When Should You Report Ministerial Misconduct?

The Gospel Coalition | 2/12/2019 | Staff
kimberly163 (Posted by) Level 3
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One of the most challenging responsibilities is reporting the misconduct of a minister. Ministers are to possess the highest moral character (1 Tim. 3:1–7; Titus 1:6–9) and are to set believers an example (1 Tim. 4:12). Ministers are God’s appointed means of declaring his Word to his church and world, and are thus to be trustworthy (1 Cor. 7:25), having good reputations with all (1 Tim. 3:7).

Consequently, whenever a minister is found guilty of moral failure, the damage can be catastrophic. Depending on its nature and extent of awareness, not only can the reputation of the minister be irreparably harmed, but the reputation of his church—as well as its purity and peace—can also be seriously damaged. Reporting ministerial misconduct to church leaders can be difficult and intimidating; yet, for the church’s health, the minister’s reclamation, and God’s glory, it must be done.

Questions - Sin - Minister - Commits - Church

The questions are many: What sins need to be reported? When is it to be done? How is it to be done? Certainly, not every sin a minister commits is to be reported to church leaders. After all, Solomon teaches it’s the glory of the believer to overlook a transgression (Prov. 19:11). And similarly, Paul tells us to “bear with one another, and if anyone has a complaint against another, to forgive each other, just as God has forgiven you” (Col. 3:13).

What Kinds of Sins Should Be Reported?

Categories - Failure

There are three categories of moral failure that should be reported.

Whenever a minister is guilty of committing the same sin over and over again after being spoken to about it in private—which must first take place if the sin is known only to a few (Matt. 18:15)—it must be reported. This is because ministers are to be above reproach (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6), and to be above reproach means to be...
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