A couple of years ago, Valdez began New Spirit Baptist Church and got it affiliated with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. But a few weeks ago, the Southern Baptists voted to kick his church from their organization, saying that Valdez was guilty of violating the rules.
The violation pertained to membership rules which specify that no church may be approved for affiliation or continuing affiliation if the church’s senior pastor has been convicted of the sexual abuse of a child or if the church is found by the credentials committee to be “indifferent” in their response to child sexual abuse.
Having been “disfellowshipped” for his actions, Valdez is now challenging the decision as “unbiblical” because his crimes occurred before he says he became a Christian.
[Valdez] told The Christian Post Thursday that if the Apostle Paul — who authored two-thirds of the New Testament — wasn’t disqualified from leadership due to his murderous history prior to conversion, he doesn’t believe his 10-year-old sexual sin should disqualify him from church leadership.“There is no evidence in the Bible that someone who would commit a sin such as mine would be disqualified… And it should say something to us that the man who says we should be above reproach was the man who murdered Christians. And so if I understand, even the disciples of the church at the time didn’t know what to do with Paul,” Valdez, a married father of two contended.
“Even people who have committed horrendous crimes, even they can be called to not only be leaders but to be even pastors such as Paul. If the church is governed by the Bible and not by popular opinion, what does the Bible say? I believe that the call to ministry and the call to pastors comes from God and God alone. And I would think that most evangelical Christians would agree.”
It’s never a good idea to defend yourself by pointing to a murderer. Christian or otherwise, actions have consequences. Valdez might (key word: might) be a changed person today, but his actions more than justify losing the opportunity to get an endorsement from the SBC.
He’s still able to run his church. He’s still a pastor. He has as much authority as his congregation will give him, even if that means he’s in a position of power over children and teens. But the SBC makes its own rules, and if that means kicking out a guy for his past sexual abuse, we should rejoice in the fact that they’re doing something more than looking the other way or letting Valdez get off with little more than a slap on the wrist.
Incidentally, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention says its “credentials committee and the board, the ones who are in that decision room” had no knowledge of Valdez’s past when they approved his church’s affiliation.
(Screenshot via YouTube)