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"Why Must An Adulterous Elder Lose Office?" 
22nd-Apr-2007 01:05 pm
The blog on which this article was found (http://voiceofreform.blogspot.com) seems to have decent insights on church leadership and discipline. UBF leaders would do well to read this article before they cover up yet another leader's adultery or even promote such a leader to a higher position, as has been their practice.
24th-Apr-2007 03:41 am (UTC)
I like the section on "Answering arguments for keeping an adulterous elder in office". Here are some selections from that section: (You could substitute spiritual abuse / unbiblical control / racism / greed / etc. for adultery in many of these points)

Argument: He will get counseling

Answer: Adultery is a sin problem -- not a psychological problem. Counseling may be helpful for the rehabilitation of an adulterer, but counseling does not instantly restore his character or his reputation. That can take many years to happen. Counseling done in secret to deal with adultery of an elder is just wicked cover-up and counselors who participate in such scandal must be challenged to repent.

Argument: But many great leaders were adulterers

Many great military and political leaders and other heroes were adulterers.

Answer: We must not lower the church to the standards of the world. While we need to promote morality outside the church, family integrity is very closely linked to the job function of an elder. The church [not UBF] is built on the family as the core unit. Thus the ability of an elder to set an example in conducting his family affairs in a good manner is critical to his job as an elder. An adulterer has failed in his family office and thus also in his church office.

Argument: The adulterer is the only well qualified person to do the job (a favorite rationalization used by Sarah Barry and other acolytes to defend Samuel Lee's worst behavior)

Answer: The qualifications for leadership in 1 Timothy 3 are almost all character requirements -- not ability requirements. Some may include a component of ability, but ability is not the main issue. Character is the main issue in all of them. Thus the elder must not be kept on because of his ability to raise money or lead people or preach or because of his Bible knowledge. We must appoint elders based on character. In the short term, the group may suffer the loss of the skills, but in the long term the gospel retains its integrity. Why should a spiritually immature man be put in charge of a congregation?

Argument: But shouldn't we forgive him?

Answer: Firstly, followers must personally forgive the adulterous elder for breaking their trust and shaming the church, but that does not mean they should automatically trust him again with the same job. Secondly, he not only wronged people, but also wronged God and is a potential danger to the flock.

Argument: Doesn't mercy triumph over judgement?

Some quote James 2:13 `Mercy triumphs over judgement' and say that the spirit of scripture should be followed rather than the letter of scripture. (a favorite tactic of certain Chicago UBF elders)

Answer: To answer this, firstly, the example of the cross. God didn't compromise his justice in order to exercise mercy. If he had, Jesus would not have needed to die in our place. Mercy is going beyond justice - not ignoring justice. Secondly, in any issue there are many people involved. Exercising unbiblical mercy towards an offender can result in injustice towards others - such as those abused by an adulterer. Thirdly, Jesus objected to Pharisees majoring on minors and missing the purpose of the command. With adultery, the issue is major and the purpose of the law is in line with the intent of the law.
24th-Apr-2007 03:44 am (UTC)
There's also a section on "Hidden reasons for keeping an adulterous elder in office" which may shed some light on UBF's anti-biblical treatment of leaders' sins:

Besides the publicly stated reasons for leaving an adulterous elder in office, there may be some other unstated hidden reasons for doing so. For example:

* Other elders may prefer leniency because they are afraid to set a precedent, because they would also wanted to be treated leniently if they sin -- or they may even have secret sins that they fear may one day be exposed.

* Other elders may fear losing their power, which they have by association with the "big man".

* Other elders may fear counter-attack in the disciplinary process.

* Other elders may have a wrong idea about the meaning of grace and not understand the balancing truth about the justice and holiness of God.

* Others may pity him because he doesn't have other skills that could produce a similar income.

* Other elders may have close personal relationships with the fallen leader and thus may want to protect him from harm.
24th-Apr-2007 08:30 am (UTC)
Very good find. This article is completely right. It even seems self-evident to us. But I fear the UBFers (particularly the Koreans) live in a completely different value system. Whereas the article is based on the (biblical) value system in which values such as justice, impartiality, truth, frankness, truthfulness and integrity are very important, they come second or last for UBFers, being overruled by values such as obedience, loyalty, end justifies means, image is everything, keeping face and honor. Though UBFers claim the Bible is their ultimate measuring stick, in reality the latter values are their ultimate measuring stick. So they will not accept anything of the obvious things explained in such articles.

(Sometimes they use the excuse that they overrule justice with mercy, but they use this only in the case when a leader has to face justice. For the sheep or critics, there is little mercy. They point is not that in UBFs value system mercy is higher than justice. They are not merciful to their leaders because mercy is higher than justice in their value system, but because loyalty is higher than justice in their value system. It just sounds better as an explanation, when they cover up and brush over the sins committed by leaders.)
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