It’s Sunday morning and you eagerly take your place in church and prepare to listen to your pastor preach on the Word of God. Your pastor takes the pulpit and instead of teaching from the Bible, your pastor tells the congregation that he has full blown AIDS and has been having adulterous sex with a number of female church members without telling them about his AIDS. Then he admits that he has been using drugs and mishandling church money.
What would your reaction be and what would you expect the rest of the church membership to do?
That’s exactly what happened to the members of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama several weeks ago. Pastor Juan Demetrius McFarland had been pastor of the church for the past 23 years before revealing his sinful secrets.
Checking with the Montgomery Police Department, it was revealed that in Alabama, it’s a Class C misdemeanor for someone with a transmittable sexual disease to knowingly have sex with another person without telling them of the danger.
Reacting to the news, on Oct. 5 the church members voted 80-1 to remove McFarland as the pastor of the church. However, when the deacons showed up to change the locks on the church building, McFarland and his one lone supporter blocked their way. The deacons have obtained an attorney who says that the wayward pastor is claiming ‘castle law’ meaning he would take whatever means he deems necessary to protect the church.
Attorney Kenneth Shinbaum said:
“They’re worried if they show up to church, they could get shot. Unless the pastor steps down voluntarily, this may very well end up in court.”
Members of the church just want to heal the church and believe that means moving forward without McFarland in the pulpit.
Whenever we see a member of clergy fall from grace like McFarland, it usually causes us to wonder how they could let themselves get into that kind of situation. But we have to realize that pastors are sinners too and some of them cave into temptation just like others do. In the eyes of God, there’s no difference between a pastor committing adultery and a husband cheating on his wife or a wife fooling around with someone at work.
I’m not condoning what McFarland did, but warning all of you that none of us are immune to Satan’s temptations and we all need to be constantly on our guard to prevent us from falling into sin.