Saturday, August 13, 2005

Another minister fails the test

Update: My AgapePress column.

Dr. David Seamands, who many in our seminary count as one of the greatest influences of our lives, was in a long-term relationship with a woman not his wife during his pulpit ministry at the United Methodist church in Wilmore, Kentucky from the early '60s through the early '80s. He later served as a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary.

Seamands has sold millions of books and helped countless thousands with his counseling, his preaching tapes that were sent around the world, his evangelical leadership in his mainline denomination and his seemingly pillar-like faith.

So - this shocks.

As I was surfing the net the other night I came across this quote from this site:

At some point during my seminary experience, I vividly remember being shocked by a statement from well-known UM pastor David Seamands. He had taken a bunch of us young, soon-to-be preachers aside and made one of the more outlandish statements I had ever heard: “The moment you answered the call to preach, you reduced your odds of going to heaven by at least fifty per cent.”

Both because of its bizarre nature and because of my huge respect for David Seamands, his off-the-wall comment seared itself into my memory. When he shared that audacious statement back in the ’70s, I had no point of reference for understanding what he meant. But now, 23-plus years later, I realize that this was a deadly accurate assessment of the very real and serious spiritual dangers inherent to ministry.
This was a provocative thought that came out before anyone knew about Seamand's "scandal." How prophetic.

A sad day for the Church, for Methodism, for those of us who love Seamands and for the millions impacted by his ministry who look back today and say, "Huh?"


At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fall of David Seamands is indeed sad news, especially for those of us who sat under his ministry in Wilmore, KY. But, it need not be fatal. David repented after his daliance with Bathsheba, and murder of her husband, and his writings still stand as part of the Bible. Gordon MacDonald fell, but he repented, accepted discipline and is today still in a postion of leadership. Jimmy Swaggart refused discipline, and has never recovered. I'm not excusing David Seamands, but he is a sinner like the rest of us, and his fall is grievious, but need not be fatal. Our faith has never been in David Seamands, though we appreciate what we learned from him. Now we are learning a lesson we wish we didn't have to learn. Even a very solid, strong Christian can fall big time. Let's pray for David Seamands that his faith will not fail. And let's pray for ourselves that we not put our faith in men. We do have good examples to follow. Daniel stood tall and is credited with closing the mouths of lions in Heb. 11. Let's stand tall like Daniel and pray that God will have mercy on David Seamands and restore him.

At 4:00 AM, Blogger Marsha said...

Seamonds wasn't a "solid,strong Christian "if he carried on an adulterous relationship for 20 years while pretending to be a man of God.It isn't just now that he has felled the test now that we humans have found out.NO,no,no. He was failing the test with God the whole time. Sure he can repent but he should not be put back in a leadership position for a long time.There should be discipline within the church.David repented but suffered greatly for it.Our God is holy and just and does not look upon sin lightly.We should teach about the judgement as well as forgiveness but Jesus didn't die so we could relish in sin.God will hold those accountable who teach such lies.

At 4:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8:55 AM, Blogger Marsha said...

I don't feel sorry for ministers who sin so egregiously against God.My angers burns against the church for their 'pat on the back,you poor man attitude'.Sin is taken far too lightly in the world. Where is the passion for God?Where are the steadfast Christians?Notably not headlined in the news.And do these writers and minister think that only ministers are sorely tested? I think that is what THEY would like to think.Make themselves feel more important.Please.Just let the media around them and they backtrack and stutter.Just look at Billy Graham on his latest CNN interview. You know why the church seems so weak now? Because it is weak.How I would love to see some Pauls and Peters.Actually,I have begun to see that for the past few years.And I thank God for it.I have seen people who will dig in and "NO!" when push comes to shove.Who will stand up for our Christain heritage,the posting of the Ten Commandments, who will say that Jesus is indeed the only Way.No if,ands or buts.The love in the world has indeed grown cold.On my last note, I indeed believe in forgiveness but I have a major problem with the way sin is commonplace and how the Bible is glossed over within the church

At 12:08 PM, Blogger xdfb08ctrt said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8:49 PM, Anonymous Holly said...

Oh no. That is terrible. My father and mother have been acquainted with Dr. Seamands for ever.

Stuff like this really makes me mad. I have no comprehension of how a man can do that, and live with his duplicity for years. (Unfortunately, I have seen it again and again.)

Yes. God forgives a repentant heart. Of course. But such egregious sin from a man in the position of instructing and leading younger people is a weighty matter.

At 11:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would just like to point out that this misconduct was not necessarily over the entire course of his ministry. The article does not say that. The article says that dates and locations have been kept secret to protect the victim. It may have been relatively short term. I think that is an important point, as we reflect on the writings and leadership he may have done during this time.

At 7:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently, you missed "long-term relationship" and "from the early '60s through the early '80s" part.

At 4:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a friend of David's family, I really wish you would stop slandering him. His imperfections do not change the fact that he is a wonderful man who has helped so many people through their own trials.

At 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rev. Mike Quayle-Asbury College "82"
David Seamands literally saved my life while I was in college. News of his affair and death have broken my heart. I still love him for the counsel he gave, the time he invested in my life, and the great kindness he showed as my pastor and friend. Yes, he was human. I am in a very different place than I was while at Asbury College. I would be considered very liberal by most of my classmates and Asbury Standards. I have not agreed with much of the Good News Movement.... but my deep love and respect and affection for Dr. Seamands will always remain. Indeed, as a supposed "liberal" I take no joy in this situation. Perhaps so much of what he taught and preached were influenced by his own inner demons and struggles. I do not justify his actions but neither do I judge him. He has gone to the one who will judge us all and perhaps, rather than a "fall from grace" David has "fallen into grace" which by our own Asbury standards is God's undeserved and unearned merit and favor. Thank you Dr. Seamands for touching my life, for having the courage to rock the Wilmore boat once in a while, and may God grant you rest and light perpetual. My prayers are with your family and all who loved and respected you.

At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No human being is exempt from sin. God's mercy runs deep (Psalm 103).

Dr. Seamands has admitted his sin and submitted to church authority. He has helped countless people over the years, including me.

Let's not judge him. One should only consider casting a stone if he or she is without sin. (Jesus stated this in the context of adultery). No sin is worse than others in God's sight.

We are kept by God's grace and not by our performance. This is not a statement about once saved always saved, but a reminder that salvation is by grace and is never earned and our holiness (sanctification) is likewise dependent on God's grace, not our works.

If we fail, we have an Advocate with the Father and the assurance of forgiveness (1 John 2:1,2).

Dr. Seamands has taken the right steps to restoration and we should be more concerned with our own personal holiness than anyone else's, including his.

Yes there are consequences, including that many who have been helped will be immeasurably hurt, but we hope and pray that they will not throw away any help or healing they may have received.



At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please remember that St. Peter denied his Savior 3 times but he repented and Jesus forgave him and even cooked him breakfast after His Resurrection.
A Sinner saved by Grace

At 2:06 PM, Anonymous John said...

God used David Seamands to change and transform my life. No, he had imperfections and so do the rest of us. If I were appalled at his sin I would wonder about myself. That is, am I really being honest about what I am truly like. I am a Ph.D. psychologist and I don't see Christianity or psychology saying any of us have it together. I write this in March of 2008. God, however, has never changed: The cross remains the same forever. It forgives and forgives. God bless David, his family, and anyone hurt by this tragedy. May God use it for His glory as I know David would want.

At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Dr. T. said...


I understand scripture correctly, no one passes the test. Calvary and Calvary alone provides the open door.

Dr. T., Ph.D. and Ordained and counting passing the test via Christ and not by effort or behaviors

At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and that means that abraham and all the others in the bible are bigtime sinners. and will not go to heaven,according to people in the church.

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

why is everybody slandering him?
stop it! go and learn your bible better. what would jesus do?
not slandering! yes, that means that nobody can be forgiven and go to heaven, because of your narrow minded thinking.
stop it!... you folks must repent!
the whole bible is full of men and women that sin. where are they now? i donot think in hell.
stop it!

At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the last four or five individuals who have commented here.

At 5:21 PM, Blogger Dave said...

David seamands grieved the heart of God, failed those who held him to high esteem. I wonder though what your sin, my sin is that also grieves God. Where did we learn to to ascribe value, such as,"your sin is worse than mine". When I was told by a family member, God will you judge you for this", a friend reminded me how lucky I was that is was God and not this women that would judge me. David, sinned against God and will account as you and I will for our sin as well. truth is David's wisdom and insight is still relevent today as I read again and share the truth in Healing for Damaged Emotions.

At 6:11 PM, Anonymous paty gasques said...

I am brazilian and my name is Patrícia. I´d like to understand better what happened to David Seamands. I believe that we can make mistakes too
we have to pray for him
and hope he comes back to the God´s way.
If somebody could explain me more about what happened I´d be glad. My email address: ..... Thanks a lot.

At 6:12 PM, Anonymous paty gasques said...

I am brazilian and my name is Patrícia. I´d like to understand better what happened to David Seamands. I believe that we can make mistakes too
we have to pray for him
and hope he comes back to the God´s way.
If somebody could explain me more about what happened I´d be glad. My email address: ..... Thanks a lot.

At 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is sad to hear of this and I hope
God will work in David Seamands life as much as he worked and brought restoration through repentance in King Davids life, all I have to say is how big Gods grace is though David was leading a double life God still used his knowledge and giftings to help others be healed and set free,
we should pray for David Seamands and for his wife...and pray for ourselves because none of us can say we will never fall into temptation...we must pray for those in leadership as the devil comes like a roaring lion seeking those to kill and destroy.

At 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter asked Jesus, "How many times should I forgive my brother--seven times?"
Jesus answered him, "I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy times seven."
I think we should all remember this scripture when so easily condemning a brother for falling into sin. God forgives, but how hard it is for Christians to do the same.

At 7:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this true?
Maybe there is an update clarifying about this news?

At 9:40 PM, Blogger David Hynson said...

David Seamand's was a great man and a great preacher. It's a few of the other 'holy' professors at Asbury that concern me

At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nither do i condem thee,go and sin no more....Jesus own words..this same forgiveness is for men also not just to women.remember it takes 2 to sin......think about it , then go look in to a you see your own sins looking back at YOU.

At 4:20 AM, Blogger Chef, Nutritionist said...

This article has been mis-titled. You cannot judge a mans heart and you can have no idea if David Seamands has failed or passed the test. The test sir is not over. Remember we all fail in our own strength, we are made over-comers by the blood of the Lamb, through David's repentance the blood testifies for him, tell me what test can the blood of Jesus fail!

At 5:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, no human being likes it when his sinful nature comes to the surface. It is inevitable. But Farizees do everything to cover it up, only want to show their 'great spiritual side' and then judge quickly when the few brave ones are close to receive their Grace and Mercy. Yes Lord I am a sinner, just like everyone else.

At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I have to post is this.....
JOHN 8:1-11

TUJ for forgiveness......

At 10:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He is human. All humans sin, that's why Christ came isn't it? The media always portrays the worst of a situation, what are the other sides of the story?

also... what does the bible say about gossip?

At 10:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The original article is at:

"One of the roots of my sin has been the sin of pride," Seamands told Wilmore United Methodist Church on Sunday. "In response to a complaint filed against me of sexual misconduct with an adult female occurring over a number of years, I admit that I have broken my covenantal relationships and have abused the trust of those I have harmed."

At 12:45 PM, Anonymous Cliff Norton said...

I have just heard about a book Dr. Seamands has written called "If Only". I am looking forward to reading it and learning from him. I am very concerned about a lot of the Negativity that I have read on this blog, and very happy for the Positive things I have read here also. A Christian Author ( I can't remember his name??) once said "The Christian Army is the only army in the world that shoots it's walking wounded." The older I get (now a young 73) the more I am convinced of the Amazing Grace of God and that when He forgives us, He forgets the Sin! It is unfortunate that we have a hard time with what God has an easy time with - forgiveness and complete, immediate, restoration!!!
We all sin, however for many of us, God in His grace has not let others see our sins . . . yet!
It's best to repent to God, redirect our thoughts and efforts to continue to build our Personal relationship with God to a closer, intimate one and then notice how God chooses to reuse us,even though broken by the pain of so many things/relationships this side of Heaven! Let us have the Grace and good sense to build each other up and encourage each other in Getting to know God as our best friend and enjoy much time alone with Him daily! As the Nav's say, Knowing God and making Him known! "The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing"!!
It's all by Grace and deep love!!

At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Sarah said...

For me - long ago, David Seamands' book Healing For Damaged Emotions pretty much saved my emotional and psychological life many, many years ago (along with other books) and in re-visiting it this week, I felt compelled to contact him and request permission to publish on my blog some quotes from the book.

When I found this - I just laughed.

Perhaps this is because I'm not a Christian, I'm culturally Jewish and spiritually very "new-age" - but I don't mind what he did in terms of God - I believe God knew the whole time, and that for God, this was part of David's journey, and did not judge (because I believe God loves and does not judge) - what I DO find mortifying and horrific is - was he LYING to his wife all those 20 years?

Oh my goodness - how can you speak and write about self-esteem and self-love and honesty and then LIE for most of your waking hours?

How can you live with yourself?

Now - if his wife knew about it, too, and there was no deceit - then what was okay with her is okay with me.

And I highly doubt she was okay with it.

My work is with women and relationships, and I've never met a single woman who was okay with another woman in the picture, except for the polyamorous women I know in polyamorous communities - and that's because THEY have the freedom to love who they will, also.

I doubt Mr. Seamands' wife had that option.

And yet, we all have our own journey, and our own relationship with God on that journey.

With love...

At 7:20 AM, Anonymous Clare said...

I wanted to write to Dr. Seamands to thank him as I was reading his book, HEALING YOUR HEART OF PAINFUL EMOTIONS. Then it occurred to me that he was probably not alive anymore; his book HEALING FOR DAMAGED EMOTIONS had been published in 1981. On the Internet I found his story. But I don't think that's the last word.

Here is the beginning of the letter I wanted to write him this Christmas Monday 26 December 2011.

Dear Dr. Seamands,

On the last point of HEALING FOR DAMAGED EMOTIONS, 'The Other Alongside' I suddenly felt a surge of strong feeling, a certainty.

Doctor Seamands, you wrote "Too many of us think that we can only minister out of strength-that only when we are victorious and can impress people with our strong points will we bring God the most glory. But Paul claimed that there are only two things we can glory in. The first is the cross of Christ (Gal:6-14), perhaps the ultimate place of weakness in all human history, the last word in injustice, which God turned into the salvation of the whole world. The other thing in which we can glory is our infirmities, or weaknesses (2 Cor 12:9-10). Why? Because God's strength is made perfect in our weakness."

At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Seamands "sin" is certainly forgiveable within the grace of God. His "sin" that is not yet forgiven is his leadership in leading with his influence in opposing legislation in the United Methodist Church General Conference that would have opened the door to the GLBT community to be in full ministry in this same church. One wonders if he was aware of his hypocrisy. Exodus International just apologized for the hurt that they have caused. Dr. Seamands can no longer apologize for the hurt that he has caused by his witness. The cultural war appears to be over. Now there is a lot of mop up to do.
And in a few years General Conference will apologize, say in about 100 years? If there is any one left to draft an apology.

At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is now 2014, and I have just read " The Healing odf Damaged Emotions", which profoundly affected my life. I was curious about Dr. Seamands and ended up finding this blog. Let me just say that it takes great courage to admit wrong doing and like David, he went to the Lord and was deeply repentant. All of us have sin natures and face the continual onslaught of the enemy. Didn't Jesus say that he , who was without sin should cast the first stone? Dr. Seamands was greatly used by the Lord and only the Lord knew how many damaged emotions Dr. Seamands might have been wrestling with himself.

At 5:13 AM, Blogger Cecil Harvey said...

Your self-righteousness is so much more deadly than anything Seamands has done. The truth is, this humble, flawed man of God touched and continues to touch millions through his writing ministry. You sit on your Google throne and anonymously pronounce judgment. How sad.

At 5:25 AM, Blogger Cecil Harvey said...

Thank you for depositing a drop of grace into an ocean of self-righteous arrogance. The sin of slander is certainly on display here.

At 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved David Seamands: as a pastor, a counselor, a friend. I knew that he cared for and loved his people. I saw it when he prayed with my 7-year-old son at the altar to be a missionary. Perhaps it's this LOVE that makes my heart sad but also sets me free to forgive. Believing God forgives me has always been a struggle but perhaps the answer is the same: God forgives me because He loves me not because I deserve it or appear to be above sin. I wonder too how different reactions would be if the sin was not about sex...

At 3:22 AM, Anonymous Brian J Green said...

David Seamands made an irreversible impression on my life.
I am a United Methodist today because of David's influence.
I am an ordained Elder in the UM Church, because of David's influence.
In the mid 1970's I struggled with my call and things about the church that concerned me.
David said to me,"Brian, on this side of eternity, there is no perfect church. If you ever found one you could not join because you, my friend are not perfect. No one walking this earth is. If, by miracle you found such a church, you couldn't join because your imperfection would taint the pool of perfection. I am not perfect. You are not perfect. In various ways, all of us sin. The miracle is that God uses us to His glory, in spite of our human imperfections". At that time, I saw no imperfections in David. Today I am made aware of what he claimed all those years ago. He is human. Like David, of old, even in his imperfections, God could use Him to inspire, teach and bring to life, passages of scripture that I might have otherwise, breezed over. In all our imperfections, may God be able to use us to such a degree.
Shalom, <><. Rev. Brian J. Green

At 10:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I made comments in 2008 about all of us being sinful. I am eight years old and now see even more clearly that we are all present day sinners saved by grace. I am not saying we want to sin, but that we do. C. S. Lewis talks about us forgiving the inexcusable because that is what God has done for us. Such a brilliant, truthful remark.


At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is sad, that he feel, but it is totally normal, especially when you are up there in ministry. Where do you go for help if you need it, and being able to trust someone with your problem. It's not as easy as many people think, when you are put on a pedestal, you are going to fall, even if you didn't put yourself up there. There is no way you can please everyone and there thoughts of you.
We all fall short and sin, but it is for the Love of God and his forgiveness that he came to earth. Not knowing his situation how can we judge. He needs help and prayer. He has help countless numbers of people, yet everyone wants to forget he himself is normal and doesn't have the same anonomous help as those under him. I am not making excuses I am just saying there are many sides to something like that.


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