Timi Adigun: When “Sorry” is not Enough
By: Deji Yesufu
I only learnt of whom Timi Adigun is when the scandal around him broke into open. A few days ago, social media began to buzz with the story of a Lagos Pastor who had gotten into another sex scandal and is at this time under discipline. Timi Adigun’s case is a little different because his ministry centers on the matter of sexual purity among teens. Pentecostal churches have this thing for “specialties”: so you have this minister who has the “anointing” for marriage, another for prosperity, another for praying for barren women to get pregnant; then you have those who have the knack for motivational speaking; there is one whose prophecies focus at bringing about a better Nigeria, and so on. Timi Adigun, on his part, teaches young people sexual purity. Unfortunately he failed in carrying out his own counsel and fell. He has published an apology note to the public where he wrote:
“I want to say I AM DEEPLY SORRY to everyone my actions and inactions have hurt at this time. The truth is, I was involved in inappropriate behavior with females over a couple of years. I went against the sexual purity message I preach and I believe in and I AM SO SO SORRY. I failed those of you who look up to me. Please find a place in your hearts to forgive me…”
Timi Adigun did not shed light on the nature of the “inappropriate behavior” he had with the young females over a number of years but he was quick to state in a latter part of the letter that “there was no sexual intercourse with any…” And for this reason, Timi believes that he has not sinned enough and is still at the point where he can still return to ministry and continue to preach. Dear Brother Timi Adigun, accept this as my counsel to you: you are forgiven but you will need to see a truth in scripture about sexual sin so that you might appreciate the depth to which you have fallen. Jesus Christ said: “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). At what point does “lustful intent” translate to sin? Let us read James: “But each person is tempted when he is lured away and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:14-15). Let us talk man to man here: it is not every look or desire that exhumes from a man towards a woman that is sin. But there is a point where mere looks or even desire become sinful lust; it is at that point where one’s temptation becomes enticement and eventually sin. Notice that in our Lord’s admonition to us, sexual intercourse does not need to happen before sexual sin is conceived. My dear sir I wish to state to you that what you did with those girls is as sinful as committing sexual intercourse with them; the caveat “… there was no sexual intercourse with any…” which you put in your letter was not necessary. There indeed was sexual intercourse, albeit it was in the heart and it is just as sinful as the very act.
The implication of Mr. Timi Adigun’s actions is simply this: he betrayed the trust given to him by a cross section of his congregation; he abused his authority as a spiritual leader; he broke his marriage vows with his wife; and at the moment Mr. Adigun stands disqualified from ministry. He would do well to step down from the pulpit, join the congregation in the pew and never to return to the sacred duties of ministering the word of God to people again. Timi Adigun’s letter of “sorry” is not enough; he would need to leave ministry completely and find something else to do in life. This is the only way one can say that Timi has genuinely repented of his sin and the only way he would never be in a position to abuse the trust put on him as a spiritual leader.
Some months ago, I wrote an essay along this same line of ministers being disqualified from ministry when they fall into sin. A lady reached me privately and went on about how it was practically impossible for men, including pastors, to be chaste in our time. She explained that sin was everywhere and everyone would have fallen at one point or the other. If we were to go by my standard, she argued, no one will be in ministry. I responded that perhaps no one should be in ministry then. But the truth is that there are still a few who are still chaste and this is the more reason why not too many should be found in Christian ministry. Pastor John MacArthur says that a minister is a “one woman’s man”. What that means that a minister of God is permitted to know only one woman sexually in his lifetime (as long as his mate is alive). When Paul gave the list of qualifications for a minister he said that such a man must be above reproach and that he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. Sexual sin, the type that Adigun got himself entangled with, is reproachful and it would forever dent his name and image in the public. He would forever be known as the man who sexually abused young ladies in his ministry. For this reason he is disqualified from the pastorate and should not be in ministry. Those who forgive him to the extent of returning him back to preaching are the ones lowering the high standard of Christian ministry and thus making the pastorate a common thing. In an environment like this, you can only await the next “fall” from grace with a lot of certainty.
Another reason why Timi might regard his “sorry” letter sufficient to restore him back to the pulpit is because of the nature of the gospel he preaches. Timi preaches sexual purity; a message that exhumes from the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement that has a tendency to produce all kind of ministry specialties. Where men specialize in everything but true righteousness and holiness. Those who read my essay know how much I bemoan the gospel of Prosperity that has taken over the heart of gospel preaching in our country, Nigeria. The result is that there is great emphasis on wealth and little emphasis on holiness and righteousness. It is a gospel that exhumes from the Word of Faith message where Christ’s death is seen as a means to resolve men’s troubles on this earth; while they ignore the more salient part of Christ saving men from their sin and leading them on the path of holiness. The result is usually that unconverted men take the reins of ministry and then preach messages that sooth the consciences of other unconverted persons. The other implication is that once in a while the true nature of these wolves shows forth in scandals like the one that Timi Adigun has fallen into. If Timi will hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, he would need to leave the ministry completely and embark on a journey of soul searching to find the gospel and the Christ that died and rose to save sinners. It is only in this manner he would truly find forgiveness with God and then show forth fruits in keeping with genuine repentance. Until then, all these “sorrys” is a waste of both his time and ours.
On a final note, those of us in ministry must take heed to ourselves. I recommend this book: God’s Rules for Holiness by Peter Masters to every person who is serious about keeping the laws of God. The author does an exposition of the Ten Commandments in each chapter. At the point of “thou shall not commit adultery”, the author states some formulas for which all men (and women) can abide at to keep themselves above board when it comes to sexual immorality. We are all bombarded with darts of temptation everyday but the Christian man is that man that knows how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor (1 Thessalonians 4:4). It is even doubly so for the man who is called to minister the gospel of Christ. As I write this piece, I am receiving information of some of our brothers who espouse reformed theology but who are throwing their consecration to the wind. In the name of Christian liberty they are doing things they ought not to do. I remind them of the high standard of both God’s word and the reformed tradition: if you are found wanting, you will lose your position and never return to ministry again. The Pentecostal/Charismatics may “forgive” their own in whichever way they wish; we do not have such traditions in our movement. Most men have a slim chance to serve Jesus in ministry; if they allow themselves to crash on the laps of Delilah, they will never recover from it.
Those of you who accept Timi Adigun’s “sorry” and return him to ministry, I feel sorry for you. You do not know the high standard that Christian ministry demands and it is for folks like you that ministry has largely gone to the dogs in our time and remains largely ineffective among the heathens.