“MEGA-CHURCH PASTOR RESIGNS.”
That’s the headline you may have woken up to this morning. I attend Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, and yesterday the congregation was informed that Senior Pastor Bob Coy, who founded and has led the church since 1985, has resigned due to moral failure on his part.
Much of the world will see this and immediately use it to justify their opposition to Christianity. They will point at Bob’s mistakes and both whisper and shout about them, as if he is so much worse of a person than they are. However, that is not what truly matters. Pray for him and for his family, that restoration would occur and that they would find strength in the midst of this. Their world just got turned upside down overnight. Do you think what they need is your condemnation and self-righteousness?
One of the things I love most about God is that He uses people to convey His message to the world. What I also love, though, is that the message of the Cross is not confined to one person– it’s a message that goes far and above any one of us. We’re just privileged enough to be able to share it. The message of the Cross– that Jesus came to earth, lived a sinless life, and died a criminal’s death so that we could become blameless before God and spend eternity in heaven– remains the same yesterday, today, and forever. One man’s sin does not discredit that message, nor does it at all change it.
If this news demolishes even the slightest bit of your faith in Christianity and what God has done for you, I would challenge you to examine your priorities and where your focus is. The church is not built around a man. The church is built around the gospel of Jesus Christ. Men fail; as imperfect humans, all of us fall short of perfection and make mistakes. The only difference between you and Bob Coy is that his mistake was made public for the world to see because of the platform he was given. Don’t focus on his failures, but focus on the God who remains good and still sits in control of everything around you. My salvation didn’t come from Bob– it came from Jesus Christ. My heart and life belong to Him Who will never fail me, not to a man who undoubtedly will because imperfection is in his nature.
Don’t judge any man’s mistakes just because his struggles are different from yours. Everyone has his or her own strongholds that we must work to overcome. How dare you, Christian, point to another man’s failures as justification of your own? How dare you condemn someone because you view their sin struggles as “worse” or a bigger deal than yours?
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “let me take the speck out of your eye,” when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. – Matthew 7:1-5
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. – John 8:7
For all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. A sin is a sin is a sin, and yours is no better or worse than anyone else’s. The heart of Christianity is forgiveness and love regardless of your mistakes. Judging in the midst of a difficult situation completely destroys that notion and turns the focus from God over to you and your self-righteous inconsistency.
Don’t look at this situation and be discouraged. Don’t doubt God’s goodness; God is good yesterday, today, and forever, and nothing can ever change that. He perfects that which concerns His children, and He works everything out for our good. Nothing catches Him by surprise. He knew this was going to happen, and He has a plan for the future that is exceeding abundantly above anything we could ever imagine.
I still admire and respect Bob Coy. The ministry that he began has had a worldwide impact and will continue to do so even in his absence. He made a mistake just like you and I make mistakes, and he’s admitted his shortcomings. I don’t dislike him, nor am I going to speculate about details and judge him for not handling the situation as I might have if the shoe was on the other foot. I am praying for him, his family, and my church in this situation, and beyond that I’m leaving the outcome up to God.
Christianity is not consolidated to one human man’s life. A man’s failures, even a man with a platform as large as Bob Coy’s, do not do anything to change the message of love, forgiveness, and grace found at the foot of the Cross. Don’t put your faith or your focus on a man, because man will fail you. The only constant that lasts forever and into eternity is God’s love and faithfulness. Put your trust in that fact, not in the ever-changing tides of man. Circumstances change, but God doesn't. Don’t let the Cross suffer loss because of man’s failings– rise up and show the world that God is a forgiving God Who gives second chances, restoration, and healing. God isn't a judgmental ruler Who sits in heaven, peering over at earth to see what human He can catch in sin. God is love. Forgive and pray and move on. Don’t let one man’s failures distract you from what truly matters in the message of the Cross. It’s not about you or me or Bob Coy or any other person. It’s all about Jesus.
Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. – Philippians 1:6