Ethics: Potential Deacon Struggling with Pornography

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What would you do Wednesday!

This week’s scenario involves a deacon candidate. One of your friends tells you he has been called to be a deacon. Soon he is going to meet with your pastor(s) and a few of the deacons who will talk to and evaluate his qualifications to be a deacon.

The problem is that he has been struggling with pornography for the past three months. And you know this! You’ve been there to help him through this sin. You’ve prayed with him, called him to account and now you’ve explained that he must confess this sin to the leadership.

He knows his struggle with pornography will not permit him to go forward and be a deacon at this time. He tells you that even though he is still struggling right now that he has repented and is being held accountable. He then decides not to say anything to the leadership so that he can move forward with the process of becoming a deacon.

In your dilemma do you…

  • Say nothing and keep working with him?
  • Ask for prayers about this in Sunday School?
  • Go to your pastor out of concern and explain the situation?
  • If your pastor decided to do nothing would you bring it up during the congregational vote/affirmation?

What would you do?

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*If you have a situation you’d like to share anonymously and get some input click contact and send it in. This should not replace your local church, but may give further insight and even help others.*

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 M Burke September 15, 2010 at 5:57 pm

“He knows his struggle with pornography will not permit him to go forward and be a deacon at this time. ”

Why does a struggle with pornography prevent him from being a deacon… is the deacon who struggles with anger, greed, or gluttony also likewise barred from service?

2 M Burke September 15, 2010 at 6:06 pm

As to the responses:

* Say nothing and keep working with him?
I take it this means that the hypothetical author is discipling him… thus…

* Ask for prayers about this in Sunday School?
Uh no.

* Go to your pastor out of concern and explain the situation?
Not unless the fellow has refused to struggle with it and is comfortable doing it. Perhaps the two of you could go together?

* If your pastor decided to do nothing would you bring it up during the congregational vote/affirmation?
What, and go against the pastor, outing this poor guy’s sin before the entire congregation?

If the hypothetical author feels that this habit is fundamentally damaging this fellow’s walk, and that there is less of a struggle and more of a day-to-day wallowing in sin, then the hypothetical author needs to counsel his pal to withdraw his candidacy for deacon.

This whole thing seems like an “ah ha! You’re a sinner and I am not!” kind of thing. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding it but I believe there’s a Biblical pattern for dealing with this that doesn’t seem to fit in the story.

3 Mark September 15, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Micah,

When I used the word “struggle” I meant it to mean that he is giving into temptation and using pornography. That is, he feels the conviction afterward. I would say the same thing if it were anger, greed, or gluttony.

What say ye?

4 M Burke September 15, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Ah, well, then it’s an addiction not just a ‘struggle’, probably one he’ll fight for the rest of his life in one form or another. At this point then yeah, he’s probably not to be a deacon. He needs ongoing counseling, discipleship and brotherly love.

But if the fight itself disqualifies one… who could stand? But if there is little fight, then the pastor needs to be informed, if the pastor does nothing, wait it out. $.02

5 Matthew Johnston September 15, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Being a Deacon I can atleast sympthise with this situation having been “under the microscope” by my Elders and fellow members…….

This one seems a little tricky.

I guess, you need to establish if it is an ensnaring sin that really is one he is in full bondage to. If that was the case then I would, in the questionaire forms I would have to voice that to the elders. There is no excuse for glossing that over.

But, if he was just ‘struggling’ [semantics applicable here] then I see no point.

Great topic – question and blog!

Blessings

6 Mark September 16, 2010 at 9:46 am

Micah,

I, of course, don’t recommend the prayer request nor going against one’s pastor publicly like that. 🙂

The word “struggle” has really been the issue of a communication problem on my part.

7 Mark September 16, 2010 at 10:04 am

Matthew,

Thanks for stopping by. Again it’s my poor choice of using the word “struggle” that gets the head scratching going. I’m using the word struggle as in the man is constantly engaging though knowing it’s wrong. His struggle is the snare itself which would mean true repentance is not taking place.

Thanks for the compliment. I agree this is a great topic. It’s great in general for the church as I don’t think we address it well.

8 Jeff October 5, 2010 at 10:49 am

This is a good topic, and I would use the word struggle, because that what he has ahead of him. A struggle or a fight if you will. It doesnt matter if it is porn, alcohol, sex, gambling all of these vices cause a person to struggle with what is right or wrong, the majority of the time the person knows that it is wrong but cant control it. Hence the struggle. I do not think this person should be a deacon at this time, the problem I have is how do we know that if this is brought to the leadrship of the church and lets say 3 years later he has overcome his struggle and wants to be a deacon then, will the leadership look past this or will it always hang over his head?

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