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Reccord warns of dangers of infidelity among leaders

ONTARIO, Calif. (BP)–Just as a hidden iceberg destroyed the Titanic after the crew had ignored multiple warnings, lives and ministries of pastors and other church staff are being destroyed at a remarkable rate by sexual infidelity, the president of the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board warned a group of pastors, missionaries and other denominational leaders.

Robert E. Reccord also is author of the book “Beneath the Surface: Steering Clear of the Dangers That Could Leave You Shipwrecked,” published by the Broadman & Holman Publishers division of LifeWay Christian Resources. He shared content from the book during the April 10-13 Connection 2002 conference in Ontario, Calif., the first of three NAMB-sponsored regional conferences this spring.

Reccord cited survey statistics from the book “Men’s Secret Wars” by Patrick Means that indicated 64 percent of pastors or church staff struggled with sexual addiction or compulsion. Twenty-five percent admitted to having sexual intercourse with someone besides their wife while married, and after they had accepted Christ. Another 14 percent admitted some form of sexual contact short of intercourse.

Reccord told of a difficult conversation he had several years ago with a friend in the ministry who had fallen because of adultery. He asked him, “What in the world were you doing? Didn’t you hear the alarm bells going off?” There was a long silence, Reccord said, then the man answered, “Oh Bob, I did hear the alarms. I heard the alarms plainly. But when I heard the alarms I decided to disconnect the wires.”

There is a repeatable pattern that often occurs with many kinds of sin, a pattern that first appeared in the Garden of Eden, Reccord said. First, Eve questioned whether God really said it was wrong. Then she contradicted God, rationalizing that he really didn’t have her best interests at heart when he told her not to eat of the fruit.

“I find that the only time I’m really open to saying, ‘Did God really say?’ is when I believe God isn’t giving me his best. I think he’s holding back something from me,” Reccord said.

He told how Joseph and David from Scripture reacted differently when faced with sexual temptation, Joseph from Potiphar’s wife and David from Bathsheba.

While David overestimated his strength and yielded to temptation, Reccord said, Joseph recognized his own weakness and fled immediately at the first signs. Some of the highest-profile leaders fall hard precisely because they think, like David, that they are invulnerable.

“Just as much as [Satan] attacks at your weakest point, he also attacks you at what you think is your strongest point,” Reccord said, later adding that life-altering sin can happen remarkably quickly. “There is not a person in this room that is not one step from stupid at any given moment.”

Reccord also noted the importance of every Christian leader having someone to whom he is accountable, someone who will ask him the hard questions about his personal life and thoughts. He noted research which found little in common among more than 200 fallen ministers except two things: all no longer had a regular quiet time in fellowship with God, and none had made themselves accountable to a person or group.

“Nobody takes accountability from you,” he said. “You’ve got to give accountability. You’ve got to go to someone and say, ‘I need your help.'”

Reccord also pointed to God’s warning through Moses in Deuteronomy of the dangers of turning toward false gods.

“The minute you start looking to something or someone to provide what only God can provide, you are worshiping other gods,” he said.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at https://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: ICEBERG ALERT.

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  • James Dotson