After serving more than two years as president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF), Gordon MacDonald last month tendered his resignation. In a statement released to the press, IVCF Board Chairman James Kay said MacDonald resigned “for personal reasons, having been involved in an adulterous relationship in late 1984 and early 1985.”

MacDonald, 48, took the reins of the ministry to college students in January 1985, after serving three months as minister-at-large for World Vision U.S. Prior to that, he served for 12 years as senior pastor of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts, a church known for its commitment to missions. He has also been a member of the Christianity Today, Incorporated, board of directors.

The IVCF board did not know of MacDonald’s moral lapse when it selected him as president. Asked in an interview why he did not inform the board at that time, MacDonald said, “I have no good answer for that.… The same distorted and deceived mind that got me into the [adulterous relationship] was causing me not to think clearly.… I suppose I was in that very naive perspective that says, ‘This is going to be covered, it’s going to go away.’ ”

Earlier this year, MacDonald said, he told three IVCF board members about his adultery. “It was their initial decision … that I should keep on [as president],” he said. He did not inform the full board until he tendered his resignation last month.

MacDonald said he submitted himself to the discipline of three trusted Christian leaders in January. He said the three-member council pronounced him guilty of adultery, acknowledged his repentance, advised him to cut back on his speaking engagements, and ...

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