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“I want there to be a response to those pastors that have lived unethically. I want to say, ‘We’re not them,’ ” he added.

Mr. Whitlock said he hopes the principles in the document will serve as reminders particularly for younger pastors.

“When we see people involved in things that are dishonest or fallacious, it’s good for everybody to have a reminder,” he said. “And these guides never hurt any of us.”

In addition to basic ethical principles, the four-page code of ethics touches on modern issues such as plagiarism, confidentiality and interactions with other churches, which at times can be ambiguous for pastors. Advice on how to approach mandatory reporting laws, which often require pastors to disclose information about domestic or sexual abuse, is also included.

Mr. Anderson said the National Association of Evangelicals is planning to create a similar ethical code for church congregations that will outline proper conduct for members of a church as well as the clergy members who assist the pastor. Mr. Anderson gave no timeline for the next code, but said that a committee that will draft it is being formed.