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By Chuck Baldwin
May 14, 2002

Much has been made lately concerning the reticence of the Roman Catholic Church to properly discipline its pastors who were known to be practicing homosexuality and pedophilia. Not only did it not properly discipline the guilty parties, it actually chose to cover up the transgression and allow them to continue their pastoral duties. Rome's teaching that priests must remain celibate should also be examined.

Spokesmen for the Vatican argue that the church's policy of celibacy for pastors is proper and even scriptural. I disagree. The Scripture plainly limits the pastorate to married men (see 1 Tim. 3:1). The argument that both the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul were single men does not change the Scripture's clear command that only married men occupy the office of local church pastor. In fact, it was this same Apostle Paul whom the Holy Spirit used to pen this requirement. It is also not certain exactly what Paul's marital state actually was. He could have been single, separated, or even married. There is no conclusive proof to know for sure. What is sure is Paul 's instruction that pastors be "the husband of one wife." Furthermore, Roman teaching that Simon Peter was a single man is simply blatant falsehood. The Scripture clearly records the fact that Jesus once healed "Simon's wife's mother" (see Mark 1:30, 31).

While the church appears to be addressing the problem of allowing homosexuals to serve in the ministry, it also needs to rethink its requirement of celibate pastors. However, the Catholic Church is not the only church that is guilty of covering up sexual sins.

Churches from virtually every Protestant denomination have been covering up the sin of adultery for decades! If one would really look, he would find adulterers in the pulpits of thousands of Protestant churches. Adulterers have been allowed to continue as staff pastors and even senior pastors on almost a routine basis. It is time for every church to come clean with God's instruction for moral conduct on behalf of its leaders 

However, the real problem lays in the fact that society as a whole has lost its moral compass. The breakdown of the family has destroyed the conscience of America. Recent statistics reveal that most children in the United States do not leave middle school as virgins. Furthermore, more and more parents seem content to accept their children's immoral behavior. Maybe this is because the parents themselves are just as immoral.

Taken as a whole, it would seem that church has become a place where sinners are entertained, not converted. Personal accountability and responsibility mean nothing! In fact, those churches that tend to preach and demand righteousness tend also to lose members, not gain them. Most people today seem to prefer the gifted and talented fornicator in the pulpit to the faithful family man.

America has the kind of politicians and the kind of preachers it wants and deserves. When the people of this country decide they want something better, they will have it - but not until then!


© Chuck Baldwin Live commentaries may not be reprinted or republished without permission.  All Rights Reserved.

Chuck Baldwin is Founder-Pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida. In 1985 the church was recognized by President Ronald Reagan for its unusual growth and influence. 

Dr. Baldwin is the host of a lively, hard-hitting syndicated radio talk show on the Genesis Communications Network called, "Chuck Baldwin Live" This is a daily, one hour long call-in show in which Dr. Baldwin addresses current event topics from a conservative Christian point of view. Pastor Baldwin writes weekly articles on the internet   and newspapers.  

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