Popular evangelist and megachurch Pastor Greg Laurie has shared his thoughts on the circumstances involving Christian leaders being exposed for sinful behavior and talked about the safeguards he has in place in his own life.
Laurie, the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, who preaches to tens of thousands every year at Harvest Crusade events, spoke with The Christian Post this week to talk about the 29th annual Southern California Harvest crusade this weekend in Anaheim and discussed a number of other current events in the news.
During the interview, Laurie was asked to comment on the string of evangelical leaders who have experienced a fall from grace after being exposed or accused of sinful (often sexual in nature) misconduct in some form or another.
“It is a great disappointment to me when a pastor falls,” Laurie said. “A pastor needs to be a good example. He is a spiritual leader. People expect pastors to live morally and to be honest. That is a realistic expectation. They expect it of Christians, certainly they have that expectation of a Christian leader.”
Along with the rise of the #MeToo movement, much media attention has been paid to sexual abuse claims against Christian leaders in recent months.
Dominating the headlines most recently have been this week’s grand jury report on the systemic abuse going on in the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania and the ongoing developments from the sexual abuse allegations against former pastor Bill Hybels that has rocked his Chicago-area megachurch.
In July, Assemblies of God megachurch pastor Dean Curry was dismissed after he was accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with church members. In April, Arizona megachurch pastor Les Hughey resigned after several women came forward to accuse him of engaging in sexual misconduct decades ago.
In January, Highpoint Church in Memphis teaching pastor Andy Savage was accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old 20 years ago when he was her youth pastor, which led to his resignation and the resignation of the megachurch’s lead pastor Chris Conlee.
“Of course, it is in the press because that sizzles,” Laurie said of the media attention. “You never hear the story of that faithful pastor that served his congregation for 45, 50 years and went to glory. Or you don’t hear about the faithful missionary couple that made sacrifices in their life to serve the Lord because those are not the stories that make the press.”
“I am not excusing anybody of their actions,” the 65-year-old continued. “I am simply saying I wish I could hear the other stories because it can seem sometimes like there are all these scandals but they are not taking into account the thousands and thousands and thousands of faithful pastors and faithful leaders that never had even a hint of scandal in their life of ministry.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith