There is a good blog post from Barnabas Piper, son of John Piper, about the “fall from grace” of Mark Driscoll (HT: Chris Bruno). It is a great reminder for Christians to respond as those who have received grace upon grace.
In my few years as a pastor, I have heard of so many stories of pastors who have fallen from grace because of seasons of unrepentant sin. This reminds me of two things for my own life and ministry:
- God has had so much grace on me. If you knew me during my college years, you would have wondered if I was a Christian. If you knew all of my daily struggles and sins, you would wonder if I was a Christian. There is no one that thinks I am less deserving to be a pastor than me. How much more grace should I have on other pastors who fall from grace.
- Should the Lord ever allow me to fall into unrepentant sin, I pray my main hope will not be restoration to pastoral ministry. I hope I will not see forgiveness from the church only in the form of “you may preach to us again.” If I were to live my life in such a way that KBC removed me from office, I pray that God will grant me repentance and restoration to the Church. I hope that I will feel forgiven the moment the church allows me to take the Lord’s Supper with them again.
May the Lord forbid this from ever happening to any pastor ever again. But if situations like this arise, let us think in terms of restoration to the Body before anything else, and remember that restoration in our relationship with God and His people is better than restoration to any temporal office or status.