Restoring the Fallen:
A Team Approach to Caring, Confronting & Reconciling

(InterVarsity, 1997)

This book is based on one couple's road to restoration. It helps us understand how to come alongside a fallen brother or sister to restore them fully to a life of fellowship with God, to wholeness in their family and to usefulness in the Christian community. It is a book that helps us set our course in dealing with an issue that is fast becoming too common in our culture and in the church. Although it is not the final word on restoration, it provides helpful insight into how restoration can be achieved.

The biblical model presented in this book recognizes the need for the truth regarding sin to be spoken. It affirms complete repentance as both an act and a process. The authors challenges those involved in sin to establish or reestablish spiritual principles and disciplines. Finally, the book calls for a restoration of damaged relationships. All of this is accomplished under the leadership and direction of a Spiritual Care Team. This team works with the one who has failed morally, their family and the congregation.

Restoration is not healing.

Restoration is not healing. Healing demands time. But healing does not occur automatically from time. Areas of pain, such as the loss of support from one's "inner circle," will need to be addressed. Healing may mean working through depression, fear, a shaken identity or even grieving the losses. The healing of broken and wounded relationships is very complex. The Spiritual Care Team can provide direction and encouragement to the individual laboring to overcome discouragement and struggling with obedience and truthful openness.

Restoration moves the individual toward the image of God.

Restoration also does not mean things will return to the way they were. They will never be the same. Restoration moves the individual toward the image of God, not toward the previous best level of the "restoree." While the "restoree" may be seeking for things to be the way they were and to no longer hurt so badly, God is saying, "Allow me to finish my work." When God completes his work in the individual, spouse and family members will discover their lives being positively impacted. But full restoration is an ongoing process that continues after initial restoration steps have been taken. Aftercare is important for the person restored and for his or her family.

This model holds real potential for a church concerned about restoring a fallen leader. It also focuses on the restoration of those people impacted by the fall of a leader. The model needs perfecting, but in the words of the authors, "The goal is that people's lives that teeter on the brink of destruction because of sinful choices may be brought back into restored relationship with our merciful God, who always says, 'Come to me.' Then restored relationships with spouse, children, friends and church can follow" (pp. 189, 190). Restoring the fallen seems more likely when a model is incorporated that has produced positive results. It is a work in partnership with God.

– EF

Restoring the Fallen by Earl & Sandy Wilson, Paul & Virginia Friesen, Larry & Nancy Paulson
was published by InterVarsity in 1997.