It’s the task of our generation to stop, seek His face, and take a second glance at what the previous generations have left us. Guarding the authenticity of the gospel, we must ask ourselves, “How many of these teachings are not based upon the principles of New Testament restorative grace?”
For instance, in the 1980s, we began the precedent of how to handle ministers who fail morally. Instead of using the principles of the New Testament, we used the philosophies of ancient Greece and the teaching of Aristotle who stated, “If you fail once, your whole life has been a fraud.” This teaching is in direct opposition to the finished work of Calvary.
As a result, when soldiers of the cross failed morally, they were systematically exposed, humiliated and cast upon the dung heaps of degradation and solitude. We reveal that we are unspiritual because we respond in a worldly way to those in need, instead of embracing the power of the Gospel and applying it to these very public opportunities to model the gospel.
Because of our faithless responses, these men, called and chosen of God, are now in the dry places working menial jobs to make ends meet. Many of them have been so shamed that their humiliation drives them deeper into sin, as far from the things of God as possible.
The religious scoff and point their accusatory fingers and call them anathema. Yet, how does God’s word refer to these fallen men?
Romans 11:29 says, “For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable”.
If we truly are “the body” of Christ and part of our body is wounded, it’s expedient that we rush to protect and heal those very parts, which are sickly. It is our responsibility get them healed, restored and back to where God called them to be.
The sixth chapter of Galatians gives us very clear perspective on how to distinguish those who are truly God’ s servants in such a time: “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.”
This scripture very clearly indicates how God’s man will instinctively respond. The most spiritual among us will be those who run to restore.
The religious are unable to fulfill such a task. Their prerogative is limited to Old Testament directives, initiating fanatical obsession in order to smite those who do wrong. It’s natural, unspiritual, worldly and carnal, but it looks and sounds good, especially when cloaked in church language.
Jesus dealt with this same issue when confronting the woman caught in adultery. He exchanged our concept of "accountability to" for His concept of “accountability for.” He took personal responsibility for the woman. And after driving away the accusers, he spoke words of forgiveness, healing and restoration.
For the past year, round tables have been spontaneously rising up across America where these tough issues are being discussed. These meetings include many of America’s greatest theologians, denominational leaders, ministers, counselors, Christian college directors, and authors.
In attending one of these myself, the ministry of Heal Your Servant received very clear confirmation and directive to obediently step into the fray. The results have been overwhelming. In May, Heal Your Servant and Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Tex., will be hosting a round table of our own.
The purpose of Heal Your Servant is to be a safe place for vulnerable ministers. We are choosing to care more about your restoration than our reputation.
Our vision is twofold:
1. We are a listening ear for ministers who have no one with whom they can be utterly honest. We have chosen to create a non-condemning, yet non-condoning environment to speak God’s mercy and grace to those who are scripturally entitled to be the first partakers of these fruits.
2. We are very aware of this great commission and understand the significance of the irrevocability of the call of God on those who have once proclaimed this glorious gospel. We feel compelled to seek out those ministers who have fallen away and get them healed, and restored and back to the calling for which they have been set apart.
On our website, we provide several godly solutions including a link to “The Underground,” a counseling organization directed by Fred Antonelli PhD, which provides intense directives for ministers and their wives for counsel, prayer, and often biblical deliverance.
Heal Your Servant also has an entire plan for churches in the midst of leadership dilemmas. When invited, we take an entire team into the church. Working first with the minister and his wife, then with the inner leadership core, and then to the exterior leadership.
Once a plan is in place, we stand before the congregation on a Sunday morning and say, ”You all know this Pastor who has led you to Christ, baptized you, performed your wedding, counseled you, visited you in the hospital, prayed with you and taught you of the wonderful mercies of God? This very Pastor needs a little bit of that right now. We are taking him and his wife away for a short time to be strengthened and restored. When they return, they will be greater than they’ve ever been. Your job is to simply pray and speak good things about them.”
When handled correctly, rather than a church split, people will observe the love of Christ in action. Rather than wounded believers, we will see individuals strengthened and encouraged.
There may be occasions where the minister must step down indefinitely. That is not our decision, but the decision of each particular congregation. However, no matter what happens, that minister will maintain the dignity that was purchased for him by the shed blood of Christ, and God will be glorified.
We have several testimonies of those who have avoided scandal, been restored, and brought out of the catacombs of shame and degradation. Here are a couple of examples: