For the second time evidence has surfaced that Atlanta megachurch leader Earl Paulk was engaged in some extra curricular activity:
The 80-year-old leader of a suburban Atlanta megachurch is at the center of a sex scandal of biblical dimensions: He slept with his brother's wife and fathered a child by her.
Members of Archbishop Earl Paulk's family stood at the pulpit of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit at Chapel Hill Harvester Church a few Sundays ago and revealed the secret exposed by a recent court-ordered paternity test.
In truth, this is not the first — or even the second — sex scandal to engulf Paulk and the independent, charismatic church. But this time, he could be in trouble with the law for lying under oath about the affair.
The living proof of that lie is 34-year-old D.E. Paulk, who for years was known publicly as Earl Paulk's nephew.
"I am so very sorry for the collateral damage it's caused our family and the families hurt by the removing of the veil that hid our humanity and our sinfulness," said D.E. Paulk, who received the mantle of head pastor a year and a half ago.
One certainly does not revel in someone else's exposed weakness. However, we also need to face the reality that sexual infidelity is all too common among those who ought to be--or claim to be--spiritual leaders. The circumstances leading to this public paternity test certainly do the 'Archbishop' no credit:
A judge ordered the test at the request of the Cobb County district attorney's office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which are investigating Earl Paulk for possible perjury and false-swearing charges stemming from a lawsuit.
The archbishop, his brother and the church are being sued by former church employee Mona Brewer, who says Earl Paulk manipulated her into an affair from 1989 to 2003 by telling her it was her only path to salvation [emphasis added, NAC]. Earl Paulk admitted to the affair in front of the church last January.
In a 2006 deposition stemming from the lawsuit, the archbishop said under oath that the only woman he had ever had sex with outside of his marriage was Brewer. But the paternity test said otherwise.
Now there's just no excuse for such exploitation of a spiritual position. Certainly one wonders about the gullibility of Ms. Brewer to fall for such a line, but Paulk's actions confirm every stereotype the world wants to believe about the religious.
As we've discussed many times, our faith cannot be in men, even men who seem spiritually strong from the outside. And while forgiveness ought to be a defining characterstic of the people of God, there is also a point when people demonstrate that they are unworthy of leadership positions. Church shouldn't look like a Jerry Springer show parody.