By Omolara Akintoye
American Pastors who fell from grace and had to step aside
There are notable examples of American leaders who fell into immoral act and had to step down for a while. They include:
He was the most famous evangelical pastor in Florida. His Fort Lauderdale mega church had 25,000 members, and George W. Bush even visited Coy. But it all came crashing down in 2014 when he admitted to multiple affairs and pornography addiction. He resigned in disgrace––but the worse was still to come. In 2017, Coy was publicly accused of molesting a four-year-old child. Police sat on the accusation for months and dropped the inquiry without interviewing Coy. The case is still ongoing.
Gothard is famous for his home schooling ministry, known as the Gothard Institute of Basic Life Principles. He promoted extreme submission of women and ordered them to dress modestly. In 2014, more than 30 women accused Gothard of molestation and assault, including underage girls. The allegations included sexual harassment, inappropriate touching, molestation, and rape. He was forced to resign from his ministry, though he resurfaced on the Internet with a blog in 2016.
He was perhaps the most popular televangelist in the 1980s, though his wife Tammy Faye gave him a run for his money. That all ended when Bakker was brought down by an enormous scandal that included sexual abuse and fraud. In 1987, Bakker’s secretary publicly accused the televangelist of raping and drugging her. After Bakker resigned from his ministry, he was charged with accounting fraud and sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Bakker was replaced by Jerry Falwell, who called his predecessor, “the greatest scab and cancer on the face of Christianity in 2,000 years of church history.”
Haggard is an American evangelical pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A founder of the Association of Life-Giving Churches; and was leader of the National Association of Evangelicals from 2003 until November 2006. In 2006, a male escort named Mike Jones publicly claimed that Haggard had been a client for years. Not only that, Haggard had allegedly used crystal meth in front of his male lover. Ted Haggard was forced to resign from his church. Following his downfall, he attempted a form of conversion therapy and embraced his heterosexual side. His wife stood by Haggard during the scandal.
He is the founding and former Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, one of the most attended churches in North America, with an average attendance of nearly 24,000 as of late 2018. Hybels is also an author of a number of Christian books, especially on the subject of Christian leadership. He resigned early after allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him, though he has denied all allegations.