A Question I Was Asked:

Should a Pastor Continue to Preach If He Has Sinned Greatly?

The Question:

If a pastor commits horrible sins, and asks God for forgiveness, does he still have the right to preach, or is he disqualified from preaching, even though he is forgiven?

UK Apologetics Reply:

It depends what you mean by "horrible sins," but he should take the matter to the church leaders, often a 'board of deacons' or a 'council' (or, of course, bishop in Anglicanism/Catholicism). He should lay it all before them and discuss it with them. It would be their decision. Of course, we all sin and fall short, I presume that you refer to something pretty major and inescapable like committing adultery with a lady in the congregation and possibly with the pastor's wife now threatening to leave him, or something of that magnitude. Of course, if employed as a pastor it might cause a serious problem if he decided (that is, all on his own) that he should not preach, since he would be employed for exactly that reason (among other things).

A person of high integrity might indeed decide that he should not preach until any such matter is clearly resolved even though - upon repentance - he or she could count on God's forgiveness. But there is no simple answer nor 'hard and fast' rule here. Such matters are normally discussed and any outcome decided within the leadership of a congregation, or by a bishop, or church council (depending upon the denomination).

However, I want to stress that none of us are without sin and a pastor, just like all of us, will occasionally stumble; he might even have so-called 'secret sins,' but as long as no laws of the land are being broken and he is - with God's help - working his way through the spiritual problems, nothing needs to be publicized.
Robin A. Brace. September 1st, 2011.