May 13, 2014 • By Ed Wrather
But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. - Matthew 5:28 NKJV.
For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity. - Proverbs 24:16 NKJV.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. - 1 John 1:9 NKJV.
Statement issued by Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale, Florida: “On April 3, 2014, Bob Coy resigned as Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, effective immediately, after confessing to a moral failing in his life which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church he has led since its founding in 1985. The media ministry of the Active Word that distributes his Bible teachings through radio, television, and digital media has also been suspended.” Bob Coy is not the only pastor who has resigned because of a moral failure. Three additional megachurch pastors in Florida have resigned because of having confessed to extramarital affairs. Isaac Hunter, pastor of Summit Church, later committed suicide. (Christianity Today 04.07.14; also the Blaze, Religion News; Huffington Post and various other news venues)
The four Florida pastors are certainly not the only pastors who have had a moral failure of the same magnitude. Some of those other pastors were well known, but far more were not so well known. I’ve known some of those lesser well known pastors personally and they did recover from their failures. Although those failures marked their lives in traumatic ways, but they were able to continue in ministry after some time had passed. Their later ministries were on a smaller scale than they had previous to the moral failing.
Seeing great men of God fail it causes most to give pause to their own ability to overcome temptation. The majority of pastors, and of married men, have not had extramarital affairs and have not been tempted to have one. However, I doubt there is a single man who has ever lived (except for our Lord) who can truthfully say they have not violated Matthew 5:28. It is not just the outward actions, it is also the thoughts of our hearts.
For those who have actually committed physical, visible known acts of immorality it is traumatic, and for all those in their circle of relationships. As with Issac Hunter the pastor who committed suicide in Florida, the damage from an adulterous affair can be overwhelming. He is not the only pastor or Christian man to have committed suicide after a moral failure. Even for those who have failed in their thought life, their heart life, it is also damaging. Some men have had suicidal thoughts even while trying to cope with what lies in their hearts that are in violation of Matthew 5:28. Those pressures upon men and even women are perhaps greater today than ever before.
The truth is that many great servants of God have experienced moral failure in one form or another. Adam and Eve were not sinless and their failure corrupted all of creation. David, the man after God’s own heart, committed adultery with a married woman and arranged for the murder of her husband. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, did some very unwise things. Samson also had his problems. The truth is that none of us human beings are perfect and we all sin (Romans 3:23) to one degree or another.
When we sin, it can make you miserable to the extent that you no longer want to live. Is that what God wants? No! God wants you to fall on 1 John 1:9 and to rise again to walk with Him and serve Him. Does God condone sin? No, Romans 6:23 says that the “wages of sin is death.” Sin, to whatever degree brings deadness instead of the abundant life that God wants us to have. If you do experience moral failure, it does not have to be the end of the road. It will likely not be easy to recover, but there is hope. That hope is based on the Word of God. As seen with King David, when there is true repentance (Psalm 51), a turning from sin and to God, restoration can occur.