Study: Most Pastors Believe Adultery Should Not Permanently Disqualify Them from Ministry

Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Study: Most Pastors Believe Adultery Should Not Permanently Disqualify Them from Ministry

A survey from LifeWay Research found that half of Protestant pastors believe their colleagues should resign from their posts temporarily if they are accused of misconduct.

According to Christianity Today, the survey included 1,000 responses from Protestant senior pastors. 

The survey also said most pastors believe that accusations of misconduct should be kept private until proven, while few believe that pastors who commit adultery should be permanently banned from the pulpit.

“Pastors believe church leaders should be held to high standards,” said Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research. “They also want to protect themselves against allegations that could be false.”

While half of those surveyed say a pastor should resign temporarily during investigation of allegations, about a third said the pastor should remain in his position. 

But over adulterous pastors, survey respondents were splits. About 25 percent say a pastor should permanently step down from ministry, while another 25 percent said they weren’t sure. About a third said the pastor should at least temporarily resign.

“The Scripture says pastors must be above reproach,” said Stetzer. “So it’s not surprising that some want to see fallen pastors banned from ministry. Still, pastors are also people who talk about forgiveness regularly and, by and large, they want to see those who fall have a chance at restoration.”

Publication date: May 11, 2016

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.