What happened to Gary and Pamela Ewing within the first year of pastoring is lamentable enough, apart from the fact it could easily have been prevented more than once. Their story is a patent example of why the apostle Paul, in two different chapters of 1 Timothy, warned against granting ministry responsibility too soon. "Lay hands suddenly on no man," he wrote (5:22), especially "not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil" (3:6).
Growing up in the small Idaho town of Wendell, Gary and Pam were high school sweethearts who got married at the ages of eighteen and sixteen because a baby was on the way. The censure they felt from Pam's parents and the townspeople—especially church members—sealed off any spiritual inclinations, which were minimal to start with. Gary took a few night classes at a vo-tech school in nearby Twin Falls but soon found he was good at selling, and for the next six years money was his god. The young couple scrambled, acquired, ...1