I feel awful about some of the reported behavior of so-called Christians the past few weeks.
Here is just one example.
A total embarrassment, and hugely offensive.
Here is another, and I might take some heat for this one. I will post two links although I don’t think I need to. All I need to do for most is post the name: Creflo Dollar. SMH.
As for the first story, I won’t reiterate it since I posted the link. But there is no excusing the behavior of this “church”, right from its pastor down to the members of the congregation who had to be aware of this and allowed it to continue. The church is supposed to be hallowed ground, a holy place, and worldly practices have no place there. I had several issues with this story-of course the vast majority of the blame for this goes on the person who is the head of that church, but I also wondered why ANYONE would want to party inside a building that they know is a church???
Then I thought again. Not everyone thinks of a church as holy ground. And if the pastor of a church does not respect the church, why should anyone else?
Here is what I want people who are not Christians to understand. Just because someone claims to be a Christian does not mean they are a Christian. However, since it is not my job or anyone else’s (other than God) to determine if one is truly saved or not, I can also say that there are carnal Christians who see fit to mix worldly pleasures with the Word of God–typically for their own benefit or satisfaction. The Word and the World do not mix, but there are some Christians who try. Some people might be mislead–can you imagine how confused a babe in Christ might be if this person was their pastor? Others seek to abuse the grace of God. Some extort the principle that we are forgiven for our sins. Yes we are, but Christians are not supposed to willfully sin (see Hebrews 10:26, NIV: If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left).
In terms of pastors, not everyone who stands in a pulpit was truly called by God to lead a flock. It is my personal opinion that there are a) pastors who were truly called by God to be a pastor–and those who are called typically attempt to resist the call at first, knowing the huge responsibility it carries–until they can no longer resist anymore, b) those who were not called but were simply opportunists who use religion as a chance to fleece people and c) those who were called to be a pastor but allowed money to become their god (or some other idol).
Let us examine some passages of Scripture that discuss church leadership.
A few of my favorites:
Proverbs 27:23: “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds”…
That Scripture right there is why I love my home church and my pastor. Our church is not big at all. I can usually count the number of members in Sunday service. However, there is a major benefit to that. My pastor knows each and every member. He can (and does) have a relationship with each one of us. I have his home phone number and cell number in case of an emergency. Each time we have called him, particularly when a family member is in distress or dying, he is there. He knows about the goings-on of his members, and all of us as members know of each other. I am not sure how a pastor can know his flocks and give attention to his herds if he is the overseer of thousands of people or more than one church. Which is why you will not catch me at a mega church.
1 Peter 5:1-3: “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.“
Key part there, in my humble opinion, is “not for shameful gain”…
James 3:1: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”
Somewhere along the way, the pastors who go astray forget that they will be judged accordingly. If they lead the flock astray due to their actions or false teachings, they have blood on their hands.
First Timothy also tells us about those in positions of leadership. I remember my husband studying these verses as he was preparing to be a deacon.
1 Tim. 3:1-7: “Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”
Where do we begin with that one… does that passage even require any further discussion? In my personal opinion (humble as always), this is the measuring stick to which we should compare the pastors of the churches. If a pastor is falling short in any of these, perhaps he ought to re-examine his commitment to God.
I have no idea where either pastor in these articles stands, but what I am suggesting is that they see how they measure up against the standards presented in the Bible. I am also suggesting to nonbelievers that they please do not group us all into the same category and understand that just because someone claims a title does not mean they truly believe in it or live it. Further, I would like to say that just because someone is a Christian does not mean we never make mistakes! We are just as human as the next person and still subject to sin. However, we abide by the saying, “as a Christian, I am not sinless, but I do sin less”.