John Piper Says Pastors Must be Held to Higher Standard of Sexual Purity

When it comes to issues of sexual purity, pastors are not “just one of the guys” and should be held to a higher standard, influential pastor and author John Piper said. 

In a recent episode of his “Ask Pastor John” podcast, Piper, founder of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota, weighed in on the question: “Is faultless chastity too high a standard for pastors?”

Piper first acknowledged that it takes “very special grace” to withstand sexual temptation — yet this grace is “is available in Christ to all Christians.”

The standard for church elders and pastors are higher than for ordinary Christian church members, he added, because of the special gifting required for elders and pastors called “teaching” and “governing.”

“[T]here are ethical standards where the pastor is to be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2), because he’s a very public figure and has the weighty calling of being an example to the flock (1 Peter 5:3) and an example to the world (1 Timothy 3:7),” he explained.

Piper stressed that while many pastors try to give the impression, “with misplaced humility,” that they are “just one of the guys,” they are “emphatically not ‘just one of the guys.’”

“They are the shepherd of the guys. They are the wolf-catchers and wolf-fighters of the guys. They are examples to the guys. They are the protectors and teachers with authority over the guys. Maybe one of our problems is that we’ve just scared pastors witless about being what they ought to be.”

He argued it is “biblically inconceivable that such a shepherd could be living above the standard of Moses, and above the standard of ordinary Christians, and above the reproach of the world, and yet be living in sexual sin.”

“My answer to the question is that it is not too high a standard to require that a pastor live a life free from sexual fornication and adultery and any ongoing use of pornography,” he concluded.

Piper’s thoughts on sexual purity come on the heels of a recent report from Proven Men Ministries revealing that the majority of Christian men and 37% of pastors admit having a struggle with pornography.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett