We blogged about it a lot at Mere O when it happened. Offered some pretty strong opinions, too, especially about the response by the people at New Life. Ted Olsen at Christianity Today posted this recap of the followup by New Life. there is much to be encouraged about. It seems the church has entered a period of soul searching and made steps to improve accountability and oversight for its leaders.
Yet the article also underscores the deeper problem of such accountability programs: without genuine relationships between deacons and pastors, they will inevitably fail. Accountability demands men who are committed to being vulnerable, honest, and forthright about their struggles–to being Christians–with each other. As an elder at a nearby church who also lost a leader to sexual sin put it, “Where did I fall short in making myself so unapproachable that he couldn’t come to me?” As too often happens in life, we are only able to honestly confront our inadequacies after they have been exposed through outright “failure.” Such honest assessments and awareness are needed before the fact, not after. The danger for New Life now is to outsource such honesty into mandatory “accountability groups” and “counseling retreats.” Unless they change their hearts, they will only labor in vain. Lord, have mercy on New Life Church and on all of us who would seek to do your work.