"Lord why is there such deception in your church?...and why is sin rampant amongst the ministry?"
(This article is NOT addressed to those godly servant leaders who are the exceptions and have not compromised the TRUTH of God's word for financial gain ... I have been blessed to have known a few such men of God)
I believe that many in the body of Christ are as concerned and perplexed as I am about why deception and sin are allowed to be rampant in the body of Christ today....and especially amongst the leadership. One does not have to scratch deep to find stories of inappropriate behavior towards women or financial compromises.
The church eldership who are GOD's appointed leaders have sadly FAILED to judge those amongst themselves even when grievious sin such as adultery or extortion is involved (Acts 20:29)
1 Cor 5:11-13
11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person.
12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "put away from yourselves the evil person" NKJV
Many local assemblies of the church today have chosen to be led by men who have studied and have much 'natural' knowledge about God....rather than by 'spiritual' men who have walked with Him and demonstrated the reality of Christ in their lives over extended periods. The bible teaches that only ELDERS of proven credentials are to be appointed to LEAD the church and not novices. (even if they have degrees in theology)
The word used for elder in the scriptures specifically refers to one who is OLDER...not a young person no matter how well 'qualified'
1 Tim 3:1-7
This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.
2 A bishop then must be blameless, (ie he must have been TESTED over an extended period first)
the husband of one wife, (ie he must not be a youngster or someone still looking for a wife...presenting a risk of moral failure)
temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior,
hospitable, (ie he must be working and earning enough to not only support himself but OTHERS also...as per Paul's example)
able to teach; (this does not require a degree...unless we are to assume that the simple apostles did not really know the gospel?)
3 not given to wine,
not greedy for money, but gentle, (ie he must not try to extract money from God's children by manipulation...especially the poor and widows)
not covetous; (ie he must know that the leadership and ministry is NOT to be a paid position where he will be a burden on the church - I Tim 5:16)
4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (ie instead of teaching theory from a pulpit, he will have demonstrated credentials in LIFE even before his own family)
5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); (ie leaderships is about TAKING CARE of people...not ruling over them John 21:15-17, I Peter 5:1-3)
6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.
7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. NKJV
1 Tim 5:22
22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily
1 Tim 5:22
22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily
1 Tim 5:22
22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily
Having met the criteria for leadership in the Church is to be something a proposed elder is to HAVE demonstrated through his LIFE in the support of his own family and the care of others in the community....all done in total INTEGRITY such that they are held in high regard by the community as a whole rather than just within the 'church'. Much of the church leadership today is held in contempt by many in the world today because of its moral failure and its covetousness...ie greed for other peoples money. (ie 'they are just after your money').
This is why Paul instructs...
1 Tim 5:22
22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily NKJV
To take a young man who has obtained a ministry qualification and appoint him as 'pastor' is to expose him ...and the whole assembley ...to ungodly leadership.
This young man will find himself with debt from studying of up to $100,000 (in the USA) .. and will regard himself as a learned professional entitled to be PAID ...and that payment commensurate with other professional occupations. Jesus however said ministers were to be SERVANTS of the church....slaves who give themselves FREELY.
This young man ... because he is a highly qualified professional ... will now deem himself to be ABOVE serving people by washing their feet. He will now appoint others to handle the menial tasks (the same ones that Jesus did)
This young man will be looking for some organization to pay his bills....and when a wife is found she too will be a force seeking support and good income so that the church can support their whole family. (She will suddenly also be appointed to be a 'co-pastor' and the kids too will be appointed to office or other 'ministries' such as 'youth pastors' which will eventually entitle them to remuneration)
This young man will grow up looking to provide a future for his kids...and will aspire to 'hand the ministry over to his son' ...who too will be a novice and not qualified to lead! This exposes the church to generational NEPOTISM (clearly rampant in many areas in the USA, Australia and Africa)
Jesus ruled by SERVING... the vast majority of so-called pastors today prefer to believe they are as 'teachers of the word, to be honoured ...and thereby they end up LORDING IT OVER the church
25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." NKJV
"Pastor'....what part of IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU can you not understand?
Elders who have succeeded in life and demonstrated an honest work ethic, do NOT take money from the poor...they CARE for them
Elders who have raised their families CARE for people, they do NOT EXPLOIT them...and they are never a burden to the church
Elders who are held in high regard are those who are able to provide for themselves...proven by the fact that this is what they have always done and gone beyond ...including caring for others and being hospitable
Elders of demonstrated integrity do not preach financially CORRUPT doctrines to extort money from God's childen..they SILENCE heretics!
Elders who are proven to have raised their families to serve God very seldom fail MORALLY. Young men without demonstrated morality often do as they are more concerned about satisfying their own desires...than they are concerned about bringing the church of God into disrepute
Elders in the church live with a sense of awareness of their own imminent appointment to meet Christ (at death)....youngsters think this will never happen because it is so far away
Elders live humbly knowing their own failures and weakneses...youngsters in pride think they are God's gift to the world and that they will never fail
Pastors who appoint their own select group of peers to whom they claim to be accountable, are NOT ACCOUNTABLE....they certainly are NOT SERVANTS. The first who decided not to submit to all his fellow elders was Diotophes...who loves to be 'first' - 3 John 9
KJ Connor, who wrote the book "The church in the New Testament" on which 1000's of churches around the world today are modeled, writes that he was astounded to discover that the New Testament scriptures know nothing of a single pastor lead church.....contrary to the present structure under which a large majority of pentecostal and evangelical and charismatic 'churches' in the world today operate (Chapt 25 item 1)
Yet EVERY believer knows that ministry is supposed to SERVE as Christ did....to wash feet rather than to demand submission...or payment.
And EVERY believer knows that all believers are equal as BRETHREN...and that we are to serve and love one another.
And yet somehow this message appears to not have a large number of 'learned and anointed pastors' who because of their twisted interpretation of Hebrews 13:17 believe the church is to SUBMIT to their authority
... and that other elders do not speak out against this abuse? (Refer indepth article on link below)
So why is money the focus in so much of the church today?
It is because 'pastors' have degrees along with debts of up to $100k to cover the repayments on and they therefore believe they should be paid to minister because they are 'professionals' ...contrary to Jesus commands...and the example of New Testament leaders and apostles such as Paul
Pastors should ONLY be appointed if they are ELDERS...those who can already support THEMSELVES and others .. rather than appointing youngsters physically capable of working ...but corrupted by the desire or need for financial support
Pastors should NOT have debts for their degrees in "Theology"....it is ungodly to be in personal debt. They should have learned how to walk with God in their lives...through trials and tribulation....not by theory and doctrine. The gospel is a SIMPLE message (2 Cor 11:3-4)
7 The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower is servant to the lender. NKJV ...
Note the borrower is servant to the BANK....wearing two hats as he 'serves God' ...that is why the scripture says
13 "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon" KJV
Owe no one anything except to love one another, NKJV
Pastors should have already RAISED their families to serve God....and have real knowledge about life and its challenges...and rather than demanding money from people they should be GIVERS (2 Cor 12:14)
Pastors should be able to WALK before the church in their lifes journey...to SHOW them how to walk with God through the trials and challenges of life.
Do not stand up on an 'altar' or behind a 'pulpit' and lecture the body...SHOW US HOW TO DO IT!
So why is it such a bad thing to have 'professional qualified ministers'?
Simply because it makes God's church a place of business.....
one which employs staff ...when Jesus said "FREELY you have received FREELY give" and this is no longer possible
one which needs an almost endless supply of money to feed the machine ...when God's kingdom is NOT of this world
one where money has become more important than the people it burns up and spits out ...rather than cherishing the one lost sheep
one where numbers are most important and entertainment has become the way to get them .. rather than the gospel preached in TRUTH
one where greed rules over love ...ie Churches spend more for salaries and premises then they give to the poor and missionaries
one which focuses on building big organizations ...rather than training up all to be ministers and evangelists and ELDERS in their time
one which seeks to restrict the ministry of the saints to being pew warmers and ushers and greeters...whose primary obligation is to PAY and OBEY
one where musicians seek to build up careers so they can sell records...rather than help people to have a song of praise in their hearts 24/7
one where ministry is sold via books and DVDs .... ie that which God gives freely is no longer freely given away
Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who sold merchandise (tapes and books and coffee), and the money changers doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, (the church building), and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables (where pledges and offering forms where handed out for missions and building and tithes and special offering). 16 And He said to those who sold (that which should have been FREELY given), "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!" (NT church version)
What is far worse than just being a place of business ....it has also become a DEN OF THIEVES ... peddling every kind of deception to raise funds
13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves. KJV
How else do we explain the following deceptions?
- Storehouse money tithing
- Love offerings to paid ministers
- Sacrificial giving for buildings programmes rather than for feeding the poor
- 'Honoring the profit'
- First fruits offerings
- Pursuing the widows mite
Whatever happened to the ELDERS who God ordained should be appointed to LEAD and PROTECT His church from HERESY?
"It is hard to see the TRUTH when your very livelihood depends on NOT seeing it"