Roberts Liardon Back In The Pulpit Already?

Mon, Mar 11, 2002
Vol. 4 No. 7

Pastor and writer Roberts Liardon preached yesterday at his church for the first time since he stepped down three months ago after admitting to a "moral failure." The founder of Embassy Christian Center in Irvine, Calif., gave a 30-minute message on keeping the faith. In December, Liardon confessed to a short-term homosexual relationship with the church's youth pastor, John Carrette.

"Those around me asked me to come," Liardon said yesterday. He received a 30-second standing ovation from about 650 people. Liardon, 36, told the Embassy congregation that his appearance was "just for one Sunday. I am still working with my counseling." While not addressing any specific situation, Liardon said: "[We have] gone through some great dramatics in the last few months...Our church has gone through a crisis...but it is [going to be] OK. God is in charge...He does not come to destroy. He comes to lift you."

Liardon later told "Charisma" that his counselors, particularly El Paso, Texas, pastor Charles Nieman, had encouraged him to preach, and it fit the schedule to do so at this time. Liardon made the announcements and took an offering at previous services, but yesterday's was his first sermon. About one-quarter of Embassy members, as well as Bible college students and missionaries, have left the church since Liardon's admission.