Pastoral Ethics

October 19, 2007

Yesterday, Ethics Daily had an article about some recent comments by Southern Baptist Convention president Frank Page. During a sermon, Page mentioned details of private discussions he had with a couple of presidential candidates. Today, Robert Parham has a good column that critiques Page for his comments. Here are a couple of highlights:

Unless presidential candidates want a spiritual smack down, they should avoid talking to Southern Baptist Convention president Frank Page, who failed to retain the pastoral confidentiality of two conversations and then boasted to other pastors about his soul-winning ways. In both cases, Page elevated his own evangelistic credentials and degraded the spiritual character of candidates.

... It's another matter altogether for a preacher to share publicly an exchange of a spiritual nature with a politician, such as the status of one's faith. Private spiritual discussions should remain private.

... As the Christian Right leaders haggle over whether the Republican presidential nominee needs to be a real Christian, Christian pastors should prioritize the confidentiality of private spiritual discussions over the potential for political gain.
Amen! Sometimes the ethical option for a pastor is to keep their mouth shut. Aaron Weaver also does a good job of making this point on his blog.