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Question 182

Q: Can a former pornography addict be hired as a Pastor? Is this biblically correct? 

Asked by: Anonymous


A: Let me start by saying that when the Bible gives the requirements to be an elder in 1 Timothy 3, it speaks about someone who is “apt to teach,” and someone who is the “one wife kind of man.”

It speaks about the fact that he should not be a striker—he should not be violent. All of those characteristics, it seems to me, are present characteristics. Before a person is converted, perhaps they committed these sins. So in order to answer your question, I would need to know if this addiction is something that took place before conversion or after conversion? All of that becomes important.

Another question I’d have is, “how long ago did this take place?” In other words, someone may say, “well, I am recently delivered from pornography.” That’s very different than someone who says that this was a part of my early life, or years ago.

We should never think that God can’t lift people out of the dust and the dirt and the mire. God can, and God can mightily use them. But it would take someone other than me to evaluate you, my friend, because it takes wisdom—someone who knows you, someone who can answer some of the questions that I have in mind.

Also, I want to say this, I believe that the desire, the struggle with lust is something that is ever with us, so the best advice I can give you are the words of Jesus, “If your right eye offend you, pluck it out and cast it from you.” What Jesus is saying, in the strongest possible way, is to get rid of whatever it is that causes you to sin. If it’s television, cancel your subscription. If it’s magazines, where are you getting those? How are you getting the opportunity to look at pornography? All of us need to make some hard choices in this regard and get rid of that which causes us to stumble. That’s just an added word of advice and I suggest that you have a long talk with some other pastors who know you who can help answer your question. Meanwhile, I pray that God would mightily use you in the future as you have victory over your past.

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