Eddie Hilburn, a married associate pastor and father of three at The Woodlands First Baptist Church in Texas, resigned from his position Friday, a day after he was arrested by a Harris County Sheriff's deputy who he allegedly paid for sex.
Early Friday morning, The Woodlands First Baptist Church still highlighted a profile of Hilburn, 52, and his family on their website stating that he had been with the church since July 2012.
By Friday afternoon, however, his information was scrubbed from the website and the church released a statement that he had resigned.
"In regard to the recent arrest of Dr. Eddie Hilburn, The Woodlands First Baptist Church has received and accepted his resignation and has taken steps to notify the congregation. This is a difficult time for Eddie, his family and our church. We continue to seek God's will with grace and truth, providing love and support to all those affected, while reaffirming our commitment to the highest expectations for our church and its leadership," the church said in a statement to The Christian Post.
Hilburn was charged with prostitution Thursday morning just hours after the Harris County Sheriff's Office confirmed a report of the arrest Friday morning. Officials told The Christian Post that the case was still under investigation so they could not release any further details of the arrest.
Hilburn is alleged to have paid $80 for sexual activities to an undercover Harris County Sheriff's deputy. As soon as the deputy was paid he was arrested.
The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary graduate also served as senior pastor of churches in Texas, planted a church in Wisconsin, and served as student pastor prior to joining The Woodlands.
"At the Woodlands First, Eddie coaches other staff members as they live out their calling, leads the reFresh Wednesday night event, and occasionally preaches on Sunday. Eddie feels like he wins when the other staff members win," the church said.
Efforts by local news media to get a comment from Hilburn went unanswered as he left court on Thursday running at times from media.
In an April sermon at The Woodlands called "Encounter" he told churchgoers that even when they have all the information to do what is right, sometimes it takes an encounter with God to make that decision.
"I want you to know that I think an encounter with God may be more available than you have thought," he said.
He then explained how God is "everywhere and He owns everything."
He then tried to explain that sometimes the encounter with God doesn't always come in the way people expect.
To do that, he cited a report that said by 2040 some 50 percent of the world's Protestants would live in Africa and that the Christian groups sharing the Gospel and growing the fastest on the continent are Pentecostals and Charismatics.
"Those are the people God is using most to spread the Gospel in Africa and I thought to myself, well wait a minute. I think God ought to use most, some good Baptists. That's what I think because I love my Charismatic and Pentecostal friends but there are a few things they just have wrong. And so God ought to use us good Baptists more than he uses anybody else. Shouldn't He? Doesn't that make sense?" he quipped.
"I think God messed it up a little bit and He'll probably get it back on track by 2040 or maybe He just doesn't operate the way that I think He should," he added.