Affair or Predation? On Ministerial Sexual Misconduct.


Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.

-2 Samuel 11:2, NKJV

When a minister abuses his or her position to have sex with a congregant, it is a special sort of evil, IMO.

This person often is viewed as standing for God in a symbolic way. So, they are not only defiling their marriage, they are also tarnishing God’s image to those who know of such behavior. Plus, they are tearing up their community as a faith community leader.

It is an abuse of trust. And it is professional misconduct. A minister sleeping with a congregant is using a sacred trust to abuse this congregant and sin against his/her own spouse as well.

Such behavior by a minister is not unlike King David’s behavior with Bathsheba:

It is important to remember that a difference in power existed between David and Bathsheba. Could Bathsheba actually have refused KING David?! I doubt it.

I suspect that is why Bathsheba is portrayed as the stolen beloved lamb in Prophet Nathan’s confrontation parable as opposed to an active agent in King David’s adultery (see 2 Samuel 12:1-7). Prophet Nathan does not excoriate Bathsheba for tempting King David; rather, he excoriates King David for abusing his power in taking another man’s wife.

Ministers who sleep with their congregants are like King David in how they are abusing their power to take what they want.

Remember the role and trust a minster has: Who is going to refuse “God?” That is the sort of power a minister can wield from his or her office by standing as such a symbol in the community.

Also, the minister could use the special access he gets into the congregant’s life to exploit him or her to his “benefit.” This is like a therapist exploiting vulnerabilities revealed in therapy to use her client for sex. It is wrong. And it is abuse.

So, I would encourage folks to keep these power dynamics in mind when you hear stories of pastors preying on congregants. And I believe it is worth being kind to the “prey” in these scenarios just as the Prophet Nathan was kind to Bathsheba in exposing King David’s sin.

7 thoughts on “Affair or Predation? On Ministerial Sexual Misconduct.”

  1. DM,
    What I find very disturbing and evil about such religious leaders is that they know bible from A to Z, spent most of their life in church community, and yet have no fear of God, thus are not believers and they DO know it. Then why live such life as a low life fraud? Why not have self respect and openly seek own kind? But then it seems very obvious that they know they can not compete with other low life in the open field. Thus they seek weak and vulnerable in the church and hide behind God’s name as cover to do their treacherous deeds…. They speak as “prophets ” and fool the sick pretending to be “healers”… Then there are “useful idiots” that help them find the pray… Maybe you could write a separate column about such helpers.

  2. I would like to add more in defense of Bathsheba’s innocence. I do not believe that she intended to tempt anyone. She was bathing because it was required for a women during that time of her cycle to do so. King David was usually sleeping at that time of night – like everyone else (and he shouldn’t have even been home when his men were in battle). He got up and went out on his roof because he could not sleep. How was she to know?
    Besides holding David alone responsible for the sinful deed, God told David that what he did in secret would later happen in his family for all to see. . . His daughter was raped by one son & publicly humiliated – never to marry because of it. Later his concubine wives were publicly raped by another son. Based on scripture, I do not believe that Bathsheba consented anymore than these women did.
    Bathsheba suffered a lot as a result of David’s sins both then and now. People today call her an adulterous, affair partner, seductress, temptress, bad girl, etc. God, however, refers to her as a beloved innocent lamb. He put her in a place of great honor. She is Jesus’ great great….grandmother on both sides! God chose Bathsheba to be in both Mary & Joseph genealogy through two different sons in the line of David.
    How do you think 2 Samuel 12:14 applies to us today? It states that this deed of David’s has given the enemies of the Lord cause to blaspheme Him, lose respect/all respect for Him, despise & disrespect God. I feel like the enemy has twisted scripture and is using this deed of David’s today to turn people away from God & salvation. David’s deed is used to condone adultery, rationalize divorce to marry affair partners, excuse sin & rationalize continuing in sin rather than to run from it & repent of it, and to teach that you can repent of a sin while continuing in it.

    1. Yes, I think the bible makes it very clear that David was NOT where he was supposed to be. Bathsheba was not tempting him intentionally. Some people want to make her at fault regardless.

  3. Yes it’s pretty clear Bathsheba didn’t have much of choice what happened to her.

    2 Samuel 11:4a (KJV)

    “And David sent messengers, and took her”

  4. DM,

    This happened to me over two years ago. Except it was not a minister, but a physician. My daughter has a chronic, difficult disease, and this physician was referred to us by friends. At the time I was extremely depressed about being able to help my daughter. I had already been accused of “medical neglect” by a medical establishment practice that viewed us as “weird, Christian, homeschooling parents (long story)”. Devastated and afraid, I thought this new doctor was really going to save us in our situation. He was a devil in sheep’s clothing. All the details would be too long here, but the bottom line was that he got into my head through many visits, and exploited the very weaknesses that he uncovered in me. He managed to convince me to be his patient first, (so that I would be in a better position to help my daughter). Looking back, I feel that he used many emotional tricks, and possibly even hypnosis. Coming from a background of alcoholic/abusive family life, I have extreme issues with boundaries, and an extreme fear of authority. These are my weaknesses and I must own them, but I know he exploited them.

    When my husband found out, he was furious, rightfully. But he did not throw me out. When I went to my pastor and confessed everything, the paster told me that we needed a lawyer, not for a divorce, but for the exploitation, that is in many states a crime. In our state it is not a crime, but punishable through the medical boards. There was a hearing and the doctor had many sanctions put on his practice that would prevent this from happening to others (I am glad I went through that pain to protect others).

    We are Catholic, so we are still together, struggling towards reconciliation. The emotional fallout for my husband is adultery is adultery, no matter how you slice it. But for me, there is also extreme mental torture of “how could I let myself be treated that way”? I really feel like the devil came and sucked out my soul while I was sleeping. I realize how crazy that sounds……but it is just how I feel. Also, my therapist feels that he may have also given me drugs. During the episode of physical exploitation, I was having very strange physical effects: fainting spells, extreme nausea and vomiting, etc. Also I felt like I was in a fog, and my friends who know what happened have told me that they were alarmed at my behavior at times (like I was on something??)

    We have been in therapy (has not really helped). My husband also has an alcohol problem, and has sought the bottle for self medication, which adds more fire to the problem.

    I felt I just needed to share this situation, as it feels similar to the Bathsheba story.


    1. Praying for healing and restoration for both you and your husband. Hang in there!
      You’ll never know how many women and children you’ve protect! God does though!

    2. Diane,

      I am so sorry that you had that awful experience. It was very brave of you to take steps to ensure that doctor was held accountable for his abuse of power (to the degree available to you). I wish you and your husband the best in recovering from this evil exploitation.


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