The Question of Restoration of Fallen Leaders

After watching over many years different Christian leaders fall into sin, I thought I would weigh in on the subject of restoration specifically.  When a leader who is truly born again falls into sin there is a process that begins once that sin finds them out.  The first part of the process is confession by the offender and rebuke before the church (1 Timothy 5:19-21).  If a church leader is not willing to submit to the church for discipline, then they are not repentant.

Scott Brown has written an article titled, Is He Repentant over @ which deals with the subject of true repentance.  I recommend this article to you.  What I want to deal specifically with is the subject of restoration.  The rest of this post will deal with the answer to the question, “Can a fallen Christian leader be restored to leadership?” and what does that look like.  First, I want to consider how a Christian becomes a leader in the Church in the first place.

The qualifications for elders and deacons, the leaders of the Church, are listed in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.  If you read these lists you will see characteristics which can be described as observable faithfulness to Christ in public life.  The two sins that take Christian leaders out are adultery and theft.  Please notice the many characteristics mentioned that speak directly against these two sins:  blameless, a one woman man, of good behavior, not greedy of filthy lucre, not covetous, ruling his own house well, and a good report of them that are without.

As far as the amount of time it would take for a new believer to become an elder, Paul gave this instruction in 1 Timothy 3:6, that an elder should not be a novice because of the very real danger that a new believer would be lifted up in pride and fall.  Paul also said in 1 Timothy 5:22, “Lay hands suddenly on no man.”  One last consideration as far as time is concerned is the word “elder” itself.  The very word means an older man.  If someone would like to argue that this means spiritual maturity rather than physical age (I think it is a combination of both) I would ask how many years would a man have to be born again before they would be spiritually mature?  As I have done my own survey of asking pastors, “How many years went by from the time you were born again and when you became an elder?”, the answers usually hovered around ten years and many were beyond that.  Also, in those ten or more years every elder I have talked to could point to many ministries that they were involved where they were faithful in the smaller spheres of leadership.  They were faithful in the little things and God gave them more.

The second point for consideration in answering the question of the restoration of fallen Christian leaders is to ask whether there is a biblical example.  There is no example of a Christian elder or deacon committing adultery or stealing from the Church and then being restored to leadership.  Judas stole from the money bag which led him to betray Christ which led him to suicide which led him to his own place eternally separated from Christ.  There is a man who was a fornicator mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5 who seems to be restored in 2 Corinthians 2 but he was not an elder or deacon of the Church.  Demas is mentioned as a member of Paul’s ministry team in Colossians 4 and yet in 2 Timothy 4 it is said of him that he forsook Paul and loved this present world.  There is no indication that he was ever restored.  Two examples of men who were restored to ministry after a failure of faith (a moment of fear) were Peter and Mark.  Peter was restored by Christ after denying him and Mark was restored by Barnabas after abandoning him and Paul.  Neither of these men were guilty of theft or adultery.

The one example from the Bible that most would point to as an example of someone who fell into serious sin and then was restored is David.  He committed adultery and murder.  He was confronted (publically rebuked) by the prophet Nathan and confessed his sin.  He is the biblical example of true repentance.  His heart was truly turned to God.  But before a fallen Christian leader points to David, he may want to consider the terrible consequences that David endured because of his sins.  His daughter was raped by his son.  Three of his sons suffered untimely deaths.  And, his son rebelled against him and stole the kingdom from him.  If you total the number of years from when David sinned with Bathsheba, faced the consequences mentioned above and finally was restored to the throne after Absalom’s rebellion you will find at least ten years.

In summary, I believe that fallen leaders can be restored to positions of leadership in the Church.  However, I believe after they have been publically rebuked they should once again be considered a novice in the faith, a babe in Christ.  They should start down the path of faithfulness in little things which qualified them the first time they became elders.  After a period of at least ten years of showing the fruits of repentance, I believe a biblical case can be made for having a fallen leader return to a position of elder or deacon.  The mistake that is made over and over again in the Church is restoring the fallen leader way too soon and just reinforcing the pride that caused the fall in the first place.  Charisma, charm, good communication skills, and personality are very poor substitutes for righteousness, holiness, and a faithful witness.

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A Great Book to Read

This is a short post but I have been reading a wonderful book.  The book is Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Preaching & Preachers.  His insights are amazing and very much needed in the Church today.  This book is taken from lectures given in the 1960’s and none of what he says is outdated.  In fact many times, he mentions issues of a century ago that have resurfaced in today’s Church.

This book has greatly refreshed me.  I feel very blessed to read the wisdom of the preacher of the 20th century who was known as the Dr.  I heartily recommend this book!!!



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A Man’s Love For His Wife

Ephesians 5:25-33 gives instruction for how a man should love his wife.  It reads,

Ephesians 5:25-33

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Verse 25 begins this section of scripture by teaching that this love is sacrificial.  In fact, to love as Christ loved the Church means giving one’s very life for the benefit of his wife.  It is to lay down every claim to be first and instead make yourself last.  This love is also forgiving.  For a man to love his wife as Christ loved the Church, he is the initiator of forgiveness in his house.

Verses 26 and 27 teach that a man is responsible for making sure that his wife is cleansed by the word of God.  A husband is an integral part of the sanctification of his wife.  During the week, he reads and teaches the word of God in his house and on Sunday he takes his wife to corporate worship to hear the word of God preached.  A man loves his wife by helping her to work out the spots and wrinkles through the power of the word of God.

Verses 28 through 33 teach that a man will love his wife by nourishing and cherishing her like he does his own body.  These verses are not teaching that a man needs to fall more in love with himself in order to love his wife.  They are saying it is a given that a man loves himself.  Men love their wives and this love is real to their wives when men nourish their wives physically and spiritually before themselves.  A man loves his wife when he concerns himself with meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of his wife.  A man loves his wife by cherishing her.  To cherish her means to make her feel special.  It is to honor her above all others.  It is to talk of her beauty.

When a man truly loves his wife, there is a oneness that is supernatural.  Although the world cannot fully understand this mystery, a man’s love for his wife is a beautiful witness that God Himself is present in a home working a daily miracle of grace.


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Irony Is Pretty Ironic Sometimes

So this week we learned that the Russian ship that was caught in the ice around Antarctica was on a mission to measure the effects of global warming.  Next, the Chinese icebreaker on its way to break them free failed.  Who did they call?  They called the Americans to successfully rescue the people on the frozen ship.  This gives new meaning to loving your enemies. Continue reading

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Hidden Manna

During our family devotions a few nights ago, I discussed the church @ Pergamos in Revelation 2:12-17 with my family.  The passage is listed below.

Revelation 2:12-17

12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.

16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

The sin this church was guilty of was compromise with the world.  The doctrine of Balaam was if you cannot curse the people of God, corrupt them instead.  Balaam told Balac to send the Moabite women into the men of Israel and corrupt them.  The doctrine of Balaam in the church is to corrupt it with little bits and pieces of other religions and cultures.  Verse 15 mentions the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes which Christ hates.  This doctrine is to set up a priestly cast which stands in between the Church and Christ and lords it over the laity.  It was a mixture between Judaism and Christianity.  The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes is in direct opposition to the doctrine of the priesthood of believers (Jesus has made us to be kings and priests to our God).  We have direct access to the throne of grace.

This passage ends with a promise to the overcomers.  The Spirit says He will give hidden manna to eat.  The overcomers should be understood in this context as those in the Church who do not go after the temporary immediate pleasures that come from compromise with the world.  The overcomers suffer at the hands of the world even though compromise would give them some immediate benefits.  Hidden manna is exactly what they need.

The manna was God’s supernatural way of feeding the children of Israel in the wilderness.  The mention of hidden manna gave my wife and I a chance to tell our children of the many, many times God has supernaturally provided for our family in the past.  We told them of anonymous envelopes of money just in time to pay the gas bill.  We told them of a check from an insurance company that came two years after the policy was cancelled just in time to pay a bill.  As we finished, we went room to room in our house and explained how we received in different ways most of the furniture in our house.

Benita and I have tried to do things God’s way and not compromise with the world.  God has been exceedingly gracious in providing for our family in ways the world just cannot see.  He has given us hidden manna and even given us His own Name, born again into the family of God.  There is hidden manna waiting for every overcoming child of God and it is very sweet.

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Oh Christmas Tree!!!

Although there may be many people in today’s American Church who seem to want to suck the joy right out of Christmas, I love this time of year.  I love the decorations.  I love the gifts.  I love that at least one time a year there are things everywhere reminding the world that God humbled Himself to take on flesh and become a man.  That during the darkest time of the year, the light of the world came on a rescue mission of love; love so great that holy God was willing to die for sinful men.

I think people in the church would spend their time a lot more productively if they would join the rest of us in sharing Jesus this time of year rather than looking for some kind of sinister darkness behind children smiling and opening gifts on Christmas morning.  Many of the traditions that Americans have during this time of year are just that, American traditions.  My Christmas tree was not invented by the Druids and then brought into the Church by the pope or Hitler.  I have my Christmas tree up in my living room for the same reason Jesus will have trees up in His sanctuary; to beautify it (see the verse and my Christmas tree below).

Isaiah 60:13

13 The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.

Christmas Tree








When you simply give people Jesus, look what you give to them:

Isaiah 61:3

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

This is the time of the year when people are most receptive to hearing about Jesus.  He is our only hope.  Instead of trying to steal the joy of our Christian brothers and sisters, how about sharing the joy of Jesus with a world that desperately needs it.









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A Few Thoughts on Music from the Scriptures

When talking about music, there are two passages from Paul’s epistles that come immediately to mind.  They are Ephesians 5:18-20 and Colossians 3:16.  The two passages are below.

Ephesians 5:18-20

18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Colossians 3:16

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

These two passages are very similar in that they break down the songs that Christians sing into 3 divisions:  psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.  Although there is a very small group of people in the Church who struggle to read English and believe that this really means psalms, psalms, and psalms, most Christians realize that there is a variety of songs which the Church uses to worship.  (Breakfast, lunch, and dinner does not really mean in the original Greek breakfast, breakfast, and breakfast.)  These two passages give us some guidelines as to what is pleasing to the Lord as we worship Him.

The Ephesians’ passage is geared more to the individual believer.  Making melody in your heart with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs is evidence that a person is filled with the Spirit or under the influence of the Holy Spirit.  Christians sing to the Lord because of the joy that is in them.  I think it should also be evident from this passage that those who are filled or under the influence of alcohol sing songs that evidence what is in their heart.  Not only is music evidence of what is in an individual’s heart, music also has an extremely powerful pull towards either Christ or the world.  I have taught my children many times that if they find themselves depressed, bitter, or angry to consider the music that they are listening to.  Cut off the worldly music and replace it with Christ exalting psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs and joy and thankfulness comes flooding back in.

The Colossians passage is geared more toward music in corporate worship.  Please notice the “one another” in that passage.  This passage gives us a few things to consider when deciding on what music is appropriate for corporate worship.  First, the music in corporate worship should be packed full with the word of Christ or the scriptures.  God’s words are written on our hearts as we sing them back to Him.  Second, the music in corporate worship should teach the doctrines of the faith.  Third, the music in corporate worship should admonish or strongly encourage believers to live out the Christian faith.  In the second and third points here you can see both orthodoxy and orthopraxy.  Fourth, the music in corporate worship should evidence hearts that are filled with the grace of God or another way to say this is music that focuses the heart of the believer directly to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Although the fourth point here may be more subjective than the other three, the point is that if there is something about the music we as the local church are singing that causes believers to turn toward the world away from the beauty of God (whether it be style or content) than that music is not appropriate for corporate worship.


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Our Triune Government based on the Triune God and His Words

Anyone who has a basic knowledge of American history knows that our country’s foundation is Christian.  What our founders meant by freedom of religion was the freedom to worship the Lord Jesus Christ according to one’s understanding of the scriptures.  Freedom of religion was to keep the state (federal government) out of the affairs of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It was not meant to keep the Church out of public affairs.  It certainly did not mean that we recognize other gods as equal alternatives to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Allah is not god; nor is Buddha.

Today, America is post-Christian.  The state is now the new tyrant god that exists for the sake of its own power.  President Obama is our dictator who makes decrees (laws) and selectively enforces them depending on whether you are friend or foe.  The Constitution is a distant memory made into suggestions rather than the highest law of the land.  Laws that were meant to protect individual liberties have been turned on their head.

What is the solution to turning this rapid decline?  It is for the leaders of the Church to first repent and then to rediscover our foundations (our ancient landmarks).  It is possible to look at original documents and discover America’s true Christian heritage.  The pastors/elders of America if it is to survive need to speak to all aspects of life and bring them into submission to the Lord Jesus Christ.

I want to end with a scripture verse where it is very easy to see the model for our form of government.  Our Constitution provides for three coequal branches of government.

Isaiah 33:22

22 For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.

Any honest person reading this scripture can see the Judicial, Legislative, and Executive branches of our federal government found in the description of the Lord in this verse.

Our founding documents have as their foundation the Holy Bible.  It well past time that the preachers of the Word proclaim this truth and stand against the preachers of secular humanism.


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A Place Where Translation Really Matters

In post Christian America, where gender roles are very confused, divorce rates are very high, and even homosexuality is normalized, it would be very helpful to have a clear standard to look to for guidance.  Titus 2:3-5 is one of the clearest statements in the Bible on how Christian women ought to live.  Unfortunately, with every new English translation that arrives on the scene, this scripture passage is changed a little.  See below Titus 2:5 in five of the best selling English translations of the Bible.

To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Being a worker or even busy at home is quite a bit different then being a keeper at home.  Being sensible as a woman is very different from being discreet or self controlled.  Most women have a very clear understanding of what it means to be obedient to their own husband but really not a clue what it means to be subject to their husband.  Most women have a very clear understanding of what it means to blaspheme the word of God but not many women have any idea what it means to malign or revile the word of God.  The newer the version, the softer the blow and the duller the sword.

Here is the Greek word which is translated blasphemed, reviled, dishonored, and malign in the different versions above:  blasphéméo.  You can decide for yourself which is the correct way to translate this Greek word.  It seems to me that the more contemporary versions of the Bible purposely cloud the gender distinctions.  This is not what a Church which has lost its distinction from the world needs.

If you are a young lady who wants to be in the center of God’s will for your life do yourself a favor and get a KJV version of the Bible.  It is very clear and it is God’s word for English speaking people.  The further you get away from the KJV the more worldly you will become.  If you want to be comfortable in your sin and have the world love you then the ESV, NIV, or even the Message will work well for you.

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An Easy Question To Answer

There are many issues in the scriptures that are hard to understand.  Some questions call for long prolonged study.  Here is one question that takes very little time to answer and not much study at all to answer.  The question is, “Can or should women be pastors/elders/bishops (same office) of local churches according to the Bible?”

1 Timothy 3:1-7

3 This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;

One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Titus 1:5-9

For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;

Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

Hopefully, it is very obvious to anyone reading the two scripture passages above that elders/pastors/bishops in the local church are supposed to be men.  These are the two passages in the Bible which describe the qualifications needed for a person to be an elder in the church.  The first qualification is to be a man.

For those who would say that these qualifications were for the first century Church and their culture, I would like to point you to 1 Timothy 2:8-15 which is immediately before the qualifications for an elder in 1 Timothy 3.

I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

You see, the cultural context is given in this passage.  This passage and principle are not just for the 1st century Church but are for all time because Paul goes all the way back to creation and Adam and Eve to make his point.  Verse 12 is crystal clear on whether women can hold the office of elder.

Here are a couple of questions to think about if you still want to use the argument that the idea of women being in submission to male authority in the Church is an outdated 1st century cultural thing.  Do children still have to be obedient to their parents in our modern Christianity?  Do husbands still have to love their wives as Christ loved the Church or is that an outdated concept of centuries gone by?

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