A Missouri pastor is apologizing for preaching a February sermon that urged wives to lose weight and be more attractive, saying his comments were “imprudent and discourteous.”
Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark of First General Baptist in Malden, Mo., delivered the sermon on February 21, telling his members that too many women “let themselves go” after getting married. But in a new statement posted on the church’s website, the pastor says he was wrong. The deacons, too, released a statement of apology.
“On Sunday, February 21, 2021, I delivered a sermon about men’s needs in the marital relationship,” the pastor’s statement says. “In the sermon, I made insensitive remarks about women and made statements deemed unbiblical. To the ladies within the church, ladies in the community, and those viewing our Livestream; I want to say I am deeply sorry for any and all pain or distress that my words brought on you.
“I want to say to the church that I’m truly sorry that I embarrassed you. I have no one else to blame but myself, and I own the hurt I have caused to both people inside and outside the community.”
Clark took a leave of absence. Since then, he has been “meeting regularly with a professional counselor,” the statement says. Further, he has “secured an accountability partner.” They, too, will continue to meet regularly, he said.
“I recognize and understand that what I said was imprudent and discourteous,” Clark said. “I sincerely ask for your forgiveness and to be restored as your pastor. I genuinely believe this is the best way forward.”
The deacons, in their statement, said they “became complacent” and should have corrected Clark.
“We accepted God’s blessings toward our church as signs of His favor without adequately attending to our responsibility that the complete principles, truths, and love of Christ are presented from our church’s pulpit,” the deacons said. “We bear the blame for not offering our pastor counsel, correction, and restoration when errors or inappropriate content was presented.
“We are called to model Christ’s love through forgiveness and restoration toward our Pastor,” the deacons said. “This is our goal and we encourage the congregation toward the same love and forgiveness. We should all pray for the unity and harmony of our body that we could advance the cause of Christ in our own lives, in the life of our congregation, and in the lives we are called to witness in the surrounding communities.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.