Should Christian Leaders Be Held To A High Standard? Tiger Woods Called It Out Plain And Simple “Irresponsible and Selfish”. Either On One Partner Or The Other Or Both… Why Not Call It Sin!? And Why Not Call It Out!?
J. Lee Grady wrote the following:
|“Every Christian has access to God’s mercy when he makes mistakes. But a leader is held to a higher standard of accountability and disclosure.”“|
The charismatic segment of the church has endured a long string of divorces, moral failures and embarrassing scandals among high-profile ministers. The most recent wave began in 2006 with Ted Haggard’s fall (which did not end in divorce, thanks to Gayle Haggard’s tough decision to forgive Ted). Megachurch pastors Randy and Paula White of Tampa, Fla., announced their break-up in 2007; then came similar news from Juanita Bynum and Thomas Weeks III in Atlanta, followed by Jamal Bryant and his wife, Gizelle, of Empowerment Temple in Baltimore. And on and on it goes.
Part of the fallout of these scandals was the widespread disillusionment among people who follow these leaders. We naturally expect ministers to be models of Christ-like behavior, and they have a solemn charge to do so. When shepherds fail, the sheep often faint.
We’ve even seen this in the secular world. When politicians or celebrity athletes experience personal failure, the public wants an explanation. Tiger Woods, for example, waited three long months before finally hosting a press conference last week to admit what he called “irresponsible and selfish behavior.”
Of course no minister is perfect, and every Christian has access to God’s mercy when he makes mistakes. But a spiritual leader is held to a higher standard of accountability and disclosure. Those who assume a public ministerial role incur a “stricter judgment,” according to James 3:1. That means a leader can’t have a moral or ethical breakdown and then just hide it, ignore it or laugh it off.
It also means he can’t spin the statement to his advantage. The church, of all places, should be a No Spin Zone. We must take full responsibility, and that includes publicly owning up to our failures—and stepping down from the pulpit, if necessary, for however long it takes to find healing.
Read more: Fire In My Bones