The Fire of God

The Fire of God

 

Ian Bilby was the senior pastor of Auckland City Elim Church, and the head of Elim in New Zealand.

The Elim Church is the second largest Pentecostal Church movement in New Zealand after the Assemblies of God.

Ian Bilby was found to be a serial adulterer, with 10 to 20 women, over a period of at least two decades, while establishing his international ministerial reputation.

An ex-work colleague and other sources close to the Bilby family told Challenge Weekly, the prominent New Zealand Christian newspaper, that there were between 10–20 women who had an affair with Mr Bilby or were preyed upon over some 20 years.

Ian Bilby and Gerald Coates (Pioneer – UK), predicted great earthquakes in Taupo, New Zealand and placed a date for the prophecy to be fulfilled.

This prophecy turned out to be false.

The New Zealand national media had a field day.

How badly this long line of errant Pentecostal leading pastors I have been writing about have damaged the church of Jesus Christ in New Zealand and brought great shame on Christendom. They have discredited themselves, their Churches and the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in general. They are extremely culpable before Almighty God. These are really great sins.

For Ian Bilby to be a serial adulterer over a period of at least two decades, involving 10-20 women, while being the head of the Elim Church and while establishing his international ministerial reputation, is totally unjustifiable and extremely culpable before Almighty God.

 

CHALLENGE WEEKLY

IAN BILBY ON THE COME BACK TRAIL

Former senior pastor of Auckland City Elim Church Ian Bilby, who resigned due to seasons of immorality, is coming back to an Auckland church.

In 1998 Challenge Weekly published a statement from Auckland City Elim saying that he stepped back from all ministry due to a moral failure in his life.

The damage was done to his spouse, to himself, his children, to the church, the cause of Christ and against the Lord God.

An ex-work colleague and other sources close to the Bilby family told Challenge Weekly that there were between 10–20 women who had an affair with Mr Bilby or were preyed upon over some 20 years.

Sin has a way of tripping up the best of men, even to the extent that a comeback seems impossible. What happens when a nationally well-known Christian church leader confesses to a moral failure in his life, even though he has a reputation for preaching on what is right and wrong, and decrying the breakdown of today’s marriages and family life? How does God respond to a good man who falls into a flagrant sin? Has God any use for such a person again?

Now, four years later, after a divorce, counselling in the US and living in Northland, reliable sources contacted Challenge Weekly saying that Mr Bilby is coming back on the Auckland church scene. Just over a year ago, Mr Bilby married Sophia, the former youth pastor of Auckland City Elim, and has been attending the Kaitaia Elim Church.

Since February it has become a Destiny Church.

Senior pastors Brian and Hannah Tamaki told Challenge Weekly that when the Kaitaia Destiny Church was launched, to their surprise they saw Ian amongst the congregation.

He was going along there as part of his four years of sitting back. “That’s how we made the initial contact. I believe it was no coincidence. If there is a church that can start to restore what was done wrong, that was broken and fallen, that is us! It is from then onwards that Hannah and I have had frequent time with Ian and Sophia. That rekindled a relationship which goes way back,” explains Brian.

Restoration

Brian has invited Ian and his new wife, to come to their Auckland Destiny Church. “He’s coming in here and being part of this ministry but not in a leadership role. He has totally submitted himself to Destiny Church. We will draw from his resources and he will be working directly with me. He is accountable to me, and one of my senior pastors as well. We want to begin to bring a process of full restoration. I think personally the full deal of restoration is not just repenting and counselling, and proving this is right over a period of time, but also to be restored back to ministry. To whatever that level is. To disqualify somebody forever, even after having repented, and shown the fruit over a number of years, that is not right.” Another chance “I think a lot of the problem is not whether or not he has properly repented and been restored, but with those who feel robbed or betrayed. That is more the issue, I think. Of course someone can be forgiven and given another chance. The fact that he got married again to this person from his past, I’ve come to terms with. I wouldn’t have accepted them here at Destiny, if I didn’t think there wasn’t something there between them and God. To the end of my probing him, I came to a point where I was reasonably satisfied. I know that some people will comment and that is their freedom. I’m big enough to take that. The criticism is fine but I’ve got to trust God that somehow I’m involved in a restoration process that I haven’t walked before either.”

Deep concern

Pastor Luke Brough from Auckland East City Elim Church, and president of the Elim National Executive, commented that the Elim Church of NZ has not been consulted regarding the return of Ian Bilby to ministry.

“Our position at this time would be one of deep concern, particularly as there has never been any expression of sorrow or regret from Ian to the Elim National Leadership Team for his actions. Church leadership is a position of trust, and although there is certainly forgiveness for those who repent, when that trust has been broken, it is not necessarily wise to place that person back into a leadership position. Consideration must also be given to the people and families that were affected by Ian’s actions,” says Mr Brough.

Reconciliation

Brian Tamaki says he is aware of the sensitive nature of bringing back Mr Bilby to where he came from. “Do you think I would jeopardise the presence of this church by bringing in someone who I thought, hadn’t done the work of repentance? At the same time, I believe there are very few churches who have the ability or depth, to be able to properly restore broken and fallen ministries in this country. I’m not saying it is the fault of the church in NZ, but somewhere a church has to begin to make some steps towards that reconciliation and the full process of recovering and restoring a broken and fallen ministry. Who is to know that after six months Ian trusts me enough, and the time has come for him to face Auckland City Elim and do what he needs to do,” says Mr Tamaki.

But the big question remains, what does the immediate family think of all this, and all those other people involved who were terribly hurt and had to go through the worst couple of years in their lives? They are alarmed and mortified by the idea that Mr Bilby and his new wife are coming back to the scene where it all began four years ago.

Brian Tamaki, the man responsible for bringing Bilby back, is a New Zealand televangelist whose organisation is experiencing impressive rates of growth. He is getting much media attention, thus making him a perfect “target” for another shameful scandal.

But that aside the basic question remains, “Is the discipline and proposed ‘restoration’ of Ian Bilby biblical?” In trying to provide a reasonable answer to that question two others suggest themselves, based on the Scriptures listed above:

1. Did the Elim authorities act biblically when they instituted the discipline of Bilby in the first place and did their role and responsibility cease at that point?

“Those that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear” —
1 Timothy 5: 20

 

My comment:

 

The writer Donald Elley of Bellingen.

The writer Donald Elley of Bellingen.

 

Ian Bilby should hang up his preacher’s hat and go do some gardening for old ladies or something and leave the Blessed Body of Christ alone.

If a man can’t keep it in his pants and has 10-20 adulterous affairs over 20 years while being a prominent Pentecostal preacher he should be finished. No argument.