Eight theses about responding to the sin of a pastor

I’ve noticed a lot of Christians are confused about how to respond to the sin of pastors. Christians who love their pastor, as they ought, are hurt when the pastor faces consequences for his sinful behavior. Especially when there is no “smoking gun,” they hear charges and think “that doesn’t sound so bad.” Sometimes this impulse is turned against other members of the church leadership, “Aren’t you a sinner too? Then why are you making a big deal about his sin?!” Basically, they think their pastor never sins, at least in any way that calls for real consequences. On the other hand, some Christians hate authority of any kind, except their own. Any attempt to exhort or lead these Christians is met with accusations of “lording it over” and “pastoral abuse.” Basically, they think that all pastors only sin, unless they submit totally to the rule of the mob. While these situations are among the most

difficult and painful that any believer will face, they don’t have to be confusing. God’s word brings clarity into the mess. Here's eight theses on responding to the sin of a pastor; I commend the passages mentioned for your further study.   1. The pastor/elder is first and foremost a Christian, and in important ways his fight with sin is the same as that of other believers: He is a sinner who needs God’s grace through faith in Christ for salvation and forgiveness (John 3), and without this would be condemned (Rom 3:23). Though saved, he is not without sin in this life (1 John 1:5-10), and the battle with sin must be fought (Rom 6:12) and rages onward (Rom 7:7-25). Part of the battle with sin involves identifying patterns of sin, sometimes through self-examination (1 Cor 11:28; 2 Cor 13:5), or sometimes through the ministry of others (Mat 18:15; Heb 3:13) when self-deception has taken place (1 Cor 3:18; Heb 3:13; 1 John 1:8).…