Gene Robinon was consecrated as a Bisop by the Episcopal church in 2003. His recent admission into an alcohol rehab clinic brings up many questions:
1. Does this hurt the gay cause?
Are they embarrassed, or since they embrace our weaknesses to the point of excusing sin, will they pooh pooh it and say "well, he’s human"?
2. Did the confirmation committee know about his alcoholism?
Did the committee reviewing his election to Biship know about his ongoing battle w/ alcoholism? If so, did they think it was acceptable for a Bishop? If not, why was it not considered? And was it for political reasons (he’s gay, we need a gay bishop) that it was overlooked?
3. Should he step down because of his sin?
When evangelical leaders sin, they step down, and go through a restoration process. Will the Episcopalians expect him to get his life under control before giving him back his position, or are they going to absolve him of responsibility, and call it a "disease" rather than hold him to a higher standard as a religious leader?
And what about evangelical leaders who don’t step down or go through a thorough restoration process before being put back into leadership? Who are they, and why don’t we call them out? Let’s do it. I mean, should child-molesting priests get a pass? Or grossly wealthy evangelists who lie about their finances?
4. What are the qualifications for a leader?
Here’s what the bible says. I’d say that even before he was elected, he didn’t meet these qualifications.
Leadership is fundamentally about character. When Paul describes the qualifications of leaders in the early church, he speaks almost exclusively about character issues. Here is his list of leadership qualities:
- Above reproach 1 Tim.3:2, Tit.1:7
- Husband of one wife 1 Tim.3:2, Tit.1:6 NOT
- Temperate 1 Tim.3:2, Tit.1:8 NOT
- Self-controlled 1 Tim.3:2 NOT
- Respectable 1 Tim.3:2
- Hospitable 1 Tim.3:2, Tit.1:8
- Able to teach 1 Tim.3:2
- Not given to much wine 1 Tim.3:3, Tit.1:7 NOT NOT NOT
- Not violent 1 Tim.3:3, Tit.1:7
- Gentle 1 Tim.3:3
- Not quarrelsome 1 Tim.3:3
- Not a lover of money 1 Tim.3:3
- Manages his family well 1 Tim.3:4, Tit.1:6 NOT – Left wife to be gay
- Not a recent convert 1 Tim.3:6
- Has a good reputation with outsiders 1 Tim.3:7
- Not overbearing Tit.1:7
- Not quick-tempered Tit.1:8
- Loves what is good Tit.1:8
- Upright and holy Tit.1:8
- Holds firm to the trustworthy message Tit.1:9
While we should be considerate of him as a person, as a Christian leader, you can’t live in sin and be a leader. Alcholism may have physiologic components, but if your life is not in control, you can’t be a leader – you can set an example, however, by stepping down and going through a restoration process through which you again demonstrate the character and virtue to be a spiritual leader. Not perfect, but mature enough to know how to deal with temptation without falling into major sins like sexual immorality, financial improprieties, or substance abuse.