Bible Question:

A co-pastor was tempted by a member of the church, and I know that he kissed her because she told me. What must I do? Do I have to tell the lead pastor?

Bible Answer:

Your question does not indicate if the co-pastor is married or if the woman is married. In answering your question, we have assumed that at least the co-pastor is married and maybe the woman is married. Otherwise, we are talking about two single people kissing, and that would not necessarily be an issue. With that assumption, there are two issues that must be addressed. The first issue is the sin of the co-pastor who kissed the woman, and the sin of the woman if she encouraged him and kissed him. The biblical process to follow is given by Jesus in John 7:24, 51 and Matthew 18:15-17. Here is the first passage.

Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment. (NASB) John 7:24

Judge Righteously

This passage indicates that we must judge both the co-pastor and the woman fairly and not according to how it appears either visually or from reports. Unfortunately, you do not have first hand knowledge of the situation. Your knowledge of the “sin” comes from the woman, if we understand the situation correctly, who wanted to be kissed. Why did she tell you that she motivated the co-pastor to kiss her? Why did she do that? Dealing with this situation is very difficult because we do not know what truly happened and what her motive is, if any. How do we righteously determine the truth? We would encourage you to consider and follow Jesus’ instructions in the following passage.

If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17

Seeking To Rescue

Next, you need to speak with the woman in private about her sin. You may want to read, “Should I act as though my son’s divorce is okay?” to understand how to go about approaching the woman. You will need to speak to her about her statement that she encouraged him to kiss and that she allowed herself to be kissed by him. If indeed he is married, she has sinned and so has he. She needs to acknowledge her sin to God and flee any future involvement with him. It is a sin to even entertain or flirt with sin.

Flee immorality. (NASB) 1 Cor. 6:18

Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (NASB) 2 Tim. 2:22

During your conversation you need to explore the statement of the woman. One must determine, “Did they really kiss? What did they do?” If they did, you need to ask the woman if she would be willing to meet with you and the co-pastor together and confront him about his sin. If she encouraged him, she should apologize to him for her wrong behavior. Continue following the steps given by Jesus and recorded in Matthew 18:15-17. If he did kiss her, then you must take the situation to the lead pastor. It does not matter if he is repentant or not. Normally, one would not take the issue to the pastor or another key leader in the church if the person is repentant. But he is in a ministry role. He is no longer qualified to be a pastor. He has violated the requirement of being a one-woman-man as stated in 1 Timothy 3:2 if he is married, and he cannot continue serving as a pastor in the near term.

Conclusion:

This may seem hard, but it is necessary for the purity of the body of Christ. We are called to be holy and leaders are to be examples to the flock of God (Heb. 13:7 and 1 Peter 5:3). God has called us to be holy (1 Peter 1:15-16) and leaders to be great examples of holiness. That is why the qualifications for elders and pastors is so high in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Remember the goal is not punishment but restoration to holiness. The approach should be kindness and gentleness and not anger or any other negative motive. May the Lord bless you as to seek to help them honor God.

Reference Links:

Should I act as though my son's divorce is okay?
Do Not Judge
Sinning Pastors/Leaders: What to Do?