It used to be that clergy knew the difference between right and wrong. After all, teaching such matters was seen as a core part of the job.
But eroding standards, moral ambiguity, and other factors have made that assumption dangerous, says Luder Whitlock, who chaired a drafting committee for a National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) clergy code of ethics for clergy.
The code, released today, urges trustworthiness, integrity, purity, fairness, and accountability. The text of the code is available at NAECodeofEthics.com in both English and Spanish.
Christianity Today editor in chief David Neff interviewed Whitlock, who was a pastor for 10 years and president of Reformed Theological Seminary for 23 years. Under his leadership, RTS grew from a small regional school to one of the 10 largest seminaries in North America. Today, he is executive director of the Seneff Family Foundation and the CNL Charitable Foundation. (David Neff and Leadership editor in chief Marshall Shelley served on the ethics code drafting committee.)
News reports, particularly those about Catholic clergy sexual abuse, give the public a sleazy picture of American clergy. What is your general impression of pastors today?
Evangelical clergy are deeply committed to serving the Lord and his people. They are people of profound faith. They are compassionate. They are unselfish. Many of them could do far better for themselves in a secular job. But they do this because they love the Lord and they want to serve him and reach people for the gospel.
There isn't one of us who doesn't have his flaws, but in spite of those we hope we can be faithful to the Lord, obedient to his Word, and useful in his service.
Overall, I would give pastors a very high mark. I think their ...