Now THIS Is An Unethical Pastor…

Forgiveness can only go so far, even in a church, and even for its pastor.


"So we're good, right? No hard feelings? No judging?"

“So we’re good, right? No hard feelings? No judging?”

In Alabama, Rev. Juan McFarland revealed to his Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church congregation, in three consecutive sermons beginning with Sunday Sept. 14, that he had  sex on the grounds of the church with several church members, used illegal drugs while serving as pastor, stealing some of the church’s money and being HIV positive, which he did not disclose to at least one of his sex partners.

With all of this, he expected to stay on as pastor; after all, he had confessed his sins. It took a court order to remove him.

It never ceases to amaze me what individuals used to power and influence think they can get away with as long as they eventually confess and say they are sorry. (Of course, they all have the shining example of Bill Clinton…) How much misconduct did McFarland think his flock could and should forgive? If he admitted that he was operating a terror cell from the church? That he was a serial killer? A cannibal? “Never mind, my son: we believe in redemption. God is merciful and forgiving”

When trust so abused can be reinstated with just a pro forma admission and an apology, it becomes nothing more than a tool for liars and manipulators to prey on the forgiving and gullible. Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church and its leadership are to be congratulated for refusing to fall for the con.


Pointer: Res Ipsa Loquitur

Facts: AL 1, 2

4 thoughts on “Now THIS Is An Unethical Pastor…

  1. I couldn’t understand why it took a court order to remove him. The pastor in a baptist church is an employee. When the board voted to remove him, he was no longer an employee and was trespassing.

    • Probably the same reason one would have to call the cops if a fired employee refuses to leave the office. Because in the end, contracts can only be enforced peacefully by willing and reasonable people or violently when one party to a contract refuses to follow the terms, even the terms ending the contract.

  2. A huge multi-sermon series of confessions? This guy was brazen in his abuse of power and pleasure at the Church’s expense and trust… sorry, people like that don’t have massive airs-out confessionals without resigning unless their dirty laundry was about to be discovered or revealed anyway.

    From the Articles:

    “When McFarland returned to preach, his new sermons only convinced deacons to remove him. On Sunday, the shock over the secrets and allegations of misbehavior had turned to dispute over whether McFarland should continue as pastor. The deacons voted to remove McFarland as pastor. Williams said the vote was near-unanimous.”

    Even elder-led Baptist churches are typically fully democratic on major issues. The removal of a preacher (however heinous) would be one of those issues. The unanimous vote by the Deacons (not even an Elder board- unless they were double-hatting) would have been constitutionally insufficient to remove the Preacher, but certainly sufficient to bring the issue before the Congregation, who would then conduct a members-only vote.

    “The schism continues, Williams said, as McFarland and some newly appointed people changed the locks on the church on Monday morning. Williams said the older deacons are talking to lawyers to take control back, and they believe some new appointments violate Baptist procedures.”

    Depending on the nature of the appointments, the Deacons are probably correct. If they are Deacons or other “helpers of the Church” (which is the definition of Deacon), then in a typical Baptist Church those are all nominally elected individuals also. I say “nominally elected” because they are typically unanimous votes because by the time Deacon-candidates reach the voting / ordination process, they are pretty much solid congregation-backed people.

    “Peacock said in court that Williams, 80, threatened to kill him and to “pop” him.

    Williams denied he made a lethal threat.

    It was when police arrived on Oct. 7 that Peacock asked about “castle law,” or “castle doctrine,” the right to defend one’s property with force. Williams and other deacons called that query a threat. McPhillips said in legal filings that the question to police officers scared the deacons.”

    This made me giggle some. The notion of a cluster of old men scuffling on the floor of a church house is adorable.

    “Peacock said McFarland’s confessions about HIV, sex and drugs didn’t rock the deacons, until McFarland started changing leadership in late September.”

    Depending on the real details clarifying that comment, I’m not sure what to say about that other than what I’ve already said.

    “Shinbaum said any contract or constitution was invalidated by the members on Oct. 5, as per church rules. He said the deacons obeyed their rules and conducted business properly when they voted McFarland out by a vote of 80-to-1.”

    Out of an attendance of 160?! Is everyone a Deacon? or did they actually have a members-only vote…in which case, I’d say, assuming the claim is accurate, the Preacher was constitutionally removed (if a typical Baptist congregation).

    To clarify: I’m not fully versed in the nuances of Missionary Baptist Church Polity, and assume it is generally identical to typical Baptist polity.

    There’s gonna be more to this Peacock guy than we see… he bailed on the pastor with a quickness once the Law showed up, but sure was adamant about keeping him around when it was just him vs the Deacons.

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