Summary: But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. - 1 Timothy 5:20 It has become popular amongst some in modern american evangelicalism to judge other servants of the Lord based on their pride ...
But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. - 1 Timothy 5:20
It has become popular amongst some in modern american evangelicalism to judge other servants of the Lord based on their pride, control, and other motives of the heart. They are even considering these sins on the level of sexual immorality and money laundering. Pastors who are found accused by such groups are said to be unfit for the ministry because they were sinning in these areas. Those who are accusing pastors and leaders feel it is virtuous even a calling to do so. Many who are not fully submitted to Church leadership feel it is their calling to tear down anything they do not agree with or find fault with. Someone has even said that that in verse 23 when the Apostle Paul says, "Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses" that this was encouraged for Timothy to do because of the pressure and stress he had to publicly expose church leader sins! We do not see individuals publicly exposing an Overseer but rather an Apostle Timothy. If we consistently look through the New Testament we will see the times afforded to do this are when there is clear outward sin in the leaders life, not simply assumptions on character.
We do the work of the enemy when we try and expose and dig up motives of heart of Church leaders when we really do not know if they are "sinning." When Church leaders express forgiveness and apology to believers that have been hurt this shows the humility they should have towards faults. No leader in the body of Christ is perfect and all have failed their people at some point. When we look at the few faults of a leader compared to his daily servanthood of good he has done we err and become an accuser of the brethren, sharing in the office of the enemy (Revelation 12:10). If all believers in the body of Christ were held accountable for all their sins then no one would stand. We all fall in many ways and fall short of God's glory, to demand Christian leaders to be perfect is unreasonable. When there is a continued sense of hurt caused by a leader and no repentance, apology or humility then it is probable that outward clear sin will manifest. In the early Church other bishops would correct bishops, this was the model of accountability set up. We see Timothy following this rule, reprimanding other fellow leaders for the sake of restoration. In the fear of God flee from the thousands of accusations of God's ministers, judge yourself, fast and pray for the leader involved. In most cases these verses would be seen for those leaders who were teaching false doctrines that did not align with the faith once given to the saints (Jude 1:3).