The public exposure of gross sin among church leaders is all too common, and often church members discover later that their more egregious faults began even before they entered the ministry. Even worse are the committees that select men for the ministry despite knowing of their proclivities, and the apologists who work to restore errant pastors and preachers to the ministry as quickly as possible.
These situations develop when church officials and ministry boards ignore the clear teachings of the New Testament on church government. The desire to recruit preachers and prophets who draw crowds may be understandable, but eloquence and sex appeal are no substitutes for sound teaching and holy conduct.
|[Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash]
In the rush to place charismatic speakers and popular individuals in the pulpit, cooler heads do not always prevail, and doing one’s DUE DILIGENCE in the search for church leaders becomes an inconvenient irritant discarded for the sake of church growth and income. Such practices demonstrate disrespect for the Word of God.
However, Paul wrote that the “overseer MUST BE WITHOUT REPROACH, the husband of one wife, temperate,” and so on, and that he must be above reproach BOTH in the church AND the surrounding non-believing community.
This is not difficult to understand. One does not take a man with a track record of sexual sins and financial improprieties and put him over God’s flock or in charge of the bank account.
Church elders do not need the gift of discernment or insights received from an angelic visitation to understand this straightforward principle. Just read the PLAIN TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. - (1 Timothy 3:1-7).
Too often Scripture is pushed aside or explained away, including unambiguous passages. For example, Jesus declared that no one except the Father ALONE knows the day, hour, or “season” of His Son’s return. Clearly, the only exception to the rule is God Himself, yet many prophecy preachers presume to have that information – (Mark 13:33, Acts 1:6-9).
How many times has a preacher or prophecy “expert” claimed, “We cannot know the precise day or hour, but Jesus did not say we could not know the general season”? Yet, Jesus said exactly that, “Take heed, watch, and pray, for you know not when the SEASON (‘kairos’) is”! Scorn the declarations of the Son of Man at your peril.
Despite Christ’s clear warnings, one popular “prophet” claimed that “Jesus didn’t say the last generation would not know” the timing of that event, a conclusion based on false logic, arguing from what the Lord did not say. Of course, this “prophet” and pastor also assumed that he is part of the “last generation” by making this statement and therefore knows this information, an exercise in circular reasoning.
SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCES OR SCRIPTURE?
Unfortunately, Sledgehammer Hermeneutics has become the modus operandi for interpreting passages perceived to be related to the Last Days and the return of Jesus. If one pounds the round hard and often enough, it will eventually “fit” the square hole.
Examples can easily be multiplied. One reason why many church leaders deviate from scriptural norms and instructions is that they ignore or even reject clear passages and sound principles of interpretation in the pursuit of deeper and highly subjective “spiritual” experiences.
In his Letter to the Galatians, Paul instructed the Assembly that if anyone proclaimed a gospel other than what they had received from him in the past, including even an “angel from heaven,” “LET HIM BE ACCURSED!” Strong words, especially since Paul was asking God to doom the offending individual to destruction.
|[Photo by Kacper Staszczyk on Unsplash]
Sadly, the practice is to push Scripture aside whenever it inconveniences someone’s vision or revival plans. However, the consequences of ignoring and even disrespecting Scripture are never good. Doing so is an act of self-destruction.
The scriptural warning about reaping what you sow applies here, too, and relying on dreams and messages from angels for spiritual insight is no substitute for the careful study of the written Word of God.
Unfortunately, far too often reliance on the New Testament for truth and guidance is replaced by subjective, mystical, and emotional experiences. However, by ignoring His Word for any reason, we scorn it and thereby disrespect Him.
- Distributions of the Spirit - (The word of salvation was confirmed by signs, wonders and distributions of the gifts of the Spirit)
- The Assembly of God - (The Christian use of the term church or ekklésia is derived from the assembly of Yahweh gathered for worship in the Hebrew Bible)
- Spiritual Power - (The power and wisdom of God are revealed in the proclamation of the Messiah who was crucified by the Roman Empire)