What should happen if a pastor has an extramarital affair? That’s the question the group LifeWayResearch asked 1,000 Protestant pastors across denominations as part of a new study.
Overall, just 24 percent “support a permanent withdrawal from public ministry” if a pastor has an affair, though 31 percent said they should step down for a period of 90 days to a year. The vast majority—86 percent—believed that congregations should be informed if one of their pastors receive church discipline for misconduct, though very few (13 percent) said that initial allegations should be told to the congregants.
In the study, LifeWay Research executive director Ed Stetzer said,
The Scripture says pastors must be above reproach. So it’s not surprising that some want to see fallen pastors banned from ministry. Still, pastors are also people who talk about forgiveness regularly and, by and large, they want to see those who fall have a chance at restoration.
Protestant pastors increasingly find common ground with Muslims. While the majority of pastors—no surprise here—consider Islam dangerous, a “small but increasing segment” believes Islam is “similar to Christianity," according to a survey published last week by LifeWay Research.
According to the study:
-17 percent of pastors characterize Islam as similar to Christianity, nearly double the 9 percent from five years earlier
-50 percent say Islam “promotes charity” (up from 33 percent)
-32 percent describe Islam as “spiritually good” (up from 19 percent)
-24 percent describe Islam as “tolerant” (up from 16 percent)
-22 percent describe Islam as “open” (up from 12 percent)
The report also reveals a big disparity in the views of pastors and the general public. LifeWay cites a “a parallel survey of 1,000 Americans,” in which more than a third say the two faiths are similar—making them twice as likely to see similarities between Islam and Christianity. On the other side, negative opinions are also on the rise, though less dramatic—an also increasing majority thinks Islam is “dangerous,” “promotes violence” and is “spiritually evil.” Discuss
Worship Pastor Gentry Eddings, 28, and his wife Hadley, 27, were driving home from a wedding when a box truck struck their vehicle, killing their 2-year-old son. Hadley, who was 37-weeks pregnant, had an emergency C-section, but their newborn son, Reed, only lived for two days. Days later, at the memorial service, Gentry said they had forgiven the driver, who has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle. Gentry’s sister explained to People,
Forgiveness can be a tricky thing. But like my brother said during the service, forgiving the driver was easy and hard all at the same time. Hard because our natural inclination is to cling to the pain and hurt and even anger. Easy because we believe in a good God.
Though more than $195 thousand has been donated to cover the family’s medical bills, according to People, the Eddings have now asked that any donations be given to an organization called Mission of Hope Haiti. Gentry's sister told the magazine, "Hadley and Gentry are truly the strongest people I know, and it is beautiful to see them lean into each other and into Christ" ... Discuss