I am a Baptist, therefore, I would really like to know what the persons of First Baptist Church of Romeoville were thinking when they asked “convicted child sex offender” Jeff Hannah to “step into the pulpit until a replacement was hired” and “served in that role for three years and ever since has been a fill-in preacher, teacher and music minister at the church.”
1. “In 1996, Jeff Hannah was sentenced to nine years in prison for having sexual relations with four underage girls -- ages 15 to 17 -- while a married youth minister at Crossroads Church in Libertyville.”
2. “The Rev. Steve Farish, pastor of Crossroads Church, which has relocated to Grayslake, said he considered Hannah so dangerous that he warned the Romeoville church and a regional Southern Baptist official.”: “"We thought he could still potentially be a danger to women and children," Farish said. "He was never repentant and never told the truth."”
3. “In talking to the Sun-Times last week, Hannah, 42, was unapologetic about his crimes, saying his first marriage had been troubled and he'd had "urges." "I honestly believe that had I been a college pastor, I'd slept with college girls," he said. "But I was a youth pastor. It was less about age and more about who I spent all my time with."”
Although they fault Hannah for not being “the pastor of one wife”, since he has been divorced [although there is much debate as to the full meaning of this passage], I believe the disqualifying point is, “A bishop then must be blameless” and “he must have a good report of them which are without”. His report was not very good from without.
We are indeed to forgive one another and we are indeed to allow the repentant brother or sister back into the local church, but to allow one as noted to be the shepherd, I scarcely find Biblical reason. If I am wrong, please show me the Scriptural evidence.
Can God still use persons that have sinned greatly outwardly whereas the world has seen it? Sure, but to what extent is surely smaller than it once was.
I do somewhat disagree with Christa Brown: "When Southern Baptists put perpetrators into positions of spiritual trust again, it sends the message that this denomination doesn't care about victims." For the Southern Baptist Denomination is not in control (as the Catholic Church is) of the local churches, whereby they are able to call and dismiss pastors by a vote of Convention or something else.
First Baptist Church of Romeoville seems to have displayed forgiveness, but forgot responsibility.
In my opinion of course.