John Piper Answers: Should Pastors Who Commit Adultery be Permanently Banned from Ministry Even After Repenting and Asking for Forgiveness?

Notable Bible teacher and DesiringGod.org founder John Piper believes that pastors who committed adultery should be allowed to return to ministry, provided they have engaged in a lengthy period away from church leadership.

In an episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, a listener said her church was considering hiring a pastor who had left his previous congregation because he committed adultery.

“He was caught, repented, and asked for forgiveness. I certainly believe Christ forgives adultery. But from reading the passages on church leaders in the Pastoral Epistles, I don’t see how it could be God’s will for him to continue pastoring. What are your thoughts? Is repentance enough to make this man a leader in another church? And, more generally, what sins — if any — disqualify a pastor for life?” the listener asked.

Piper responded by noting that standards can vary for what can disqualify a pastor for life “because I don’t think the Bible gives a clear instruction about how a disqualified pastor can become qualified again.”

“I don’t think this is the kind of issue where the church as a whole will ever have agreement,” Piper said in the podcast that aired on April 24. “I think every local church should pray and think and study their way through the Scriptures into a position from which the elders can work in unity with regard to these kinds of things.”

Piper said he considered sins like adultery that are committed “after one’s conversion and well into one’s Christian life” to be “more serious indications of unfitness for ministry than our sins prior to the new birth and the new creation in Christ.”

“Adultery after conversion is sinning against the glory of the light of Christ,” he continued. “Before conversion, we were all in spiritual darkness; we were acting according to our nature.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski