Tennessee evangelist Perry Stone, who recently said the coronavirus pandemic is God’s retribution for same-sex marriage, has been placed on sabbatical after he “acted inappropriately” with female employees.
The board of directors at Voice of Evangelism, the multimillion-dollar ministry that Stone founded in 1979, asked him to step aside and seek counseling after his behavior “deviated from biblical standards.”
Stone had reportedly been away from the ministry for three months, leaving followers confused, before admitting to the misconduct in an audio message that was recently played for church attendees.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports: Stone suggested multiple times that his treatment of female employees was because his work as a minister is stressful. “I confess at times I’ve been inappropriate in all this weariness of just non-stop ministry,” Stone said in the message. “I let my guard down and I’ve asked, of course, God to forgive me for that. I sat down with my family, with my beautiful, precious wife Pam, the love of my life. I asked her to forgive me. And I very humbly and very sincerely ask those who have been hurt or offended by my actions to, please, also forgive me for those things.” Stone, 61, did not say specifically what occurred but said he “acted inappropriately with them, and with words and sometimes actions.” Under Tennessee law, non-consensual sexual advances, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature or creating hostile work environments, among other behavior, are considered sexual harassment.
VOE media relations spokesperson John Rodriguez, a spokesman for the ministry’s board of directors, issued a statement saying that Stone was placed on sabbatical for two reasons.
From the Cleveland Daily Banner: “First, over the past few years, Perry has encountered serious health issues related to spiritual and physical burnout,” Rodriguez said. “The board directed Perry to undergo a comprehensive medical exam, and it was determined that his blood pressure was at levels indicating the potential for a dangerous stroke. This demanded rest and immediate medical attention.” Secondly, Rodriguez said “a couple of employees at VOE requested to meet with the board of directors to address concerns of inappropriate words and actions.” “Upon review, the board determined that the issues were civil in nature and not criminal, but that the behavior deviated from the biblicalstandards set in place for VOE leadership,” he said. “So, the board unanimously initiated his current sabbatical. This action was not reactionary but with much prayer, and was set in place to uphold the highest standards of integrity and transparency.”
Back in March, Stone claimed God told him the coronavirus pandemic is a “moment of reckoning.”
“The Bible talks about going after ‘strange flesh,’” Stone said, as he recounted the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah. “There is a reckoning because the courts of the land passed a law to take an infant’s life, that it was OK, and for marriage as we have known it to be changed into something we have never known. Both of their laws, biblically in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, are what God calls an abomination. And the Bible teaches us that God is long-suffering, he is not willing that any perish, he wants everyone to come to repentance, but there will be a time when the Lord says, ‘Enough is enough.’”
Watch the clip below.