Pastors and ministers that operate covertly do so for one reason, continuation of their Secret.
Galatians 6:1 says “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.”
To get to the gist of this, the debate is more about how soon should a pastor or praise and worship leader, or any minister be restored to minister?
While there is no Biblical example of a timeframe in which a person could minister again, we know that the current examples set the bar very low as to how soon one could be restored.
First things first.
Each person’s temperament is different, but the Lord and His Word is the same.
When it comes to Secret Sexual Sins, this is where it all must begin.
It was once said that a person shouldn’t be “too transparent.”
We all know that if we are going to kill something, full disclosure is required. To leave out any details, sensible details lacking salacious statements, is the kind of concealment that most men and women depend on.
A balance has to be struck as to what is reasonably transparent and sharing declaratively forbidden salacious details.
It’s in the secrecy of a thing that a person could easily return to commit sexual sins. Therefore, it must be noted that for any one to recognize contriteness of heart, the degree of a person’s divulging of his or her heart, fully opens up the heart to receive the healing touch of the merciful love of God.
Psalm 40:11 “Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord;
Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.”
We ask the Lord to do this for us but what are we willing to do to receive all of it?
James 5:16 says, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
Notice that “trespasses” is plural. Now the argument that will be stated that James didn’t say “confess ALL your trespasses…..”
The price of receiving His lovingkindness and tender mercies may require that you confess your trespasses to one another.
The power of the disease is not just the sexual immorality committed in the life of a pastor and his adulteress partner.
It’s in the secrecy.
John 3:19-21 says “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
This is true for believers as well. Believers that desire to commit sin will work secrecy in the same manner. But to work the works of darkness, a believer must come out of the light and leave holiness at the door of the house of sin.
Secrecy is the mode of operation because if few to none know about what went on, you can continue to minister like nothing happened. But few of us read the story of David. Or we totally ignore it.
Especially when the prophet, by the Holy Spirit, revealed David’s sins, hidden in secrecy.
While I was in the Secret Sexual Sins of porn and masturbation, I rarely, if not at all, mentioned holiness, sexual sins, unless it was just homosexuality, and deliberately avoided my own personal life.
The purpose was that if I didn’t own up to these sins, I can continue in the sinful pleasures of the world. I would quickly ask God for forgiveness, in vain, preach, and then go back to the vomit. I suppressed the convicting power of God for that two hours of being in church.
One of the things that you are aware of is that you know you lied to God. I wasn’t serious about repentance. It was all a hypocritical joke. My life busted the sides of the devils as they were laughing at me about how I was running my life.
Today, the Lord showed me what these devils were saying about me. No one likes being laughed at like a fool.
“If only he knew how he could be free.”
To be free, I must give up ALL MY SECRETS.
I must expose what I’ve done in darkness.
Paul said in Ephesians 5:11-13 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.”
I had to painfully expose these areas in my life in order to be free.
Psalm 90:8 “You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your countenance.”
It’s not that the secret sins were freshly discovered. God knew about this before I was born. He was just waiting to see if I would decide to keep myself by His grace, or fall into sin. He was prepared to go in either direction. Because He knows all things.
It’s only until a man or a woman Come Clean and put it all on the table that restoration may be fully extended.
Of course there are many variables and accountability patterns that must be initiated and set up for the rest of his or her life, but until the secrets are revealed in confidence and safety, to even consider restoration to the pulpit is folly.
The path to the restoration of ministry is blocked until there is a restoration of the relationship a man had with God.
God has to to trust you all over again but from the secret place in prayer, fasting, repentance that sticks, to establish righteousness and true holiness. With no exits to sin against God again.
For they will fall again if pastors are not serious.
The power of the enemy is deprived when the secret is out. And the secret will come out, one way or another.
Restoration to the ministry should be a zero factor until things are properly set in order.
Just like when president Obama announced a date for troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan, the enemy just waited for that date to come.
Hence, the emergence of ISIS.
It’s the same with sinful ministers that love their sin more than they love God. Devils wait for the day you return to the ministry, and they bring their best sexual sins tools to tempt you to sin again.
Because the devils know that you haven’t killed Goliath in your flesh, but it’s not so much the devils. It’s you. Your thirst to fulfill lust in your mind and flesh.
The whole purpose of keeping the secret alive is to continue in sin.
If we look forward to the day of getting back into the pulpit, then we are missing the point.
A pulpit without God is no different than hell without God.
God will not partner with a preacher that is intent on keeping his sins.
This is what secrecy is all about.
The ability to continue in sin while pretending that everything is all right.
Finally, accountability teams are great and very helpful to ministers caught in Secret Sexual Sins, but if it is to get to the root of the problem, tough love accountability must be instituted from start to finish.
The sinning minister must not have control over establishing any date of return to the pulpit. Should a sinning minister refuse to endure the entire process and submit to Biblical accountability, there is nothing that anyone, including God could do.
Besides, what more important is not the pulpit but his heart.
If his heart is not right, then he is abusing the grace of God and there is no mercy available until there is a “confession and a forsaking.” (see Proverbs 28:13).
Make no mistake about it.
One moment of sin is not worth an eternity in hell.
A fallen minister must be broken before God. The fear of God must be restored. The contrite heart must be the lifestyle for the rest of his or her life.
And secrecy must be destroyed.
There can be no exceptions.
An article regarding Billy Graham’s grandson and his sexual immorality apparently spurned by his wife could be read here.
There is one more thing.
It’s puzzling for us all to see Israel Houghton placed on indefinite leave from leading praise and worship at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church.
According to Israel Houghton, a few years ago, he was going through a divorce. After the divorce was settled, this year, if I am correct, while the final touches were about to be placed on the divorce, he entered into a time of legal separation from his wife.
Then according to Israel Houghton, he was in a friendship for two years with his new girlfriend and recently were in a resort in Mexico, taking things to the next level. Seems innocent right?
Apparently, there would be no reason to put Israel Houghton on indefinite leave if there weren’t any further “indiscretions.”
The common practice for “ministers” and even some “worship and praise leaders,” is that regardless of your status (righteousness or unrighteousness), you continue ministering as if nothing happened. This is common. What is uncommon is for a person of any ministerial stature to voluntarily or by force (news of what’s going on,) cease ministering until there is true repentance which leads to verifiable restoration.
Or a church “two stepped” to continue deceiving the people.
That is if, of course, any future “indiscretions” were committed.
If it was just a simple divorce and then engage in a new relationship, then that’s it, there isn’t a story here, and there would be no need to have Israel Houghton stand down.
But it’s not as simple as one would like for us to think.
Something warranted Israel’s temporary departure.
Here’s something to think about.
It is a clear distraction for Joel Osteen, because when Israel Houghton is on the stage with Joel, there can be no conflict with others. The headline attention completely obscured Joel Osteen, so something had to be done to “refocus the attention back on Joel Osteen.”
We all know that the attention shifts from Joel’s message to Israel’s situation that gives the appearance that something is unravelling. Then again, maybe not.
More time away from Joel’s message is an unwanted and untimely distraction.
When you are off message or when there is a serious distraction, untold millions of dollars is at stake.
So to keep Joel Osteen’s message at the center of it all……Israel Houghton must step aside until the heat is off.
In a small backwoods church, no one would have noticed.
So the best thing to do is to get Israel Houghton off the stage, let his avoidable conflict simmer down a while and when people aren’t noticing (like we weren’t paying attention for the last 5 years or more), resume as if nothing had happened.
And really, it wasn’t because we weren’t paying any attention.
All parties elected to keep this silent.
Which is par for the course in church these days that when a minister’s marriage is suffering because of “indiscretions,” to keep the show (Joel Osteen and Lakewood Church) on the road, they kept it a secret for as long as possible.
If and when the story comes out, then they will deal with it.
Which they’ve done.
An answer for every contingency until…….
The events that we are seeing played out, were played out way before we were born. Since God created us all, He knows in advance what we will do. Nothing surprises God.
The statement from Lakeview Church could be read here.