Tulsa church pastor put on adminstrative leave following his arrest

Thursday, January 5th 2006, 2:24 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa pastor arrested during a prostitution sting has been put on leave by his church, but Dr Lonnie Latham wants to return to preaching at South Tulsa Baptist Church, there is a way for him to seek redemption.

6 in the Morning reporter Omar Villafranca has Latham was arrested this week in Oklahoma City. He denies any wrongdoing, but church leaders decided that Latham should be put on leave. The church has a program called "restoration ministry".

It's a strict counseling and accountability program used by pastors with moral issues. But to start in the program, pastors must admit to a moral failure. Two Tulsa pastors have taken part in the restoration program.

One of the pastors has now returned to the ministry. The Tulsa Metro Baptist Association of Churches says the program is based on a biblical standard of forgiveness and the understanding that preachers aren't perfect. Charles Cruse with the Tulsa Metro Association: "We're human, we're going to make mistakes, we're going to fail, but we serve a great God of compassion of grace and mercy and forgiveness."

Latham remains on the executive committee of the National Southern Baptist Convention and as recording secretary for the state Baptist Association.