Legal Eagle : Pastors should not suffer the children

January 23, 2017

"How beautiful you are and how pleasing my love with your delights! Your stature is like that of a palm and your breast like clusters of fruits. I said I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruits." Songs of Solomon 7:6-8.

These beautiful words are from the Bible, so a pastor knows a thing or two about climbing the 'palm tree'.

Moravian pastor Rupert Clarke, clad in nicely fitted brown suit, blue shirt, diamond-patterned brownish tie with sprinkling of blue patterns, clean-shaven head and a captivating smile, is the new 'poster boy' for sexual immorality [figuratively climbing the palm tree] after he was charged with a sexual offence involving a minor.

Pastor Rupert Clarke joins a long list of persons closely associated with the Christian Church who have been accused and/or convicted of sexual crime or inappropriate sexual conduct. Sexual sin has been a concern for mankind and Christianity from the birth of Christianity.

It should be noted that the Bible is replete with examples as to how best the gift of intimacy and love can be experienced between spouses; and yet, there is hope for those who have gone astray as is noted in 1 John 1:19, when God promises to forgive the sinners and cleanse them of all unrighteousness.

The problems of sexual sin is as old as the hills to the extent that 2 Corinthians 12:12 stated that "....I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged".

Further, in a charge to the followers of God, Ephesians 5:3 made it clear that "among you there must not be any form of sexual immorality".

Thankfully, the true believers in Christ should lean on 1 John 1:19, which encourages a confession of sins to God who is faithful and just and who will forgive all sins and purify the sinner from all unrighteousness. This is the biblical approach and the approach mandated and approved by God, but it is not the way of man, as some pastors who have breached the laws, made by man, have realised.

 

SEX OFFENCES

 

Under the Sexual Offences Act, sexual offences against children include, but are not limited to, sexual touching, sexual grooming, sexual intercourse with person under 16 years old, indecent assault and abduction.

Persons convicted of any of the crimes above are likely to be imprisoned for 10 to 15 years.

For those pastors or lay preachers who have thoughts of climbing the 'palm tree', a reminder from Proverbs 5:8, 15 might be helpful: "Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house" and "Drink waters out of thine own cistern and running waters out of thine own well."

Keith N. Bishop is an Attorney-at-Law and senior partner in the law firm of Bishop & Partners. He may be contacted at knbishop@gmail.com or by WhatsApp at 876-4608231.

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