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Should Pastor Neil Schori have shared with the police and the media what Stacy Peterson told him about her husband?

Posted by truthtalklive on December 18, 2007

Are there every circumstances where a pastor can or should share what he has been told in confidence?

Today’s guest host is Allen Hunt, his website is www.allenhuntshow.com If you would like to call in today the special number is 1-877-70-ALLEN 1-877-702-5536

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29 Responses to “Should Pastor Neil Schori have shared with the police and the media what Stacy Peterson told him about her husband?”

  1. Richard Miller said

    Most of your listeners are going to agree with you up until you come to the threat to do bodily harm. As a pastor, your duty to the person being counseled cannot trump your duty to the persons being threatened.

    Pastors don’t just counsel. They also intervene. Murder is not something requiring counseling. It requires intervention. So would child sexual abuse. For that matter, if you knew someone was about to drive drunk, you would stop him. If you saw a person walking down a railroad track about to be hit, you would do something.

    If I were a pastor and someone told me they were about to commit murder, if I am not telling the authorities, I’m going to have to take action myself to the point of committing violence myself to save the lives of others.

  2. Richard Miller said

    Can you supply a scriptural foundation for this vow of secrecy in the most extreme circumstances?

  3. livesat.li said

    thank my friend for the valuable information

  4. angela said

    I DONT THINK THAT WHAT THAT PASTOR IN THE PETERSON CASE WAS RIGHT. BUT THERE IS A LINE THAT A PERSON CAN CROSS AND THAT IS ANY SEXUAL OR PHYSICAL ABUSE ON A CHILD WHO IS DEFENSELESS THAT IS WHEN YOU MUST TELL SOMEONE!

  5. Jon said

    Pastors are likened to shepherds and it is my role to feed my flock, water my flock and protect my flock. My concern is for those who are in my flock and if one of my lambs is in any sort of danger, I would lay down my life to protect them. I feed them the Word of God, I lead them to the Living Water, and I protect them from the wolves. For this reason, my flock can trust me and this is how I serve my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Read Matthew 18:15 – 20 for more information on a biblical response to a sinning brother.

  6. As a pastor, your duty to the person being counseled cannot trump your duty to the persons being threatened.

    No. That’s precisely the problem. If I go to an attorney, I expect him to be my attorney. If I go to someone for counseling, I expect them to be my counselor.

    Can you supply a scriptural foundation for this vow of secrecy in the most extreme circumstances?

    Can you supply some scriptural example of being a nark? Seriously. I think as Christians we need to admit that this type of situation isn’t found in the Bible, nor is it found in any of the attributes listed as the pastorate.

    So you got to ask yourself, is God more concerned with justice or redemption? As Americans, who closely align our theology (especially with a “Christian” president in office) with our government. We quote things like Romans 13 completely out of context. The truth of the matter, Jesus wasn’t concerned with the kingdoms of this world, he was concerned about the eternal soul of individuals that were outcast in societies. He ate with tax collectors. People who defrauded God’s people. Did he turn them in? Did try and punish them or bring justice. No, because he was concerned about their redemption.

    God is a God of redemption, even for those who have done atrocious things.

    My concern is for those who are in my flock and if one of my lambs is in any sort of danger, I would lay down my life to protect them

    To that response I look at Jesus’ statements about not fearing the one who can take lives but fearing the one who has the power over souls. Think about it. Isn’t that person who might do just as eternally important as the person harming. Shouldn’t we be striving for the redemption of that person, not just the justice of that person.

  7. Jon said

    Thank you for the answer to the question… there is no biblical support for your position.

  8. kandace said

    There is a legal doctrine – The clergy/parishioner – which comes into play. This is as important as the attorney/client privilege. The purpose of this privilege is to allow the parishioner to receive counsel from the pastor. This privilege goes beyond the death of the parishioner in the same way that the attorney/client privilege does. Without this privilege, who would want to share anything with the pastor in a counseling situation? The pastor is as much a professional in his field as is an attorney.

  9. jAsOn said

    When the clergy/parishioner or the attorney/client privilege either prevents a pastor from obeying the commands of God, or prohibits him from doing so, he is sinning to allow it such precidence over God’s Word.

    And, yes, I would ask a lawyer to do the same, our legal system is far from Godly.

    Gods word is clear that we are to protect toe weak and infirm. Some of you have mentioned that God is a GOd of redeemption and forgiveness, but need I remind you that GOd is also a God of wrath? To claim the theme of the redemptive attitude of God in order to protect a pedifiles confidentiality over the physical, and mental health of a child is not only a distortion of what redepmtion is in the eyes of God, but it is a sin, against that child whom you refuse to protect.

    Their are clear examples of how we are all (pastors included) to protect others against injustice, to provide for the needs of widows and orphans (certainly protecting a potential victim of physical or sexual abuse is providing for one’s needs) but we never have amandate to protect the confidentiality of those who plan to sin or remian in it at the expence of others.

    The picture of redeemption in God’s eyes is not that He simply forgives sin with no reason, God forgives our sin because He places the penalty of it on Christ and Christ is punished fopr our sins, so when GOd forgives our sin, it doesn’t go unpunished. As a pastor who receives information of a person who has sinned greviously against another, you are not applying a redeemptive theme by withholding that information from those who have authority to punish him; it is not you who needs to forgive his sin, nor can you accept the punishment for his injustice against that child, etc.

    Here is an example that you may or may not have addressed in the show (I listened only to 30 minutes of the show)If you have a man who schedules an appointment and tells you that he has cheated on his wife and she has no idea, but he has repented of it and says he will never do it again, and you tell him to read this and meditate on that, etc. Two months later his makes another appointment and tells you that he has done it agian and his wife still is unaware. I think it would be sin against God and his wife NOT to tell his her and council them together.

    I believe that there are multitudes of examples of times when confidence would be upheld indefinately, but let us allow scripture to inform us as to how we are to act, not the pragmatic approach that says, “if we break confidence, then no one will come to us for council.” Frankly, I have no confidence in a pastor who says that he would choose to protect the confidencial conversation of an admitted pedifile over choosing to protect the victim…the paritioners should understand that the confidence of any conversation is subject to the nature of their sin confessed, and understand that there may be punishment even after forgiveness in this world.

  10. jAsOn said

    I know that my last post lacked the graciousness that I should have…so please forgive me for that. I do still stand behind my position.

    Another scenario:

    If I go to my pastor and confess that I am prideful and arogant, and I have sinned against brother in CHrist by holding him in contempt and slandered him to others in the church, my pastor would be right to tell me that (if he is convinced as humans can be of my salvation) Christ has forgiven all my sins, even this prideful arogance and slander, but my pastor would be doing no one any good (and in fact would be in error) if he did not ask me to seek the forgiveness of the brother I had offened. Likewise with a range of sins, which would include molestation.

    There are times when I may be under the formal council of my pastor and the sins I confess to him have only offended God (as though that were a small matter) and in those cases it is right that no one would ever hear of those sins I had commited, even if they were offences against an institution like the government (illicit drug use for instance)but line must be draw at the point when my sin is not only against God but against another man woman or child…especially in cases of repetition.

    Believe me, I am all about some forgiveness and grace; I have done unspeakable things in my past; I need my faith renewed every Sunday among the believers with whom I assemble; I need the gospel every day! But GOd is not just a God of mercy and grace; God does not forgive the sins of every last human being in the end, some of them die in Hell for their unbelief, and that is just on God’s part. No, I don’t really understand why God doesn’t shed His mercy on every living soul, nor do I glory in the fact that GOd will use even the acts of His judgment to glorify Himself in the end, but I do know that He will, because He says so.

  11. Thank you for the answer to the question… there is no biblical support for your position.

    Really? What is your biblical support for abortion? Hmmm? Where does the Bible speak about that? Better yet, what about masturbation? What about suicide? What about using the F-word? What about monogomous marriages?

    As Christians, we have to realize that there are things the Bible does not directly answer. Tough issues. Issues about life and death. Issues about redemption and salvation. Issues where the Bible does not have clear, black and white answers. It is up to us to approach the entire biblical text with reason, experience, and tradition.

    But for those that think this isn’t “good enough.” I will give you one great case of biblical justification for confidential counsel in the case of a murder victim: David.

    Sure we have all read the case of David, Bathsheba, Uriah, and Nathan. We all know that David slept with Bathsheba. Knocked her up. Tried to cover it up. When that didn’t work he had Uriah killed. David got away scott-free right? Well he would have except for Nathan. So what does Nathan do? He comes to David and informs him that his son with Bathsheba will die. But here’s what’s interesting. If you read the text closely you will notice that nobody else in the kingdom knew what was going on (2Sam 12:21 to be exact). Only David and Nathan. Surely there were government laws to enforce for a murder, even if it was the king. But no, God had Nathan keep this between the three of them.

    Because of this story, we have one of the greatest stories of redemption in the entire Bible. Sure there is a “justice” element, brought on by God – not man, but the beauty of God and the narrative of David is that it is about redemption. God is more concerned with redemption, than justice.

    When all is said and done, I do not want to live, or think about, a society where the only privileged, “wise” counsel we can receive is from attorneys. I want a society, and body of Christ that knows that the true power of redemption lies with Jesus Christ and those He choses to use to be instruments of His redemption.

    P.S. Kandance. You are right on.

  12. Joseph P. said

    It’s one thing to “feell” the need to speak with the police. Though when some from the church of Christ gets on television to speak with the american public that is something totally different. Since it was done after the woman went missing. Who’s needs were being handled? The pastor or the people.
    hold strong with the truth, because it needs to come from someone. Praise you for having the power to bring it to the public of Jesus Christ that believes in the power of the savior.

  13. jAsOn said

    Andy,

    You made a plea for what seemed to be a systematic understanding on this topic, but you only gave one instance where we are not told whether or not David reconcilled with Bathsheba. Second, David didn’t seek Nathan’s council in a formal faith like we have been discussing; David didn’t come and tell Nathan that he was planning on committing adultery with Bathsheba and having Urriah killed…I’m not sure this episode in biblical history has any bearing at all on how we are reconcilled to one another.

    David was certainly punished:

    2 Sam. 12: “10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’ 11 “This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’ ” 13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.”

    Should we derive from the use of this passage that we should never inflict or demand justice; are we always to leave it to God for Him to deal out, or does the more biblical understanding show us that the Lord was ordained that human governments weld the sword?

    Though those men are imperfect and sometimes even wicked, God raises up every man who is in power, and the heart of the King is in the hands of the Lord.

  14. but you only gave one instance where we are not told whether or not David reconcilled (sic) with Bathsheba

    Seriously? How many examples would you like? What number will suffice? I hope you hold that same number standard to other “gray biblical” issues like abortion, swearing, masturbation, monogamous marriages, democracy, capitalism, etc…

    Plus the issue isn’t that we don’t know if David reconciled with Bathsheba, the issue is that nobody knew besides Nathan, God and David.

    Of course David was punished. Nobody is saying to the contrary. The point is that Nathan didn’t feel compelled to be the rat in the situation. He knew it wasn’t his role. And because of it, we have a great narrative of redemption.

    Why don’t we turn this around? Why don’t you find me biblical justification for the role of pastor to be a cop/nark/tattle-tell?

    You see, you can’t win that argument (nor can I really win that argument) from simply just a biblical perspective. It takes reflecting on who God is, what he ultimately desires out of all people (*cough* redemption) and then applying reason, tradition, and experience to that which we read/see/know about God from the Bible.

  15. jAsOn said

    Andy,

    Why don’t you actually answer the objections I’ve made to your position?

    Second, abortion, masturbation and monogamous marriage are NOT A GRAY ISSUES! That is, if you define “gray Issue” as ones about which we cannot derive a biblical view…just because we must develop our views on certain topics through a systematic understanding (which is what we should be doing with all topics we address) it doesn’t mean that it is a gray issue because we can’t find a “proof text”.

    Counseling someone to be reconciled with another person against whom they have sinned is not tattling; divulging information exposed in a formal counseling setting that will ultimately protect another person physically is not tattling…in fact, not doing so is to sin.

    Again, David did not come to Nathan to tell him that he was planning to commit adultery and murder! It is not a matter of compiling examples of one choosing mercy against justice; frankly, your example doesn’t even prove your point.

    The atrocity is not that pastor Neil made the decision he did, but that American evangelicalism has deteriorated to such a point that we are even having this debate within said walls.

    Lastly, you said,
    “You see, you can’t win that argument (nor can I really win that argument) from simply just a biblical perspective. It takes reflecting on who God is, what he ultimately desires out of all people (*cough* redemption) and then applying reason, tradition, and experience to that which we read/see/know about God from the Bible.”
    In that statement, it appears that you have denied two very important doctrines of the Reformation, the perspicuity (clarity) of Scripture, and sola scriptura. Your comments insinuate that God has not spoken clearly enough for us to come to a conclusion. We must certainly apply reason to our study of the bible, because God is reasonable, and logic comes from him, but I submit that you and Allen (during the show) did just the opposite when you used pragmatism as the main instrument for developing your opinion on the matter. The sanctity of life is not a preference on which Christians are allowed by God, through scripture, to differ.
    What does it mean that “God ultimately desires redemption out of all people”? This statement doesn’t make sense to me; do you mean that what God ultimately desires is that all persons are redeemed? That would be another discussion all together.

    The reformers would agree that we use historical theology, and our personal experiences to help us understand what God has revealed about Himself, but the doctrine of sola scriptura simply stated is this, “The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, Having Been Given By Inspiration of God, Are the All-Sufficient and Only Rule of Faith and Practice, and Judge of Controversies.”

    Would you disagree with that?

  16. Second, abortion, masturbation and monogamous marriage are NOT A GRAY ISSUES! That is, if you define “gray Issue” as ones about which we cannot derive a biblical view

    Really? Where does the Bible talk about these issues directly? If anything, the larger biblical narrative would support polygamous marriage, with only the two verses in 1Timothy and Titus to speak to the contrary, and only for those in leadership positions. So why do we defend monogamous marriages in our modern theology? It surely can’t just be sola scriptura. In this particular case it is because of tradition and experience. In the case of abortion you have to apply reason to the equation, not just scripture.

    It is naive to think as modern Christians that theology has been developed simply in a scriptural vacuum (heck even scripture itself wasn’t developed in a societal-free vacuum). We have the concept of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral (Scripture, Reason, Experience, Tradition) for a purpose. There is more to the understanding of God than just what is revealed in scripture.

    Even the concept of “sola scripture” doesn’t have a direct scriptural basis and THAT in of itself is a prime example of theology being derived outside of the principle of “sola scripture.” It doesn’t mean it is wrong. It doesn’t mean I don’t agree with the theological concept. But to say that it has direct scriptural support is circular logic.

    I am not calling these gray issues because they can’t have a biblical derived view, but because it takes a larger context and understanding of God than to just make the point (as you did in your initial comment) “can you supply [a] scriptural foundation” for any of the issues.

    Back to the issue at hand. I still hold that when push comes to shove, God is more concerned with redemption than earthly justice and therefore it is in the pastor’s largest interest to protect the redeeming value of that role.

  17. Why don’t you actually answer the objections I’ve made to your position?

    I didn’t notice this comment before. I feel I have answered all of your objections. You asked for scripture. I gave you scripture. You had some objections, I responded. You had more objections and through in some Latin, I responded.

    You and I are just going to have to agree to disagree.

  18. jAsOn said

    Andy,

    The Words of God in the Bible are God’s special revelation about Himself, and in creation we only have a general revelation of deity, and we can only know God in the sense Paul describes in Romans 1. The only way we can know God in a salvific way; the only way we can know that God is a God of redemption, and a God of wrath is through the scriptures…Paul tells us in Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

    And in the Psalms, 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”, but for faith and practice and wisdom to judge controversies, we must have the special revelation of God.

    It is not circular to say that we derive out doctrine from scripture alone; there are internal evidences of scripture, think of the way Christ spoke about the Law, the way Paul spoke of Scripture to Timothy.

    We know that God has not spoken specifically to every issue we face, but all the issues about which the Bible comments, it does so clearly because God is not the author of confusion; not that we understand all things theological perfectly, but they are all understandable.

    Personal experiences are subject to all kinds of speculation and are rarely objective, if the word of God is not held up as the only rule of authority in our lives, then we are destined for endless debates over the relativity of “truths” that are held captive by the environments and situations of each individual.

    You have not answered this objection, so I’ll state it another way, there is a binding scriptural principle to protect widows and orphans; the weak and infirm, and if a pastor “protects” a man guilty of murder or molestation, or is planning to do those things is a direct violation of that command.

    James 1:26 “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

    The one scripture that has a great deal to do with this subject that hasn’t been addressed is in Matthew:

    1:15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

    Here we have the Lord’s exhortation to practice discipline in the church in a very specific way, and included in the process is, at the end, if reconciliation is not made, the church is made aware of the sin, and finally, the offending party is excommunicated, so that he has no reason to believe that he is saved. All the while, reconciliation is sought, but judgment is the final step, and this protects the body.

    Please address this example, or dismiss it if you agree with me:

    If a man goes to his pastor in a formal counseling setting and confesses that he struggles with lust after small children, then in the next couple sessions he confesses of acting on this sinful desire, then in later sessions he tells the pastor he has molested a girl in the congregation, what does the pastor do?

    If the pastor is godly, I suggest that he must seek to council the girl he knows was molested by the man, and to have him ask her to forgive him for his heinous act, what do you say?

  19. jAsOn said

    Correction in post # 18:

    Matthew 1:15-18 should be Matthew 18:15-18

  20. ADB said

    One comment about this business of reason, tradition and experience. The term “Wesleyan quadrilateral” is very misleading because Wesley never used it. It actually emerged in the late 1960s (certainly not a happy time for traditional doctrine!) as a way of identifying sources of theology. Since then it has been misused and abused by some who would make reason, tradition, and experience equal with scripture, a position that would certainly send Wesley spinning in his grave. One recent writer has explained it this way- “scripture alone, but never alone.” Scripture is always paramount, and is the ultimate guide for faith and practice. Our understanding of scripture, our interpretation of it, is no matter what we may say, influenced by tradition, reason, and experience. To say that we do not consider tradition is to say that we do not need to consider what the great minds of the church have said about an issue. Does anyone really want to ignore Calvin, Luther, Barth, Augustine, etc. in approaching theological topics. Personal study, reason, or intelligence is always a factor in understanding the Bible. We must use our God-given reasoning ability to understand it. Lastly, our interpretation is always influenced by our own experiences. Someone in an African church may well have a different interpretation of a passage than someone in North America, simply because their personal experiences would be so vastly different. This in no way buys into the whole Postmodernist idea that there is no absolute truth, but simply is a statement that how we read a document, in this case Holy Scripture, is going to be influenced by our backgrounds. Anyway, back to the debate guys.

  21. Richard Miller said

    15″If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
    16″But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses, every act may be confirmed.

    17″If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

    Andy,

    OK you’re not going to the authorities when a person is about to be murdered or when a child is being abused. The counselee refuses to change his ways. Your only other option is to take the two biggest deacons in the church and go and beat this guy to a pulp. Standing idly by has no Biblical basis. Taking action does.

  22. jAsOn said

    I ceratinly agree ADB, that our experiences affect the way we read scripture, ans that our interpretation of it is influenced by our backgrounds, but I think you would also agree that there is an absolute, historical authorial intenet in all of the words of God.

    You should know that I never intend to neglect historical theology in the name of sola scripture, but I do mean to say that scripture is our final authority, and when are shown that our interpretation resulting from our experiences does not line up with what scripture clearly says, then we must reevaluate our experiences.

  23. jAsOn said

    Romans 13:1 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”

    2 Cor. 7:8 “For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. 9 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. 10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 11 For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. 12 So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. 13 Therefore we are comforted.

  24. ADB said

    Jason,
    I don’t think we disagree. One way in which we experience is particularly useful is in our personal experience of God. The Bible tells us about God, about his attributes, his love for us, etc. The personal experience of someone who’s been saved from some awful life will have a better appreciation of the power of the Holy Spirit to transform a life, than someone who grew up in the church and who simply reads about such power.

    Regarding the general topic, I am hesitant to say that there are no circumstances in which a pastor should break privilege. This has never occurred in my ministry and hope it never will, but I think that I would probably have to do it if someone’s life was in danger. Regarding Richard’s hypothetical situation above, when someone confides that he/she has broken the law, sound counsel would also include encouraging the person to go to the authorities. Honoring privilege does not mean harboring criminals.

  25. jAsOn said

    Yes, ADB, I believe we are on thee same page. Regarding the current discussion, granted, the hypothetical situations we have discussed are the extreme cases and I would pray that no pastor would have to face such a decision, unless he and others would be saved and sanctified by it.

  26. Tommy said

    I think it is a pastors responsibility to go to the police for certain actions (child abuse, sexual abuse or misconduct and physical harm of another human). However, I do not agree with this pastor going to the media.

    There was a statement made about how would people trust me if I told the police what I was told. I think that statement should be reversed. How would I trust you as a pastor of a church to look out for your fellow man if you knew information and did not act.

    I am not saying to tell juniors parents if he drank a beer or a mans wife if we had an affair. But there needs to be a line drawn.

    Second I heard a comment made about this being put into law and the host said that they would bather break the law and go to jail then inform police. If I am not mistaken I heard a good sermon once where we are directed to obey the laws of the land???

  27. jAsOn said

    Tommy said, “There was a statement made about how would people trust me if I told the police what I was told. I think that statement should be reversed. How would I trust you as a pastor of a church to look out for your fellow man if you knew information and did not act.”

    That is a great way to put it, Tommy.

    I would disagree with you about the affair, but your right, we are all called to obey the laws of our government unless they ask us to sin, which may be what Allen and Andy believe, that the pastor who released any information from a formal counceling setting would be sinning.

    First of all, the pastor should never let the councelee think that, no matter what he says, the pastor must keep it confidential…the pastor should never promise that; part of seeking forgiveness and being penatent is being willing to face whatever consequences result from the sin.

    Somehow, Allen and Andy have gotten way off base on this issue, especially regarding the exteme cases.

  28. Tommy said

    JAsOn says:

    “I would disagree with you about the affair”

    FYI – This was meant as an example. Not sure what the line is and I think some things have different circumstances. I.E. A one time affair vs. a chronic offender who is harming his family, etc… Either way to keep something like a murder, possible murder, sexual assault, child abuse, etc… quiet is not only sinful (IMO) but just points to some serious character issues and I for one would not have my family part of any congregation that supported such irresponsible actions.

    Somehow it sounds like they are trying to infer that God does not want them to “narc” and instead sit back and watch a crime happen. That it is their duty as pastor and their duty alone to deal with the issue. Yes yes I understand that they would be “counseling” but at some point it is their responsibility and duty to come forward. Counseling does not stop all crimes!

  29. jAsOn said

    I agree Tommy, it is difficult to say “always” or “never” regarding that. The principle I think pastors should keep in mind are that of having the offender and the offended reconcile their relationship; forgiveness asked and forgiveness given. Somehow I think that they believe that councelling is just for absolution, and maybe to appease the councelee’s guilt by listening to their confession. This is part of the problem when we think about the role that Roman Catholic priests play as mediators, that is one of the errors I see with ROman Catholicism, and this role is a symptom of the denial of sola scriptura.

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