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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

When a Pastor's Wife's Past Causes Havoc...

Abby Interesting topic recently in (of all places) Dear Abby:

DEAR ABBY: Being a pastor of a church, I had to respond to the letter from "Hates Hypocrites in Washington." She's the woman who discovered that the new associate pastor's wife, "Millie," is the same woman who broke up her marriage, in addition to having had a "history," so to speak.

The senior pastor is probably aware of at least some of what she wrote about -- that Millie has had two previous marriages, countless affairs and did time in prison for drugs. However, on the off chance that he doesn't, "Hates Hypocrites" should say something.

As you suggested, she needs to introduce herself to the woman in question: Millie's reaction will give her a pretty good idea of whether she has had a change of heart in recent years. If Millie hasn't, then the writer needs to go quietly to the pastor, approaching it from the standpoint of, "I hope Millie has turned over a new leaf since all of this, but you need to know that ..."

I have seen firsthand what can happen when not enough questions are asked when a staff person comes into a church. While I hope and pray that Millie has learned from her mistakes, that may not be the case. -- REV. CHET THOMAS, DAWSON, GA.

DEAR REV. THOMAS: Although I am reluctant to see anyone "carry tales" that could ruin a career -- specifically the associate pastor's -- I bow to your expertise. You are not the only clergyperson who weighed in on this one.

You can read more on this here...

What would you do in a situation like this?!

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February 28, 2006 in Leadership Issues | Permalink

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It seems to me like what I would do lines up fairly straightly with what Rev. Thomas suggests. Approach the woman in a civil way and see read her reaction. If she seems totally different almost as if she's had a lifechanging encounter with good 'ol Jesus then why not try to repair past confrontations and possibly gain a friend. Forgivness is a powerful thing. So is the concept of not judging a woman too harshly before you know her for who she is or simply based on who she was.

Now, if she is seemingly the same person that broke up your marriage then by all means talk to the Pastor himself in private and tell him about your personal history with his wife and tell him that you feel he needs to know. On the off chance that he doesn't know anything about his wife's history and past and refuses to speak with her or even recognise that there may be an issue....go with the Biblically reccommended path and talk to a group of the elders of the church about the issue. Ect. Ect. However, the main point throughout this is that you should never stop loving this person.....the first step to doing ANY of this is forgivness....even if the person has not yet repented or asked for it. With that in mind look for Todd's earlier post about Rob Bell on Forgivness.
And never stop loving that person and pray for them daily.

Now....if I were the pastor I would not manage to marry someone in that kind of commitment without knowing the woman's persoanl history. I don't much like closed doors. Now my Fiancee doesn't have much of a history but I know what there is to know and I have made sure that she knows mine. Then knowing all of that past I would not marry her if I had a doubt as to whether or not she has had a change in heart and mind via transformation that only Christ can do. (Especially if I were in a church leadership position and could lead into larger issues that will hurt others in the congregation).

That's about all I have to say on this...... now feel free to critique me biblically as I know that I still have a lot of learning to do.

Posted by: Andrew | Feb 28, 2006 12:23:30 PM

Andrew said:
"now feel free to critique me biblically as I know that I still have a lot of learning to do."

We are not to judge other people. We should be quiet and mind our own business. That's what I do. God will judge. Biblical justification:

Genesis 4:9
Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"

(By the way, JK ;-)

PS: Maybe God told the Pastor to marry a prostitute, like he told Hosea? See:

Maybe it's another sign for this adulterous generation. JK again...?

Posted by: Bernie of FreeGoodNews.com | Feb 28, 2006 7:43:20 PM

Bernie said:

We should be quiet and mind our own business. That's what I do.



Posted by: Todd Rhoades | Feb 28, 2006 7:49:52 PM

Todd are you trying to implie that bernie would say something about another preacher and the message he might bring ie T D Jakes or John Hagee .Bernie would never try to judge these mens ministry .He would simiply mind his own business and take it all to God in prayer John

Posted by: john | Mar 1, 2006 1:46:07 AM

John, exactly! Who are we to judge? God didn't give us brains for that. Each man is an island unto themselves. God gave many examples of judgement in the Bible, but we are not to learn from that. The Bible is not meant to be a club to hit someone over the head with. You should use it like sugar-bait. Just show the good stuff, like how God wants to bless us and make us rich.

By the way, if you send me a donation of $100 or more, I can give you some annointed healing oil. Put in on your forehead, say the attached prayer, and put your hands on the screen during my webcast. That action, WHEN DONE IN FAITH, will give you the miracle you are seeking. God promised, and we will deliver. God told me that you have a special need, and he wants to do a miracle for YOU.

I don't know how Peter Popoff & Robert Tilton can say things like that with a straight face... blows my mind... but I have to admit, it is fun to write. If I thought it was taken seriously by a reader, I'd be afraid of getting hit with a lighning bolt for doing such a thing.


Posted by: Bernie Dehler of FreeGoodNews.com | Mar 1, 2006 3:02:19 AM

[John, exactly! Who are we to judge? God didn't give us brains for that].

That sounds really good, only thing is scripture doesn't support it. Scripture does indeed support judging or brother and being judged by our brother. Condemned no, reproved and restored, yes. That is judgement.

Posted by: Kent | Mar 1, 2006 9:15:06 AM


I think we're off subject but;

I guess you've never seen Robert Tilton when he "says that stuff." He never has a straight face. It's always scrunched all up tight and intense while he says, "What Lord...you really want me to say that?" "Well...okay Lord...then he tells the hearers to put their feet in his footprints on the prayer rug he sent them to get their miracle...that is...IF they make their VOW to his ministry first."

Without question, there are prosperity seeking ungodly scam artists using the air waves to milk the Body of Christ. But I do believe we need to be extremely cautious in making sure we "know that we know" that is the case before we push the envelope of our heresy hunting to include them.

I mean for example, coming from a perspective of embracing the Baptism in the Holy Spirit as God's provision of power for us to be His witness, and equipping us with the necessary gifts of His Spirit to "do the stuff" of ministry, I could take a stand that anyone who is a cessationist or says these gifts are not for the Church today, is a heretic, liar and keeping the Church in perpetual bondage to immaturity etc.

But I would never even cosider going there Bernie. Father's process of conforming any saint to the image of Christ is in His control and timing and not my place to evaluate or judge.

Yet, because of the stance and position I walk out my life in Christ from, i.e. the Spirit filled life I just spoke of, I and the rest who believe as I do, have to also live daily knowing that we are regularly condemned and judged as unsaved heretics, liars and instruments of satan. Such things get said of us even by some of the well respected teachers and preachers often honored on this very blog site.

My response to that: I love them as my brothers and sisters in the Lord. I am sorry they feel the way they do about my walk and belief. I pray that in His continued work in both of us we will see the day of Truth and find us both rushing to embrace it without judgment or consideration for which direction we are coming from. Until then, let us both be found faithful being and doing all we can to manifest the presence of our Lord in the earth and show the world who He is by the way we love one another.

Back on subject;

Father, move these wounded children of yours toward repentance, reconciliation and restoration that you may be glorified in their relationships.

Posted by: Jim Eaton | Mar 1, 2006 9:18:58 AM

Jim Eaton,

I think people like Robert Tilton and Peter Popoff aren't saved. They are lost. Extremely so. Their fruit makes it so obvious. Get on their email lists, and see what they say. Tilton has his maps, as you say, and Popoff has the magic water. Worse than jokes,,, scandal. It's funny to express some interest in their ministry, and then see all the gimmicks they throw at you to try to get your money. They are both quite polished at it,,, like a polished apple, only the apple is rotten; so it looks pretty gross, even when polished.

And Kent, what I said about not judging was all sarcasm. I forgot to put "JK" to make it clear.


Posted by: Bernie of FreeGoodNews.com | Mar 1, 2006 11:43:42 AM

I know that we are all very good at minding our own business (JK) because Todd has to work SO hard to get anyone to read or respond to these articles. (NJK)

I have found that "speaking the truth in LOVE" and directly approaching even the hint of inappropriate (rumored or otherwise) behavior has been the best way to stop "small sparks" from becomeing "raging forest fires"...

Also, bringing a gun to church helps!

Posted by: Jeff | Mar 2, 2006 12:19:07 PM

I really think she should approach the woman because maybe what was done in the past was done prior to her becoming a christian and once God puts it under the blood who are we to judge it. I think if this woman sits and has a heart to heart with the Associate Pastors wife and determines if she has repented of it let it go her marriage is not going to return by rechewing this past experience we have all sinned some sins are more hurtful than others but sin is sin in Our Gods eyes and if he has placed it under the blood where he can not even see it and she has truely turned her life around why allow the Devil to use this to tear it down and let me say what Jesus said le he with out sin cast the first stone.

Posted by: Rev. Donald E. Paul Jr. | Mar 6, 2006 2:38:54 PM

This is an interesting topic. "Millie" is in the spotlight as an associate pastor's wife. For the offended woman hurt by "Millie's" past, she is required per the Bible to approach "Millie" privately and seek reconciliation. Assuming "Millie" is saved, "Millie" might be wise in giving her testimony of how the Lord changed her life and in the example of Zacchaeu (Luke 19:1-8) be open to be reconciled with those she hurt. In fact, if she discovered any person in the church from her past, she should move first to be reconciled - she is now married to a minister and though not in a formal position, the membership will tend to defer to her. This would be a wonderful opportunity for her to express biblical humility and set an example for others to follow.

Posted by: Dan Moore | Mar 7, 2006 8:51:05 AM

That ain't nothing.... We have a pastor and his wife here where she has run a muck of the church.

What I mean is this. They have lost about 35% of their members because the pastor's wife walked up to two twin sister's and asked them if they where gay lesbian's. She also asked another member if he was gay and if so he could leave. She walked up to another member and told him he wasn't welcome there, then another member she made fun of in front of the church one Sunday because of how he talks and walks. Oh yea, this is the same pastor's wife who told me in front of the church one Sunday to shut up, because I was dumb and stupid and no one there like me anyway.

I tell you guys... She's a real hoot to be around.

Posted by: Clairvoyent 1 | Mar 10, 2006 11:37:46 PM

How about it's none of your business to pry into the past of any other peson. It leaves the door wide open for others to pry into Your past, and I KNOW that you have your OWN skeletons. Don't be rediculous. This lady has every right to her privacy, and if The Pastor has Married her, Obviously he loves her and That is all that matters. If in the end it "doesn't work out" for The Pastor" that is His life lesson to learn. This says loads more about You who pry into other peoples lives than Anything that person "could have, Might have" done in their past. How about fixing yourself, before you worry about other people! And don't tell me that you're in every way perfect, I think NOT!

Posted by: Stephen | May 21, 2006 12:07:52 PM

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