Our country is reeling in the aftermath of several horrific events–some spanning back several years and some just a few days ago. Regardless of the timeline, we all will to some extent struggle with what to do with the offenders. Should there be forgiveness or justice? And, even more perplexing, what do we do when it is a believer who has sinned?
In an excellent article titled “Why repentant pastors should be forgiven but not restored to the pulpit”, Jonathan Freeman deftly summarizes this difficulty within the church when he states, “Christians struggle with this question because Christianity centers on the idea of forgiveness. Step one in becoming a Christian is acknowledging that you are a sinner in need of forgiveness.When the pastor is exposed, some push the message of forgiveness. “Who of us is without sin?” they might say, drawing from Jesus in John 8. Meanwhile, others object: “But how can we trust this guy?””
What does it mean to show forgiveness to those who have harmed us? Freeman goes on to argue, as stated in his title, that pastors who have sinned and repented should be welcomed back into membership but not into a role of leadership. There should still be consequences to their sin.
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