On the Restoration of Fallen Pastors image

On the Restoration of Fallen Pastors

Here’s a very insightful (and robust) challenge from Carl Trueman, on the Mortification of Spin podcast. His distinction between restoration to fellowship and restoration to office is critical, I think:

We’ve had a couple of these recently: high profile guys who have been caught in pretty serious sin, and then they have parlayed that into their Great Restoration Narrative, and they’re now available for public speaking. I’d want to say to those guys: sit down, shut up, and go away. Get yourself a proper job, pay taxes; we don’t want to hear from you again. Be a good member of your local church. Serve on the toilet cleaning roster or something. We don’t want you as a public speaker, and we don’t want you parlaying your drunkenness or your adultery or whatever into the greatest comeback since the resurrection. We don’t want that. We don’t need that. And you call into question by doing that the genuineness of your repentance, because it doesn’t seem that you understand quite how far you fell.

I absolutely believe in grace. But I do not believe that restoration to fellowship is the same as restoration to office or authority. They’re two distinct things. They’re distinct in Scripture, and they’re distinct in the church today. Yes, the adulterer—the murderer!—can be restored to fellowship in the church. But whether the adulterer should ever stand in a pulpit, or in any position of de facto teaching authority within the church, is an entirely different question.

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