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Scandal among Catholic clergy is forcing all ministers to reconsider practices—not just in working with children, but in setting ethical standards in all areas. Pastors are finding it's time to dust off the code of ethics, and in light of recent social and technological developments, it's time to rewrite.

Or for those without, it's time to draft one.

Many denominations have such a code in place. For their pastors, adopting the code is mandatory. Some in the free church tradition have resisted adopting a national or regional standard, because of issues of authority and autonomy.

The Baptist General Convention of Texas is considering, for the first time in its history, adopting a model code of ethics for ministers. The recommendation came from Joe Trull, editor of Christian Ethics Today, the author of several books on ministerial ethics, and a Texas pastor.

Why is it important, especially now, for pastors to have a code of ethics?

In a word, accountability.

A Texas pastor once said, "In most other ...

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