A Texas pastor whose church was disfellowshipped from the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention over an inappropriate relationship with a teen prior to his conversion is contesting the decision as unbiblical.
Erbey Valdez, 47, senior pastor of New Spirit Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas, told The Christian Post Thursday that if the Apostle Paul — who authored two-thirds of the New Testament — wasn’t disqualified from leadership due to his murderous history prior to conversion, he doesn’t believe his 10-year-old sexual sin should disqualify him from church leadership.
“There is no evidence in the Bible that someone who would commit a sin such as mine would be disqualified. And again, I always continue to offer up Paul to show that the opposite exists — that in Paul, he’s a man who authored I Timothy 3 that we should be above reproach. And it should say something to us that the man who says we should be above reproach was the man who murdered Christians. And so if I understand, even the disciples of the church at the time didn’t know what to do with Paul,” Valdez, a married father of two contended.
“Even people who have committed horrendous crimes, even they can be called to not only be leaders but to be even pastors such as Paul. If the church is governed by the Bible and not by popular opinion, what does the Bible say? I believe that the call to ministry and the call to pastors comes from God and God alone. And I would think that most evangelical Christians would agree.”
In the wake of the national Southern Baptist Convention’s sex abuse scandal — in which The Houston Chronicle highlighted more than 700 victims of alleged sexual abuse at the hands of hundreds of Southern Baptist Convention leaders and volunteers — the SBTC’s executive board ruled at a meeting held April 22-23 in Galveston that New Spirit Baptist Church was in violation of the newly adopted doctrinal statement of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000.
The violation pertained to membership rules which specify that no church may be approved for affiliation or continuing affiliation if the church’s senior pastor has been convicted of the sexual abuse of a child or if the church is found by the credentials committee to be “indifferent” in their response to child sexual abuse.
Valdez was a 37-year-old middle school principal in 2009 when he was arrested and charged with improper relationship between educator and student. The then 17-year-old student, he said, did not attend the school he led but was part of the school district in which he worked. The teenager claimed in an affidavit to have had sex with Valdez on three occasions, two of which were in the back seat of his car. The third is alleged to have occurred at a hotel in another city.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair