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Cease Applauding Pastors Who Publicly Confess Thei…

Yesterday, I completed a 17-year ministry at Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux Metropolis, Iowa. Our attendance was the best it’s been in a very long time. I did what I’ve achieved week after week, Sunday after Sunday, since August 28, 2005: preach a textual content of Scripture.

After church, we had a potluck dinner and loved heat fellowship. Members expressed love for my spouse and me, sorrow that we had been leaving, and prayers for our future. We acquired a basket of playing cards with some beneficiant presents and messages that made my spouse cry. It was an exquisite option to wrap issues up.

What I didn’t obtain was a standing ovation.

Yesterday, Matt Chandler stood earlier than his congregation to confess to inappropriate textual content interactions with a lady apart from his spouse and to announce he was taking a depart of absence. He claimed the messages weren’t sexual or romantic, however he withheld any additional particulars.

With that in thoughts, I’m not addressing Matt Chandler’s sin (or no matter different phrases he used to explain it). Studying about his imbroglio simply bought me considering.

Within the accounts of Chandler’s actions, I seemed for one factor and, certain sufficient, noticed that after he confessed to his congregation, the church gave him an ovation. One other pastor stood to “outline the narrative” by telling them what their ovation meant, after which congregants gave Chandler one other spherical of applause.

I’m irritated at this response. I’m an previous codger, so I’m approved to do “get off my garden” rants. When did it grow to be applicable to present standing ovations to those that have dedicated disqualifying (or near-disqualifying) sins in ministry?

You would possibly keep in mind Jules Woodson’s public story of sexual abuse. After years of denial and evasion, the pastor who had abused her years earlier stood earlier than his massive congregation and gave a sanitized model of his “failings.” He acquired a wildly supportive standing ovation.

Extra not too long ago, one other pastor stood to admit an affair (once more, placing it in the absolute best gentle), and the girl concerned got here ahead to inform the reality. She accused the pastor of statutory rape and among the ugliest actions conceivable. After all, the pastor nonetheless bought a standing ovation.

We will solely hope that each of these church buildings got here to later remorse their actions. Nonetheless, they honored and applauded abusers. In doing so, they heaped condemnation on survivors and added to their struggling.

When a church chief stands to admit sin, it’s a time for lament and a time for tears. Repentance requires honesty, humility, and sorrow, not managing appearances, controlling the narrative, or hiding the information.

The fault usually lies extra with management than with congregants. These “confessions” are sometimes staged to place the fallen pastor in the absolute best gentle. Information are hidden. The complete story isn’t informed. The blame will get shifted to another person. Excuses are made. All informed, the pastor or church leaders management the story to forged the confession in a heroic gentle.

It’s textbook manipulation. Sadly, in lots of megachurches—and elsewhere, too—individuals are conditioned to see their pastors in close to godlike phrases, so when he confesses a sin, they leap to a redemptive narrative and reply with enthusiastic applause.

Nevertheless it has to cease. We should always not applaud confessions of sin. Ovations serve no non secular function, and in these conditions, particularly, they solely trigger harm and hurt.

If a sinner is genuinely repentant, he doesn’t need applause. If he isn’t genuinely repentant, he doesn’t deserve it. Generally, a church has been given solely a half of the story or a sanitized model of it—sometimes the one most favorable to the pastor.

Sure, these church buildings love their preachers. As a pastor, I admire that. They wish to consider one of the best of and for his or her leaders. That’s a pure and even honorable want. However standing ovations for misbehavior usually are not acceptable.

We don’t applaud sin. We don’t cheer it. We grieve over it.

So save the standing ovations for the soccer subject.

Dave Miller is the senior pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux Metropolis, Iowa, and editor of SBC Voices.

This piece was initially printed at SBC Voices. Printed with permission.

Talking Out is Christianity At this time’s visitor opinion column and (not like an editorial) doesn’t essentially symbolize the opinion of the publication.

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