Do you have an example, i.e., can you get into the mind of God?

but I also know that God forgives and allows people to stay.

Ditto the above.

I have known a man who suffered from pedophilia, but he was never convicted of a crime, that doesn't change the sin, but it changes people's opinion of him since they often don't know. He doesn't keep it a secret, but he doesn't scream it from the mountain-tops (kinda how we all deal with temptations that we've struggled with).

How has he stayed out of jail if he has screamed his sin/crime/whatever from the mountaintops? Or...perhaps he's in another country in which his sin or crime is not considered all that bad. Would you have him baby-sit your children?

Of course in fairness to "the question" he took his problem to God before he entered the ministry.

As far as you know, that's what he did. As far as God (and the man) knows, you don't have a clue. You have the strange notion that redemption, while wiping away God's condemnation, also wipes away the earthly penalties of sin. That's not the way it works.

So the example I'm thinking of is more like that of Paul, who committed terrible sin, but still went on to be a great minister,

Does that make him different from you with respect to the work? Or, anyone else? In any case, Paul's affair had to do with the establishment, both religious and civil, and not with defenseless children? His position, justified legally and religiously in his own mind, was to stamp out a movement, not abuse children.

and less like David who committed sin while serving as God's servant and didn't loose his position but was punished severely by God.

David paid for his sin under Law and Paul under Grace, a huge difference. Neither man got off scot-free. Paul paid dearly, not necessarily for his sin (only God knows) but for his redemption. Your pedophile acquaintance should pay the same way, i.e., forfeiture of ministry since only God knows his heart, while you can't possibly know. You should help him understand that instead of presuming to play God in behalf of his conduct/ministry vis-a-vis children. That may sound harsh, but surely you've been around long enough to discover that things are not always what they seem to be, or what someone else SAYS they seem to be. Ministers have to look after a whole flock, not just one sheep who may or may not be what he says he is. Also, using Paul is like comparing apples and oranges since God dealt with him in a well-documented personal way. The better analogy can be drawn by using the current pedophile priests, who declare their purity but are not what they say they are.
Jim
 
Posts: 3773
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:44 pm
Location: Lexington, Ky.

Re: Should a convicted clergy child abuser stay in the ministry?

Postby georgefrink » Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:11 am

Convicted sex offenders with religious beliefs are the worst -- more victims who are younger, etc ... --> http://wp.me/pn9bU-1no
The available data also suggests that they regard church communities as easy marks.-> http://wp.me/pn9bU-1no
Religious faith can also make it more difficult for victimized children to report the crime, but that's a different issue.
georgefrink
 
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:02 pm

Re: Should a convicted clergy child abuser stay in the ministry?

Postby David Mwangi » Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:39 pm

Jim wrote:How has he stayed out of jail if he has screamed his sin/crime/whatever from the mountaintops? Or...perhaps he's in another country in which his sin or crime is not considered all that bad. Would you have him baby-sit your children?

Well if you read I said he "didn't" shout it from the mountain top but that is neither here nor there. You have reaffirmed my conviction that your opinion comes from a very judgmental heart (no offense intended, but it comes across that way). I never said the minister to whom I am referring ever committed a crime. I said he struggled from pedophilia, having an attraction to small children is possible without committing a crime.
I really wonder what would have happened if people of the early church treated Paul this way? They trusted the redemptive power of the Jesus to know that Paul was trustworthy and not trying to spy on them to get more information.
As for your question about baby-sitting my children. I trust him very much, and yes he does care for my children.
Also as for your comment about earthly consequences, I believe the word "convicted" shows that someone already has suffered the earthly consequences. In hindsight this is a mute point in the US isn't it? Someone who is "convicted" is most often not allowed to get work in a place where they will be tempted to repeat that crime, so I think the job of "children's minister" is out. Now other types of ministry are probably OK, and if God wants a person in a ministry, who am I to argue?
Once I was asked "who owns your church?". Kinda makes you pause and think...who does own your church?
User avatar
David Mwangi
 
Posts: 119
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:16 pm
Location: Tanzania

Re: Should a convicted clergy child abuser stay in the ministry?

Postby Jim » Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:30 am

David Mwangi wrote:
Jim wrote:How has he stayed out of jail if he has screamed his sin/crime/whatever from the mountaintops? Or...perhaps he's in another country in which his sin or crime is not considered all that bad. Would you have him baby-sit your children?

Well if you read I said he "didn't" shout it from the mountain top but that is neither here nor there. You have reaffirmed my conviction that your opinion comes from a very judgmental heart (no offense intended, but it comes across that way).

You're right - my mistake, but apparently he didn't hide his attraction to children. We all, including you, make judgments every day. The disposition to judge may be triggered by an emotion, but judging is an affair of the mind, not the heart...or at least it should be.

I never said the minister to whom I am referring ever committed a crime. I said he struggled from pedophilia, having an attraction to small children is possible without committing a crime.

I struggle with the urge to exceed the speed limit, and I give in to the urge. See what I mean?

I really wonder what would have happened if people of the early church treated Paul this way? They trusted the redemptive power of the Jesus to know that Paul was trustworthy and not trying to spy on them to get more information.

Actually, I think they listened to Ananias, who had had an exceptional experience with the Lord, who even told him that Saul/Paul would suffer for His name. Also, the believers had witnessed a miracle in the handling of Paul, so his was a special case which may not apply to most things today literally.

As for your question about baby-sitting my children. I trust him very much, and yes he does care for my children.

We just disagree.

Also as for your comment about earthly consequences, I believe the word "convicted" shows that someone already has suffered the earthly consequences.

That's true for the ex-convict, who has suffered through prison. Those he/she abused have suffered, also, a great deal more, so why ever take a chance on allowing the ex-con to make others suffer, especially in light of the rate of recidivism? This is plain common sense, nothing to do with religion.

In hindsight this is a mute point in the US isn't it? Someone who is "convicted" is most often not allowed to get work in a place where they will be tempted to repeat that crime, so I think the job of "children's minister" is out. Now other types of ministry are probably OK, and if God wants a person in a ministry, who am I to argue?

As I said, we just disagree. I would prefer to err on the side of exclusion, rather than to take a chance. Unless I get a revelation like that of Ananias (virtually impossible), I would function on the record of recidivism. The other types of ministry are between God, the person, and the congregation. In the case of your friend, suppose he abused someone in your congregation. How much responsibility would you accept, notwithstanding his testimony?
Jim
 
Posts: 3773
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:44 pm
Location: Lexington, Ky.

Re: Should a convicted clergy child abuser stay in the ministry?

Postby David Mwangi » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:11 pm

Jim, with God all things are possible. He might even help a sinner like you, who feels that he is above the law of man...by speeding you seem to think that you are above that law. I certainly hope that you are not in the ministry with an attitude like that, since you would be putting others in danger everyday with your flagrant disregard for the laws of safety.

(you see how judgment works?)
Once I was asked "who owns your church?". Kinda makes you pause and think...who does own your church?
User avatar
David Mwangi
 
Posts: 119
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:16 pm
Location: Tanzania

Re: Should a convicted clergy child abuser stay in the ministry?

Postby Mrs Haruo » Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:51 pm

:) Right on, David :thumb: I lost count of how many times I have been nearly run of the side of the road on a Sunday afternoon on my bicycle by a carload of folks rushing to dinner after church at "All you can eat Country Kitchen"-- and they had a bumper sticker that said "Follow me to First Baptist Church"
Don't despair if your job and your rewards are few, remember that the mighty oak was once a nut like you!
User avatar
Mrs Haruo
 
Posts: 1248
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2006 1:54 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Should a convicted clergy child abuser stay in the ministry?

Postby Jim » Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:22 am

David Mwangi wrote:Jim, with God all things are possible. He might even help a sinner like you, who feels that he is above the law of man...by speeding you seem to think that you are above that law. I certainly hope that you are not in the ministry with an attitude like that, since you would be putting others in danger everyday with your flagrant disregard for the laws of safety.

(you see how judgment works?)

You have a problem shared by a lot of people. You equate sin with civil-law violations. The speeder doesn’t commit sin; rather, he breaks a civil law, notwithstanding the biblical injunction concerning civil authority. If the violator is caught, he pays the price, even though he hasn’t broken God’s law as well as he can discern it. Or...considering the civil authority (if that’s your hang-up), his SIN is redeemed when he pays the price or goes to jail.

You didn’t consider the question noted above: In the case of your friend, suppose he abused someone in your congregation. How much responsibility would you accept, notwithstanding his testimony?

You can be very sanctimonious about your willingness concerning the “second chance” and all that stuff about not being judgmental. But, if your answer is NONE, you’re in the wrong line of work.
Jim
 
Posts: 3773
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:44 pm
Location: Lexington, Ky.

Re: Should a convicted clergy child abuser stay in the ministry?

Postby David Mwangi » Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:50 am

Jim wrote:You have a problem shared by a lot of people. You equate sin with civil-law violations. The speeder doesn’t commit sin; rather, he breaks a civil law, notwithstanding the biblical injunction concerning civil authority. If the violator is caught, he pays the price, even though he hasn’t broken God’s law as well as he can discern it. Or...considering the civil authority (if that’s your hang-up), his SIN is redeemed when he pays the price or goes to jail.

You didn’t consider the question noted above: In the case of your friend, suppose he abused someone in your congregation. How much responsibility would you accept, notwithstanding his testimony?

You can be very sanctimonious about your willingness concerning the “second chance” and all that stuff about not being judgmental. But, if your answer is NONE, you’re in the wrong line of work.

You changed the question again. Should they stay in the ministry they have been in. Probably not, more because of the issues involved with trust. The same with someone who has been caught in adultery, stealing, or any sin really. I'm not saying a minister can't sin...in fact I believe that a minister WILL sin. We are the hired hands who run at the sight of a wolf as fast as the shepherd. However we need to learn not to be quick to judge others based on the "level" of their sin. Would you let a convicted muderer in the ministry? Would you let a convicted drug dealer in the ministry? Why do we seem to think that one sin is worse than others? That is my point. As for my judging you for speeding, you are not obeying the authority of the leaders that God has placed over you. How is that not a sin? No you justify it saying it is "civil", but it is just as sinful as thinking that some people need to be wiped off the planet just because they believe that all Christians should die.
Once I was asked "who owns your church?". Kinda makes you pause and think...who does own your church?
User avatar
David Mwangi
 
Posts: 119
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:16 pm
Location: Tanzania

Re: Should a convicted clergy child abuser stay in the ministry?

Postby Jim » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:36 pm

David Mwangi wrote:
Jim wrote:You have a problem shared by a lot of people. You equate sin with civil-law violations. The speeder doesn’t commit sin; rather, he breaks a civil law, notwithstanding the biblical injunction concerning civil authority. If the violator is caught, he pays the price, even though he hasn’t broken God’s law as well as he can discern it. Or...considering the civil authority (if that’s your hang-up), his SIN is redeemed when he pays the price or goes to jail.

You didn’t consider the question noted above: In the case of your friend, suppose he abused someone in your congregation. How much responsibility would you accept, notwithstanding his testimony?

You can be very sanctimonious about your willingness concerning the “second chance” and all that stuff about not being judgmental. But, if your answer is NONE, you’re in the wrong line of work.

You changed the question again. Should they stay in the ministry they have been in. Probably not, more because of the issues involved with trust. The same with someone who has been caught in adultery, stealing, or any sin really. I'm not saying a minister can't sin...in fact I believe that a minister WILL sin. We are the hired hands who run at the sight of a wolf as fast as the shepherd. However we need to learn not to be quick to judge others based on the "level" of their sin. Would you let a convicted muderer in the ministry? Would you let a convicted drug dealer in the ministry? Why do we seem to think that one sin is worse than others? That is my point. As for my judging you for speeding, you are not obeying the authority of the leaders that God has placed over you. How is that not a sin? No you justify it saying it is "civil", but it is just as sinful as thinking that some people need to be wiped off the planet just because they believe that all Christians should die.


I'm not interested in your verbosity or your philosophies regarding the levels, if any, of sin. Words are very cheap. I'm interested in this: You didn’t consider the question noted above: In the case of your friend, suppose he abused someone in your congregation. How much responsibility would you accept, notwithstanding his testimony?

You can be very sanctimonious about your willingness concerning the “second chance” and all that stuff about not being judgmental. But, if your answer is NONE, you’re in the wrong line of work.


We all have differing philosophies about who should and should not be in ministry, but the leader's main responsibility is the well-being of his flock and the exposing of children to a pedophile or members to a molester of any kind is intolerable. As for murderers and drug-dealers, if I were the leader I would say NO. That does no violence to their faith or their standing before God, but it helps guard the flock. I don't presume to be the keeper of the priesthood of their beliefs...that's their responsibility. My responsibility would be to the membership, the devil take the hindmost.
Jim
 
Posts: 3773
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:44 pm
Location: Lexington, Ky.

Re: Should a convicted clergy child abuser stay in the ministry?

Postby David Mwangi » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:01 pm

Jim wrote:You can be very sanctimonious about your willingness concerning the “second chance” and all that stuff about not being judgmental. But, if your answer is NONE, you’re in the wrong line of work.

You changed the question again. Should they stay in the ministry they have been in. Probably not, more because of the issues involved with trust. The same with someone who has been caught in adultery, stealing, or any sin really. I'm not saying a minister can't sin...in fact I believe that a minister WILL sin. We are the hired hands who run at the sight of a wolf as fast as the shepherd. However we need to learn not to be quick to judge others based on the "level" of their sin. Would you let a convicted muderer in the ministry? Would you let a convicted drug dealer in the ministry? Why do we seem to think that one sin is worse than others? That is my point. As for my judging you for speeding, you are not obeying the authority of the leaders that God has placed over you. How is that not a sin? No you justify it saying it is "civil", but it is just as sinful as thinking that some people need to be wiped off the planet just because they believe that all Christians should die.[/quote]

I'm not interested in your verbosity or your philosophies regarding the levels, if any, of sin. Words are very cheap. I'm interested in this: You didn’t consider the question noted above: In the case of your friend, suppose he abused someone in your congregation. How much responsibility would you accept, notwithstanding his testimony?

You can be very sanctimonious about your willingness concerning the “second chance” and all that stuff about not being judgmental. But, if your answer is NONE, you’re in the wrong line of work.


We all have differing philosophies about who should and should not be in ministry, but the leader's main responsibility is the well-being of his flock and the exposing of children to a pedophile or members to a molester of any kind is intolerable. As for murderers and drug-dealers, if I were the leader I would say NO. That does no violence to their faith or their standing before God, but it helps guard the flock. I don't presume to be the keeper of the priesthood of their beliefs...that's their responsibility. My responsibility would be to the membership, the devil take the hindmost.[/quote]
So what about the liars, cheaters, murderers, tax collectors, zealots. What would they do to the flock? What WAS Jesus thinking to choose them as the early leaders of the church?
The question asked says nothing about if someone is actively involved in sin...they should step away from the ministry in order to work in their relationship with God...since the minister's lifestyle can seriously effect that. The question was about someone "convicted" to me that is past tense. In their past. I think that a person that says "yes I struggled with sin, but with God's help I am the victor!" has a wonderful testimony and that should be shared with every single person they meet. You see I have struggled with sin, and with God's help I am the victor!!!
Once I was asked "who owns your church?". Kinda makes you pause and think...who does own your church?
User avatar
David Mwangi
 
Posts: 119
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:16 pm
Location: Tanzania

Re: Should a convicted clergy child abuser stay in the ministry?

Postby Jim » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:27 pm

David Mwangi wrote:
Jim wrote:You can be very sanctimonious about your willingness concerning the “second chance” and all that stuff about not being judgmental. But, if your answer is NONE, you’re in the wrong line of work.

You changed the question again. Should they stay in the ministry they have been in. Probably not, more because of the issues involved with trust. The same with someone who has been caught in adultery, stealing, or any sin really. I'm not saying a minister can't sin...in fact I believe that a minister WILL sin. We are the hired hands who run at the sight of a wolf as fast as the shepherd. However we need to learn not to be quick to judge others based on the "level" of their sin. Would you let a convicted muderer in the ministry? Would you let a convicted drug dealer in the ministry? Why do we seem to think that one sin is worse than others? That is my point. As for my judging you for speeding, you are not obeying the authority of the leaders that God has placed over you. How is that not a sin? No you justify it saying it is "civil", but it is just as sinful as thinking that some people need to be wiped off the planet just because they believe that all Christians should die.


I'm not interested in your verbosity or your philosophies regarding the levels, if any, of sin. Words are very cheap. I'm interested in this: You didn’t consider the question noted above: In the case of your friend, suppose he abused someone in your congregation. How much responsibility would you accept, notwithstanding his testimony?

You can be very sanctimonious about your willingness concerning the “second chance” and all that stuff about not being judgmental. But, if your answer is NONE, you’re in the wrong line of work.


Still Jim: We all have differing philosophies about who should and should not be in ministry, but the leader's main responsibility is the well-being of his flock and the exposing of children to a pedophile or members to a molester of any kind is intolerable. As for murderers and drug-dealers, if I were the leader I would say NO. That does no violence to their faith or their standing before God, but it helps guard the flock. I don't presume to be the keeper of the priesthood of their beliefs...that's their responsibility. My responsibility would be to the membership, the devil take the hindmost.

So what about the liars, cheaters, murderers, tax collectors, zealots. What would they do to the flock? What WAS Jesus thinking to choose them as the early leaders of the church?

I have no idea what Jesus was thinking and neither do you.

The question asked says nothing about if someone is actively involved in sin...they should step away from the ministry in order to work in their relationship with God...since the minister's lifestyle can seriously effect that. The question was about someone "convicted" to me that is past tense. In their past. I think that a person that says "yes I struggled with sin, but with God's help I am the victor!" has a wonderful testimony and that should be shared with every single person they meet. You see I have struggled with sin, and with God's help I am the victor!!!

Okay...to each his own. You asked me and I told you, so we disagree. But, strangely, you seem to completely dodge this: I'm not interested in your verbosity or your philosophies regarding the levels, if any, of sin. Words are very cheap. I'm interested in this: You didn’t consider the question noted above: In the case of your friend, suppose he abused someone in your congregation. How much responsibility would you accept, notwithstanding his testimony?

You can be very sanctimonious about your willingness concerning the “second chance” and all that stuff about not being judgmental. But, if your answer is NONE, you’re in the wrong line of work. My last word.
Jim
 
Posts: 3773
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:44 pm
Location: Lexington, Ky.

Re: Should a convicted clergy child abuser stay in the ministry?

Postby David Mwangi » Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:17 pm

Jim wrote:I'm not interested in your verbosity or your philosophies regarding the levels, if any, of sin. Words are very cheap. I'm interested in this: You didn’t consider the question noted above: In the case of your friend, suppose he abused someone in your congregation. How much responsibility would you accept, notwithstanding his testimony?

So why are you here? All we can do at "baptistlife.com" is wax poetic about our beliefs. Nice word "verbosity", but to quote one of the most quoted movies in history "that word you keep using, I do not think it means what you think it means". I am succinct if nothing on my beliefs on this (and many) topics. If you want verbosity you should meet me in real life :D
I addressed "the question" many times in my succinct verbosity. I feel that God is gracious and can take people beyond their past.

As for what Jesus was thinking...I think it went along the lines of (and here I'm getting redundant) "let him who is without sin cast the first stone".
Once I was asked "who owns your church?". Kinda makes you pause and think...who does own your church?
User avatar
David Mwangi
 
Posts: 119
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:16 pm
Location: Tanzania

Previous

Return to Baptist Faith & Practice Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest