Proclamation, Invitation, & Warning

2/16/04

I Was a Leader of Women


Every one of us men is susceptible to inappropriate relationships with women who are not our wives. I believe that inappropriate relationships are rampant among clergymen and leaders and the women they presume to shepherd.


Activism -Too Close a Friendship - Clergymen and Divorces - So Many Lukewarm Men - Set an Example


Activism

In the late 80’s I was a prolife picketing organizer. Mostly women showed up to picket the abortionist or the county health family planning clinics that referred for abortion. I kept a list of volunteers and their phone numbers… mostly women. I called them regularly regarding scheduling and special events. I also spoke to groups and churches about “Christian Activism”, along with representatives from a local pregnancy center and a post-abortion counseling group. We spent quite a bit of time together. My wife, Kim, often stayed home with our babies and small children. There was one couple that was good friends of ours. During one period of a couple of years, I called the wife of that couple almost every day to discuss prolife and conservative political action.

After the Lord began transitioning my wife and I out of social and political activism, we formed a local, informal group called, “Association for Biblical Christianity”, with the intent of educating Christians about the Human Potential movement and motivational training and neo-paganism that were influencing Public Schools, Corporations, Government, and professing Christians. There was one other couple that mostly worked with my wife and I in this new form of activism. Again, the habit developed where I would end up calling the wife of this couple almost everyday about issues and events and scheduling.

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Too Close a Friendship

With several of these ladies I’ve referred to, I developed a close friendship and we enjoyed talking and confiding.

It was wrong!

It’s one thing to have friends and sisters-in-Christ. It’s another thing to allow a friendship, between a man and woman who are not married, to become too close: intimate conversations or regular, frequent conversations without spouses being involved. At the very least, it usurps the relationship that should be reserved for the spouse. At worst, it brings the danger of infatuation, temptation, emotional adultery, and adultery.

I look back and I can’t believe how I conducted myself, even if I only had “good” intentions. Not only was I robbing my wife, emotionally, but I had no idea what I was doing to the other people’s relationships with their spouses.

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Clergymen and Divorces

It is a great discouragement to observe how many Christian couples have divorced over the 27 years I have been a believer. This has included supposedly mature believers, leaders in the churches, and clergymen and their wives. Sometimes it has involved emotionally drifting apart (agape love is not a matter of emotions!) to the point where the couple thinks they don’t have a basis for a marriage. Sometimes it involves the seduction into adulterous affairs. In recent years there have been friends who have split because of email and chat room affairs.

“Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?”

Proverbs 6:27-28

It seems to me that clergymen and elders and deacons and other leaders in the assemblies are especially susceptible to relationships that are inappropriate. Clergymen in institutional church organizations, to a great degree, are leaders of women. It is a classic situation for young women to look up to the clergyman. He is important. He is sensitive. He pays attention to individuals. Women who feel their husbands do not have those qualities and are not the spiritual leader of the home might feel inclined to get involved in the machinery of church activities to be near the clergyman and maybe even seek out “counseling”.

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So Many Lukewarm Men

I’m concerned that this is one of the major reasons we have so many lukewarm men in the churches! With the unbiblical prominence of the position of “Pastor”, zealous women follow after the clergyman. Husbands who see this are discouraged from their responsibility to be a spiritual leader.

When we allow a friendship to become inappropriate we have no idea how that may be affecting the other marriage. Those who are in leadership positions may have contributed to the horrible tragedy of divorce by usurping the role of respected hero and leader and confidante in the lives of women in their congregation. Clergymen and other leaders should not think that it is their role to “disciple” or “counsel” women. Encourage and disciple the husbands and let them lead their own families. Let the mature sisters teach the younger ones (Titus 2:4).

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Set an Example

Mature brothers-in-Christ ought to set the example. We are called to love everyone. We ought to be kind and friendly to everyone. But, we should also go the extra mile in avoiding even the appearance of evil. When does a friendly conversation become an intimate “heart-to-heart”? When does friendly humor become flirting? What situations should I plan to avoid such as finding myself alone with a woman not my wife in a car or a home? Whether it comes to email or phone calls or face-to-face conversations, we ought to keep in mind what is appropriate, what are the appearances, what are the effects.

“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned…”

1 Timothy 1:5  

Maybe there are young men who will read this and it won't take so long for them to come to their senses. I've repented and asked for forgiveness from the Lord and from my wife. I pray that, whatever damage I've done in the past, the Lord will continue to bless all involved and turn everything for good. I am grateful that our Lord Jesus protected my marriage and has continued to break me and remake me.

"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."

1 Corinthians 10:12

"For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

Hebrews 12:10-11


Activism -Too Close a Friendship - Clergymen and Divorces - So Many Lukewarm Men - Set an Example

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