Monday Morning Insights

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    One Year After the Affair: A Pastor Shares His Heart

    As you can also attest, this has been the hardest two years of my life, with this past year especially crushing. With the help of our Lord, a dear Christian counselor, some medication, and a few close people in my life, I am seeing light at the end of a self-inflicted tunnel.

    This is not the life path I would have chosen for myself or dear one wakes up and decides, “today I will destroy my life and do harm to those around me.” This path was a gradual one with many calls from God to stop, which I did not heed. HE was faithful. I was not.

    The Bible says that when sin is fully formed, it yields death. So much has died in and around my life. What I cling to these days is the belief that God specializes in resurrections. He brings life to places there was once death.

    Calvary Community Church, I loved you; and in many ways, served you well. My legacy, however, is one of failure and sin. I can’t undo that.

    I can only walk with Christ in authenticity--no longer hiding imperfections and failures, but living truthfully--honestly and with integrity (inside and outside matching). Will you see sin in my life? Yes. Am I striving to grow in Christ? Yes.

    What I MUST do is offer this public confession, my sincere apology and my heartfelt request for your forgiveness.

    With Sorrow...and yet with hope, Brad Johnson

    You can read this letter, and about Brad’s restoration process at his blog...

    FOR YOUR INPUT: What do you think?

    Brad Johnson is a great communicator and had a bright future as a pastor. That all ended when he admitted to an affair one year ago this month. What follows is an open letter that Brad wrote to his elders and church family on the one year anniversary of his departure. Brad writes:

    One year ago today, I spoke for the last time at Calvary. For the first time since I was 17, I have gone a year and have not spoken in a church, not served in a church, not volunteered in a church, and have not been asked to...just months ago, I began attending a church again (sit in the back, head down, annonymous.)

    It seems like the one year mark would be a good time and place to write this letter. I am so sorry for the pain and emotional upheaval my life and actions have caused you and the precious bride of Christ.

    I'm sorry for the deceptions, the irresponsibility, and the sin of adultery that came from my life and infected others. I assume full responsibility for my actions with no excuses and no rationalizations.


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    1. troy on Wed, May 21, 2008

      but for the grace of God go I

    2. Jared on Wed, May 21, 2008

      Does having an ongoing relationship with the woman he comitted adultery with, affect my views on this? 

      I’m stuggling because I don’t understand the rational of continuing that relationship.  Reading through the first time was a blessing, reading of the ongoing relationship was pain.  The fact that the article starts with the admission of Brad’s ability to comunicate makes me wonder; great communicators are usually great decievers.  So the question remains:  Does Jesus show redeeming grace apart from repentance?  Is first John 1:9 just a reccomendation?  Or can their be true repentance without forsaking that relationship? 

      I guess to err on the side of grace would be like Jesus, even if I don’t understand it.

      For WHILE we were yet sinners Christ died for us.  Does Romans 5:8 scare anybody else?

    3. brad on Wed, May 21, 2008

      hi Jared—

      First, let me acknowledge that you are not alone in your question. Here’s the scoop, it is possible to repent and remain in this relationship with Heidi.  I’m not married. She’s not married, we find ourselves deeply sorrowful for the sin of our beginning. We battled to stop, prayed and yet succumed to devastating behavior.

      As divorced people, we each go to our own Christian therapists. We met with the pastor and wife of the church we attend to lay out where we are on the journey. And we have prayed diligently for God to put our sin under the blood so we can begin again. In that new beginning we are dating each other hoping we can build something redemptive.

      David and Bathsheba had to endure the horrific nightmare of death. Then God used their next child, Solomon, to carry forward the lineage toward Christ. Only men are named in that lineage of Jesus in Matthew, with the exception of four women. Of those four, one was Rahab the harlot, the other was Bathsheba.

      I don’t know God’s full intention with that but for a couple like Heidi and I, it inspires hope.

      Regarding good communicator’s being good deceivers—-so damn true. I used Gods gift to cover sin. That is why, I write so openly about my a@•* because an ugly truth is better than a pretty lie.   Clever deception nearly killed me.

      Regarding grace: you show maturity by offering it even though you don’t understand.  Understanding we each need it is enough understanding to give it.  Thank you.  


    4. Bret on Wed, May 21, 2008


      Are you in repentence?

      Defined, it means a second thought, change of mind, which should lead to a change in action.

      What change in action has occurred outside of your daily contact with your children? Which wouldn’t be neccesary if not for the sinful relationship you began.

      I am with Melody, I do belive your aplogy is sincere.  But your blog indicates you expect what you call grace to be given by your past church as a whole.  You were properly removed as an elder.  Individual Christians sought you out, yet you wanted something from the entire body, en masse.

      What kept you from becoming a member of the congegration?  Maybe an outward showing of grace could have been given, if the opportunity had presented itself.  But how many prayers were said for you and forgiveness given, grace demonstrated, within that church, that you will never know about?

      Your blog does little to edify your brotheren, and seems to be more of a form of defense and to a certain degree an attack on those whom you assume are lacking grace and forgiveness.

      My words are not meant to condemn, but to embolden, I hope you can learn to love that congregation again and am worried about your past tense usage of that word.  If the congegration and elders are in error, why point it out so blatantly on your blog….attack is easy, edification, not so easy. 

      I do pray that His peace finds you.  I know his forgiveness has.

    5. Brad Johnson on Wed, May 21, 2008

      Hi Bret…I appreciate your comments and those of others.  It’s pushing me to articulate the journey in clearer terms, hopefully more helpful terms.  It’s pushing me to put disparate thoughts on paper.

      Let me take your points one at a time:  To Repent…means to turn.

      I had rebelled from God, His work and faithfulness as a follower of Jesus.  I HAVE TURNED BACK and follow again.

      I was in an active state of adultery.  I am NO LONGER in that state.

      I was as angry at non-grace-givers as non-grace givers were at me…I’ve turned from such a heart of hatred.

      In more ways than I can enumerate, I HAVE TURNED.

      Regarding GRACE….I do believe that the leaders of the church, who have the ability to speak on behalf of, or make statements for the whole, have had the ability,  but not desire to direct the church toward extending grace.

      I was not removed as an elder.  Before anyone knew of my sin, I resigned fro the shame within me.

      So, I wasn’t fired, I tried to get

      out before harm could come to the church.

      And though individuals have been merciful…leaders;officials of the church have not,

    6. brad....cont--- on Thu, May 22, 2008

      ...(sorry for the interuption…fell asleep).

      To touch your other point, I wasnt allowed to be at the church.   I had been gone a month when rumors began.   After I confessed, I was told to not come back to the church campus except during normal business hours and to not be alone.

      So, I didn’t go back.

      The year has been a long one, the entire journey even longer.   God’s biggest lesson in my life currently is to learn more and more about grace (giving what is not deserved) and mercy (withholding the punishment that is deserved).

      Continue to question, my brother.  Lord knows…I’ve asked my self these questions through the darkness of many many nights.

    7. Danny Daniels on Thu, May 22, 2008


      I appreciate your authenticity and transparency. I am praying that your journey towards redemption continues and that you ultimately are able to minister to those who have walked in your same shoes. You and I both know that the gifts and calling God has given you are still in effect, but on hold. Follow the peace of God throughout this journey. One small bit of final advice and I will butt out of your business: Make it a habit to truly examine your motives and be sure that you are not justifying what you want and calling it the will of God. It is so easy to do.

      I am praying for you and I believe you are going to rise again and bless the body of Christ and inspire unbelievers to believe and trust God. Romans 8:28

      -Danny Daniels

    8. brad johnson on Thu, May 22, 2008

      thanks, danny.   really nice hearing from you.  hope you are well.

    9. Bret on Thu, May 22, 2008


      To repent does mean to turn as a result of a change of mind, a change of heart which leads to a change in action.

      What have you turned from?  The situation around you has changed, making your relationship no longer adultrous as a result of divorce.  But what have you done proactively, what have you changed or turned from, as a display of your repentance.

      Your blog contains writings about how your on an island….we all fall short…there must be a lot of islands out there.

      You write how you were a hero at the church, ow a zero….man….I pray there are no zeros in church.

      While you write that you are not singling any Christians out you also maintain that the leaders of the church are who you are addressing…those are individuals…you want the leaders and church, en masse, to diplay grace towards you.  How exactly do you want that done?

      You left a month prior to addressing the real problem to the church…then, accoridng to you, you went back to the elders to explain because of rumors (not repentance, but rumors).  The congregation had no opportunity to gather around you and pray ( as I have witnessed in church when an elder has stumbled).  What keeps you out of those pews?  Go back into that church as a member of the congegration, humbly…I bet you will witness more displays of kindness, gratitude and love than you will ever know this side of heaven.  What keeps you out of there, pride, shame….?

      Instead of being in the back pew of your new church, head bowed, anonymous, perhaps you should be head bowed at the alter, humble, forgetting how you appear towards man, with all intent toward God.  That ‘s meant metaphorically as well as literally, meaning your blog does nothing to persuade, me at least, of a humbled heart.  You are forgiven, thats a given, in Adam we all fall and y’all it was all the way, (to quote CMR).  Take yourself out of the limelight and victimhood you are craving and get in His word, graciously and with humilty.

      At last but most importantly:

      Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

      Roma 5:3-5

    10. Danny on Thu, May 22, 2008

      I agree that there are alot of questions concerning Brad’s repentance BUT we are not in his shoes.  Only people who have never fallen into this type of sin, would say “stay in the church.”  If Brad were to stay in the church it would be an open wound for him and the congregation.  Sometimes stepping away brings healing.  As for Brad’s blog and his writings, understand he is sharing his heart.  After the fall emotions are complicated.  At times he senses God’s grace at other times he feels isolated.  What I believe we in this culture of church are afraid of is honesty.  We think because Brad feels let down by other people’s lack of grace that somehow Brad should take that as responsibility.  We as the body of Christ ought to pray that God would work in Brad’s life and if there is a lack of “turning”, then that is between God and Brad.  We are not the judge. 

      We should also embrace Brad’s honesty in the midst of his failure.  We should look at how complicated and challenging it is to overcome.  We should guard our hearts to prevent us being in Brad’s place.

      Brad, thanks for your honesty.  It has helped to place safeguards in my life to make sure that I don’t walk down the same path.  May God’s grace be multiplied to you.

    11. Peter Hamm on Thu, May 22, 2008

      I also interrupt your normally scheduled blog for a relationship reminder.

      Only those of us in a real long-standing personal relationship with Brad should comment on what he’s done and whether or not it’s enough or whether he needs to do more.

      Brad, you need not respond to anything you don’t want to, imho.

    12. Andy Wood on Thu, May 22, 2008

      Bret, having lived through this myself, and having walked through a restoration and redemption process I frankly never bargained for, one thing I can say about former and offended churches in this regard.  One of the tests of a pastor’s repentance is his willingness to submit to whatever that former church suggests as a means of discipline - even if that church didn’t handle it biblically, or in a Christ-centered manner.  It appears Brad was told essentially to stay away, except with an escort (boy, talk about a being a “registered sex offender”).  Nevertheless, that was the discipline issued, and he is abiding, whether he agrees with it or not.

      While I haven’t read the details of Brad’s blog (yet), this kind of communication process (both blogs in this case and discussion forums in this case) is something akin to taking a few still pictures of somebody over the course of a couple of years.  We’re seeing a few snapshots, while they’re living a movie, with thousands of moving images every day.

      That said, Bret, I appreciate the spirit and diligence with which you’re asking the tough questions, and the way you, Brad, are “manning up” to answer them with a spirit of honesty and (I hope) humility.

      And Brad, for what it’s worth, even though we’ve never met, if you ever want the encouragement of somebody who’s been there, come out on the other side, and lived to tell about it, feel free to contact me.  (I’ll also be happy to tell you when you’re full of it or feeling sorry for yourself.  All in Christian love, of course.  Just click on the blog link here, go to the Tuesday or Wednesday entry for this week, and leave a comment - or hit contact me and zip me an email.

    13. CS on Thu, May 22, 2008


      “Only those of us in a real long-standing personal relationship with Brad should comment on what he’s done and whether or not it’s enough or whether he needs to do more.”

      Interesting thought.  I’m curious about this idea.  Brad shared his story openly, came here and commented on it publicly, and Todd chose to post it here for dissemination.  Does a person who is so open about things in this way gain immunity from people commenting on him and his story, or does that come with being an open book to people?  While normally, such events would be dealt with relatively privately, and done so in the confines of church discipline, when it is brought into the limelight by the person committing the act, does that allow for the same reservations of privacy?

      Just thinking out loud here.


    14. brad on Thu, May 22, 2008

      CS-  all is fair game.  We are only as sick as our secrets. I am determined to live in truth. Part of that discipline for me is writing. Uncovering. Even “doubting” or “vomiting” out loud. My intent is neither safety nor sanitation.

      I have long pondered the “how, what and why” of lives like mine. And now that I’m living a life like mine I wish I could say ta-da, I’ve found the answers. Insead, like you, I find myself often just grunting, “huh?”

      So feel free to come grunt.

    15. Danny Daniels on Thu, May 22, 2008

      It appears to me that Brad did not bring this topic to this particular forum. He posted it on his personal blog for the congregation of his former church to read.

      Todd posted it here for the purpose of discussion.  It would be very difficult for Brad to sit by and ignore the comments that have been made here. Most of us would have felt an obligation to comment on the comments.

      The way I see it. Christians should make it their highest priority to encourage those who have failed and reach out with a hand of support in the restoration process. Rather than analyze someone elses motives and try to qualify the level of repentance let’s offer love and support or stay out of it altogether.

      -Danny Daniels

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