This weekend has brought some terrible news. According to an article at the Phoenix Preacher, Pastor Bob Coy of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale has admitted to committing adultery and has been dismissed from his ministry. This claim of adultery has now been confirmed by the mainstream media.
My heart is grieved. I can’t imagine what shame he must be feeling right now. What guilt and embarrassment. I am praying for him.
I am also very concerned for his wife Diane. I have heard her teach the Bible before and she is a great speaker. I feel so saddened for her. Not only did her marriage practically fall apart. But now she has also somewhat lost her ministry, as a senior pastor’s wife. Sure God will still use her and bless her, but it will be much different now. I am so grieved for her.
This situation is tragic.
I have been on the church website reading the official statement, and many of the comments. The sheep at that church are so precious. They are loving their pastor. They don’t seem to know what to say, and they are just sharing their hearts and sharing supportive comments. Bless their hearts for their faithfulness and compassion. They have been sinned against too. But I think for some reason, many of them do not feel okay to mourn over this and instead feel the need to minimize it and dismiss it with reckless grace.
They have been sinned against for a while. By a man who has despite [allegedly] committing adultery with two different women just this year, has stood in the pulpit and tried to share the Word of God with dirty hands. That is a great shame. Living in gross sin one day, then putting on a godly face and entering the pulpit on Sunday. Where is the fear of God? Where is the deep deep dread to get in the pulpit and teach the word, knowing that you have sin that you didn’t deal with? How do you expect the Holy Spirit to bless that teaching?
I don’t know about you, but if I say a mildly bad word during the week I have a hard time acting holy at church on Sunday. I feel exposed. Like everyone can tell I messed up! Even knowing God forgave me, I still am aware of my sin. How do you not feel that nakedness, after adultery?
Another thing that bothers me is that instead of the church calling it adultery in their official announcement, they call it a “moral failure.” I think in the spirit of love they are trying to spin it in a less damaging light. But that diminishes it. The Bible doesn’t call it a moral failure. It is one of the Ten Commandments! Let us call it what it is.
If we don’t call it what it is, we are minimizing it. We are then responsible for other people minimizing it in their own lives. People will excuse it and say, “We all sin” — forgetting that leaven spreads.
The church has done the right thing, in removing him, and being open about what happened. They are tempering justice with love and gentleness and that is good. But people are confused. Sin always brings confusion. And when we love people, we often don’t know how to feel about their sins. So we have these precious church members calling for him to be restored, saying they forgive him, and that we need to give him grace.
But isn’t there a season for consequences?
I don’t want him roasted over a pit of fire or thrown into a volcano. But the Corinthian church was rebuked for their excessive tolerance of gross sexual sin.
“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5:1-2
There is a time to mourn over this.
It is okay.
Being upset about it is not the same thing as throwing stones.
We forget that when Jesus said “He who is without sin, cast the first stone” that He was talking about LITERAL STONES, not words or feelings.
It is okay to hold him responsible for what he did.
It is okay to say that this is not okay.
God gives grace.
But we still face consequences when we sin.
Some of the people leaving comments are too early to extend restoration. It isn’t time yet. There needs to be this process; he doesn’t get a free pass from this, just because we want to feel generous about our tolerance and love.
Here are some comments:
“. . . David failed so many times in the bible, but that doesn’t mean God took out the Psalms.”
This person is upset that the church temporarily removed his teachings . . .
“If men who sinned had their Christian written teachings removed, we would not have anything left of the Bible! Moses, David, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul… ALL of them AND us have fallen short of the Glory of God, but Jesus already forgave us all!”
This woman is wondering why he has been removed from the pulpit, and implies he is almost the victim . . .
“Completely supportive of a Pastor Bob. We are all sinners. Just because he is a pastor does not mean he is immune to it. In fact, pastors and leaders are attacked more because they are infringing on the devil’s territory. King David wasn’t forced to give up the throne when he fell. Pastor Bob, we love you.”
and this person thinks Jesus would tell Bob, “it’s okay”. . .
“If Jesus were here today what would he say to Pastor Bob. What would he do. Jesus would wrap his arms around Bob and say son it’s ok I forgive you.”
And this person thinks that we are just to ignore what happened and just pray. . .
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We are in no position to judge Pastor Bob. We are only in a position to pray for him and his family, as well as newer or weaker believers whose foundations may be shaken by the knowledge that our leaders are not infallible. Pray, brothers and sisters. Pray.”
But people got hurt.
His wife . . . I can’t imagine what she is going through right now.
And yet the majority of the comments on the Facebook and church website say,
“We are in no position to judge Pastor Bob”
But Paul disagrees . . .
I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.
For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).
That sounds so harsh huh, especially when it now applies to a beloved pastor.
And the church, we get on our soapboxes right?
We stand bravely and protest the disgusting sins of the world! But we don’t do this when it is one of our own. I think the world notices too. They see us protesting Starbucks because they support gay marriage, but not protesting our own immorality. We yell at the world with clenched fists, but then coddle and defend the sinners in our camps.
The whole Anthony Weiner scandal, remember how grossed out we got over this guys “moral failures?” We talked about how shameful, nasty and unprofessional it was. Right?
Well guess what?
Anthony Weiner is not a Christian. We are not to judge the sexually immoral of the world, but we are supposed to judge the sexually immoral Christian.
Why do we scream that it is it wrong for a non-Christian to live to please the sinful nature, but when a pastor does it we long to cover it up or somehow sanitize it? Is the blood of Christ a free pass to continue in sin?
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Romans 6:1-2
We are wrong when we get so upset about Miley Cyrus naked on a wrecking ball, and Bill Clinton having “relations” with an intern, and Tiger Wood’s shocking scandal . . . but when a Pastor that we love sins we don’t cry about it, but try to defend him: insta-grace.
What if we found out Pastor Bob broke a different commandment, like murder? Say he murdered two people this year. Would people be so quick to excuse it, “David killed Uriah, so . . . “
Or what if he began to dabble in idolatry? “So, Solomon committed idolatry . . . “
Adultery is a big deal.
Adultery hurts people.
This is a big deal.
And God forgives.
This is a really big deal.
And God still forgives.
God forgives when we confess and repent, but we still have to face the consequences.
Right now, Bob is facing the consequences.
It is okay for him to do that.
If he clings to God, he will be okay.
It doesn’t mean we don’t love him or pray for him and his family.
But let’s not try to rush the process.
There is a time for reconciliation.
We who are spiritual should gently restore him, when he has gone through his process.
And maybe not to pastoral ministry . . . but . . .
But certainly to love and fellowship.
I think my caution right now, is seeing the church almost excuse what he did because “everyone sins.”
That sentiment is well meaning.
But it doesn’t help the situation at all.
It doesn’t help his wife, his church, or him.
It would be better to quietly acknowledge, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 5:7-9).
For it is a sober warning and it applies to us all.
In the meantime, do not look to man but keep your eyes on Christ and finish your race.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
And pray for Bob Coy, his family and his church.