Stellenbosch Theological Journal 2018, Vol 4, No 1, 347–366


Online ISSN 2413-9467 | Print ISSN 2413-9459

2018 © Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust

Marital fidelity and chastity: The missing ethology in Charismatic pastoral leadership

Resane, Kelebogile T

University of the Free State


This paper aims to point out the rationale behind the Charismatic pastors’ moral flaw, especially in terms of marriage. It proposes some remedial initiatives to be considered and it recommends that the discussions about ministerial preparations or trainings should not only concern skills or methods of doing the ministry, but also include moral formation or character traits of leaders. Moral issues should take the centre stage and pastors must be morally upright before pointing fingers to the secular world or politicians’ moral decline. The public discourses should encourage moral values and ethics in general. Ethology, in this context, refers to ethical discourse. This discourse should be an intra-ecclesiastical endeavour where leaders convene to examine the theological understanding of marriage. The article concludes with suggested initiatives to remedy the situation.

Key words

Marriage; ethology; Charismatic; pastors; church


This paper points to the fact that the discussions about ministerial preparations or trainings should not only concern skills or methods of doing the ministry, but should also include moral formation or the character traits of leaders. Moral issues should take the centre stage and pastors must be morally upright before pointing fingers to the secular world or politicians’ moral decay. Public discourses should encourage moral values and ethics in general. A lesson can be learned from the typical African imbizo (public meetings) where issues affecting individuals, community and environment are discussed and solutions are sought. This is affirmed by Kumalo (2009:14):

The concept of umhlangano (public meeting) where issues are deliberated upon by all people, from diverse groups and stakeholders whilst they maintain their uniqueness is a helpful one in understanding the basis from which the church can engage the state.

One of the disbeliefs and threats nowadays is the stories of alleged fornication and divorce among pastoral leaders in the Charismatic movement. In this tradition, the pastoral career is marred by divorce, fornication, adultery, immorality, and the general promiscuous lifestyle among pastors. Madikwa (2012) of The Sowetan reports as follows:

We have read with disbelief stories of alleged fornication and divorce about Charismatic leaders such as Rhema Bible Church Pastor Ray McCauley, Malibongwe Gcwabe, Jabu Hlongwana, Xola Nzo, Prophet Mboro, Benjamin Dube and Keke Phoofolo among others. And it is business as usual for them.

The report highlights some international televangelists who separated from their spouses, namely Benny Hinn, Paula White, John Hagee, Noel Jones, Clarence McClendon, and Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, founder of Believers’ Love World Inc. (aka Christ Embassy Church). William Dicks (January 2008) blogs that:

[t]he Evangelical church continues its downward spiral, even here in South Africa. Those in other countries, like America, must not think that only the evangelical church in America is losing its grip on what is right and true. No, it is happening all over the world to the evangelical church!

The fact remains that marital infidelity and divorce among the Charismatic pastors is increasing at an alarming rate and that no discipline is taken to remedy the situation. Reaction towards pastoral divorce has become alarmingly conciliatory. This paper addresses the rationale behind the status quo, and the remedy for it.

The term “ethology” used in this article has nothing to do with animal behaviour, but refers to the ancient Greek meaning of ethos (custom) + logia (a discourse). In the context of theology, ethology refers to a discourse on ethics or the science of character. It is a dialogue or discourse on moral life to be pursued in a particular community. This is in line with Webster’s dictionary defining ethology as “a branch of knowledge dealing with human character and with its formation and evolution”.1

The current scenario is that the Charismatic leaders in South Africa carry the marred image regarding family, especially marriage values as expounded by the Christian canon. Leaders of the cloth are expected to combine theoria and praxis. Pastoral leaders must be trained to think ethically and to act morally. This may lead to victory par excellence. On the same tangent, gifts and self-discipline (character) should synchronise in order to foster conviction. Conquering the world starts with conquering the self. Sanders (2005:65) claims that, without discipline, all other gifts remain dwarfs and cannot grow:

A leader is a person who has learned to obey a discipline imposed from without, and has taken on a more rigorous discipline from within … Many who aspire leadership fail because they have never learned to follow.

2.Reasons for this status quo

This paper intends to point out the rationale behind the pastoral moral flaw, especially in terms of marriage, and proposes some remedial initiatives for consideration. These are not in any order of priority.

Lack of accountability

Pastor Vusi Dube of EThekwini Community Church attributes the pastoral marital collapses to the lack of accountability in churches and the public’s softening stance on divorce. He told The Sowetan (2012):

Unlike in the traditional churches where the clergy is accountable to a senate, Charismatic church pastors are only accountable to themselves. In this kind of setup, pastors hand-pick elders and these elders usually do not have powers to discipline the pastor because the church is presumably his.

This clearly shows a lack, if not the ignorance of the church polity or discipline as per historical and constructive theology. In a synodical system such as the Catholic Church, it is succinctly stated that the role of the synod, “by its counsel, assists the pope both in safeguarding and increasing faith and morals and also in preserving and strengthening ecclesiastical discipline” (Ratzinger 1987:53). This task is further explained as “the duty of guarding the deposit of the faith and of defending church discipline” (Ratzinger 1987:53). The Anglican tradition is consonant with this: no church member or leader lives on his/her own. “No one exists as a Christian purely individually, the individual is in the church, not submerged by the church but part of the communion of all the saints in the koinonia of Christ (Bradshaw 1992:280).

The leader of the church is generally accountable to someone – divine or human. That accountability is coloured by respect. “Such respect includes willingness to accept the authority of church custom and practice, handed down to us from the wisdom of the past” (Bradshaw 1992:281). This nullifies the supremacy of individualism in marriage. In marriage, individualism is superseded by symbolic gestures such as the exchange of rings, the couple’s declaration of vows while holding each other’s hands, pillows of joined hearts, and so forth. Individualism with its intertwined theological myopia disregards the fundamental Christian virtue of accountability in marriage by treating it individualistically. This truth is further attested by Sproul (1996:122): “Rugged individualism has so permeated our thinking that frequently people think that everything they do is their own business and nobody else’s.” This unfortunate situation may lead to interpreting marriage as a farce and charade. It implies that the Charismatic leaders do not ponder on the theological basis and meaning of marriage.

Lack of mentoring

Every mentor has a mentor (Resane 2010). Moses mentored Joshua. There are incredible principles to be learned in Moses as a mentor and in Joshua as a mentee. Reading through the Old Testament, one is baffled by Moses’ humility (Ex 3); how teachable (Ex 18:17ff) he was and how he was always hungry for God’s presence (Ex 19, 32, 33:15). One always reflects on Moses’ wisdom (Deut 34:9) and his Spiritual gifts (Deut 34:11). This is the path of quality leadership development, as depicted by Anderson (1987:6):

The process in which more skilled or more experienced person, serving as a role model, teaches, sponsors, encourages, counsels, and befriends a less skilled or less experienced person for the purpose of promoting the latter’s professional and/or personal development.

As a result, the reader is reminded that Moses knew the Lord face to face (Deut 34:10). The lack of accountability goes hand-in-hand with the lack of mentoring. Marriage is an institution in which every entrant must be mentored. The married couple should be surrounded by people who guide, enrich, and advise them and hold them accountable. The pastor with no mentoring designs his/her own moral compass, since there is no one to speak to in his/her life.

Mentoring depicts a wise and helpful friend, a teacher and leader who uses his or her experience to show others how best to walk life’s path, to accomplish goals and meet life’s challenges (Gangel 1997:329).

Mentoring is symbiotically intertwined with a peer review mechanism. The latter does not create a space for leaders to do whatever they like with no accountability to anyone. Peer reviewers call to order those leaders who undertake questionable religious practices such as feeding people grass, snakes, rats, drinking petrol, locking people in the deep freezer, driving over people, spraying seekers with insecticides, and so forth. These practices that recently proliferated in the media, demonstrate that Charismatic pastors are not mentored into dogma, praxis, or ethos. This consequently spills over into their marriages.

In his research for his Master’s thesis (University of the Free State) on Charismatic pastors in Soweto, Rev Jentile of the Baptist Church (2016:63) hits the nail into the coffin:

Affirmation from one’s senior pastor goes a long way in forming a moral leadership. Affirmation is the result of a lifelong mentorship.

Mentors know the way. They are confident to help. Church leaders need them more than ever. They are part of the church’s growth mechanism. This is an indisputable foundation in leadership development, as these seasoned leaders are experienced to lead the way:

Mentors are those who have gone before us on the mountain of life, but who pause and extend a hand to help us along the way, or who extend a safety line of love and affirmation that may keep us from falling off the mountain. The mentoring relationship is formed when the mentor turns to the protégé and says, “I love you, I believe in you, I want to help you succeed. I want to make my experience and resources available to help you in any way I can to become all that God wants you to be” (Biehl 1996:26).

Lack of ethology regarding the institution of marriage

South Africa is a multi-cultural and multi-religious society with strong secular influences that affect marriage. The religious and the secular ideas regarding marriage are at loggerheads. However, one common threat in all religions is permanency and societal harmony. The African Traditional Religions view marriage as a step towards continuing community (Thorpe 1991:62), whereas Judaism regards it as a divine institution of entering into a covenant with God (Meiring 2015:120). Furthermore, for Judaism, marriage is a holy and a consecrated ceremony, therefore, a sacrament (Krüger, Lubbe & Steyn 2009:176). For Islam marriage is not a sacrament, but a contract where both parties must give their free and willing consent before marriage takes place (Krüger, Lubbe & Steyn 2009:262). For Hinduism marriage is a step towards spiritual perfection, with a strong emphasis on the social benefits that accrue from it (Krüger, Lubbe & Steyn 2009:95). Christianity regards marriage as a permanent union of husband and wife united by love to live together as a community with the triune God – a continuing discourse, as marriage is never a destination, but a journey.

As mentioned earlier, ethology, in this context, refers to ethical discourse. This discourse should be an intra-ecclesiastical endeavour where leaders convene to examine the theological understanding of marriage. The lack of accountability disparages this kind of initiative, because every pastor is a stand-alone authority, only accountable to God. The discourse needs to re-visit theological and fundamental definition, purpose, and rationale for marriage. “Marriage is the lifelong union of a man and a woman, entered by their mutual and public consent” (Atkinson & Field 1995:72). The Dutch-American theologian Sproul (1996:112) mentions that marriage is not a secular or civil initiative, but a divine institution:

According to the Christian faith, marriage is not a late development of an advanced civilization. It doesn’t emerge de novo on the plain of history as an arbitrary societal convention. Rather, the institution of marriage is located in the divine commandment in creation. As indicated earlier, God saw the creation of woman as fulfilling a decisive need. The Genesis account gives special attention to the suitableness of woman to fulfil man.

This shows that marriage is wrapped up with divine origin that calls for bond and commitment. In the marriage ceremony, the phrase “till death do us part” addresses the whole notion that marriage is a commitment to a permanent relationship. This understanding elevates marriage above contract, but a covenant. It is a divine institution, an mtzvah (religious duty) to be treated with respect. It should be a desire of all those who enter into this covenant, and it should be regarded as the divine plan for marital companionship. This is in line with Pentecost (1980:99):

Marriage is not a social institution designed simply for man and therefore devised by man. It is a divine institution. It had its beginning not in society but in the command of God … Marriage had its beginning in the mind of God and was instituted by God.

The Charismatic leaders should study this theological entolē – a charge or commandment that needs not be violated. In their apostolic or pastoral networks, leader should discuss and pursue the sanctity and fidelity in, and of marriage. Since many Charismatic preachers align themselves with sola scriptura, they are expected to consider biblical ethics. Grenz (1997:96) mentions that “a central goal of the Bible is to instruct the believing community about ethical living”. Ethology must be transparent and open in love. Decisions and applications must be owned, since “[m]oral rules and their application are vital to morality and decision-making” (Cook 1990:73). This crucial endeavour is not simply for knowledge or information. It contributes inexpressibly towards moral formation. Kretzschmar (2011:71–72) rightly asserts:

Hence, the teaching of theological ethics must do more than focus on decision making. It needs to include an emphasis on motive, character, imagination and formation because the aim is not simply the accumulation of information, but of wisdom and moral maturity.

There is some symbiotic relationship between ministerial formation and moral formation. Knowledge comes through information, and that may lead to transformation. Klaasen (2015:102) asserts that:

Moral formation is important if the South African society wants to overcome the increasing moral failures of leaders and the broader members of society. Christian ministers are not exempted from the moral decay in society. To a large extent they are regarded as part of the custodians of the moral fibre of society.

Lack or limitation of ministerial formation

The vast majority of Charismatic leaders do not undergo any ministerial formation, as calling is considered superior to training. The pastors are often discouraged by their senior pastors, friends or family members from pursuing any formal theological training. Their dictum is always that “[t]heological studies are seen as irrelevant to ministerial success” (Jentile 2016:65). The vast majority of pastors watch videos, listen to CDs, read books, and attend conferences presented by famous men/women of God. They neither observe nor follow the rudiments of theological exegesis and hermeneutics.

There [are] no clear, purposeful steps or guidelines followed in grooming and developing young leaders within the newer Pentecostal-Charismatic churches. As a result, there are no specific aspects of morality that are given more attention in the process of grooming leaders (Jentile 2016:62).

There is sufficient information to justify these “microwave formations”. One of the fundamental reasons for both Pentecostal and Charismatic leaders’ paranoia for theological training and ministerial formation is that it challenges their beliefs. The rationality in the theological dictum poses a threat to their practices that are not biblically based and to their emphasis on extra-biblical revelations. The vast majority of their pastors were never exposed to any residential or distance-learning for ministerial training. (Kretzschmar 2011:63) points out the importance of formal pastoral training:

In a residential seminary or theological college, it is much easier to promote the integration of life and studies. The classroom context, the tutorial system and all the other activities within a residential college, such as times of worship, informal conversations, joint meals and playing sport, are crucial to the broad ‘formation’ of the students. In smaller, well-staffed colleges, staff members and senior students both tutor and mentor students in terms of their academic performance, the development of their character and their ability to live in community. Support and/or counselling are easier to offer when students face family or other problems. In such a setting, the aim is not just to get a degree, but to develop a spirituality that will nurture and challenge each student.

Interactive learning with fellow students and members of the faculty contributes towards moral empowerment. Studying under, and with others is an opportunity for the moral formation of both students and teachers. This is in line with Naidoo’s (2010:349) assertion:

In theological institutions then, the training of ministers involves the cognitive acquisition of appropriate knowledge, competence in required ministerial skill and personal character development.

There are three fundamental objectives of theological education – ministerial formation; spiritual or personal formation, and academic formation. In other words, the hands, heart, and head taxonomy introduced by Bloom (1956) in the domains of learning. Christian standards are applied in the first and second learning domains. In the third, the standards of the world are followed. These three domains culminate into moral formation. Lack of marital fidelity showcases moral flaws. There are exceptions, but someone always has to take the responsibility for sustaining or collapsing the marriage. Ministerial formation instils some sense of moral responsibility, as affirmed by Naidoo (2012:4):

The best way of characterising ministerial formation is not as the acquisition and coordination of skills and understandings per se, but as growing into a pattern of responsibility where skills and understanding contribute to the exercise of that responsibility with confidence and authority.

Lack of sound governance structures

On pages 25–26 of its report, the Commission for Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Commission) points out that some institutions have no codes of conduct. This means that there is lack of oversight structures such as Church Council, Disciplinary Committee, and so forth. In some instances, churches are controlled and owned by one person. It is, therefore, not surprising that, in some cases, the finance committee and other church committees are made up of the spiritual leader, his wife, and some of his friends. There is a widespread lack of leadership successive plans, which eventually leads to conflict, division and litigation, as Pastor Vusi Dube highlights:

The problem with this model is that elders are scared of challenging the pastor and fear losing their positions and power. In some cases, the elders are friends or relatives of the pastor so accountability is non-existent.2

The status quo elicits abuse, misconduct, and/or ethical relapse. Any human organisation, especially if it identifies itself with religion, inevitably calls for proper governance for quality assurance in matters of procedures, policies and moral etiquette. “The lack of participatory governance in the church is against the biblical understanding of governance in the household of God” (Kumalo 2009:11). Poor governance leads to moral decline. The leader who does not submit under any authority, does not sign any code of conduct, or does not subscribe to any ministerial ethics, is vulnerable to moral decadence. There is a canonical mandate for proper governance. The latter assists in enhancing morality as an important means to develop human beings who are qualified to function properly within society (Wurzburger 1994:63), including married life.

A theology of governance is based on the church’s good governance, which is measured by applying principles such as equality, justice, equal distribution of resources, community, belonging, dignity for all, participation, dialogue, and so forth in God’s household. This theology is already present both in literature and in the praxis of Christians as they incarnate their faith. What is needed is the intention to reflect thereon, so that it can be discovered, brought to life through discussions, and ultimately be a way of life (Kumalo 2009:14).

Detachment from sociocultural values

This is in line with the discussion on lack of ethology regarding marriage. Marriage is a socio-religious institution embedded within its cultural dictates. The African values regarding marriage have always been of an anecdotal-communicative nature. Marital relationships are bound with cultural ethos. The decline of marriage is the decline of culture or vice-versa, since culture symbiotically includes spirituality. Hence, “[o]ur cultural decline is merely evidence of our spiritual decline” (Hansen & Powers 1997:162). Traditional and cultural values play an important role in marriage sustainability. Baloyi (2014:22) correctly points out that “African marriages had always been characterised by, among other things, the involvement of the extended family as well as of the clan.” Marriage in the African context was never a private or personal affair. It has always been a social event celebrated by the community. This was always viewed as an endorsement that marriage is a good thing. The community took it upon itself to ensure that marriage stands. Baloyi (2014:20) maintains that

“[o]ne of the causes of the escalation of marital problems in an African context currently is neglect or ignorance of the tradition of extended family relationships.”

When Christians abandon sociocultural values that are in conflict with their Christian dogma and conscience, marriage falls apart, followed by society falling apart. Christians have no obligation to change their traditional or cultural ways of marriage. Christ did not come to rid us of our “Africanness”, but to transform it so that it may bring glory to God (Bitrus 2000:32). Abandoning cultural values that respect the sacrosanctity of marriage is unfortunate, as African pastors do not seem to take cognisance of the fact that marriage, as sacred as it is, should not be annulled on the basis of one individual’s selfish aggrandizement. In all areas of life, including marriage, motives must not be egoistic. Integrity should be above all decisions made if marriage contract is to be terminated, as Duncan (2011:4) warns:

“Integrity therefore, is integral to the Christian life, not an optional extra or an add-on. In everything we do as Christians, it is important that we work from pure motives – that is – all we do should be done for the good of others and conform to God’s purpose. We ought to place our own desires and ourselves last.”

3.The Christian community’s response

The collapse of marriage, especially for the pastor, is the last straw to break the camel’s back. Marriage is one area where one’s leadership is put to the test. It gives one some form of dignity – the dignity that boosts the ego for one to preach about marriage with exuberance and confidence. It is for this reason that the Apostle Paul exhorts Timothy that a pastor or a deacon must be the husband of one wife … One that rules well his own house … For if a man knows not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God (1 Tim 3:2, 4, 5, 12). If one is a victim of marital breakdown, his/her dignity is affected. Vorster (2011:8) rightly points out that

“[t]he Biblical idea of the imago dei should be seen as the basis for the doctrine of human dignity in Christian ethics. Human dignity implies a standing before God and other human beings, and this standing constitutes a moral status.”

Procedures, policies and church laws

There are procedures to follow in all areas of life. In a democracy such as South Africa all disciplinary measures are always stipulated to right the wrongs. This is further affirmed by Kumalo (2009:11):

If any person has done something wrong especially if the person is a leader, it is expected that you will follow certain channels to call them to order and even punish them, without adding to the already destroyed moral conduct of the person by demonizing them in public. This kind of thinking is also in line with how the guilty are dealt with in scripture, especially in the New Testament when doing a literal reading of texts such as the women, caught in adultery (Jn 8:1–10), Zacchaeus (Luke), and the prostitute in the Pharisees’ house (Lk 7:37–50).

Church discipline is applied with the aim of restoring and rehabilitating, not destroying and degrading. Excommunication must never become punitive or permanent. Duncan (2010:1) provides a clearer picture of what and how discipline should be applied in church life.

“One of the problems is that the word “discipline” has a multiplicity of meanings [see below] some of which are not related to the process of “discipling” (UPCSA 2007:18.1). However, in our usage, discipline comes from the Latin discipulus, a learner or apprentice or disciple and is a derivative of discere, to learn, and involves the process of “inner education” (Oden 1983:234). In the Hebrew it means talmid. It refers to a learner with the emphasis on participating in a reflective process inculcating both theory and practice i.e. praxis (Groome 1980: xvii, n.1). “The Christian concept of discipline has the same breadth as the Latin discipling, which signifies the whole range of nurturing, instructional, and training procedures that disciple-making requires” (Packer 1993:220). It also has an element of chastisement and correction (cf. Proverbs). It refers to approaches that emphasise character formation, the teaching of self-discipline and acceptable behaviour.”

The procedures, policies and laws of the church are designed to distinguish ecclesiastical people from the worldly people. The church as a public spire should become “the public goodness and public beauty of God’s plan of redemption” (Vanhoozer & Strachan 2015:21). If this beauty is not reigning supreme in applying discipline, the image of the church in the public eyes may be marred or tainted. It is true that

“it is quite appropriate for us to reflect on the proper nature of Christian contributions to deliberations about ethical issues in secular public forums” (Biggar 2011:48).

Practical initiatives for empowerment

The empowerment initiatives regarding marriage, family life, parenting, and so forth have been well researched worldwide. Churches across many spectrums are doing their best to strengthen marriages. The Charismatics are obscuring these, and are concentrating on the fivefold ministries operations, and motivational rubrics. Initiatives such as marriage enrichment, workshops, and seminars should be encouraged, not as options, but mandatory for those intending to enter into, or respond to ministerial callings.

“Young men and women in religious circles should be encouraged (through financial and material support from these centres) to come up with ministries and non-profit religious organisations that aim at influencing their peers towards a moral and spiritual sanity” (Kame & Tshaka 2015:5).

Marriage is an institution through which the family is built. The family is “the basic building block of every society. The family is the good idea because it is God’s idea” (TAG Research Team on Marriage and Family 1996:113). Marriage needs good leadership that can initiate empowerment programmes in order to assist pastors and leaders in forging fellowship to enable them to be God-honouring marital partners. Moltmann (1989:309) rightly points out:

“But everyone who exercises a public function in the congregation, before it and on its behalf – the church sister or deaconess as well as the deacon or the youth leader, the teacher or the sick visitor – ought to participate in these practical discussions.”

Love should reign in marital failures

Judgement and criticism of the fallen heroes should not be the rod in the hands of those of the household of faith. Verbal or any form of punishment should be far from the thoughts of those who claim the knowledge of Christ, the lover of human souls. How the Christian community exercises procedures and discipline will reflect its own integrity. Biggar (2011:76) cautions:

“[T]he way churches conduct their own internal controversies is a vital test of their own integrity, a vital part of their witness to the rest of the world, and a vital part of their contribution to its well-being.”

Marriage abounds in warts, regardless of who is involved. The bottom line is “Love the lovable and don’t make a fuss of the imperfect” (Powell, Barker & Harvey 1996:73). Many heroes of faith abandon the faith, due to the lack of love from the community of faith. This is true as Van Rheede van Oudtshoorn (2015:4) asserts:

“Without love, the church may easily become rigid and judgemental. Love as the inner life of the church requires believers to find each other in and through the theological symbols operating in the church and to give each other space to be different before the Lord. The love of God, which forgives sinners graciously in Christ, becomes the operative symbol regulating the believers’ attitudes towards each other (1 Cor 13). It is because love is directed towards the other, in their broken world, that the church cannot be depicted as an alternative society but rather as an alternating society.”

Pastoral care and love

The church as the community of love should be pastoral in its discipline. Pastoral means that it must always incarnate Christ and his love, even to those who failed in their marriage commitment. External and internal laws or procedures must be implemented for healing rather than for wounding. Above all, “Church should be a haven for people who feel terrible about themselves – theologically, that is our ticket for entry” (Yancey 1997:274). The law of love and grace should reign supreme. Pastoral care and love should be exercised for the purpose of restoration.

“Being both utilitarian and pastoral, the law of the church seeks actively to assist members of the church following in the way of Christ and to prevent anything that may impede either the church itself or any of its members in their faith” (Hill 2016:2).

Pastoral care and love encapsulate mutual concern and self-devotion. This notion is taken further by Moltmann (1989:315) as a congregatio sanctorum

“the fellowship of friends who live in the friendship of Jesus and spread friendliness in the fellowship, by meeting the forsaken with affection and the despised with respect.”

Although, the pastors’ cry is always silent, it is a silent scream of the inner pain that pierces their consciences as their selfhood is pricked and, in some instances, damaged for a long time, if not forever. Crabb (1999:41) captures their deep-seated cry:

“Instead, we need spiritual friends, broken people who will provide safety for us to be broken, caring people who want us to live and believe we can live well, giving people who pour the life they have received from God into us, people of vision who see the Spirit shaping us into the image of Christ. Without them, we settle for so much less.”

Pastoral care, especially for the fallen members of the community of faith, is a demonstration of God’s character of love. It is Christ incarnate. Pastoral care is

“[b]eing concerned with processes of enabling, healing, empowerment, sustaining, guiding, reconciliation, nurturing, liberation, interpreting and growth with and within individuals and groups, in the context of relationships and mutuality, and real contexts” (Mouton 2014:102).

Availability of the Christian community

Availability of the Christian community to assist its fallen heroes such as these pastors eliminates these leaders’ feelings of neglect. It is true that “[a] connecting community, where each member is joined together in dynamic spiritual union, is a healing community” (Crabb 1999:8). Regardless of the marital failures that taint and mar their image and calling, Charismatic pastors ought to know that their task or ministry is special. They are commissioned to partner with God in bringing Christ’s kingdom into the world. The renowned theologian of our time, Moltmann (1989:309), states that “[t]he people who have been commissioned for special tasks cooperate with the community and with one another”. After the fall, these pastors are encouraged to cooperate with the Christian community in order to receive healing and restoration. They need to embrace ecclesiological understanding of the church as congregatio sanctorum, that the church is a “Christian people, who live in mutual concern for one another and mutual self-giving” (Moltmann 1989:315).


Charismatic pastors are facing the dilemma of marital break-up. The causes have been identified and the remedial initiatives suggested. The church’s failure to intervene, in a broader sense, makes room for criticism from the secular world. The church’s reputation is blunted, due to these flaws, thus affecting the prophetic impact of the church in the fallen world. The house is on fire, and the remedy is from within. Ethology, as an ethical discourse, should be encouraged intra- and inter-ecclesiastically.


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