Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What Are Preachers Thinking?

There is something odd and confusing happening within the professed church today. Those who are called "preachers," "ministers" or "pastors" are working in a manner completely foreign to the Scriptures.

We must begin with the Bible. Only three books in the New Testament are specifically directed to "ministers" ... 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. A quick perusal of the text gives us insight into their expected function. They were to instruct the elders not to teach strange doctrine (1 Timothy 1:3). They were to help guide worship by defining proper roles and identifying proper leadership (1 Timothy 2-3; Titus 1:1-9). They were to teach and live sound doctrine, and warn against those who would stray from the truth (1 Timothy 4; Titus 1:10-16). They were to actively and authoritatively involve themselves in the wise direction of members and leaders alike (1 Timothy 5; Titus 2-3). They were to separate themselves from sin and urge a focus on the spiritual rather than the physical (1 Timothy 6). They were to retain "the standard of sound words" (2 Timothy 1:13). They were to take what they learned from the apostles, and teach it to those who would be able to pass it along in the same manner to others (2 Timothy 2:2). They were to accurately handle "the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). They were to stand firm and preach the truth of God's word, knowing that so many will not (2 Timothy 3-4).

But when I look at the modern "professional minister," I see a completely different picture. I see those who are following the lead of untrained elders rather than leading the leaders. I hear more quotations from the wisdom of men - more humor, more entertainment - than the distribution of God's word. The sermons of the day seem more the product of commentaries and the internet than of the holy Scriptures. I see those who are afraid to speak out against sin in the lives of the flock, fearing the loss of their employment.

What are preachers thinking? Why are they more concerned with pleasing "itching ears" (2 TImothy 4:3) than their "commanding officer" (2 Timothy 2:4)? Do they not believe that God will provide for them? I listen to the men who have been "hired" by the churches and wonder why they are not "ashamed" of their mishandling of the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). In many cases it isn't that they mishandle it ... they just don't handle it at all!

We have been clearly warned that "difficult times will come" (2 Timothy 3:1). Such days are upon us. We don't need men who pander to the majority - only "holding to a form of godliness" (2 Timothy 3:5) - but those who are "holding fast the faithful word" (Titus 1:8), who have been called "with a holy calling" (2 Timothy 1:9).

The vote of a congregation means nothing before the Lord. It is not the sheep who are to be directing the shepherds. Neither is the "authority" of overseers recognized by the Lord when such men are untrained and unrestrained. They expect the submission of members and ministers when they themselves will not submit to the One with "all authority" (Matthew 28:18). Where is the holy and righteous minister who will "teach and preach these principles" (1 Timothy 6:2) ... the Lord's principles? Why would you ever acquiesce to "anyone [who] advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words" (1 Timothy 6:3)? Just because a person calls themselves a church member does not make them one. The Lord is the only One capable of adding someone to the church (Acts 2:47). And just because a congregation has elected elders does not make them overseers of Christ's church. It is God who gives some as "pastors and teachers" (Ephesians 4:11).

To those who minister, I urge you to be "faithful men" (2 Timothy 2:2) - not to your earthly employer, but your heavenly Father. “The Lord knows those who are His" (2 Timothy 2:19), but that's not enough. The world needs to know "those who are His." The church certainly needs to see it. "The sins of some men are quite evident" (1 Timothy 5:24). Unfortunately, the evidence in the modern church is pointing to preachers who are not preaching sound doctrine and ministers who are not ministering "without stain or reproach" (1 Timothy 6:14) before the Lord.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.