Pastors, the Graham Rule, and Wisdom

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It was announced this week that another pastor was recently removed from ministry. It has happened before and, sadly, it will happen again. As I write, a series of cases are running through my mind but one of the themes that unites them is that ministers put themselves in jeopardy by making foolish choices. Before I make my case let us consider some of the criticisms of the Graham Rule, which says that men should not be alone with women who are not their wives.

One argument says that the rule is unfair to women since it segregates them from the same pastoral care that men receive. It also is criticized as impractical since, in late-modern life, men and women frequently work together as colleagues including private meetings, dinners, etc. A third criticism is that it tends to cast females as seductresses. Fourth, and finally for our purposes, it is criticized for misidentifying the problem, which is said not to be men being alone with women but in the heart. If men’s hearts are pure, then there is no reason why men and women should not be able to meet privately. 

Before responding to the criticisms let us consider one of the situations that has led to the end of otherwise productive pastoral ministries. Read more...


R. Scott Clark is professor of Church History and Historical Theology at Westminster Seminary California (Escondido, California) and the author of Recovering the Reformed Confession (P&R, 2008).

To read the full article, please visit https://heidelblog.net/2018/07/pastors-the-graham-rule-and-wisdom/.

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