What does Scripture say about a pastor caught in adultery? Can that man ever go back into the ministry? Our church just discovered that our pastor has been having an affair for the last 3 months. What do you think should be the appropriate action by the deacons, the church etc.?


Clearly the Scriptures show this man as being unqualified to continue in ministry as a pastor or church leader.  He now fails to meet the requirements of an Elder because of his "current lifestyle", [1 Timothy 3:2]:

"The overseer must be above reproach" -- He is no longer above reproach.

"the husband of but one wife" -- He is no longer a "one woman" man.

"self-controlled"  --  He is no longer self-controlled.

"respectable"  --  He is no longer respectable.

His sin has disqualified him, for his present lifestyle is sinful.

Can that man ever go back into the ministry? 

Maybe someday, after a true repentance, and a long time of demonstrated pure lifestyle.  But not to the people he ministered to before, and maybe not in the same area of the country.

To have committed such a violation of trust, not only to his wife, but to his church is a very serious sin.  Adultery is not something that is easily committed.  "Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death."  [James 1:14-15]  This is a process, and a man truly walking close to the Lord in holiness will see it coming and take action to avoid the sin, "A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it."  [Proverbs 22:3]  Then to continue in the adultery for three months reveals a heart that would not respond to the tremendous guilt and conviction of the Holy Spirit that would have been associated with the sin.

What do you think should be the appropriate action by the deacons, the church etc.?

"Those [context is Elders] who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning. I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism."  [1 Timothy 5:20-21]

The deacons must give a public rebuke of the pastor before the congregation that they may see the seriousness of such a sin and that they too may take warning.  There can be no favoritism shown to the pastor for whatever good he has done before, because God, Christ Jesus, and the elect angels are watching.  Of course we do all things in love, but we don't try to hide the seriousness of such an offense by the "leader" (example) of the church.  His sin will certainly become known in the community and will bring great shame upon the Church of Jesus and His people, therefore, a very public rebuke is necessary so everyone can see that God does discipline His people.  An apology from the pastor to his former congregation is also in order, but no matter how sorrowful he is over his sin, there can be not restoration to his former position.  If he is truly repentant and one who understands the Scriptures and the absolute holiness of God, then he would never even think about returning to the pulpit, unless many years of absolute faithfulness have passed and God would clearly lead in the matter.

This is such a tragic, tragic situation and demands immediate action to remove him from any position of leadership.

Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Tony Capoccia's Questions and Answers" by:

Tony Capoccia
Bible Bulletin Board
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