Monday, April 7, 2014

The Fall of a Pastor

Yesterday I received some really shocking and sad news. The pastor of a megachurch that my Mom attended for years suddenly resigned (or rather was fired).  His name is Pastor Bob Coy from Fort Lauderdale Calvary Chapel, and I've sat several times in his church and listened to his sermons. My Mom spent 10 years at that church and my brother and his family go to one of the satellites that spun off from it.

Bob Coy was a man I highly respected. His testimony is astounding. He used to run a strip-club in Vegas before he got saved, but once the Lord pulled him from the mud, Bob knew he wanted to serve Him the rest of  his days. So, he took his wife and moved to Florida without so much as a dime in his pocket. Nearly 30 years later he runs one of the largest churches in South Florida, boasting 20,000 congregants. He started a Christian School and has several ministries for the youth and tons of outreaches.

Yet. . .

The power went to his head. Instead of keeping himself humble and giving all glory to God for what God was doing, Bob gave into the lure of SELF and self-pleasure and the "It's all about me" culture that surrounds us. He started to believe his own press about what an awesome powerful guy he was.. a great man of God. And he fell. Admitting to an addiction to porn and several affairs (after having been caught) he has stepped down from his post.

This news upset me so much last night that I could hardly sleep. You see my husband and I have watched two of our pastors fall right her in our own home town. Two in the past 10 years. Both from pride. And I know of dozens more who have fallen.

So, I'm asking myself and God, why do these men of God, men who were once so in love with Jesus, men who wanted nothing but to serve Him, why do they fall so hard?  Yes, I know they are attacked by the enemy.. perhaps more than the average Christian, but we all face temptations. We all have the power to command the enemy away in the name of Jesus.

Perhaps there is something wrong with our church culture that sets a single man on a pedestal above all others. Jesus himself said that ALL believers are equal in Him. We each have different gifts from the Holy Spirit....

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
 For the body is not one member, but many.  1 Corinthians12

Later on Paul talks about prophets, teachers and miracle workers. We each have a gift or gifts and we each have a role to play. But no one person is above any other. All gifts are to be used to glorify God and to help our fellow Christains. 

Why then do we elevate certain positions above others and make them the head of the entire church?  What person, man or woman, can resist that sort of power and prestige?  Look at what it does to Hollywood stars? It ends up destroying them.  A person would have to be extremely strong and fully rooted and grounded in God's love to resist this kind of head-trip.  This is not how God envisioned the church.. with one man at the head and everyone else following like sheep.  The church in Acts is nothing like this. Everyone participated in the service (which was normally held in someone's house). Everyone used their gifts to help each other. No one person had power over all and was almost worshiped as if he had a special relationship with God that  no one else had. 

It's dangerous. It's unhealthy. And it makes Christianity a spectator sport. Then when these men fall, we all sit around and wonder how that could have happened.  
It just breaks my heart at how many people will now fall away from God or give up on Him completely because they put their faith in a man and not in God. 

Perhaps it's time we put God back on the throne of church and let all of His disciples operate in their God-given gifts for the edification of the entire Body of Christ. 



  1. This is so sad.
    I pray that this pastor will find his way back to real relationship with God, and really know His forgiveness, truth and love.
    I pray that the people he influenced will not turn from God because of man's sin.
    Man is man. God is God. God reigns.

    I think there is something to it - the higher the pedestal, the farther the fall.
    We all have to be so careful about how high we place human leadership. God is the Head. The Leader. The only One to be lifted up. It's so very easy to put our hope in man, and so very easy to lose sight of what our focus needs to be. For those in the congregation, as well as those who are in leadership.

    In my experience in the past 8 years, this is what I'm seeing too - from the pulpit, to the music worship team. It breaks my heart. A lack of a humble spirit. It's so easy to let position trump faith. A lot of pressure up there in the position of huge leadership roles. Such a need for all of us believers to be praying for them. For each other. We are an influence no matter what 'level' we or others feel we are at. And there should be no 'levels'. As you said, we are all equal in Christ.

    As my husband and son like to quote sometimes in jest, "With great power comes great responsibility." I believe Uncle Ben said that to Spiderman. (LOL) There is something to that though. Great responsibility is sometimes too much for us human's to handle if our focus has veered from its course.

    Sorry for the rant ... ha-ha! Church and the way we do it is a sensitive topic for my heart.

    I pray that your mom and family find God's peace in all this upheaval and disappointment. I pray that God will work good out in all of this. God is faithful. God is true.

  2. Mon Apr 7th,
    "Morning, MaryLu .... and Caroline".
    An interesting post, but sadly heartbreaking too. I believe that Pastors today especially, are being revered on a pedestal of sorts, 'almost' being worshipped as god-like. Thank-you for sharing this story with us ... which I'm sure is happening much more than we know/hear about.
    We must not, cannot, place our faith in a mere man. Only God is worthy of our faith in Him.
    Your final statement summed it all up best: "Perhaps it's time we put God back on the throne of Church, and let all of His disciples operate in their God-given gifts for the edification of the entire Body of Christ".
    May this story you shared keep us all humbled ... as none of us are above falling from His Grace !
    Take care, and, God Bless, In Him, Brenda

  3. I think it is part of our sin nature to want something in front of us to worship. Since Christ is on His throne, we turn to what we see, and for many is people in church leadership positions and big named pastors. And I think we do it a lot of times without even realizing it. There are so many people who think these people are inerrant, and can do not wrong. It is sad. We should look to Christ, not to men. We are just lowly sinners, all of us. And when we look to man, we will always be disappointed. I pray that this man is truly repentant, and not just doing it because he was caught. And may we all not forget that we need Christ just as much as he does.

  4. Hi Ladies! Forgive me if I was a bit harsh in my post. I wrote it last night when I was upset. I actually belong to a great church. It's small but I like it that way. Our pastor is a very humble man who loves the Lord. I pray for him weekly, that he will stay that way! He's truly gifted to teach the Word. However, I have been feeling lately that the entire body of Christ should be more involved in church... using our gifts to help each other and to bring others to the Lord. Not just the pastor or the worship team or the elders. Perhaps if more people got involved, we wouldn't idolize one man so much. Anyway, I'm not sure what the solution is. I know some Christians meet in home churches and that seems to work for them. Each week someone else gives the message or if someone has a prophesy or someone needs healing.. the people with those gifts step up.. Not sure that would work in the traditional church setting... Caroline, thoughts? I know your hubby is a pastor.

    1. Oh, I have thoughts. Probably too many!! ;)
      I have such a longing in my heart for believing community whose focus is on God alone. Where all are loved. Where all can use their gifts and talents. Where what your clothes are or aren't doesn't matter. Where it also doesn't matter if someone wants to play drums and guitars in worship. Where human traditions and rules are not the focus, but love is. Jesus is. I long for REAL people. Hurts, sins, scars included. Where the message of the Bible is the driving force behind everything - that our culture is not, nor are any misguided traditions.
      Anyway ... I could go on. Sigh.
      I'm not sure where the idea that my hubby is a pastor came from, but he isn't. (Maybe you're referring to another 'Caroline'). We've just been on an eye-opening journey of pain, hope, and healing. God has revealed Himself and His truth over the past few years more than ever, and He had to pull us out of organized 'church' to do so. I don't have anything against it, but long for more than what is offered in our small town. I went to a service not too long ago, of a small gathering of people -16 in total - who are trying to establish a 'church'. And you know what? The music was great - heartfelt, encouraging music worship (that's a whole other topic I'm passionate about); the message was simple - preached from the floor, and included everyone there to interact if they had something to say; there was no pressure to conform to the patterns of the traditional church (a play on words with the "be no longer conformed to the patterns of this world" scripture in Romans. - patterns of this world can include the processes of today's church.) I agree that God gave us each gifts - I believe He gave them to us to be used. On Sunday mornings, in church services, in every day life.
      I love your last line in your post MaryLu - "Perhaps it's time we put God back on the throne of the church ..." LOVE that!!! I want to quote it on Facebook. I want to shout it on the streets. (hee-hee!)
      Thanks for sharing your heart.

    2. Whoops, Sorry Caroline. Not sure why I thought your hubby was a pastor? Anyway, we are all priests anyway. Isn't that what the Bible says? You couldn't have said it better.. everything you long for is the cry of my heart also! That church you attended sounds too good to be true. Our small church of about 100 is similar but still too traditional for me. I've been asking the Lord for a long time to lead us some where else... a church closer to the ones described in the book of Acts... but I actually think He's having a hard time finding anything like that here in CA! LOL. Hugs...

  5. This has been a concern for me as well. We have a number of large churches in our area and I cringe whenever I hear they are going on a huge campaign to grow. I also cringe when I hear membership ceremonies that make the members state they will work to help grow THIS church. I want them to say they will help grow THE church, The entire Body of Christ. I often pray for the pastors of mega churches. I don't know how they could resist the urge to become self-important. The drug is just too tempting. However, I have also seen how God has given some a "thorn" in order to ground them. I belong to a large church and our pastor is very respected. He has a serious heart condition that requires he get special treatments in another state. My friend goes to another mega church nearby where the pastor has a special needs daughter that requires great care. It has led to an extraordinary ministry to help other churches serve special needs families. I wonder if these men realize what a gift those challenges may just be in that they cause them to continually call out to the only one who can truly save them. Still, I pray it is enough. Thanks for your thoughts. I'll be praying for these pastors, their churches and your family. What a jarring!

    1. That's really interesting, Connie! What a blessing in disguise those trials are for those pastors. I guess some people are just more weak when it comes to power and pride. Look at the Grahams.. Billy and Franklin and (I forget the daughter's name) They are some of the most humble people I've seen.. .at least they appear to be. Yes, we need to pray for these men of God in high positions! :-)

  6. Jim Bakker (I believe while he was still in prison) said that his problem was not that he had fallen out of love with Jesus, but rather that he had fallen out of the fear of the Lord. Both are vital to our walk as Christians. The fear of the Lord without loving Jesus leads to legalism, and loving Jesus without the fear of the Lord leads to lawlessness. These are indeed times of lawlessness that we live in. But I will certainly pray for Bob Coy to humble himself in total surrender and allow God to once again restore him completely.

    1. That's a great point, Leah. I think there's definitely NOT a healthy fear of the Lord in the church today. There's lots of talk of grace and love and forgiveness (all great) But not too many sermons on hell and God's judgement and how Holy He is. :-(

  7. So sad to hear of this. Breaks my heart, too. I'm not thrilled with the megachurch movement and it does seem like this can happen in any size church though, any heart and I've known enough. So many are hurt along the way, especially when the focus is on the pastor, not the Shepherd. I see that the Bible teaches a healthy, accountable leadership of elders exercising varying gifts, but sadly churches are sometimes run like a corporation. Yet, though many become hurt, this sin is rightfully exposed and all we can do is pray that God shows the wounded flock who their true Shepherd is.

  8. thats true. we as christians need to stauy more focus on our God. pray for him still.

  9. Thank you for this post, MaryLu - such wonderful comments, and all right on target!! I've lived in several different states and been involved with numerous churches - more than once have I seen this happen with not only a pastor, but with other church staff and members of the congregation who were from all appearances - leading lives committed to God. In fact, rumors are flying re: a loved staff member of my current church who has just submitted his resignation. This is the church in which I was raised and accepted Christ, and am once again attending since moving back home to be near my aging parents. This isn't the first time something like this has happened in this church and many years ago (before I was born), there was a complete split of the church.

    When situations such as this arise, they are not only a deterrent to the unsaved and the church's purpose to reach them, but also so discouraging to the believers who attend the church, making it easier for them to also take their eyes off God and focus on the problem at hand. Satan is so joyful when this happens!! We are ALL human, and therefore sin - it just tends to seem worse when it involves a pastor/church staff member, or anyone who had seemed committed to God's plan for his/her life. I agree that when these people are elevated in the eyes of others, it becomes easier for some to take their eyes off God - likewise with all of us. We all need to keep our eyes on God instead of man, forgive the leaders of our churches for their sins - as we would want to be forgiven - pray for their strength, and ours - as well. The temptations increase as we near Christ's return and the task of reaching others for Him becomes even harder as may our attempts to keep our eyes ever on Him!!