Private Accusations Against Your Pastor Is a Sin

Private Accusations Against Your Pastor Is a Sin

Have you been around people who constantly want to gossip and make private accusations against your pastor?  You may not think it’s that big of a deal or you may just pass them off as having a rude personality, but have you paused to consider the fact that such rude and slanderous behavior is sinful?

Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 5:19 – “Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.” The office of an elder (pastor) is one that must be respected. God has called that person to that office and anyone who has an accusation against that man must be extremely careful in how that accusation is carried out. Satan often uses false accusations to harm pastors and their ministries, therefore, when a pastor is confronted with a sin it must be handled very carefully.

BEWARE: Accusations Must Follow the Biblical Model

Paul said that accusations are to be made against a pastor only on the basis of two or three witnesses. This is to be done in order to provide accountability and protection for the pastor in such accusations. This allows for the accusation to be heard, investigated, and substantiated before it goes before the entire church.  John Calvin once said, “It is a sign of a perverse and treacherous disposition to wound the good name of another, when he has no opportunity of defending himself.”

This statement by Paul completely outlaws accusations that are made privately in the form of gossip, text messages, e-mails, anonymous blogs, or over the phone behind the pastor’s back. Those types of accusations are nothing more than slanderous attacks against the office of elder (pastor) and God takes that type of thing very seriously. That is why Paul speaks of this in 1 Timothy 5:19.

John MacArthur writes:

There are always people eager to falsely accuse a man of God. They may do so because they resent his calling, reject his teaching, resist biblical authority, resent virtue, or are jealous of the Lord’s blessing on his life. Ultimately, however, they demonstrate by making such accusations that they have become messengers of Satan. Such false accusations are one of his most dangerous weapons. Joseph, Moses, David, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, and our Lord Jesus Christ all suffered from false accusations. [1]

Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” It is an unprofitable thing to reject and undermine the leadership of your pastor according to the writer to the Hebrews. Anyone who seeks to gossip against or attack their pastor behind his back should be viewed as one who is in clear violation of God’s Word and a tool of Satan.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 says, “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, [13] and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.” Again, we see that the pastor should be esteemed (respected) highly in love because of the work he is called to do. What work? The work of laboring in Word and doctrine and shepherding the flock of God.

BEWARE: Receiving Unbiblical Accusations is Sinful

According to 1 Timothy 5:19 – the elder (pastor) is to be accused before two or three witnesses – not in a private conversation behind his back.  Essentially, what Paul is saying is that before accusing your pastor of sin, the same process followed for other sinful believers (found in Matthew 18:15-20) in the life of the church must be followed for your pastor.  Therefore, any member of the church or leader in the church who accepts an accusation against their pastor in a private setting without hearing it before the pastor himself is guilty of sin. Why did God put these things in Paul’s heart as he wrote 1 Timothy? As Paul was writing to a young pastor named Timothy – he desired to provide specific guidelines as to how pastors are to be accused of wrongdoing. Paul understood that the wolves would come out in opposition and attack the pastor who truly labors in the Word. So, he placed some guidelines for how a pastor is to be accused in order to prevent false gossip, the rumor mill, and wolves who have a thirst for blood from bringing an attack against their pastor that could destroy his ministry.

Therefore, it goes without saying, if a pastor has sinned or done wrong, he should be confronted. This confrontation should be done in the proper manner. If the pastor does not repent, the accusation should be presented before the church in order to further admonish him and call for him to repent. If at that point, the pastor still does not repent, the church should move through their proper steps of removing him from serving since he has a rebellious heart and is unwilling to repent of sin.

To confront your pastor of sin is a very serious charge and should be taken extremely seriously. John Piper once provided the following counsel to his pastoral staff about unity:

The New Testament warns against gossiping. The Greek word translated “gossip” means whisper or whisperer. In other words, the focus is not on the falsehood of the word but on the fact that it needs to be surreptitious. It is not open and candid and forthright. It has darkness about it. It does not operate in the light of love. It is not aiming at healing. It strokes the ego’s desire to be seen as right without playing by the rules of love. [2]

No person should be on a campaign to constantly confront their pastor of wrongdoing unless he is clearly living in sin. That’s why Paul makes it clear – only receive an accusation against an elder on the basis of two or three witnesses.  Those people in the church who are constantly on a slander attacks against their pastor should likewise be held to the standards of discipline found in Matthew 18. A perpetual gossiping tongue in the fellowship of a church creates an atmosphere of confusion and that individual proves to be a messenger of Satan. Church discipline should be done with the utmost care and respect, and in all cases, it should be done with a goal of restoration.

Therefore, true believers should work together, worship together, pray for one another, help one another and have the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace that comes through Jesus Christ. The church should always watch and beware of attacks against their pastor and against one another because the wicked one is always looking to stir up confusion and harm the ministry of Christ in the community.  It is the role of the church to stir up love and good works – not confusion, slander, gossip, and other sins that hinder the work of Christ.

1.  The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, 1 Timothy, 221.

2.  “What I Said to the Pastoral Staff About Unity Amid Differences

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  1. Amen.

    • What if it’s not a false accusation? And what if it’s not against the Pastor. What if it’s his designee(s)?

  2. Well written…May God bless you, Brother Josh, as you preach and teach the Word of God. And may HE guard your heart and your back as you diligently do so… Incredible worship services today…in both ‘VILLE’s!In and for Him…Christie

  3. What is your thoughts on how a pastor should respond, when accused improperly (not according to biblical guidelines as you have thoughtfully addressed) and is “innocent” of such charges? I’d be interested in your thoughts.

  4. Christie,The worship services in Nashville yesterday were awesome. To be asked to preach in that setting for racial unity Sunday was an honor. It was good to see God move in the hearts of people.Thank you for your prayers and your service to our Lord!

  5. Mark,That is a great question. I think that if you as a pastor are accused of something that you did not do, and the accusation is brought against you in an inappropriate manner, the individual doing the accusing needs to be confronted in a loving manner in accordance with Matthew 18. If that individual will not repent, they need to be brought before witnesses and eventually the entire church if they continually refuse to repent. In each step of discipline – the goal is restoration. However, if in the end the individual is still unwilling to repent, that individual should be excommunicated from the church in order to do the following:1. Bring fear upon all who witness it so that they would not make the same mistake.2. For the purity of the church – the bride of Christ. Anyone unwilling to repent is proving that their heart is either severely damaged by sin or unsaved.3. For the protection of the pastor – God’s servant.If the individual repents during the discipline process – you will have gained a brother or sister in Christ and that relationship will be stronger as a result of God working in the hearts of His people.God Bless!

    • Josh-We are dealing with a similar situation among elders. A dispute arose over a matter, in which an elder was accused, privately among the elders only, of being deceptive by another elder, and the accuser resigned by private letter to the other elders, specifically to avoid taking the dispute public (he just felt he could not, in good conscience, keep serving together with the accused elder). Thoughts on the proper response of the remaining elders?

      • This is difficult since he has now resigned, but if he continues down a path of sin, he must be publicly disciplined – elder or not. This is the last stage in the process and I can’t tell you how much caution and patience must be exercised prior to going to that stage, but through prayer the Holy Spirit will guide your elders and church to make the right decision.

  6. Josh,Good blog spot. Maybe you could go deeper into who is the leadership of a Biblical church. Some may be confused on the standing of Hebrews 13:17. Meaning: Does this verse concur with Deacons ruling over the Pastor? Explain the “Obey them that have the rule over you…” Who may be “them”?

    • To Jon

      Vines Expository states that the word “obey” is the word peitho. The “obedience’ suggested is not by submission by authority, but resulting from persuasion. Those who have the guide over the flock will not lord it over them to lead them , but to persuade them in the same way that the Spirit persuades one about the gospel as being true. In the same way the Pastor can persuade the flock by scripture if what he says indeed is true.Once it bears witness with the Word of God and the indwelling Spirit then we to suffer ourselves to be persuaded for the sake of the truth.

      In His Service

      Bill Martin

  7. Jon,The unfortunate thing in many churches today is that the deacons are “rulers” or “authority figures” in the church – when in essence – they were originally intended to do service work – not oversee or make decisions in the church. The word “deacon” itself actually means – servant.In 1 Timothy 5:19 – the word “elder” is the Greek word – πρεσβύτερος=============πρεσβύτερος [presbuteros /pres·boo·ter·os/] adj. Comparative of presbus (elderly); TDNT 6:651; TDNTA 931; GK 4565; 67 occurrences; AV translates as “elder” 64 times, “old man” once, “eldest” once, and “elder woman” once. 1 elder, of age,. 1a the elder of two people. 1b advanced in life, an elder, a senior. 1b1 forefathers. 2 a term of rank or office. 2a among the Jews. 2a1 members of the great council or Sanhedrin (because in early times the rulers of the people, judges, etc., were selected from elderly men). 2a2 of those who in separate cities managed public affairs and administered justice. 2b among the Christians, those who presided over the assemblies (or churches) The NT uses the term bishop, elders, and presbyters interchangeably. 2c the twenty four members of the heavenly Sanhedrin or court seated on thrones around the throne of God.Taken from the Enhanced Strongs Lexicon – Greek word #4265=============That being said – it does not take long to see the context is not referring someone of old age in this case. This word is being used in the context of church offices. The elders in the early church were titles for pastors. The pattern of the early church was to have multiple elders per church. Therefore, as Paul writes to Timothy – he makes sure he understands how accusations are to be presented against another pastor (elder).Elders (pastors) are the overseers of the church. That is seen in Acts 20:17 – And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. Paul was talking to the elders (pastors) of the church. Later in Acts 20:28 he tells them that they have been given the responsibility of overseeing the ministry of the church. He tells them that the Holy Spirit has made them “overseers.” Therefore, it does not take long to see that the early church was managed, overseen, and guarded by the pastors – not the deacons. So, when we see other references such as Hebrews 13:17 – we understand clearly that it is not talking about deacons or any other leader in the church. It is simply referring to the pastors or elders of the congregation.NOTE: It would be good to research the usage of words such as elder, bishop, and overseer in various translations. These words refer to the same office!Hope this helps!

  8. I have been sexually molested by a pastor from 11 to 28. The pastor has said sorry to me in private but will deny any wrong doings when confronted by others. My mother and brother chose to continue to attend this church after knowing what he has done. Some of the elders of the church are aware of this incident but chose to do nothing about it. The wife called me wanting to know what I wanted to do. She stated that she could be mad at me for sleeping with her husband. Which was a shock to me. I am at a stand still. What should I do. The pastor has send me nude pictures as far as 2007. I don’t feel that God is doing anything while I go through depression and numbness to life. I am seeking counceling. Doesn’t he need to repent infront of the church?Help

    • 12 years ago I came to the church I’m still assisting I don’t know why.
      My husband and I had marital problems where he cheated or maybe it was just rumors about him cheating till this day I’m not sure???? Either way I payed back with the same thing. Cheating. So my sister in law recommended her church for counseling. biggest mistake ever. I thought that everything was going to get better with the counseling of a Pastor. I started counseling with this pastor and at first everything was ok. A ton of personal questions and I mean personal, I thought it was normal since I’ve been to counseling before do to rape at 13 years of age.
      Why did I cheat and how many times. If we were still intimate with each other do to all the situation. How many times in a week. He would caress my hair while asking questions and make nice comments of my body. Then he would give me tight hugs and kisses on my cheek. I thought it wasn’t right but he’s a pastor I’m just thinking wrong I said to myself. Weeks passed by and he started coming to my house unannounced when my husband wasn’t home to see if everything was ok since I decided I didn’t want any more counseling due to that my husband and I were doing a bit better . My husband accepted The Lord which was awesome. This pastor would come to my house only when my husband wasn’t home and I started getting scared of receiving him. Then he would tell my husband we should start a dominoes game and that was to often. He would feel my legs under the dinning table and his wife was sitting in front of him and my husband across me. He would pass by my house and call and say in apropiate things. One day I got tired and told my husband and the pastor told me these words. Your words against mine. Till this day he still harrassesme he passes by my house but doesn’t come in. He doesn’t call because I’ve changed my phone two times. He makes fun of my body and he hurts me with words. I’ve spoken to my husband several times to change churche but he says oh well find worse problems in another one. I don’t think all pastors are the same.
      I told one of my elders in church but I’m afraid of saying that it’s the pastor that’s doing this what shoul I do please. I don’t want to hurt his family but I think mines is going to hurt any ways because I’m leaving everything behind just because I’m tired of hearing his negative comment he shoots to me when my husband is not around.

    • Ding… Ding… Ding… Somehow this guilt trip by the writer to the Hebrews creates a perfect avenue for pastors to get away with anything in private settings. Little girls, little boys, other wives, prostitutes, strippers etc. It is whoremonger rights as long as the a-holes deceives people into private settings. Even this guys stupid wife knows about it yet blames you for his actions.

  9. Abused,Please see your private e-mail that I sent you regarding this issue!God Bless,Josh Buice

    • Why take it offline to discuss? There is so much of this going on INSIDE the church… when will we discuss this out in the open so healing can begin. I am a domestic violence advocate and it is the heart of the Father to STOP Domestic Violence and Verbal Abuse FIRST in the church, then in the world.

      It is NOT a subject that most of the church wants to deal with.
      But it is unfortunate that many abused run first to the pastoral care, who most do not understand how to help in this area. Also there are so very many pastors involved in domestic violence and verbal about, let alone all the rest of the types of abuse.

      Please Pastor Josh, address this out in the open so others have some insight of how to handle their own situations.

      Rev Cheryl Wallace
      Trust His Heart

  10. what is going on in the churches today?i and family left a church the pastor there was gay!people walking around like nothing is happening one of the young ministers is reeping the benefits smoking crack get lost for awhile then his lover -bishop has to always find him!! coming back now to walk in a big convocation whwe this is such a trip!!so my family departed and fellowshipped with another church,,well i am dupped again,this time the young minister or rather elder get my attention..started out as friends for the lord,then texts phone calls ,phone masterbation…i am sick to the gut about all this i know just say no,but preach man came on real cool plus he is single, i find out he has beded half of the women in the church,how nasty! you should marry rather then 2burn,,,,,,, that is bible……….. i have no trust any longer in the body of christ!yes in god but not in you ever time how gross,i need to vent thank you and the true god bless us!!

  11. I think that’s exactly the kind of stuff we’re not supposed to be saying about God’s people. if what you say is true, have the guts to confront it within the church.

  12. I agree with you, David. If these terrible things truly did happen, they need to be confronted like ASAP! I think we as Christians miss out on what can truly be a blessing when our fellowship is restored through the proper steps recorded in Matthew. My father is a pastor and was falsely accused privately and also quite publicly. The best thing to come about because of those accusations was how they were handled. That is the purpose of what our Lord spelled out for us in Matthew.

  13. Hi Josh,i read your article and i was really blessed.i and some people were involved in speaking evil of a pastor.Talked about the discouragement experienced and doctrinal issues that makes it difficult to have a good relationship with the pastor.The same night i had a very bad dream about some things coming from my mouth and i was very frightened. I immediately started to pray for mercy.What can i do now and how can i prevent this from happening again? please can you advise privately.God bless you

  14. Dear JoshI am greatly encouraged and blessed by your article. I am pastoring a church and at an AGM (Annual General Meeting) I was being questioned about the finances of the church in a very disrespect manner by one of the members (20 year old young woman). I felt she has cast aspersions on my character and impugned my integrity in front of the church. Because I am accountable to the church, I deemed it necessary to answer all the questions. The church board members (consisting of another elder, the treasurer, and 2 deacons) did not say a word when this member (20 yr old young lady) spoke to me in that way. Neither did any other member say anything. A week and a half after the meeting, I spoke to her in private telling her that she was disrespectful and that she was malicious in having impugned my integrity, etc. I said to her I expect her to apologise to me in the presence of the congregation as what she did, was also in the presence of the congregation. She denied and said she can’t apologise because then she would acknowledge the allegations. I then took 3 witnesses. These all confirmed that my allegations were true. But she still said she can’t apologise. Her dad (one of the deacons) then said she must apologise but also in an “unrepenting” manner. It took her some time to say she will apologise which will happen this Sunday. I’m trusting God to speak to her so that she can do it from her heart. Because she seemed unrepentant right through confrontation. What if her apology is just going to be lip-service and not from the heart? I feel like removing her from all ministeries for a period of time to discipline her. Please advise.

  15. Maybe you should let it go and let the truth speak for itself? If she was asking true questions and wanted clarification, you should have given that to her. The fact that she is 20 and a female, I’m guessing, is why you have taken such an issue here. If it had been a 70 year old male, would you have taken such a hard line? Removing her from ministry in order to discipline? Telling her she can’t serve God at church because you perceived her questions as disrespectful seems…um…harsh.

    • Exactly! If there was no issue, then answer the questions and let the truth speak for itself. It has been my experience that even if you seek to “question” a pastor on practically anything, he will close ranks and the person asking questions is made to feel like a leper and cast out as is the intention of the pastor who wrote here.

      Many, many church members are made to feel “never question the pastor” even if there is something that is clearly “wrong” or “error”. What about pastors having to avoid all “appearance of evil”?

    • Hi josh ,

      I have a situation that needs godly advice , I attend a church that has multiple pastors (ast. Pastors) one of church them NOT the senior pastor . Was walking out of a area where we drink coffee and socialize after church, as he walked out my child was spinnning on the fkoor he did not notice I said to my son here comes sucurity you had better stop spinning joking around , the guy coming out said no* im not sucurity im worse im a pastor and walked towards my 5 yr old son and hovered over him to intimidate him , I thought nothing of itso he continued for a moment and then walk away my son looked at him crying and said I hate you he then return to my son and hovered over him again this time more agresivly (*note this man is 6″1 270 @ least ) my son is 5 this time stomping his feet and staring him down I thought he was joking but when I confronted him he said he was seriouse and was offended that my 5 yr old said he hated him and that it was direspeactable when aproched by me and others he lied and said that my boy hit him I was there the whole time tom my son was too afraid to hit him I have witnesses also what do I do

      • Daniel – you must follow Matthew 18 and 1 Timothy 5:19-20. No matter how difficult this process may be – you must always follow Scripture in order to bring great glory to God!

  16. Val,First of all, I would make sure I follow the exact specifications of discipline recorded in Matthew 18. Discipline is a necessary aspect of accountability and purification within the church – that is why Jesus commanded it. However, it must always be carried out in a biblical manner – for RESTORATION. If you find yourself doing discipline to get rid of a person, vindicate your own anger, or to harm a person – it will always be in error. That type of discipline is not discipline at all. And the result will never bring about a good ending. You may need to remove this person from leadership positions, but that is something that a pastor must decide as he oversees a specific ministry. If a person is living in open sin – that person should be disciplined and called to repentance. That process finally ends in excommunication from the church assembly if the individual is not willing to repent. Again, make sure you follow the steps in the Word of God – and do it all out of a goal of restoration and repentance.God Bless,Pastor Josh Buice

  17. Many thanks Pastor Josh for taking the time to read and respond to my issue. I am satisfied with what you’ve written and definitely find it useful. My God richly bless you and the ministry.

  18. HelloI would like to know your thoughts on a matter. A couple of months bac k my u pastor wast accused of having an affair with a member, a person who was in ministry training. After the accusations, the pastor got in front of everybody and denied everything, he even blamed us for not protecting his good name. I have been told by the pastors Armor bearor that in fact these things are true. Some in leadership are aware but no one has addressed it. I am being lead to speak, but some are saying that love covers….blah blah blah. (Sorry for the tone) It seems nobody reads about the qualifications of an elder. I feel likeIm in an maze. this not not the first time accusations have been bought against him. Am I wrong? Am I rebellious?God Bless you

  19. Yasmine,No you are not rebellious. You must confront any elder (pastor) who is living in sin. That is not judgmental. However, make sure you do not provide private accusations against him. Make sure that your accusations are brought before him with witnesses in order to be established. If it is proven true or if he continues his actions, he needs to be removed from his leadership position.Make sure you follow specific Scripture and always remain faithful to the manner that God created and put into place through His Word. All other methods of dealing with it can lead to gratifying and satisfying your flesh rather than God’s will.Pastor Josh

  20. Hi, I was reading your post and found a question by abused? but you responded in private,please I would appreciate a sound input in this matter… when i came to the church I was given a close place with my pastors family, i felt like a son i most say, after sometime my pastor began to question me in matters of my sexuality, and finally he began to harass me sexually, I didn’t make a big and I wont go into details but it was nasty, I tryed to protect his family whom I love, but when staying in his house I had to lock myself in the bathroom, etc… finally I TALKED TO SOMEBODY IN the church staff, they confronted him, his wife was though with me, she accused me of having seduction spirits and I insisted that I always stopped him, nothing really happened, but it wasn’t easy, I was young and I wasn’t very bold, I had a hard time getting over it, I forgave him, and his wife. beside the sexual stuff he spoke a lot of things trying to manipulate me… (I could go into so many detaills)this is the thingsome years have pass andrecently he is acting weird, missing church, she is seen crying everywhere, and rumors are starting to go everywere involving him with another young guy in our church,just hearing the news gave me the chills, and I dont know what to do, should I forgive and leave everything in the past?I already have a weird relationship with them, I tryed to leave everything behind and decide to see them in Gods gift, but this is making it difficult???Should I leave? with my family and kids (and their stability)how about words from the prophet saying that we are in Gods perfect will?thanks for any sound inputwe obviously love them as a family, but I am a little bit confuse

  21. I am so guilty of not understanding these offices…I repent from speaking so foolishly and thank the Lord for enlightning me through His word on the truths of leadership…

  22. Thank you for writing this article, we are currently experiencing this in our Church. My husband and I are the youth pastors and my dad is the senior Pastor, and people in the congregation are trying to get him kicked out of the church, they are gossiping, not telling the truth, politicking, lying, back biting. And we are in a lot of pain, unfortunately not many people in the church are standing up to this group of people. I know that my father isn’t perfect but the things that people are saying are complete lies. We live in a small town, and i am so concerned about this town because we are supposed to be showing people Jesus. If they kick us out, how do we even begin to show the love of Christ to this town. they see the “church” ripping each other apart! It hurts and I am scared!

  23. Kim,Remain faithful to the LORD through this process. Also, you need to point the leaders in the church to the Scriptures and force them to submit to God’s Word. There is a right way and a wrong way to discipline a pastor. Sounds like they are approaching it from the wrong direction….

  24. William,Your pastor should be approached according to the pattern given in 1 Timothy 5:19-20. He should be disciplined for his actions. A pastor must be a blameless man according to 1 Timothy 3 – and it sounds like he isn’t behaving in that manner.

  25. Great advice…it is always good to aproach the situation according to the word of God….with the same token..pastors are aware of sin within ministries such as choirs, worship team, deacons…and they condone it. One pastor had the nerve to tell one of the wives that she was upset because the other woman was beautiful…and this wife with proof was mocked by the very person that was suppose to protect the sanctity of marriage before the Lord…A pastor like that should be expelled from the church wether he or she repents or not. According to the Word of God sin is sin and there’s no sugar coating it.

  26. So my question is this….. I have a challenge with the youth pastor. I believe he is wrong and in need of correction.I go to my Senior Pastor and request a meeting with the youth pastor, the senior pastor and me. Everyone agrees and a date is set. At the last minute the youth pastor refuses to meet with me. His reason…… Matthew 18. He says I should speak with him privately first and refuses to meet with me unless I agree.This seems wrong to me. Any advice?

    • Suzanne – You must continue to pursue a meeting in harmony with 1 Timothy 5:19. Going through the Senior pastor may be the best way as well. At the end of the day, if the youth pastor is unwilling to meet in conjunction with Scripture – it may be proof that something is wrong. However, I would heavily caution you to refrain from going outside of Scripture as it clearly speaks of how to address and confront a pastor who is living in sin.

      • Thank you for your advice. However, the youth pastor is now refusing to meet with at all after standing me up for 3 different appointments. I guess my only recourse is to go before the church board.

  27. My dad works at a church as a administrator and the pastor of that church has caused a lot of problems against him. My dad has worked with seven other pastors and he has had no problem, but the current pastor is just all about finding faults.
    He has been collecting all the tiny mistakes my dad has committed in the past seven years, and has recently brought that up and is threatening to fire my dad. Not only that, the pastor has passed a lot of false accusations against my dad and my mom.
    To reconcile these matters, my parents met with the pastor, but the pastor was arrogant, inconsiderate and got angry with my parents. “I thought pastors were suppose to be a role model and be mentors and not act angrily and inconsiderate.
    Also, the pastor has lot of other sins and issues, that has hurt some families of the church.

    How could we confront this pastor and let the congregation know of his evil acts?? Please help!!

  28. Pastor, thanks for this informative blog. I looked for your email so I could contact you. I’m finishing up my book, Your Christianity In The Crosshairs. I wanted you to know I will quote several things you said.

  29. I’d like to begin by saying that I truly want to be in right standing with God in all I do and say. However, I am really struggling with my pastor and the behaviors exhibited by my pastor. There are times when the pastor is very controlling and manipulative in their attempt to carry out the vision of the church. I feel that scripture is used in a manipulative way to get people to work in the church. One scripture that is used is “To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is a sin.” Therefore if you know there is something that needs to be done in the church and you don’t want to do it, then you are sinning. I don’t believe this is the way this scripture is to be interpreted. Please help me understand this concept. I will point out that our church is small and I am very active in my church because there are those who don’t want to work. However, if there are times that I don’t want to do a task, this scripture is used to manipulate me or others to do what is being asked of us to do.

    There are also times when I have witnessed the pastor not telling the truth! I am in awe when I hear it. Embelishing the facts and exaggerating etc. And I believe that if it’s not the whole truth, then it is a lie. I am not the only member who has witnessed these untruths. Also, there are many times that they are very hard on the children at the chruch so much so that they don’t even want to come to church, or to any of the “fun” events that are scheduled for the children because of this constant nit picking every little thing that they do. It’s really sad to see this going on at the church.

    My pastor have gone so far as to tell me other member’s personal information that they have spoken to them about. (I’m sure this was done in confidence), however, they saw nothing wrong with telling me this and other members personal information. I feel this is very wrong for the pastor to do. And I believe that just like the pastor shared someone elses private matter with me, they will also share my private issues with others.

    I could go on about other things that are said and done in the church and across the pulpit, but I won’t. But I want to say I am so sad and disheartened by her actions that I don’t know what to do. I don’t if I should remain at this church or leave. I have now begun speaking with another member in the church who is struggling with the same issues concerning our pastor. I feel like I am whining and complaining about my pastor. I feel like my venting to this other member is bordering on backbitting and murmuring and complaining. And I don’t want to be in that position. But I really really don’t know what to do. I feel that she is running the people away because of the control issue. They come, join, but they don’t stay long.

    I apologize for this very long post, but I am at my wits end on how I should handle ths situation. I don’t feel confortable in approaching my pastor with these issues because they are not too receptive when confronted. Please help me understand if I should just continue to pray for my pastor or does something need to be said.

    • Sis J,

      I am very sorry for the situation that you find yourself in. As a pastor, I am discouraged to constantly get mail on this one article that I posted years ago. This proves the problem that is taking place in the hearts of pastors all around the world.

      We must remember that the Bible is true and reliable. As we deal with matters of church discipline – even with a pastor – the Bible has something clear to say about that process. Simply follow it to the letter and do everything you can to bring about repentance and restoration – however, if his lifestyle is one of denial and continuation in sin – he will need to be exposed before the congregation and removed from his position of leadership in the church. Unfortunately – that is a difficult move – but it is biblical.

      If you do not have a church that is willing to go that route after having followed the first steps in that process – you will not be able to carry out biblical church discipline. It may be best at that point to find another congregation to join and grow in grace.

      If anyone should have character – it is the pastor. 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 both have qualifications for the office of pastor (often referred to as elder, overseer, or bishop – but it’s referring to the same office). If you are able to confront him – make sure you do so in a biblical manner and allow the Word of God to speak about the character and lifestyle of a pastor from the above mentioned biblical texts.

      In Christ,

      Pastor Josh Buice

  30. Hello Pastor Josh,

    I posted a very log post earlier today and it has disappeared. Did I do something wrong in my post?

  31. Thank you Pastor Josh,

    I truly appreciate you taking time to respond to my concern. I appreciate your comments and I realize this is a very sensitive area that will require much fasting and prayers.

    Thank you,
    God bless you!

  32. My church had been without a pastor for 3 years and now we have a new pastor. I have had reservations about this pastor because there was a sense that he lacks humility. Never the less, I have been trying very hard to welcome this pastor and have become friendly with he and his wife. The other day I discovered that he has been allowing his unwed brother to sleep in the same bed with his girlfriend in his home (the pastor’s home). I am the only one who knows this and it is eating me up. He holds great authority in our church and I fear if I go to him alone and speak to him about this, he will have it in for me…. Currently, he has authority to fire anyone on staff if he so wishes (a condition he gave the church when he came on staff) so I don’t know who else I can speak to about this…. I am not on staff, but if I speak to anyone on staff (like two witnesses) He can literally fire them because he has the power to do so. So what should I do???

    • As always – make sure you follow the specific method of discipline described in Scripture.

      The next step would be to take witnesses who are not on staff – perhaps deacons or another church member. The key is to refrain from discussing it with anyone behind his back.

  33. I am in a situation where we have been attending a church for almost 2 years. I’d like to leave out major details (can you tell I’m fearful?) but I am on staff and since I have been on staff I have witnessed very bad behavior. I feel like he has a very black heart. My husband confronted him about some things that I’ve witnessed because it was a major concern for us. Mostly matters of the heart and also the way he treats his staff. After my husband brought this before him, he starting preaching against my family. He used references only we would know. He mimicked and mocked my husband from the pulpit. He will make comments such as we are faithless, scorners, unsaved all the while glaring in our direction in a very suggestive way. We love our church and the people. But I feel like it is time to move on. The down side is that our friends will no longer be our friends after we leave. They will be too afraid. We’ve seen this happen many many times and I guess now it is our turn.
    There are times when we get angry, but our hearts are very saddened. I feel like we were fooled. I feel hurt. I’m scared to join another church.
    Any advice?

    • Dear Anonymous,

      I would simply follow the steps found in 1 Timothy 5:19 and following. Call a meeting with the pastor and another deacon. Confront him biblically. If he is found to be in sin and refuses to repent, you will need to move to the next steps in the discipline process. However, make sure you do everything biblically and with a true and sincere desire for repentance and restoration. If you act out of anger – it will lead you into sin. Be cautious. If you feel that your attempts are met with hard hearts and an unwillingness to comply with the discipline process found in Scripture, it may be time for you to move on and prevent major confusion and the possibility of hurting many people in that process (especially the immature Christians).

      God bless you in your efforts!

      • Thank you. My husband is planning on another meeting with deacons before we move on. We will move on and do it very quietly. It is known that he very rarely makes himself available for these types of meetings. We were a little surprised that we even got one to begin with. We are heartbroken really. We just feel now that ourselves and our children cannot sit under such hateful preaching.

  34. Ok, so what if the pastor has been confronted one on one by several people regarding issues of control and manipulation. Others have confronted along with one or two others and to no avail. Because he is a master manipulator each of the meetings have been like confronting a brick wall. Staff members that stood their ground are now gone, and members that confronted with no results have also left. So my question is if my husband and I are leaving too is it necessary for us also to try and meet with the pastor and tell him why we are leaving, or explain why we are offended? The manipulating and control is pretty out in the open, so those that have eyes to see, see it and the others are just drinking the cool aid- not sure if the pastor knows what he is doing.

    I want to leave without confronting because I feel like a dozen families confronting the same issue is sufficient when there is no other appeal structure or process. A dear friend counseled me to be a faithful witness and confront in love and truth, regardless of how many others have, and regardless of the evidence that his heart is hard and his eyes are blind.

    I do take responsibility for the fact that I along with many others have discussed at length how the control and manipulation has entangled us. I’m actually getting counseling just to get my head and heart clear.

    So what do you think? How many times does a pastor need to be confronted? 7 times?

    • Each situation is different and it’s always hard to say what to do from the outside. However, if the pastor has been confronted and the church is unwilling to discipline the pastor who continues to sin – it may be the time to leave peacefully. Ultimately, if the biblical process of discipline is not being followed – you should consider leaving and finding another church where you can worship and serve the Lord.

      I’m always careful to tell people to leave their church because I think too often people leave for the wrong reasons – or too quickly. But there are times when it’s necessary to do so. Even then, you should dig a deep hole and bury the issues so that you don’t harbor bitterness or be led to engage in website attacks etc.

      For the glory of God!

      • In the past 3 years more than 17 people have left our church because of the our pastor’s wife and her manipulation. Unfortunately the pastor who is also my brother does not want the accept the facts. Last year I left the church after 30 years along with my husband, my older sister and my parents for the same reason. Everyone (believers and non-believers) know this about his wife. I feel bad for him but our trust is that God is watching and will answer her in His time and His way. Don’t waste your time with this pastor. If he was going to listen he would have listened to those before you. It reminds me of the bible story of the begger that died and went to heaven and the rich guy that died and tried to bargain his way out. He asked God to send the begger and warn his brothers to change their ways but God said “if they were going to listen, they would have listened I sent before.” Funny enough this was the first bible story my brother taught me! Unfortunately church history shows that churches that become deaf and self centered will not last. Clean the dust from your feet and leave that place…as the bible says.

  35. I have an ongoing issue with my pastor. I am having financial crises and domestic violence in my marriage and have taken this to the pastor. My pastor tells me that he will meet with my husband and myself, but then nothing happens. I had this issue last year, and sent a letter to my pastor explaining the offence. He apologized and said he would help us. I have sent numerous emails to him asking for meetings between the three of us since the beginning of the year, and, again, the same thing as before, saying he will meet with us and then not doing so.

    I have already taken this to him privately, to no avail. It breaks my heart to take this further. I have been so emotionally hurt by him. I don’t want to be portrayed as a trouble maker and other negative things. I just want to walk away from that church, but a lady member is saying I need to confront him with 2 or 3 others.

    All I want him to do is follow through on his word. Don’t say you are going to help us if you won’t do so.

    The sermons are great, the Sundy school is great, the people are great. The problem I have is the pastor.

    I don’t know what to do now.

  36. What if the pastor himself and his co-pastor wife talk badly about other pasttors? What if I witness that a pastor puts down another much larger pastor and then when he sees him, he acts like he has great respect for the larger more known pastor? Would he be considered a pharasee?

  37. what should i do if my pastor is stealing and i spoke to him and he said the church dont need to know?…

  38. What do i do if i know my pastor is having a homosexual relationship, and his wife knows and overlooks it? and i have noticed that alot of the people in the church that are in leadership are living in sin, and other people have left for this reason, and they have went to him about this several times but nothing is done about it..the problem i am having is going to him and taking witnesses beacause i don’t think anyone who is still there knows about it, so i certainly am not going to take an elder or anyone else with me because i would have to tell him what is going on, i love my pastor and i know he is a good man, and i will not tell anyone who is attending the church now about this, i am planning to leave also, but i feel i should let him know why, what shoul i do??

  39. Josh,
    Thank you for this article and your replies to the comments.
    My question is about witnesses.
    I had sent an email to my pastor about a concern and received no response. A couple weeks later, I asked him in church as to how I could talk to him. He had terse words for me and told me he has no time for me (putting it mildly).
    I followed that up with an email justifying my questioning him. He called me within a couple hours yelling, accusing me, and condemning me.
    I have no witnesses. I emailed in private, spoke in private, emailed again in private and he even inquired as to whether I was alone before yelling and accusing on the phone.
    I contacted an elder (and F-i-L) who deemed I attacked the pastor.
    I wrote to the board and included my two emails and the chairman stated that since I had already left the church that there was no problem and quoted, “Forgetting what is past…” (He withheld my letter from most of the elders and responded alone.)
    Who would be my witnesses?

    PS I add my “Amen” to your John MacArthur quote and assuredly, he is not describing me.

  40. Good morning Pastor Josh. I stumbled on this blog, because my heart is heavy. I wanted to know, is it possible to truly serve God and Him alone, when my Pastor preaches the prosperity gospel? I go to Christ Embassy (the founder is Pastor Chris Oyakhilome Phd). There is a lot that I need to talk about regarding this. I’ve tried leaving the church without confronting the issues, but I failed. I spoke to the Pastor, but his responses made me realise I cannot discuss the deep inconsistencies regarding scripture that I hear everyday there. I would like to discuss this further but I feel that I need to hear from you first.

    Thank you Sir, God bless.

  41. My husband has been a pastor for many years. We just left a church about 2 years ago after serving faithfully there for 8 years. A tiny group of antagoniss “chuecg bosses”, got up a harsh gossip campaign against my husband, the pastor) (because) he would not change, or drop certain bylaws of the church, and told the church we must abide by our constitution and bylaws for the protection of the church. They insisted on bringing in non-members and throwing them into teaching positions, outside of the church;s by laws, and outside the agreement of all the other church membership. Thus the campaign was on, vicious gossip, lies, and slander against the pastor for more than a year. They persuaded about 7 other members to vote against the pastor in that year’s pastoral recall voting. The pastor (did) win the vote, however with a very close margin, therefore he told this small group in that meeting just what they had done, told them that he would decline the vote because they had already split the church, and told them that there would be consequences.We left 2 years ago, and have now opened up a church which was closed. The majority of the old congregation are now with us, although we did (not) in any wAY PERSUADE THEM TO LEAVE THE OTHER CHURCH. tHE OLD CHURCH HAS INDEED EXPERIENCED A NUMBER OF DIFFICULTIES AND CONSEQUENCES SIN CE THAT TIME, INCLUDING THE PASSING AWAY OF 2 OF THEIR VERY TINY MEMBERSHIP. gOD IS BLESSING US IN THE NEW CHURCH, BUT THEY HAVE CONTINUED TO GOSSIP AGAINST MY HUSBAND, WHICH HAS HINDERED WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN A BETTER ATTENDANCE IN THE NEW CHURCH. pLEASE EXPLAIN YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS SITUATION. wE FEEL WE ARE IN gOD';S WILL AND ARE FREE NOW OF THE STRIFE AND DIVISION.pLEASE SEND A PRIVATE EMAIL WITH YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS. tHANK YOU AND gOD bLESS !!

  42. I know I can’t give up.
    How does a person live with the guilt of knowing the truth
    and not being believed?
    I don’t even like the death penalty because one innocent person wrongly put to death is too many. So I defend the innocent.
    I have forgiven.
    How can I have healing when so many people believe a guilty person is innocent and continues preaching, people are deceived about his past. It would be different if they knew and still wanted him there.
    Above all I have sought restoration for thirty-five years with the guilty person without success.
    Recently, I told the person he is a liar and a bad person.
    For the first time I stood up to say it to him, it was unexpected to me. I was surprised I did it.
    I feel peace about that part, because I have only spoken in non-confronting ways before and never BOLDLY stated the facts. It just came out of me… clear, concise, simple and not in a mean spirit but I was angry.
    I feel hurt that may never leave; I don’t want it anymore.
    I don’t want to cause harm, but I can’t believe a person has changed when they refuse to admit the truth and lie about me instead; when I have offered forgiveness and restoration.
    I cannot seek Christian counsel because there is none around here for me. They do not or would not believe me.
    Secular counselor’s have helped some, once I opened up about it. But I hit roadblocks.
    I am alone. I have church online. I don’t have a church and I can’t pretend. I can’t live with people seeing me as a liar in the church, either by keeping quiet while they believe he is a great person or by telling about it and not being believed. It is the wrong perception of who I am, it robs me of my identity. It destroys me and my life. I am fearful because I am often seen as a person colored by what he has said about me to others. I feel as if I am in bondage to his words about me, he has influence and a good reputation, while those of us who have been his victims have been oppressed. I don’t even want to make it public, I just want the person to stop lying about me at the least and I did hope for restoration, that seems impossible now. A few years ago I just began blurting out some things to a woman who I did not know very well. I don’t know why I did it. I can’t carry it anymore. I needed someone. Please don’t tell me I have God, He keeps me alive. Please don’t tell me to go to church and just forget about it. My reputation has been colored. People doubt me then I become discouraged and weak at times. When this happens I am treated differently than who I am and worst of all; I do not feel genuine fellowship because I know if they are deceived they are not true believers or they cannot have real fellowship because of being deceived. I struggle in poverty and sometimes fail. But I keep going and try to find out what God wants me to do.
    How can I escape, be set free from the accuser whom I accuse? He has power over me. He has caused so much harm and others have loved him as a pastor for many years. He is a pastor who said he does not have to forgive me and never will. I never should have tried, I should have walked away. I believed God’s word. Maybe I was wrong. That is what I am struggling with now for the first time, fighting to hold onto my relationship with God.
    People say let go of the past.
    I did…. for years, it is still happening. He still lies about me. I am the one under attack because I exist. My forgiveness isn’t enough, my offer for restoration is not enough. He is guilty but I did what I was supposed to do. It still isn’t enough. I would be happy if he didn’t lie about me, I don’t expect forgiveness from him or restoration but I have steadfastly offered it. Now I feel weak. Alone. I keep holding on to God. Don’t ever give up! Right? I would appreciate prayer.
    Thank You.



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