Word of the Week: Transcendence

Sin ensnares another high profile pastor

I'm very sorry to have to report this. Art Azurdia, elder at Trinity Church of Portland (OR) and frequent speaker at high-profile conferences such as the Shepherds' Conference, has fallen.

He admitted to a sexually inappropriate relationship with a woman outside their church, and in fact admitted to a previous inappropriate sexual relationship also. The elders of Trinity Church, as biblically commanded, removed Art from leadership. Short statement below.

A Statement regarding Art Azurdia from the elders of Trinity Church of PortlandJuly 2, 2018 by Thomas Terry
Category: Trinity Church Announcement
On Sunday, June 24, the elders of Trinity Church of Portland received an accusation that Art Azurdia has been in a sexually immoral relationship with a woman from outside of Trinity Church. The elders of Trinity Church, after an initial investigation, confronted Art with the accusation. Art admitted to the immorality. He also admitted to a previous sexually immoral relationship. Based on these facts and the biblical qualifications required of an elder (1 Timothy 3, Titus 1), the elders have removed Art Azurdia as Senior Minister of Word and Worship at Trinity Church, as an elder, and from all pastoral ministry at Trinity Church. We grieve the shame this brings to the Gospel and the sorrow it brings to God’s people.

Sometimes when I get up in the morning and turn on Facebook and Twitter, I sigh because I know that it's like putting your face into a buzz saw. Seeing posts like the one from Trinity hurts. I hurt for Art and for the woman and for their church and for all of us. The last sentence mentioning the shame to the Gospel and the grief it brings to God's people is apt.

But as tempting as it is to turn turtle and ignore all that is going on, it's important not to. Sin lurks. Sin crouches, waiting to have you, and me. We have to be vigilant, and unfortunate incidents like this remind us that it can and DOES happen every day to anyone.

We can't ignore these things because it's a call to action. Pray for YOUR pastor and elders and teachers. Often I am so fervent in praying for the right doctrine to enter my elders' minds and come out in their teaching that I forget to pray for them morally too.

Paul warned Timothy,

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:16).

This sentence from the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary restating Calvin sums it up:
The two requisites of a good pastor: His teaching will be of no avail unless his own life accord with it; and his own purity of life is not enough unless he be diligent in teaching [Calvin]
We need Jesus every hour. All of us.



Comments

  1. How sad to hear about Art. May we all, like you said, not neglect our duty to pray continually for our elders and pastors in positions of leadership within the church. I am encouraged to see the quick, biblical reaction to this dilemma from Trinity Church. Praise God for that.

    If I may, this brings to light a conversation I had with a friend not long ago. In love, I approached her about a book she is reading, full of heresy (Hebrew Roots) and written by a man with an incredible shaky past. She responded ungraciously to my warning and told me she saw nothing wrong with reading this or any book by this author.

    My question stands, how do I respond to this situation, biblically? I am not exactly excited to share coffee visits with this lady at this time, because of her arrogant response and lack of repentance to my caution given, based upon the warnings of Scripture. I still love this friend, but I feel like something in our relationship needs to change...at least, for awhile. Am I wrong? I feel hypocritical moving forward as if nothing is concerning, when she openly endorses this book/author as worthy of a great read.

    How do I move forward?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your question, Bekki. I know it is so hard to see a friend get involved with a false teacher. They carry around his book, they tout his theories, it grieves us. Then it takes another bolt of courage to actually confront the person in love praying that they will be released from this snare. When we're rejected, it hurts, too. Partly because we're human and no one likes to be yelled at, but also because we know that unless they repent and go away from the false ministry, things will go worse for them.

      I think if this is the first time she has responded like that, or even if it's early days and has responded like that for a few times, that unless she is blaspheming Jesus in talking about this author and his precepts, to let love overlook this. I figure, if someone was involved with a false teacher, they need a solid Christian around them more than ever. Here are a couple of resources I found helpful when I was in your situation,

      essay explaining turning the other cheek,
      https://www.gotquestions.org/turn-other-cheek.html

      and essay about how love covers a multitude of sins
      https://www.ligonier.org/blog/love-covers-multitude-sins/

      Hope this helps. :)

      Delete
  2. Thank-you, Elizabeth, for the thoughtful and encouraging words. I read through both of the articles you suggested. I will keep pondering how love does cover over a multitude of sin, yet at the same time, be sure not to let our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be tarnished in the mess of this whole thing. I am strengthened by your kindness and godly wisdom. Thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Bekki,

    Thank you SO much for reading through the resources I shared. That is encouraging to me. Honestly, I feel so inadequate to the task when Godly women such as yourself ask a heartfelt question. I'm glad anything I said helped.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment