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Danger Signs That Your Pastor Is Not Following Christ

Updated on February 7, 2020
Cheryl E Preston profile image

Cheryl is licensed/ordained and founder of two outreach ministries. Her passion is to expose false doctrines that lead away from Christ.

Narrow passageway
Narrow passageway | Source

The narrow path

When I was growing up attending a Baptist church, Christianity could be easily defined. Most every believer I knew, stuck to what Christ said in Matthew 7:14, KJV "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Preachers then spoke on the importance of believing that Christ was born of a virgin, crucified, rose on the third day and will come again. When you believed and confessed this you were baptized and later the entire church would shake your hand, which is called giving the right hand of fellowship. You then found your place in the church and served, while living your Christian life outside the building. This was the straight and narrow way to eternal life. Today, however, increasing numbers of preachers are living out the latter part of Matthew 7:13, "For wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat,"

Focus completely on Christ

If you have ever attended or watched a Billy Graham crusade on television, you know that he ended every service the same way. He invited people to come down the aisle if they had made the choice to give their lives to Jesus. Not once in more than six decades did this message change. He never asked anyone to follow him or attend his church. I, however, had the misfortune to be part of a congregation where the pastor started off echoing the gospel preached by Billy Graham but later began saying something different. He stopped asking if there were anyone in the audience who wanted to give their life to Christ. He began asking each week if there was one in the building who needed a pastor, a man, a shepherd to cover them spiritually, or a congregation to connect with and a church building to attend. The focus became the man and the building instead of a personal relationship with the Savior.

Elevating the pastor over Christ
Elevating the pastor over Christ | Source

Vision of the Visionary

Many Christians have recently been expressing concern regarding the teachings of Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church. While most Christian congregations have children's literature with Christ or Biblical characters on the cover, Elevation has a coloring book with Furtick on the front. The caption says the ministry is united under the vision that God gave the visionary. This is a popular statement in Full Gospel and Word of Faith denominations. Parishioners are told that the pastor has been given the vision from the Lord and he must be obeyed. I was once in a church where the first lady stated that if we did not believe her husband heard from God, to leave the church. In these ministries, there is no reasoning together or voting. The pastor makes all major decisions and everyone complies. Trustees, Deacons, and executive councils are merely figureheads with no say so.

A point came in this church where Sunday school was discontinued and Christian education took its place. When my youngest son was nine, he came to me complaining that they were no longer learning about Jesus as they did in Sunday school. He said Christian education was about the rules and regulations of this particular church, the importance of tithing and obeying the pastor who was the visionary. When I shared this with a good friend she said her son had told her the same thing. It's true that a pastor must have a vision for his ministry, but this should not replace teaching about the life of Christ.

Following the leader away from Christ

In the Disney cartoon Peter Pan, there is a segment where the lost boys sing a song. The lyrics are: "Following the leader, the leader, the leader, following the leader wherever he may go". "We're off to chase the Injuns the Injuns, the injuns, we're off to chase the Injuns because he told us so." I was once in a church leadership meeting where a single female minister stood up and said that she would suck up to the (married)pastor and leave town with him (if he left the church )and follow him wherever he went. Blindly obeying a spiritual leader who is no longer hearing from the Holy Spirit brings trouble. If your church tells you to obey every command from your pastor.

This is how many women end up in adulterous relationships with their spiritual leader, they believe obeying him is equal to always obey their Heavenly Father. Spiritual leaders in Christian churches are always to point the congregation to Christ and not themselves because it can get out of hand as it did with Texas "prophet" Joshua Holmes. According to an article in The Christian Post, there are women who say that this man Jesus in the flesh.

Discarding Christ
Discarding Christ | Source

Discarding Christ for other agenda's

A number of years ago, a local pastor gave an interview with a newspaper where he said that for three months his church was going to teach about Dr. Martin Luther King in Sunday School. I was so enraged I wrote a letter to the editor of the paper which was published. I stated my opinion that there is a time and place for Dr. King but he did not die for anyone's sins and in the house of the Lord the Bible is supposed to be taught.

To this day people are angry with me because they perceived that I came against a beloved leader. In my opinion, the beloved leader missed the mark regarding the purpose of the church. Look at it this way, what if you went to the dentist and he began giving you a pedicure or your OBGYN decided to perm your hair. You would probably run and never look back, but in the Christian church, preachers can teach anything they like and congregants will accept it.

Broad pathway
Broad pathway | Source

False doctrines broaden the path

There are many churches today where you will not hear a sermon on repenting for sins and giving your life to Christ. A lot of preachers today are nothing more than self-help guru's teaching health, wealth, and positive thinking so be careful what you hear. To sum this up, if you attend an alleged Christian church, the focus should always be Christ-centered. When you are being taught on a regular basis how to serve and please your pastor, in place of the gospel of Christ this is a red flag. If your children are being taught how to tithe, and obey the church rules, instead of being led to Jesus, this is false doctrine.

If you are being presented with teachings that are not in the Bible you are no longer in a Bible-based church. Any message from the pulpit, or literature you are given that strays from the narrow path of salvation through Christ is making the way broad and leading to destruction. Cult leader Jim Jones stomped on the Bible and told his mostly black congregation that the "black book" had held them down for generations. I listened to Apostle Fred K.C. Price preaching once and he said he was in this service and walked out. Apostle Price recognized false doctrine and is living today. 900 people decided to follow Jones even though he went against the word of God and they all died.

Comments

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    • Cheryl E Preston profile imageAUTHOR

      Cheryl E Preston 

      2 years ago from Roanoke

      Yes they hey do

    • revmjm profile image

      Margaret Minnicks 

      2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Good article, Cheryl. I see you have two great commenters: Tim Truzy and Tony Muse. I am often inspired by their comments. They usually add interesting thoughts to the articles they read.

    • Cheryl E Preston profile imageAUTHOR

      Cheryl E Preston 

      2 years ago from Roanoke

      Thanks

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      2 years ago from U.S.A.

      excellent article. However, you may want to fix this line:

      "replace teaching about the lie of Christ."

      Dr. King exemplified love and sought to do things through nonviolence. In that regard, in Sunday school, mentioning the Civil Rights leader, who was a Christian, is not inappropriate in a time when children need to know about positive role models of today. They get exposure to negative ones consistently. Yet, the pastor should be focused on Christ and stay away from self-glorification. Thanks. Tim

    • Tony Muse profile image

      Tony Muse 

      2 years ago from Texas, USA

      Well-written. Christ should ALWAYS be the focus from the pulpit. Anything else only leads to cults.

      Blessings!

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