Pastoral Moral Failure 1914 Style

Ecclesiastes says that there is really nothing new under the sun.

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

But we always think there is.

We have a tendency to think what’s going on now is a new thing… or at least a thing that has only happened in our lifetime.

We hear so much about pastoral moral failure today.  As if pastors were never tempted and never had a moral failure prior to 1960.

The people of Simmons Memorial Church in Kenosha, WI would disagree.

It was 1914.  The people of Simmons Memorial were thrilled when they hired their new pastor, Rev. James Morrison Darnell.  He was a passionate and brilliant preacher.  And at the young age of 25, he had great credentials from Divinity school and other churches.

Long story short… turns out Pastor Morrison had at least three wives and families around the country.

In 1914!

He postponed one of his wife’s move to Kenosha by giving her all kinds of excuses, saying that he’d been exposed to smallpox; that he was living with his cousin; and that his cousin had died in a house fire trying to save him.

All, of course, were lies.

In 1914!

Satan has always worked in the lives of church leaders.

And we shouldn’t be surprised.

While moral failure today usually doesn’t include bigomy, it does grab our attention; and most usually has the same result: dismissal.

You have a lot to lose when Satan grabs you like that.

There are often stories of pastors getting fired or even serving prison time for their crimes of passion.

What has been will be again, and what has been done will be done again.

Just make sure it’s not you.

Are you close to falling?  Need a confidant? Feel free to contact me if you need talked off the ledge.  Your ministry and family is too important not to do something.




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