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    What would a DUI charge do to your position?

    What would a DUI charge do to your position?

    Dateline:  Fargo.  Two pastors, from the same Lutheran church were arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.  Seems that one pastor drove his car into a snow bank.  As the police stopped to help Pastor Kris Gorden, another person stopped to help.  That was Pastor Jeff Sandgren, a colleague of Gorden's at the church.  Both gentlemen were arrested.

    A third person was also arrested for the same thing as she pulled up behind the police to help out.  She, however, had no ties to the church.

    According to the newspaper report, Gorden is well known in his Synod as he was runner up for Bishop position a couple years ago.  The person who was elected Bishop, Bill Rindy, released a statement asking people to pray for the pastors and saying he was working with the church to determine a proper response.

    I know some churches still have a restriction on drinking alcohol.  But if your church doesn't (and you allow casual, social drinking)...  what penalty would a DUI charge have for your position?

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    1. Jay Winters on Fri, January 14, 2011

      As a Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod pastor, I’d like to point out that these guys were from the ELCA.  Not that we’re immune to sinning in the LCMS…and I will be praying that God see them through repentance and the forgiveness of even this embarrassing sin.

      This kind of charge, however, would probably lead to church discipline against the pastor especially along the lines of being “above reproach” (I Tim 3) in our church body.

      Also, this does tangent another Bible story - the Good Samaritan.  Would it have been better or “less sinful” if the other two didn’t stop?  (Given, they were already sinning by their BAC being too high to drive.)

      in Christ,

    2. Brian L. on Fri, January 14, 2011

      I am part of a denomination that requires total abstinence from both members and clergy (although they are semi-formally re-evaluating this at the cost of much pain and anger from those who are against the re-evaluation).

      A charge (if proven) would mean, at the least, a formal restoration process, though probably not removal - unless the restoration process is not followed by the pastor.

    3. Neil Christopher on Fri, January 14, 2011

      Jay, I don’t see why we have to “point out” these guys are ELCA. I know Missouri Synod leaders who drink too smile

      Personally, as a leader and as a Christian I don’t get drunk. If I do drink I stop myself at 2 beers. I would expect and hope that my ELCA church leadership would discipline me somehow if I ever got off track and developed a drinking problem.

      However, how do we not know that this issue was not addressed - even if privately.

      Besides, even if this one single church did not… this does not mean that this is the kind of behavior that other churches in the same denomination would allow.

      In many cases the local church body in the Lutheran church has the right to govern themselves in many issues - that is how the structure is set up. We dont all agree with each other on what each church decides to do, but I appreciate the fact that the denomination is not a bunch of control freaks.

    4. eB on Fri, January 14, 2011

      I can’t answer because our church believes in abstinence from alcohol, from clergy and members.  Stories like this one illustrate to me why it is best to have abstinence from alcohol.  What a shame for everyone, but thank God no one was hurt.

    5. Steven on Sat, January 15, 2011

      2 questions- Whats the Point and How can you neglect what the Bible says about Alcohol

      Genesis 9:20-26 - Noah became drunk; the result was immorality and family trouble.
      Genesis 19:30-38 - Lot was so drunk he did not know what he was doing; this led to immorality
      Deuteronomy 32:33 - Intoxicating wine is like the poison of serpents, the cruel venom of asps.
      Proverbs 4:17 - Alcoholic drink is called the wine of violence.
      Proverbs 20:1 - Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging.
      Proverbs 23:32 - Alcoholic drinks bite like a serpent, sting like an adder.
      Ecclesiastes 10:17 - A land is blessed when its leaders do not drink.
      Matthew 24:48-51 - A drinking servant is unprepared for his Lord�s return.
      Luke 1:15 - John the Baptist drank neither grape juice nor wine.
      Romans 14:21 - Do not do anything that will hurt your testimony as a believer.
      1 Corinthians 6:10 - Drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God
      1 Timothy 3:2-3 - Bishops (elders) are to be temperate, sober, and not near any wine.

    6. bishopdave on Sun, January 16, 2011

      The question was: what penalty would a DUI charge have for your position?

      I’d be fired. After all, we’re baptists. Then the whispers would follow me wherever I went. It’s why I abstain. I have the liberty in the Bible to do it, but the privilege of my calling outweighs that liberty.

      The post has nothing to do with what we think that ELCA church should or should not do; Todd asked what would your church probably do with you. How would a dui affect you.

    7. Peter Hamm on Sun, January 16, 2011

      My denomination is officially against alcohol, although our church is not the slightest bit legalistic about it. I think I’d have some kind of a counseling/restoration process.

    8. Dennis on Sun, January 16, 2011

      In my state, it’s not BAC, it’s left to the discretion of the police officer.  If the officer says you’re drunk, you’re drunk.  There’s no discussion and the Law gives him that authority.  So judges will not overturn it. 

      In the long list of scriptures a few posts back Matthew 11:18-19 was conveniently omitted

        18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, �He has a demon.� 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, �Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.� But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.�.

    9. Q. on Tue, January 18, 2011

      Dennis, you’re not playing along…we’re supposed to ignore those scriptures…  And that Jesus’s First miracle was to turn water into wine…AFTER much wine had already been ‘used up’...

      For me, I’ve never been drunk (and I don’t much like the taste of alcohol….at all really).  I believe that if I were to be drunk, they would look at me with much confusion…  I hope that they would look at my history and take everything into consideration…

    10. plastering manchester on Tue, January 18, 2011

      Glad no one was hurt, we don’t or aren’t expected any abstinance in the uk, suppose that explains all the trouble it causes.

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