First, I would like to thank those of you who emailed us with your understanding and support for the action that Mike, Jack, and I felt we had to take in regard to Paul Cain. To my personal surprise the response was almost totally supportive. Although this has been one of the most difficult and heart-rending problems that I have personally ever had to deal with (and I am confident that Mike and Jack would say the same), the remarkably mature and gracious way that the church seems to be almost universally handling this matter is cause for great encouragement.
For those who still do not understand why we had to take this before the church the way we did, it was simply obedience. Because of the lack of repentance and the departure by Paul from the discipline and restoration process, combined with the reason to believe that in his present state he could be a danger to the morality and integrity of believers who were not aware of his problems, the Scriptures did not leave any room for debate about our responsibility. I don’t think we could have ever called ourselves shepherds or watchmen if we let such a situation as it now is to go without sounding the alarm. Because of our long association with Paul, probably no one stood to lose more from this than we did, but we could not let that affect our decision.
A great concern was of course how this disclosure might affect the weak, the immature, or the unstable. However, truth and obedience to the Word of God is our basic spiritual currency. If we compromise these we would have to be concerned about the state of everything to which we are giving ourselves.
I have absolutely no doubt that we did the right thing in publishing the last bulletin. I cannot help but wonder if there were things we could have done wrong in the process of trying to help Paul come to repentance and then restoration so that it would not have had to come to this. I personally feel this is the worst failure I have ever been involved with. I have spent many hours wondering what we could have done better or differently, but at this time I just don’t know what else we could have done. The day after we made this known to the church, I had just been praying for the Lord to show me anything that we did wrong, when I walked into Bob Jones’ house. Before he even greeted me, he looked at me and said, “You, Mike, and Jack did all that you could do. Now the rest is up to the Lord.” I felt that those words came straight from the Lord’s mouth in answer to my prayer.
I also believe that having something “in the Lord’s hands” is the very best place that it could be. I am not giving up on Paul, and I pray that all of you who have said that you would be praying for him in this will not give up either. This whole matter has greatly expanded my comprehension of God’s grace, and I have no doubt that the Lord is still reaching out to him.
The scariest thing in the world for us should be if we have sin in our lives and we are getting away with it. As Hebrews 12 makes clear, the Lord disciplines His sons, and if we are without discipline we are not His children. I know the hand of the Lord is heavy upon Paul at this time, and I know it is because the Lord loves him so much. I sincerely pray to one day see a free and restored Paul Cain standing in our pulpit again. However, we cannot compromise the biblical standards of morality and integrity for anyone. When we start compromising these, we have lost everything.
After some of the public spiritual tragedies of the past, I can understand why many would grieve over this issue having to be made so public. To my great encouragement, the way that the church is handling this speaks volumes about just how much the church has learned and matured through the previous mistakes that were illuminated. As discouraging as my own failure in being able to help Paul has been, my encouragement in the church has been correspondingly great.
Please also understand that if Paul had been a true member of a local church, under the true authority of a pastor, we would have simply taken it there. However, with Paul this was not the case. As Mike, Jack, and I have talked about considerably, one of our biggest failures in this matter was to think that because Paul had such special gifts he deserved special treatment and did not need to be incorporated into the life of the local church like others. I have little doubt that if Paul had been required to comply with the disciplines of a normal Christian life, which without question includes a true church life, these strongholds would have been exposed long ago. He would be free now and probably far more productive than he has ever been. This is the first and possibly the most important lesson that we have learned from this.
Because Mike, Jack, and I felt so inadequate in trying to help Paul with these issues, we were always open and praying for the Lord to provide anyone who could do a better job than we were doing. From the beginning I think we all saw that this was a much greater problem than any of us had ever dealt with before, so we were continually in prayer for the Lord to provide someone else. Brad McClendon did get involved and did help a lot. I think he could have done more if there had not been such resistance to him. Even so, we continue to pray for this provision of someone to help him that can do better than we did. However, because of the extraordinary and powerful gifts that Paul has and the way that they have been used recently, there are very serious dangers for anyone who does not understand these things. Anyone who is presumptuous in this could be in even more jeopardy.
I am not saying this to hurt Paul, but I am saying this for the sake of protecting God’s people from what has been proven to be a danger. When the devil gets an inroad into someone with a great anointing he takes full advantage of it, and the level of deception and seduction that is working in Paul at this time is greater than anything I have personally ever witnessed before.
The step to take this issue before the church was first for the protection of the church, and second it was with the hope that this would help lead to his repentance and restoration. I believe this is what the Lord intended when He told us how to handle these matters.
Again, I especially appreciate the continued grace and prayers that so many have extended toward Paul. We are not giving up on him, and we are so thankful that you are not either. We do not want to give up on anyone that has any problem, as we have this exhortation in Galatians 6:1. The greatest victory of all would be to see Paul Cain finish his course with his greatest ministry ever and in purity before the Lord. We always have the encouragement that regardless of how we fail, nothing is impossible with God. Regardless of how far we fall short of His glory, the power of the cross of Jesus is enough to redeem and restore us. This is in His hands now, but what place could be better than that?