Truth is the beginning of wisdom…


Posted by straight shooter on April 9, 2009 under General, Theological Concerns

Why is it that these guys who are “Rehabilitated” always feel led to lead. Doesn’t humility and shame enter into the rehabilitation process?

Ten years after he sentenced to 5 1/2 years in state prison for racketeering and grand theft, the former president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., is vying to lead the denomination once again and insists that he’s a changed man.

“We all, at one time in our lives, have fallen short of the Glory of God,” in a statement to supporters. “My re-election to the Presidency will witness to the world just what a mighty and loving God we serve. It will be the foundation of understanding true forgiveness from Christ Jesus who is faithful to forgive all of our sins.”

More than a decade ago, Lyons was accused of spending church money on expensive jewelry, a Mercedes-Benz and a $700,000 home bought with a woman who is not his wife.

The charismatic preacher was also accused of diverting money intended for the restoration of Southern churches damaged by arson to other church expenses and swindling more than $4 million from companies that wanted to market life insurance, credit cards and cemetery plots to his convention members.

Despite the allegations and even after he was convicted of racketeering and grand theft, Lyons continued to serve as the head of the National Baptist Convention and did not resign until March of 1999 – the month he was handed his 5 1/2-year prison sentence.

The highly publicized scandal dealt a devastating blow to the denomination – one of the largest religious organizations among African Americans and the second largest Baptist denomination in the world, after the Southern Baptist Convention. It also cost Lyons his marriage, his reputation and almost all he had.

Even when there has been forgiveness, reconciliation, retribution, and personal restoration there is also responsibility a fallen spiritual leader needs to realize. There is a difference between personal restoration and positional restoration. With great power and authority comes great responsibility and accountability. Part of that responsibility is understanding what was done to the family, the church, the denomination, and the position.

The total trust will never be there again. The leader will remain a stumbling block to many. The stigma will always be there and the character and integrity will always be questioned. The authority and integrity of the organizational position will be always be affected.

Lyons should have thought, first, about what he would really lose, and let that help motivate him, instead of his worldly greed. Once you betray it will never be the same … and shouldn’t be.

Lyons should be denied this leadership post and any other positional posts … possibly even continuing to pastor.