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Okay. You’ve been there before. The choir just transported the worshippers through the gates of heaven with amazing worship. The atmosphere is charged with excitement and the mood is set, but the pastor is not on the same wavelength. The pastor gets up to preach and you can’t believe what just let fly out of his or her mouth. It is biblically inaccurate and those words are being used to manipulate the congregation to give more money.
Maybe you’ve been in this situation or another where a pastor is in error. You expect someone to say something but the whole church just “Amens” and agrees with him. It’s almost like you are an alien or you woke up in the “Twilight Zone”—cue the creepy music. Not only are the church members tolerant of the pastor and his or her antics but also there is no one from the broader leadership community calling the pastor out.
Enter pimppreacher.com, a site dedicated to reporting the moral and ethical failures of pastors. It is an online space where church members report the violations of their pastors. Many of these violations are not only against scripture but also against the law. While I don’t agree with all of the theology and opinions posted on pimppreacher.com it has provided a outlet for abused members to call their pastors out when other leaders neglect to do so. Pimppreacher.com only posts articles on pastors who have not adhered to biblical standards 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9. They also steer clear of the pastor’s family. In my opinion a site like this is a godsend as it can warn the members of a pastor’s violations of the bible’s commands. It can also show the world that we in the church don’t tolerate hypocrisy and unethical practices.
In the Black Church it is popular to give leaders a free pass. Usually when someone dares to speak out against someone in ministry they are quick to hear “Touch not mine anointed” or “Don’t put your mouth on the man of God.” The idea is that God calls the preacher/pastor and therefore he is answerable only to God. Therefore there is no accountability between him/her and the congregation or other pastors. Having been in the pastor role myself I believe that we should give pastors the respect they deserve because it is a tiresome and demanding job to shepherd a faith community. At the same time, I think that when the pastor breaks some of the standards for a Christian leader outlined in the New Testament (1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9) someone should call them to account for their actions.
But is it right for a pastor to let another pastor know when they are out of line? Is it right for church members to correct their pastor? Based on scriptural principles and examples the answer to both questions is an emphatic “Yes!” In regard to church members calling their leaders to account we can examine 1 Timothy 5:19-20. Here Paul lets Timothy know that he is not to receive an accusation against an elder unless two or three witnesses can support it. By stating how these accusations are to be received these verses assume that accusations can be brought against an elder or church leader.
In regard to pastors calling other pastors to account Paul provides an excellent example. When Peter shows prejudice against the Gentiles at Antioch, Paul rebukes him to his face Galatians 2:11-12. Paul went in on Peter in front of everyone! Paul was also vocal in calling out false teachers. He warns Timothy not to follow in the footsteps of Hymenaeus and Alexander in regards to his Christian faith 1 Timothy 1:19-20. Notice that he calls them out by name. Paul also calls out Hymenaeus and Philetus in 2 Timothy 2:17-18.
When leaders are out of line other leaders need to publicly let them know. When leaders are out of line their followers need to let them know. One thing that needs to be taken into consideration is whether the preachers have been given the opportunity to change. The site warns others of their faults and sins but is there a way to offer grace and restore these fallen pastors. Another thing that we do not know is whether the church members have already addressed these issues with the pastor according to Matthew 18:15-17. Pimppreacher.com has taken it upon themselves to be an advocate for those who feel abused by their pastor but have the members themselves done the biblical thing and talked it out with the offenders. This would be the best way to handle these situations.
What do you think? Should pastors be held accountable by other pastors? Should pastors be held accountable by other members? Is a site like pimppreacher.com necessary?