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Sex, Lies, and Ministry

On February 17, 2011 Pastor Dirk Jackson was formally charged with raping a 12 year old girl in 2003 when he worked as a teacher at a Christian academy. Komo 4 News

Jesus warns in Luke 17:2, “It would be better for [those who cause others to stumble] to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” (NIV) No doubt, raping a child can cause their faith to stumble. And yet, Jesus follows with a command to forgive those who repent, even if they have offended repeatedly.

Does Jackson deserve God’s grace? Does he deserve ours? Or do we cleanse the church of those who bring harm and move forward without them?

You may think me mad, but Jackson needs God’s grace and as Christians we are commanded to love him. But grace and justice are two different things. One does not cancel out the other. Jackson (I will not call him pastor) has proven that leaders in the church can fall as easily as anyone else. None of us are perfect. And we have all fallen. All of us. Comparing our sins against one another only takes the focus off the underserved grace God offers each of us.

I do hope the truth comes out. And if this man is found guilty of his charges, I hope he faces the justice he deserves and that he is never again allowed to be alone with a child. But I too need God’s forgiveness to be whole. I can compare my sin as much as I want, but on Judgment Day when we all stand in holy court, it will not be those who have sinned the least that face freedom and glory, it’s those who have chosen to receive God’s forgiveness. Am I crazy?

What do you think?



18 Responses to “ “Sex, Lies, and Ministry”

  1. PastorDT says:

    I am perplexed by this statement “But grace and justice are two different things. One does not cancel out the other.”

    God reconciles both by transferring his wrath to Christ on the cross. How does Jackson experience grace by facing the justice he deserves? Is the author saying “I hope God shows grace in eternity, because on earth we are going to make sure he gets what is coming?”

    • PastorDT,

      Grace and justice are different. Justice requires a balance between crime and punishment, grace does not. Justice is about fairness. Grace isn’t always fair. And yet, I don’t know if it’s truly possible to have one without the other. It’s like what Calvin says about justification and sanctification, they are different but coexist.

      You said regarding grace and justice, “God reconciles both by transferring his wrath to Christ on the cross.” That is true. And that’s what God has done. But that’s not our role, that is God’s. As Christians and the Church, what is our role? How do we bring justice and still demonstrate God’s grace?

      In other words, I’m not saying we should bring justice because God will bring eternal grace. I am wrestling with the balance between grace and justice and our roles as Christians in the Church in this particular issue.

  2. I don’t think you’re mad, but it does make me sad. As I sit here this morning, I think of those two children who had to learn what their father did and watch him go to prison.

    The grace of God knows no bounds and has no limits. I’m so thankful for it and I pray for this man.

    I also have to remember that the grace I give today, I’ll probably need tomorrow.

  3. Tye Male says:

    While there is grace such heinous acts, there are still consequences to our sin. It is truly sad for all involved including the innocent lives of this man’s two children. Our government is ordained by God for the protection of society and to keep order.

    Jesus was full of grace AND truth. One without the other is not good.

  4. Kim says:

    I think that he needs God’s mercy. We all need God’s mercy. None of us deserve it. But there are still consequences for our actions and wisdom that needs to be used in these types of situations. This man should NEVER be allowed to be alone with children again no matter what the courts decide his punishment should be. As a church leader it would only be wisdom to make sure of that if he was attending your congregation. If he has repented and been restored and healed you still don’t put him in a situation that could be questionable. This protects the people in your congregation but it also protects him ( after his healing, restoration and completed prison time) from being put into a situation that could become inappropriate .

  5. Peter says:

    He can be forgiven of his sin and yet still reap the consequences (in THIS life) of what he did.

    That makes total sense.

  6. Ronnie Ding says:

    It is a lesson for us all, leaders! Be very careful with our walk with Him! As leaders, we do get respect from our people in church, in view of our outward position and ministry but God will require of us greater judgement when we fall. I believe that grace revealed that pastor’s sin or else he would do greater harm to more people and to himself.

  7. Laurie says:

    I understand this situation from personal experience. As a child, I was abused by a family member, and I never told anyone about the abuse until I was an adult. It took many years to work through much of those experiences. And even now at 40 years old, I still see life through a certain lens.

    I grew up in a Christian home where God was a god of wrath, hellfire and brimstone. I did not know a loving kind compassionate God until I was 26 years old and pregnant with my first child. I came to know Christ through a personal relationship in need of forgiveness and wholeness in my own life. I understood what He did for ME on the cross, but that did not translate later to the child perpetrator who hurt me growing up.

    One evening, in a service where the unconditional love of the Father was being shared, I learned that a friend of mine had helped an 80 year old man who had murdered and committed horrible crimes while he had been a member of the Ku Klux Klan to come to the understanding of Christ’s salvation. The pastor was sharing how no Man can hold another man’s sin against him and that only Christ had the right to do so. And if Christ did not hold sin against those who are repentant, then neither could any of us. It was in that service that I realized that I could not hold the sin of my perpetrator against him, but that that was what Christ had died for, not only my sins, but also the sins of that man. At that time, I received a true deep healing and forgave the man who had hurt me so deeply. I realized that he, too, was just a fallen human being just like me.

    While the sin, the pain, the crime must be dealt with, the person must still be loved. And to truly forgive brings a freedom and release like no other.

    I grieve for these young people who have experienced such pain. God never intended it, but it has happened. We need to be able to help those who are hurting and to love them through this process. It’s not an easy command to obey, but we are instructed as Christians to love our brothers, even when it’s hard to do so.

    The Word says that when we love one another the world will know that God is God. It’s our love that sets us apart, not our hate or our anger.

    • Laurie,

      That is a very powerful testimony. I am so sorry for the pain you experienced. I am overwhelmed at the grace of God you experienced and how you have chosen to grow through it. It has truly moved me to tears.

      You bring up a powerful point that we are commanded to love, even when it’s hard to do. I don’t believe God has called us to love one another in the sense of how we feel toward others. Love is a verb. We are called to do love, not necessarily feel it. You have committed an act of love. It’s not easy. But you have demonstrated great strength of character and an openness to the Spirit of Jesus Christ working through you and transforming you. May you be blessed.

    • Kim says:

      Wow Laurie,
      You have been through something very hard. My husband always says that when we go through hard times it “expands our capacity for compassion”. It sounds like God has done this work in your heart. To be able to embrace the fact that this man too needs God’s mercy and walk in true forgiveness. Don’t ever stop sharing your story…what hope it offers to those who have gone through similar experiences. Blessings to you :0)

  8. Steve L says:

    Roman 13, 3 “For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason.”
    I have nothing to forgive this man for. He has not wronged me. He did wrong a little girl AND the Holy Name he claimed to represent. The next question would be, Can this man ever work AS A LEADER in a local church community? Answer: NO.

  9. Danny B. says:

    Truth is, “But for the grace of God, there go I!” It’s only God’s grace that my heart doesn’t do all the wickedness that’s out there! Be not deceived for what a man sows that will he also reap! It’s the grace of God that let’s us love in the first place! But grace never forfiets the consequences of sin! While this man has possibly sinned, he is a God created soul who needs God’s fullest expression of God’s love to see him through the days ahead.

  10. James says:

    Excellent discussion everyone!

    Thank you for the transparency and desire to not cast the first stone, but take recon to our own illness and sin.
    Jackson’s sin only drives home the point that his frame of definition of love was flawed and counterfeit. It’s easy to classify his sin, addiction etc. and file it away as another worthy servant gone by the way side.
    But was the Love of Jesus enough for Jackson? Of it is and was. Then why didn’t it work? Was there something wrong with him? Definitely, absolutely, and most assuredly.
    But there’s also something wrong with the whole mess of trying to find love.
    Jesus came as the “perfect” solution to our love starved existence. Addictions, fetishes, dereliction etc. are all Symptoms. They’re NOT the cause.
    Jackson has been living a lie and looking for love in little girls, sex, etc. while saying that the Love of God was enough.
    In truth God’s love wasn’t enough, because Jackson NEVER really knew what God’s Love really was. The example was a hollowgram, a phamtom, an illustion and God’s real love excaped him completely.
    Just like it escapes us, completely. I heard many of the discussion points of by the Grace of God, I could go also, or Jackson’s sin is no different.
    YOU ARE ALL EXACTLY correct. His sin has a legal ramification, as it should.
    Then if we all suffer from the same disease, where is the cure? Is there a cure? Who IS the cure?
    Folks, real love, for the most part, isn’t modeled, allowed, patterned or seen.
    Most love in churches is performance based. Most love in our homes has conditions. Love in institutions and our work places is all about getting ahead.
    So where is this unconditional love of God, we so desperately want, need and can’t live without exist?
    Jackson is only the tip of the iceberg, I’m sorry to say.
    The mechanisms we use to “hold it together” work for a while. But we all allow fear, anger, anxiety to rob us of experiencing God’s unconditional love.
    I am a sojourner like you, and use multiple mechanisms to escape pain, fear and painful consequences.
    What was it that the Apostle John said, “Perfect love casts out fear.” However, if you look closely at our churches and homes, we are ridden with fear and trying to avoid any pain at any cost….drugs, alcohol, sex, work, etc.etc.
    In the church the mechanisms are a little more refined and even incideous. But they’re there all the same.
    Back to topic. Jackson cannot be allowed to be with children in any business, ministry etc. His love center is skewed. And going below the surface may reveal damage and carnage to this man long before he came to the ministry.
    I have no simple solution other than we’ve yet to live in the pure light of unconditional for ourselves and each other. When that happens we will see people set free and fearless of any pain, consequence, anxiety or pressure from the world.
    Dig deeper into the deeper realms of God’s unconditional love. I’ve only scratched the surface, but there is light at the end of the tunnel for Jackson and all of us.
    Blessings,
    James

  11. Chuck says:

    Justice demands he be punished criminally here on earth, if guilty. Grace means that the state of His relationship with the Lord remain.

    The former doesn’t cancel the latter.

  12. Pastor Jim says:

    Perhaps we confuse justice with judgement. I was recently helping a widow (a person I didn’t know) with some yard work. About 45 minutes in to the ordeal, her 52 year old son comes out of the house, goes to the mail box, and back into the house. In his flannels; I, meanwhile, am raking leaves and avoiding his dog’s s—t. I began to judge everything.

    God pulled in the reins and reminded me both gently and forcefully, that I can not be an agent of grace and at the same time a Pharisee of judgement.

    Justice, though, is another matter. This man deserves God’s grace, and man’s justice. But not my judgement.

  13. James says:

    Response to Pastor Jim;

    Very well said, Jim. It is so easy to judge. It’s like it slips out so quickly, and easily. And before you know you’ve sentenced someone to the forty-nine lashes.
    Thanks for that reminder, that justice is something we will have to face in this life. But the “just” sentece of Justice from God has been remanded by the blood of Jesus.
    And even in saying that we face justice in this life, that even has be said with tongue in cheek. We all know of instances where I should gotten that traffic ticket, but the office let me off with a warning. However, the next time when I thought I should have had a warning I got a stiff ticket. So justice is not perfect in this life, if it were I would have been toast a long time ago.
    Thanks again for the reminder that we live under grace, even being “graced” in this life and it’s consequences.
    Blessings in your pursuit of truth and love.
    James

  14. what Danny B says is so true… but when we say that, how many of us really believe that??… don’t we sorta say that, but all the while think in the back of our minds – “but I would NEVER go that low”???

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