Update on Paul Cain, Part 3
There are a couple of questions from those who did contact us that I will address below. First, let me again express the appreciation we have for the emails and letters of support that so many of you sent. I especially appreciate the generosity of spirit that almost everyone seemed to have toward Paul, resolving to pray for him and continue to believe that he would repent and be restored. Even though to date there does not seem to be any evidence of a true repentance that would lead to a real restoration, we are resolved to not give up hope for this.
As I also expressed before, the lessons we have learned from this situation are some of the most profound we have received in a long time. I want to share these in the most edifying way, and if possible, in a way that does not bring any more reproach upon Paul, therefore making it more difficult for him to be restored. These may take a while to process, and will probably come out in future articles in The Morning Star Journal or books, rather than bulletins.
I ask for this patience toward both Paul and myself. Though I have had a number of older, more experienced men of God who taught me many things and counseled me from time to time, Paul Cain was the closest to a spiritual father that I ever had. I know that Mike and Jack feel the same way. Though we are resolved to obey our heavenly Father first and foremost, which means to obey His Word, our ultimate goal remains Paul’s restoration. Truth without love will result in a legalism that kills. Love without truth will result in a license that will likewise result in sin that kills. We need to keep both and keep them in their proper balance.
One old friend of Paul’s had insight into this situation which I think may have merit, and so I will share it with you for consideration. For years he said that Paul Cain was not so much a Samuel type as a Samson type. The power was real and from God, but there were many failures in Paul’s life that kept him distracted and not able to do all that he was called to do. Now he has been captured by “the Philistines,” has had his eyes put out (his vision), and his hair cut off (his power), and is being made a mockery of by the enemy. However, just as Samson was anointed one last time, and was able to bring more destruction to the enemy in the end than he had done through his whole previous life, he felt that the same could be true of Paul.
I have personally felt for years, and still feel that Paul Cain has not yet done what he was put on this earth to do. Even though now it does look like he is in bondage to the enemy, and has lost both his vision and his strength and the devil is mocking him, I am resolved to continue in the hope that Paul could yet strike a mighty blow against the enemy. Even though we would much rather see Paul be restored and have many more years of fruitful ministry, it is my earnest prayer that regardless of how, when Paul goes home to appear before the Lord that he goes as a hero of the faith, not a failure.
I am also determined not to forget the great things that he has been used to do in the past, and the great blessing that he has been in my life. Even so, I am determined to never compromise the truth and obedience to the Word of God for anyone. If we compromise these for someone, then we have exalted that person above God and His Word.
I have been asked two main questions about this situation. The first has been for us to reveal the evidence which we have that Paul is an alcoholic, and the evidence that he has been involved in homosexual relationships. I do not think this should be done at this time. In fact, I pray that there will be a time when we have been convinced of Paul’s true repentance and restoration, and these things can be destroyed without anyone else ever having to see them. However, if Paul continues to deny these things, and/or accuse, blame, or threaten others, there may be a time when we will have to use this evidence.
Let me also say this about the evidence—it is abundant and not only totally convincing, but Paul did admit to these things when we confronted him with them or with the people who were involved. Further evidence to the depth and length of time that this sin has existed in Paul’s life has continued to come from others who were close to Paul in the past. If this has to be used I would first consider showing it to only a few of the most respected leaders of the church, who are considered internationally to be elders of the church with unquestioned integrity. I would even then only want to show them as much as required for them to verify the integrity of the evidence. However, this is not the kind of stuff that anyone should want to see unless it is absolutely necessary. I am treating this like toxic waste that I want to dispose of just as quickly as it can be done safely, so it does not surface later to hurt others. This is not an attempt to cover up anything, but rather to protect the church and cover a father to the degree that we can.
It has been my heart’s desire for many years to see a true restoration ministry raised up in the body of Christ, and to be willing to be a part of it to the degree that I can. This is one of the main reasons I think we have been called to help restore the PTL property. This is a ministry that would obey Galatians 6:1, and if anyone was caught in “any trespass” they could come and know that they would receive help, not condemnation. Even with the degree of depravity into which all of mankind has fallen, the Lord still came and gave His own life to save and restore us and the earth from all of the consequences of the Fall. Until the church begins to have this same devotion to anyone who falls, seeking their restoration regardless of what they have done, then I think we will only have limited success in having the world believe our gospel of God’s grace, love, and heart for our restoration.
Even so, God does not forgive excuses—He forgives sin, if we repent of it. Therefore, to have a true ministry of restoration we must have an unyielding devotion to the biblical standards of morality and integrity. However, to have that devotion without a ministry of restoration usually leads to destructive legalism. To seek to have a ministry of restoration without upholding the standards of God’s righteousness usually results in people feeling better about their problems, but not being delivered from them. We need both a devotion to God’s standards of righteousness, and a true open hand and heart to any who have fallen short of it. Truth, openness, and transparency, which is the confessing of our sins to one another, are necessary for a true restoration, but we do not want to embarrass anyone—we want to restore them.
It seems that every hero in the Bible also made some terrible mistakes, except for One, the Lord Jesus Himself. Of the others, it almost seems that the greatest heroes made some of the greatest mistakes. The Bible is very candid about these mistakes, for our sake, but I do not think that the Lord ever unnecessarily exposes people’s sins. “Love covers a multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8). Therefore, I do not intend to uncover any more of Paul’s sins than we think are absolutely necessary for the protection of God’s people, or to help him get free of the darkness in his life by knowing that the light is shining on it. I also want people to be able to come to us for restoration knowing that we may be tough and unyielding in relation to the clear mandate of Scripture, but we will never unnecessarily disclose to others their sins. If we will repent, the cross will also remove the shame with the sin.
We did make it clear to Paul in the beginning that if he ever left without having repented of the sins, and completing the process of restoration, without having another one that we had confidence in being real, effective, and who had a complete knowledge of the depth of these problems, we had no choice but to bring the issue before the church. This was because of the dangers to others which we had all witnessed, as well as our resolve to see Paul repent before he continued in ministry to the church.
The second question that I am frequently asked is how are we doing personally with all of this. Again, I think that I can speak for Mike and Jack as well, that this has without question been one of the most difficult things we have ever had to deal with. The last nine months have been very difficult, to say the least. I have had the privilege of knowing many of the great men of God in our times, but in many ways, I esteemed Paul Cain more than any other man or woman of God that I knew. I was more profoundly shocked, disappointed, and hurt by these things than I have ever been before, but in no way did this shake my faith in the Lord.
When we started planting churches, we asked the Lord for the grace to build people in such a way that if any of us fell or died, that the people would not even miss a step, but just continue on growing up into Him. Even though Paul Cain had not been seen around our ministry in several years, and many who have joined us in the work did not even know who Paul was when this news came forth, I was greatly encouraged by how almost everyone who did know him responded. They were sorry to hear it, agreed to pray for him, but just kept right on going. In fact, we are in the midst of one of the most remarkable and intense spiritual advances we have had in a long time, so I was concerned when this news came out, but it seems to be growing rather than dimming.
Paul the apostle wrote in Romans 11:22, “Behold then the kindness and severity of God.” There is no question that my comprehension of both the Lord’s kindness and His severity multiplied through this situation. I have come to see the Lord as much more merciful than I ever considered before, but at the same time far more severe. I have witnessed His hatred of sin on a whole new level and have an even greater understanding of why He is coming to judge the world for it. That judgment is going to come to His own people first. How could He judge the world for these things when His own people are doing them?
I have prayed for many years to have more of the true and holy fear of the Lord, and to hate sin and love righteousness as the Lord did. I don’t think any single event in my life has caused me to grow so much and so fast in both the fear of the Lord and the hatred of my own sin. Though I may not be guilty of the sins that disqualify one from ministry, it can be “the little foxes that spoil the vine” (Song of Solomon 2:15 NIV). Many little things in my life that I knew in my heart were wrong have been greatly magnified in importance and revulsion. I think the deeper concept that I have of both His kindness and His severity have brought a much deeper level of cleansing in my own life.
We are about to know the depth, height, and width of His kindness toward all who repent. We are also about to know His severity for those who do not. Through all of this my love for God has grown a great deal, but so has my fear of His wrath. These are both good. So, even though heartbreaks, personal attacks, and threats came from one that I still love, honor, and esteem very much, I think I am much stronger in the Lord, much wiser and discerning, and even more resolved to do His will, than before all of this came to our attention.
I also think that Mike and Jack are likewise much stronger through it all, even though we all hope that if there is any way we can continue to grow in these things, that it is not in this way again. Even so, I do not intend to run from this kind of thing if we are called to deal with it. I try to resolve more each day to do the Lord’s will, whatever that is, and to see Him receive the reward of His sacrifice—a bride that is prepared for Him without spot or wrinkle, passionately in love with Him, revealing to the world the glory and power of His salvation. Again, the maturity with which the church seems to be handling this gives me great hope that we are closer to this than I may have previously considered.
Again, thank you for your encouragement, patience, and understanding. Hopefully, we have learned even more how our hope must always be in the Lord, who will never disappoint us, and not men, even the best of which will at times disappoint us. The Lord Jesus Himself is the only foundation that we can build upon that will not be shaken. If that foundation is strong, we can build upon it with many other relationships, if they are all fastened strongly to the foundation.