Aaron Ivey, worship pastor and husband of podcaster Jamie Ivey, has been dismissed from his position at the Texas-based megachurch, The Austin Stone Church, after the church revealed that he had engaged in "inappropriate and explicit ongoing text messages with an adult male."
According to Religion News Service, the multicampus evangelical church fired Ivey last Monday after elders discovered a “disqualifying situation” the day before.
“Several elders were made aware of this situation on the evening of Sunday, February 4th and after reviewing the explicit nature of these messages, it was clear that termination of Aaron’s eldership and employment was necessary in accordance with the clear biblical standards outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and 1 Timothy 5:19-20,” the elders said the statement.
In the first passage, the apostle Paul urges church leaders to remain faithful in marriage while the second calls for the churchs’ reproval of church elders “who are sinning” should be reproved before everyone.
“Since then, we have uncovered multiple similar instances with different individuals dating back to 2011 that show a very clear pattern of predatory manipulation, sexual exploitation, and abuse of influence,” the elders notes. “Three of the known instances involved adult male individuals. However, one known instance, in 2011, involved a minor male outside our formal programming, which we have reported to the appropriate authorities.”
The elders added that they have informed Ministry Safe, which train’s church staff to prevent child abuse, about the situation.
“As elders, we are heartbroken for the victims and their families. Knowing the Lord’s sheep are worth our protection and our love, we are committed to loving this body and rooting out evil. We know this may affect your trust because we know it certainly has rattled ours,” the statement reads.
Jamie Ivey, who hosts the popular podcast “The Happy Hour,” appeared on Good Morning America to promote her latest book Why Can’t I Get It Together?
In a post on Instagram afterwards, she wrote that she was “off to China Town with my man for some epic Chinese food for lunch!” At the time, it was unclear whether she was aware of her husband’s firing.
On Sunday, however, Ivey’s team posted a statement saying that she received “devastating news” while on her book tour and has since paused “all public appearances at this time.”
“On her behalf, our team asks for prayer and support for everyone involved who are hurting."
In 2021, the couple released the book Complement, which also included a Bible study on marriage. They both hold to a complementarian view of marriage, which stresses male leadership.
The Iveys have four children as well as three adopted black children, and have previously spoken about the challenges they have as a multiracial family in a mainly white community and church.
Image credit: ©Getty Images/FotoDuets
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.
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