Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Maintaining Moral Purity in the Ministry

Posted by Andy Naselli

Dr. Mark Minnick, my gifted and esteemed former pastor and professor, wrote an article several years ago that was recently reprinted: "Maintaining Moral Purity in the Ministry" (Today's Christian Preacher [Summer 2009]: 12-14).

He begins by recounting a classroom experience he had as a student:
Our homiletics professor caught everyone off guard with his questions. “What would you do,” he posed, “if you had been invited to speak at a country church and upon arriving early found that no one was there except one young woman, who was standing outside the locked building in the dark and the rain? Would you invite her to sit in the car with you?”
Minnick suggests five "nevers" to guide him "through the thickets of such challenges":
  1. "Never risk your moral testimony."
  2. "Never be alone with a woman not your wife." (This is where Minnick shares the answer to the opening scenario.)
  3. "Never meet with a woman by herself."
  4. "Never physically touch another woman, other than by a brief handshake."
  5. "Never compliment a woman on her appearance."
Unnecessarily extreme? Maybe for some people in some situations. But above reproach? I think so.

Read the whole thing.

Update: A friend just emailed me a helpful comment:
I agree in principle, but had some of the same concerns that others have expressed (particularly those that reflect cultural issues—are we to conclude that the holy kiss was never practiced cross-gender or that believers all over the world are acting unwisely to continue that practice?). The problem, it seems, in a nutshell is that Dr. Minnick didn’t leave any wiggle room when he used the word “never” so strongly. If he had said “Don’t…” it would probably be interpreted as guidelines, not rules. That would be better, I think.