It’s a Good Thing God Didn’t Become Incarnate to Become a Pastor…

(shaking my head) - HT: Jim West.
"sex Offender Back in the Pulpit"

Yes, forgiveness is a good, stupidity is not.

The basic story is that Jeff Hannah (youth pastor) was convicted of having sexual relations with four underage girls. In 2001 he was paroled and jointed the First Baptist Church of Romeo (where his new wife was a member - yes, that "new" is significant). Soon after, Hannah was asked to fill the pulpit of that church until a replacement was hired.

What makes me think this is stupid? (and there's more later)

What was the state of Hannah's "repentance"? Pretty much non-existent

In talking to the Sun-Times last week, Hannah, 42, was unapologetic about his crimes, saying his first marriage had been troubled and he'd had "urges."

"I honestly believe that had I been a college pastor, I'd slept with college girls," he said. "But I was a youth pastor. It was less about age and more about who I spent all my time with."

If he had been repentant (I was wrong and I'm sorry, help me not to do it again) he might have had a case. What does the pastor of the church where he committed these crimes say?

The Rev. Steve Farish, pastor of Crossroads Church, which has relocated to Grayslake, said he considered Hannah so dangerous that he warned the Romeoville church and a regional Southern Baptist official.

“We thought he could still potentially be a danger to women and children,” Farish said. “He was never repentant and never told the truth.”

The deacon at First Baptist Church said,

"In our church, we believe in forgiveness," said Del Kirkpatrick, one of the deacons who hired Hannah.'s more.

Kirkpatrick hired Hannah as interim pastor (paroled sex offender to be in the pulpit).

So what happened when a permanent head pastor was hired? Well duh...Kirkpatrick (the one with forgiveness, remember?) left the church. WHY?

The new pastor was divorced and then he remarried.

"A pastor should be the husband of one wife," Kirkpatrick said.(...)

Some in the congregation were upset by Hannah's role, but Hamby's remarriage was a bigger controversy, according to church officials. The feud bubbled over last week, when Hamby and Hannah abruptly resigned.

Yes...don't let your lip-service to "forgiveness" extend to the divorced. That would be really bad. Way worse than putting an unrepentant sex offender in the pulpit.

They have made "marriage" the god.

I guess it's a good thing that God came to earth, incarnate, to be our Savior, not to be a pastor (Jeremiah 3:8)

More links to takes on this stupidity story:


The Roland Report


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9 thoughts on “It’s a Good Thing God Didn’t Become Incarnate to Become a Pastor…

  1. There is a huge misunderstanding about what "forgiveness" means. When priests were getting caught doing this, someone said that we ought to forgive them.

    I agree. Jesus forgives them, their victim(s) can forgive them, the church can forgive them, but they are still going to jail. Forgiveness (at least the Catholic version of it) does not pay the temporal price of sin. You still have to pay that.

    Also, you can forgive someone and not hire them, or let them keep their job. You can release them accompanied by your prayers, love in your heart and the hope they can find work where more children are not in danger.

    Good article, Ellen.

  2. It would seem that there's more to the story ... or I'm simply missing things in translation.

    To assume the pulpit is to serve as a role model? Why didn't the deacon leave when Hannah served as interim, as Hannah was also divorced and remarried?

    "Husband of one wife" is an odd phrase, if intended to bar the divorced and remarried from the presbyterate or the diaconate. Rather, Paul's prescription suggests a generally polygamous congregation ...Carrie just fell off her chair ...

    It's by the grace of God that anyone even come to repentance. Hannah's church, his wife, his former pastor ought to all be praying for him. And he probably needs to sit down with his new pastor and get himself straightened out.

    They have made “marriage” the god.

    It's more accurate - but more crass - to say that "sex" is the god of American Christianity as various expounders of the Scriptures take those adultery verses literally rather than figuratively and advocate "sexual purity" as the ultimate mark of following Jesus.

    Just my 2¢.

    PS: I don't understand how Jer. 3:8 applies to the Incarnation and pastors?

  3. Phil


    Why didn’t the deacon leave when Hannah served as interim, as Hannah was also divorced and remarried?

    Because as a temporary role, he probably didn't have much leadership authority. It was one of those situations that may have come in just slightly outside of the specifics of the SBC ban on divorced men in the pastor's office, on the mission field, etc.

    The phase "husband of one wife" in Greek would be literally rendered: "one woman man", as there is no specific Greek word for husband or wife. The opposite construction ("one man woman") in 1 Tim. 5:9 regarding the eligibility of a widow to receive assistance. Also, this word construction was used outside the Bible in the literature of the day to refer to a man who was faithful to his one woman -- his wife, of course. If Paul meant "not divorced" he almost certainly would have used the words along the lines of 1 Cor 7 to make that reference. In fact, the words for marriage, divorce, putting away, etc. are never used anywhere near any of the qualification for "overseer" (aka, "bishop").

    Even if someone accepts the unlikely "husband of one wife" meaning, that doesn't prove anything, it only makes it worse! Here's why: the qualifications for leadership are all in the present tense, namely that he BE a one woman man, that he BE not a lover of money, etc. If you read those qualification with a past/present dual tense, it would read, "BE and always have BEEN a husband of one wife [note:this would ban widowed-and-remarried, too!]… BE and has always BEEN not addicted to much wine, BE and has always BEEN not quarrelsome, etc.” Of course, even Paul, as a former murderer of the saints, would fail those requirements! Paul, however, was an overseer. The point is that the requirements are present tense, so even if it means “husband of one wife” it only means “…right now.” A remarried but faithful man would still meet that requirement.

    I don’t understand how Jer. 3:8 applies to the Incarnation and pastors?

    The systematic theology goes like this…
    1. God is divorced (God clearly announces this in Jer. 3:8, and discusses it again in Is. 50)
    2. God became flesh (in Christ). If you’ve seen Christ, you’ve see the Father. (example: John 14:9)
    3. Jesus, being the God of Abraham, Isaac, Moses and David, come as flesh, is therefore divorced from his wife, Israel.
    4. Therefore, any denomination that prohibits divorced men from any role would, therefore, end up barring Jesus from that role, too! In other words, if Jesus himself applied to be a pastor in the Southern Baptist Church, or a missionary in that organization, Jesus’s ministry application would be rejected because he’s divorced!

    It’s not that people find this hard to understand, it’s that they find it hard to admit their own unbiblical holier-than-God policies that would make a Pharisee cringe.

  4. Rather, Paul’s prescription suggests a generally polygamous congregation …Carrie just fell off her chair …

    Nah, didn't fall of my chair, but then, I'm not sure what you really mean. So I guess there is still a chance...

    On a side topic, this "God is divorced" - what does that mean for Israel. This came up before with the annulment discussion and was new to me.

    I am interested now b/c my friend and I were talking about the Jews and whether they officially "worship the same God" and I couldn't give a strange answer b/c the old covenant/end-time fulfillment (or not) thing is a weak area for me. Any thoughts?

  5. Ok...whew...I broke the blog for a minute...

    Moonshadow, I'm not sure about which is the bigger god, sex or marriage. As a single, it can appear that marriage is the god.

    Carrie, a good book to read is "A Case For Amillennialism" by Kim Riddlebarger (there's a link to his blog in my sidebar, where he's covered John MacArthur's dispensational view)

    It's important to remember that "...not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel" (Romans 9)

    Eschatology can be complicated, but I'm getting more into it from a Reformed/Covenent standpoint - if it's in the Bible, it's worth studying...

  6. Phil

    Carrie, no matter what ANYONE says, the Bible says clearly God divorced Israel. He followed the three step process from Deut 24 perfectly: He declared it to her, gave her the divorce certificate, and sent her away. That's a divorce. That's Bible. That's not annulment.

    Now it gets more interesting. God promised “a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah” (both of whom were “sent away” to Babylon). Further, the new covenant is “not like the covenant that I made with their fathers...” This new covenant is not a restoration of Mosaic covenant (Jer 31:32), but rather the new covenant is new covenant of Christ, which we celebrate at the Lord’s supper. So God married Israel, divorced her for “her adulteries” and has established a new covenant (i.e., remarried).

    Do Jews worship the same God? If they stick to the Torah and somehow avoid centuries of Jewish mysticism and such, then yes, they are (attempting) to worship the same God. They’re not saved, however, because they do not come to the Father through the Son. Some have tried to teach the Jews can still be saved by faith in Jehovah and simply being observant Jews. This is false because Paul was clear that the Gospel is “the “first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16, 2:9 and 2:10) The old covenant is dead and “obsolete” (Hebrews 8:13). The old covenant cannot save the Jews. They need the Gospel or else go to Hell like all the rest who are not saved by faith alone in Christ alone.


  7. Phil

    One more thought, Carrie. This new "dispensational" theology is a recent invention in Christian history. The main problem is I have with it is that the dispensational message seems to indicate that the Church is a temporary distraction that God will sweep away in the end so He can deal with the people with whom His heart is really dedicates: Israel. This is totally offensive to the New Testament. "Covenant confusion" runs absolutely rampant in dispensational circles, and very strange and unbiblical things come of it. The dispensationalists are trying to spin the idea that God wants to kiss and make up with his first (unfaithful) wife that still rejects Him. This is absurd for sure! See my comments above about the old covenant. It's dead.

    We have this romanticized notion of Israel. Well, Peter, when addressing the Jews in Acts 2 and 3, knew of the sins of the Jews and God's plans for them -- the plan was for them to leave Judaism and become Christians. The Earthly kingdom of Israel meant little compared to spiritual Israel; that is, those who live by faith.

  8. Thanks Phil, that helps.

    My friend and I both agreed from a salvation perspective, the point is moot since there is no salvation without Jesus. Whether a Jew following the OT is worshipping the "same God" or not becomes a hair-splitting exercise since in the end they may as well be worshipping a rock w/out Christ. It was more an interesting conversation of eschatology.

    I think the dispensational stuff is what had me thinking about the Jews still in God's ultimate plan. As I said, it is a weak area for me - someday I'll have to do some study.

    Thanks again - very interesting.

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