Beware of the 5th Column Within.
A Perfect Answer for Today's Christian Parents?
Wisdom & Experience No Longer Seem to Matter.
Wisdom is Now a Secondary Issue!
Probably the most notable change within our congregations over the last 40 to 50 years is the advent of a massive youth movement. This resulted in the requirement for professional youth pastors; trained for the new, up-to-date version of the American church. Where in the world would this idea have originated? It is surely contrary to the Word and is evidenced by the dismal state we see within our local congregations, for example:
- Per 1 Timothy 3:6-7, a leader within the local body is not to be a novice (Gr. neophutos - newly instructed), "..lest he become lifted up with pride...moreover he must have a good report of them which are without, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." It takes time and experience to qualify, for one must interact with the unbelieving segment of our society on more than an occasional basis to be known of them and of good report.
- Per Titus 2:1-6, it is the older men who are to exhort the younger men and the aged women are to teach the younger women to love their husbands and their children. Ever notice how the older people of the church have been isolated away from the main congregation and have almost no input into lives other than their own age group? It has become the inexperienced youth teaching our children how to behave in an acceptable way with the world that they may better reach others for Christ. Now how is that playing out these days? Let's see: 1) immodestly in dress and language is in the toilet; 2) out of wedlock pregnancies by children of Christian homes has soared; 3) a very high percentage of the youth abandoning any meaningful fellowship with other believers and 4) leaving behind fractured and hurting parents, families and friends.
Why is it that the two books of Timothy and that of Titus, which are known as the pastoral epistles, are seldom preached from the pulpit and so often totally ignored? If it was only a few churches that had adopted this youth movement style it would be of little concern but it has infested most every congregation in America. To answer the question: if one was really to study, teach and apply these three small epistles within their own congregations: 1) it would be contrary to that which most every bible college and seminary in this country has instilled into their professional leadership training disciplines and 2) not many want to study too deeply for then they would have to make actual life-changing decisions as to Church-life. We do have evidence that demands a verdict:
- We invite all the unsaved young people we can muster to join our precious, Christian value raised children to have personal fellowship on a regular basis. The logic (man's) that they being exposed to Christian surroundings will convict them of their sin. God's Word on the other hand states in 1 Corinthians 15:33 - "Do not be deceived - bad company corrupts good morals." In all my life I have never seen a clean person walk through a mud puddle and the mud puddle was cleaner for the effort.
- What ever happened to 2 Corinthians 6:17 - "...come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord..."? Our thoughts and ways are very contrary to God's way.
No matter how unsuccessful the efforts are, they keep trying to adapt more and more of the latest, hottest gimmicks to attract the unsaved, convince our youth that this is the way; all the while trying to assure the parents, that the leadership knows best.
Remember, the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions!
Learning In A Controlled Environment.
A Pastor Is NOT A Man For All Seasons!
I Pray It Is Not Too Late!
The Church Has Become Nothing More Than a 501(c)3 Corporation.
Think about this for a second: we send our very young and very inexperienced sons away to be trained in the disciplines of being a pastor one day. Day one: who do they come upon? Usually much older men that seem wise beyond their imaginations and ready to shape their lives for a future as a professional holy man. They stare in awe of such gained intelligence and like every other person in the world they will be drawn to many of those with whom they will submit their youthful energy to copy such a role model. Here lies the problem:
- Do you really know the beliefs of their professors and if their values do meet that which you personally sought to instill in your own child?
- Do you believe that after 4 or so years of fairly isolated and intense training, that the core values you hold were being upheld and faithfully strengthened by those now educating them?
If so, I have some waterfront property for sale outside of Las Vegas I would like to sell to you at a very reasonable price. My own personal experience with a professor of a very prestigious seminary was that he was too intellectual of a pastor to let his talents be used on something so mundane as a small congregation. No need for the story but I would do everything in my power to help my child circumvent ever being in any class taught by that individual. Yet, every year dozens or more sit under his teachings, some of which are questionable at best.
Now imagine this: hundreds if not thousands of inexperienced young men being unleashed upon the church world every year with certain values instilled as to their vision of the perfect church; such as:
- You are the professional, you know best. The direction of the church must meet your criteria and you should have the last word on any subject.
- Remember, you have been trained in the languages and in preaching/teaching disciplines; your flock has not. Make sure you keep the distinction very clear.
- To succeed you must seek the largest untapped market, youth. Adapt your music, your mode of dress, your messages and the congregational events to target this group.
- Choose your non-trained leadership well, to accept your direction and to support you in your endeavor.
- You are the only trained counselor and true teacher of the Word, so adapt your age group bible studies, if any, to use appropriate extra-biblical resources that you espouse.
- Whatever may transpire, do not be afraid to ask someone who questions your positions or doctrines to either get in line with the program or quietly leave so as to not disturb the rest of the fellowship.
Those sitting in the pews do not get a pass on this issue.
We seemingly and blindly follow, leaving all the doctrinal issues, counseling and discipline up to the pastor or pastoral staff. We have created for ourselves an atmosphere of sheep who follow a goat with a bell hung around its neck. We can't counsel, we haven't been trained; we don't want to get mixed up with any discipline issues; the pastor needs to visit all the infirmed, the dying and those with marriage or serious family issues. Listen, we show up on Saturday, Sunday or whenever, we have done our part; pastor you do your part.
Do you realize how many gifts God has given the members of any one assembly? Why do they lie greatly dormant? It is because, we like frogs have been slowly boiled over the years and we have become largely spectators versus participants. It appears to me in these last days there is a stirring of an awakening with the Church of God. Pastors have two main responsibilities: feed the flock and to expose false doctrine. Pastor's are to be shepherds and I believe in the principle that shepherds do not make sheep; sheep make sheep. Feed the flock and you will have youth and oldsters coming to Christ because the sheep are healthy and producing fruit as our Lord ordained us from the beginning. Also in today's world of the internet and social media, heresy is rampant: why are the pulpits committed to limiting their preaching to kindergarten level Christianity but seemingly averse to addressing the heresies their members are drowning in as they search the new social media? James 3:1 - a day of accountability is coming.