Pastor Travis Smith paced First Baptist Church’s sanctuary, decorated for the holidays. He addressed his congregation in Stover, Missouri, about forgiveness. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,” he read from the Gospel of Matthew.
In his apostolic letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente (1994), Pope John Paul II called upon Roman Catholics to prepare for the new millennium through an examination of conscience, an honest review of how Catholic Christians have betrayed the gospel and have caused harm even when acting in the name of Jesus Christ.
Money, power, sex--there are so many ways a pastor can go wrong. What defines a "bad" pastor? How should we respond when encountering one? This collection of essays gave me a new vocabulary for talking about clergy misbehavior. "Elite deviance" describes any unethical conduct by privileged people whose actions betray the nature of their field of service and their role in it.