Adultery in the Church

November 14, 1998
Over the last few weeks people have been talking about adultery and sexually inappropriate behavior in the White House. And I've waited until now to talk about an aspect of this issue that concerns Christians. You see, the problem just isn't in the White House, it's in society as well. The conservative estimate is that at least a third of Americans have committed adultery.

And if you are thinking that this is just a problem with non-Christians, guess again. True, the moral standards of Christians are higher, but there is growing evidence that adultery is also a problem in Christian circles. For example, an article in a 1997 issue of Newsweek magazine noted that various surveys suggest that as many as 30 percent of male Protestant ministers have had sexual relationships with women other than their wives.

The Journal of Pastoral Care in 1993 reported a survey of Southern Baptist pastors in which 14 percent acknowledged they had engaged in "sexual behavior inappropriate to a minister." It also reported that 70 percent had counseled at least one woman who had had intercourse with another minister.

A 1988 survey of nearly 1000 Protestant clergy by Leadership magazine found that 12 percent admitted to sexual intercourse outside of marriage, and that 23 percent had done something sexually inappropriate with someone other than their spouse.

The researchers also interviewed nearly 1000 subscribers to Christianity Today who were not pastors. They found the numbers were nearly double: 45 percent indicated having done something sexually inappropriate, and 23 percent having extramarital intercourse.

Pretty sad commentary, isn't it? In a very real sense, behavior in the church isn't really all that different from the rest of society.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International