After popular Florida pastor Bob Coy confessed to a 'moral failing' and resigned, his Fort Lauderdale megachurch took his sermons offline. It said it was preventing malicious use. But public demand for the sermons stayed strong. Should Christians stop downloading and listening to the sermons of fallen pastors? (Responses are listed on a spectrum, with answers closest to "yes" at the top and answers closest to "no" at the bottom.)
"When leaders step away from ministry because of moral failure, their written and recorded teachings should be suspended for a season. Once restored—changed and humbled—to ministry, their teachings can become available again, telling the story of God's goodness and restoration."
Kurt Fredrickson, associate dean, Fuller Theological Seminary
"Potentially. The gray area is when the nature of the scandal is independent of the content. Then it is the reader's job to use discernment. Each time I read a book, I am choosing a teacher, and certainly their character, integrity, and relationships factor into what I want to learn."
Michael G. Maudlin, senior vice president, HarperOne
"King David committed adultery and murder, but the Psalms haven't been deleted from the Old Testament. David suffered the consequences of his sin, but we keep the truths of his poetry. Churches with failed pastors could find ways of retaining teachings while denouncing transgressions."
Leith Anderson, president, National Association of Evangelicals
"If a text is good, it has value in and of itself as it refers to a higher unchanging truth. So let people decide for themselves how to value it. The texts should not be used in a malicious way, but they could be used as a testimony against the author."
Patrick Nullens, professor, Evangelical Theological Faculty, Leuven
"We don't stop reading Luther despite his terrible statements regarding the Jews. Nor do we stop reading Calvin because he was responsible for the execution of Servetus. God's Word is true, independent of the vessel that proclaims it. Failure does not make teaching invalid."
George O. Wood, general superintendent, Assemblies of God
"Leadership has a different level of accountability than the person in the pews, but we are all human beings. The moral standard that would silence leaders after failure borders on a type of gnosticism that emphasizes disembodied existence as the ideal. That is not Christian."
Reggie Williams, professor, McCormick Theological Seminary