Observation

"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again..."

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Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Friday, August 24, 2007

Local Pastor and Wife Take Another Press Beating

Yesterday Pastor Randy White of Without Walls International Church announced to his congregation that he would be filing for divorce from his wife Paula. Allegedly Randy and Paula are pastors. I say that in light of I Timothy 3, which reads, "1 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. 4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), 6 and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. "

Apart from the "husband of one wife" excerpt, of particular note is verse 7, "... reputation with those outside the church..." Randy and Paula have been polarizing figures for years for reasons extending beyond their strained exegesis of scripture (see: theology, prosperity). The cars, the homes, the failed promises, the body guards, the inaccessibility, the PR firm. Pastors are to be shepherd-like and the Whites exhibit little shepherd-like qualities and behaviors.

The Tampa Tribune reporters dogging the Whites surely would have stated why Randy was divorcing Paula if they knew. They apparently didn't. Whether or not there was adultery involved is not publically known. That's not a complaint but a statement of fact. If there was adultery involved then there's biblical justification for divorce, and reason enough requiting Randy to vacate his pastoral position (Paula should never have been in the pastorate to begin with). If there wasn't biblical justification for divorce then a strong argument can be made that Randy disqualifies himself from the pastorate once he breaks covenant with Paula, if not immediately because of his stated intentions. Because they state they'll continue as "pastors" one can only conclude they serve their flesh more than they serve the One of Whom they claim to preach about.

So will they skate from this controversy and flourish with their own separate ministries? Possibly. Then again, looked what happened to Elymas.

The church has historically been plagued with baggage of the false prophet sort. God is quite able to handle it and grow His church in spite of the hiccups.

The Whites have plenty of company in the Christian church of the afflicted and tempted. Though God's people are redeemed they're certainly not immune from commiting sin and making decisions based on bad judgment. Yet as Paul taught, with positions of Christian leadership comes greater responsibility. The standard and expectations are higher. It's hoped the Whites rebound from this latest test and not merely trade in one plague for another. But from their intentions stated yesterday...

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