This week yet another high profile pastor confessed a moral failure and resigned his pastorate. I echo David’s lament, “How the mighty have fallen in the midst of battle!” (2 Samuel 1:25). I’m meeting today with around 15 pastors. I’m sure we will discuss this. I hope that we will also “weep between the porch and the altar,” and fervently petition, “Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give Your heritage to reproach” (Joel 2:17). All of us feel the reverberations when a high profile leader falls. I grieve for the tarnishing of the name of Christ. As I said years ago in response to the fall of another leader, God help us if we do not learn from this. God help us if we do not change from this.
The wise, long-time pastor, Alexander Whyte, in his address to the Free Church Assembly of Scotland in 1898 thundered, “Fathers and Brethren, did not Augustine and Calvin speak to the point when they said, ‘First, second, and third – humility’? And especially in you and me?” The godly Andrew Murray believed humility to be “the mother virtue and the perpetual safeguard of the soul.”
For those who have eyes to see, it’s clear that the church in America (for the most part) has been knocked to its knees by mounting opposition, dwindling attendance, derelict clergy, apathetic members, and onslaughts from principalities and powers. Knocked to our knees – what a good place to be. Now let’s fall on our face and “seek the Lord while He may be found” and “call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6).
I make no claim of moral or spiritual superiority over my brothers in ministry who have fallen. How well I know what evil can brew in me apart from the new creation life of Christ. At the same time I know, whatever the circumstances or temptations, God “is able to keep you from stumbling, and . . . present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24). His mighty power – that restrains from sin and releases to godliness – is accessible to all who call upon Him. Even preachers.
David Shibley writes devotional thoughts Mondays through Thursdays at www.davidshibley.com. He invites you to join him Friday through Sunday in enjoying an extended unplugged weekend.