I would truly like to see some of you respond to me on this one. I am in full agreement with the idea of church discipline, but right now we are dealing with this on a different level. We are dealing with being falsely accused of sin we haven't committed, and with the fact that our former pastor is the one who committed the sin, but is unrepentant.
This is a very long story, so I'll just give a summary.
My husband and I brought a doctrinal issue to our pastor that we and many others in our church felt needed to be dealt with; he seemed uninterested in dealing with it.
My husband was very concerned by this lack of interest on the part of the pastor, and wrote a very respectful email to him.
My husband was then accused of lust (quite falsely!) and I and some other ladies were accused of gossip. This was also a false accusation. We then were kicked off the worship team and were called in to a meeting with the elders in training. There are no elders in our church, and we are nondenominational, so there is no authority over our pastor.
At this meeting, he angrily blasted us in front of the 3 other men, who all seem afraid to speak to him about his wrongs. This pastor brought up matters of a private counseling session in front of these men, and read off a list, rapid-fire, of my "offenses".
After leaving this church, I have contacted some of the many people who have left this church, and their stories are very similar to mine. He is leaving a trail of hurt people throughout our community. He was kicked out of the CMA denomination for similar offenses.
This pastor is very abusive to anyone who questions him on anything! Even if you are totally respectful! He then makes up sins you have commited and says you are being disciplined.
Anyway, there is so much more to this that I can't put it all here.
What does one do when they are being falsely accused throughout the community by a pastor who has no accountability to anyone, and will not even admit his own sin?
This is BTW a very clear cut case of one of the core reasons why it will be so hard for protestant churches to recognize one another's discipline. Many of them don't follow any kind of due process or require the level of elder oversight needed to have a genuinely just system. One poster addressed the issue directly
I appreciate your comments. We certainly have been in prayer regarding this situation, and I do confess that I am struggling with anger and hurt over this. I do find it difficult to pray for him. I'm not sure how to pray... I pray that his "ministry" will end and that no one else will get hurt, but what do I pray for him specifically? I do pray for his repentance. This pastor is someone that we respected and admired up to this point. We simply had never really questioned anything yet, so we didn't know he would react in such a manner.
The pastor angrily threw a couple of papers in the trash that I copied off of John MacArthur's website regarding the doctrinal issues at hand. He said to my husband angrily, "Who ARE you? You're NOTHING!" At one point I tried to peaceably ask him if he could at least admit that he had an anger problem, and his response was "NO! I DON'T!" Every person in the room looked at him in shock and then admitted that they do occasionally deal with anger. But not the pastor!
Two of the elders-in-training are very upset about what happened and saw the pastor as being clearly in the wrong, but are afraid he will lash out at them the way he did at us if they say so. The other elder-in-training is very loyal to the pastor, and will no longer speak to us. It is a shame; we thought he and his wife were good friends of ours.
We have many friends in this church, though it is a very small church. I have been told that there is hardly anyone in attendance anymore since this happened. My concern is largely for the few who are left who do not see him for what he is. He has counseled a number of people and then they have heard the details from others later! He cannot keep his mouth shut about private matters, and many have said they believe he and his wife are the real gossips. Isn't this a breech of confidence?
He would not take any accusation against him. What does that mean practically anyway? I mean, what is the result?
The other problems brought up here (as well as the gossip-mongering) accentuate the need for proper church discipline, which includes a proper *context* for discipline.
After all, to be disciples (students, retainers, servants) together, we must be obedient together. That can't happen if we're allowing the dictates of a single person or a parachurch hierarchy to rival Christ.
Proper church discipline will require mutual submission, deference to all others at all stages of growth and responsibility, as its most basic framework. That probably means that an unaccountable, single-elder church is screwed up long before anyone abuses the power he shouldn't have.