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Where Have All the True Pastors Gone?
Pastors, Tithing, Acceptance Disorder = PATD
I have befriended many people on the social networks for the purpose of getting a pulse of both Christian and anti-Christ views being strewn across the media. I also read "religious" specific articles posted here on hubpages.com with much the same intent. From both sources there are several that really standout and those are the messages that convey a deep concern over the lethargy and questionable doctrines found within today's churches.
I understand why social media and blog sites are so popular, for should anyone broach one these "sacred" institutions within their local assembly, at best they would just be considered a little weird and in many cases would deemed a heretic or a sower of discord among the brethren; and more likely be shown the door. The danger within the social media is that it is out there for the world to view, including church "dons" who are of a persuasion to protect their flock from such beasts as you or I. Even when using a site such as hubpages.com, it is often best to limit fellow church goers access to the knowledge of your blog site. I have found though, that through this media, I can reach many more that have actual ears to hear and those who which actually think about the message, which includes those who may disagree. Remember, if you are not teachable, you have NO right to be a teacher.
So why now? I have been brewing over this subject for many moons and after just returning from my 50th high school reunion, I have decided I am too old not to be outspoken in these perilous last days for my days are numbered and I want to make them count.
Where Has the Truth Gone?
Part I - PASTOR - From Where Did This Office Come?
There is NO such office within the body of Christ, for the role of pastor is a gift to the Church for the equipping the Saints to do the work of the Gospel (Ephesians 4:11-12). You only find the term "pastor(s)" used in the KJV in Jeremiah and in the Ephesian passage. Out of the chute in Jeremiah 2:8, priests are delineated from pastors and then begins a long diatribe against the pastors by God.
- 2:8 They have sinned against Him
- 10:21 They have become brutish. Once I, along with my wife and several other concerned members of a local church sat down with the "pastors" over a book that had been introduced as suggested reading and a class set up to teach its' principles. In short we told to shut up and just obey our leadership. Many us left that fellowship and as 10:21 warns, they were in the middle a church building program the head pastor had a nervous breakdown and they have become a cold typical American religious club.
- 12:10 They have destroyed His vineyard (not theirs, but don't tell them that)
- 22:22 The wind (the latest trends and popular teachings) shall eat up our pastors and their lovers (those who follow the man rather than Jesus) shall be confounded
- 23:1-2 God will NOT let them (pastors) go unpunished
Does any of this have a familiar ring to it? There truly is nothing new under the sun.
Who were these "pastors" of Jeremiah's day? They were the highly esteemed Rabbis and teachers of the Law to whom the people leaned heavily upon to learn of God and His ways. By the time Jesus came along, the people depended almost solely up their interpretations and the traditions that became as weighty as the Word itself. You don't have to read Matthew 23 too many times to realize that God despised the religious leadership and their crime against Him and His people. Why don't you hear James 3:1 being preached today from our pulpits in its full depth and meaning? Because, it only applies to the "non-professional" teachers and if you believe that, I have some swampland for sale, really cheap.
How did we "evolve" into today's church structure?
Enter the cemeteries, oops, I mean the seminaries. How careless of me. Once upon a time, men felt moved to bring the Word to the lost and to fledgling assemblies in need of healthy instruction in righteousness. Seminaries were born out of the need to educate these young men and during the Civil War and after, America saw a great revival and the seminaries blossomed. Soon these "sacred" halls became inhabited by the "highly esteemed" teachers who looked forward to many years of cultivating men's minds to their personal doctrines rather than teaching them to think and judge for themselves. Seminaries are NOT without cost and as the education system in America went through a great transition in the 1800's to 1900's, the seminaries needed more fresh blood to fill all these positions that would be needed for the growing "church". Think about it, today we encourage teenagers to go to bible school and then seminary for the "profession" of pastor is an honorable one. So we take young men who have almost NO experience in life, that are so easy to persuade (indoctrinate), and voila, you have an assembly line produced, professional holy man, ready for his first position. Oh, by the way, they still have almost NO experience in life, but they have the answers for every need or so they think. I wonder why 1 Timothy 3:6 warns us not to call one to any leadership role who is a novice (newly instructed). Pride is this person's number one enemy; look around and what do you see, prideful men everywhere walking in the light of their own positions, and mocking those who are untrained in their own eyes.
A dear pastor friend of mine, yes he is a pastor, once told me that seminary was almost the death of his Christianity. He had a big advantage going for him though, Christ called him first as a child of the King, and secondly when he was well experienced in life and was working as a linebacker coach for a school in Texas. I could only imagine he would have made one nasty linebacker, but now he is one of the finest expositors of the Word, in its entirety, that I have ever heard. He also believes that a "pastor" should NOT be a paid position; then he only has to answer to God.
A few questions;
- Do you know any pastors that feel they have to do all the work or at least hire more pastors, for truly the people are so untrained?
- Why do we make sure the "pastoral" staff knows no economic hardship when many of the laity are suffering?
- Have you seen members become lazy and apathetic, because that is why they hired the pastors to do all the work in the first place?
- Do you ever feel the pastor is more concerned about the lost within the sound of his voice than he is in the exposition of the Word?
When A Man Is Called, He Expects To See GOD Work!
We Need to Look Within Ourselves First.
We Have Lost The Meaning of a Pastor.
What a breed of men those circuit riders must have been, and whether you want to believe it or not, there is a fairly good chance that you are an offspring of the godly teaching and preaching of one of these men. A man with the gift of being a pastor does not necessarily mean that he is an elder or deacon of the local congregation, for his gift necessitates the gift of teaching, whereas an elder must be able to teach as one who labors in the Word and doctrine. There is a difference, for many have an ability to teach but one with the gift from the Holy Spirit of teaching, will always impact their born-again hearers hearts. Some times favorably and many times are very unappreciated. We are a stubborn lot.
In today's church society, the idea of one being a pastor can only mean that he is a graduate of an accredited institution, for without the required "sheepskin", one cannot really be a pastor. I was a pastor of a small congregation and when one finds out that I did NOT graduate from a seminary, almost every time I am looked down upon as being something other than legitimate. I have known too many "pastors" who were and are not a gift to the Church but are an executive of a 501(C)3 non-profit business.
Many times the old circuit riders faced hunger and privation, but when they came to a place that desperately needed the Gospel, those who came out to hear their messages NEVER went away hungry for the lack of the Word. Sadly what I have noticed in my local assembly is the massive illiteracy of the flock, though the hunger they possess readily manifests itself when in small group settings, for they are starving for the meat of the Word. So many pastors are more concerned with new converts than they are with those they supposedly have been called to serve. Have you ever noticed; shepherds do not make lambs, sheep make lambs and HEALTHY sheep make HEALTHY lambs. Then we wonder why so many young people when they leave home for college or career, drop out of the church scene altogether. Maybe, they are really smarter than we think.
Do not be quick to judge your pastor.
It is the people that put them on a pedestal, but they are no different from anyone of us, except that have taken a path for which they will held more accountable. Even that path was more than likely a result of pressures early in their school years from church leadership, family and even the desire to become the all-in-all for a future congregation with all the benefits and esteem that we have built up the position by our laziness. Remember, a very young and impressionable teenager was whisked away to hallowed halls and then programmed (brainwashed) to become what fills our pulpits. We then in large part have laid aside our gifts and placed them upon shoulders of the pastoral staff. Every individual will answer for themselves and no blame for our shortcomings will ever come out of our mouths when we, the Bride are made clean without spot. In saying that, we (I) have shirked our responsibility towards the leadership for the last 100 years or so, the problem will not go away upon its own. The coming persecution and the shaking of the Church is the only way this problem is going to get fixed in our lifetime and I may live to see it. Remember, probably around 90% of the worldwide church does not have paid pastors or leadership and revival is occurring all over this globe.