How Do You Handle It When a Christian Leader Falls?

This week, Pastor J.D. answers the question, “How do you handle it when a Christian leader falls?”

Show Notes:

  • Unfortunately, I think we can all think of a Christian leader that we’ve looked up to and respected who has fallen—either morally, disqualifying themselves from ministry, or denouncing the faith altogether. 
    • There are few things quite as devastating as when you look to someone as your spiritual hero and they fall. Sometimes it’s someone you’ve seen from a distance whose teaching had a big impact on you and sometimes it’s someone who is up close—maybe not everyone has heard of them but they’ve had a big impact on you.
    • This raises questions like, “Were they always a hypocrite or was this a moment of weakness they got in? Is everything they ever taught a lie?”
    • Sadly I can name several men that I’ve looked up to in ministry who have disqualified themselves from ministry. 
  • There was a book that was written by Paul Trip called Dangerous Calling, which is about the danger of being called into ministry and the irony is if you open up the cover and see the names of the men who endorsed the book, they were all really good friends of mine and all of them except for one have fallen.
    • So I asked Paul Trip about this and he said, “There are two things—number one they lose peer community. By peer community, I mean the kind of people that look into your life and call stuff out. They don’t work for you. They’re not impressed with you. They can speak truth to you. Most of those people community around them but not peer community. The second problem is something that compounds the first—they forget the power of indwelling sin. They think that somehow their success in ministry or how much they know moves them beyond that initial call to follow Jesus and die to yourself.”
  • I can tell you that even after being in ministry for over 25 years, the fight between the flesh and the spirit never goes away. It never gets easier. The raging of my flesh against God is as real as it ever was.
  • So when that happens and it effects you personally and you’re dealing with that disappointment, there’s a few things I try to remind people.
    • At their very best, they were still very flawed and they were never designed to be your savior. They were only to point to Christ. Now, hopefully they will point consistently to Christ by their life, but there are just a lot of figures in the Bible who started that way and then disappointed.
  • Ultimately, the Christian leaders you look up to you are not there to be the object of your faith. They’re just a means to point you to put your faith in him. 


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