You cannot have missed the sad news about the former President of the National Association of Evangelicals and Pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I haven’t written about it until now because I simply could not have an opinion about a situation that I know so little about. The first couple of days of reporting included little more than speculation and the transmission of hearsay.
But as of today, the picture has become fairly clear. The overseers at New Life Church issued a statement yesterday announcing the ouster of their pastor, and a letter from the pastor was read to the congregation today. Among other things, the pastor’s letter said this:
The fact is, I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem.
I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I’ve been warring against it all of my adult life.
For extended periods of time, I would enjoy victory and rejoice in freedom. Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that were contrary to everything I believe and teach (source).
I pray the Lord’s blessing, forgiveness, and healing on the former pastor, his family, the New Life Church, and the pastor’s accuser (Galatians 6:1-2). I also pray that in spite of this tragedy (2 Samuel 12:14; Romans 2:23-24) the Lord’s name and renown would be exalted in the churches across our land (Isaiah 26:8). And I also pray that the Lord would grant me the mercy to be faithful (Philippians 2:12-13) as I am keenly aware of my own fallenness and propensity to sin (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Great thoughts Denny. We are so quick to through around nasty words and condemnation. There is a place for condemnation in this situation…but there is also a place and need for grace. This man and his family will struggle for years to come.
And as you mention, certainly a place for an awareness of our own sin. May God help us to be on our toes, to guard our hearts so our sin does not snatch us up.
I too have grieved as the reports have been filed. I am so sad to hear about another pastor going down due to sexual sin. May God grant us the humility to have much needed accountability. I grieve for his family – his wife and five kids have got to be devastated.
Living in the area where this occured and knowing many people who go to this church, mine and my husband’s heart have been very heavy. As well being a pastor’s wife and former church staffer these circumstances have really caused me to ponder on many things related to my relationship with Christ, my husband and close friends, and exactly what close friend means.
Have I allowed my relationship with Christ to become too formal, too business-like b/c of the nature of what I do? Is my relationship with my husband as authentic as it can be, or are we both so emotionally drained from working with people that we don’t devote the time or emotions to our relationship? Have we landed on auto-pilot? And do I really have others to be ‘real’ with in my life, to hold me to the standard I have been called to?
For the most part I think we (my dh and myself in specific areas) are okay BUT this situation was a true wake-up call for me personally and I am sure many others who are in vocational ministry or their spouses are in vocational ministry.
We are held to higher standards, but we are not perfect, not by a longshot.
MY heart grieves for this man, his wife, his kids, the church, as well as so many, many others impacted by this situation.
Denny, thank you for representing Christians positively on your blog. I am sure not everyone agrees with every point you make, but I for one was impressed by how you worded this specific blog. Many times Christians are the ones to really attack their wounded.
May God be with all of us who call Jesus Saviour and protect our relationships, all of our relationships from temptation and deception and destruction.
I agree with Jada… your perspective in this post is truly God honoring.