"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Friday, September 17, 2010

The "Cowardice" of Preachers: Lack of Openness and Transparency

As we saw from the last article here on the Watchdog, there is nothing more cowardly, in the view of many pastors, than for someone to blog or email anonymous criticism. Adjectives like "narcissitic zeros" and "pathetic" and "weak" are used by thin-skinned preachers to describe these "coward" critics.

OK, we got it. Anonymous criticism is the ultimate example of lay cowardice, say many preachers - even anonymous preachers like "Caleb" posting on my blog. In their world, that view apparently works for them. Everywhere else in society we do value feedback, even anonymous criticism - painful as it might be at times - from pupils and customers and employees. But not in the preacher's world. It is sin and must be rooted out.

But this begs the question: if anonymous criticism is the most prominent example of "cowardice" of lay folk - what then, pray tell, is the most prominent example of cowardice amongst mega church pastors and convention leaders in the SBC?

Easy. It is their lack of openness and transparency. Those pastors and leaders who can't be open and transparent with God's people are cowards. Both anonymous critics and non-transparent pastors and church leaders withold information for fear of the personal consequences resulting from its release. Perhaps these pastors and leaders don't trust God, and they don't trust God's people with important information, even to the detriment of their own church and ministries.

"SIGN YOUR NAME!!", screams Matt Chandler to the "pathetic anonymous cowards".

"BE TRANSPARENT!!", we lay people scream to the non-transparent pastors.

There is no shortage of examples of this "transparency cowardice", such as: closed-door agency meetings, sealing GCR deliberations for a decade, refusal to institute a Baptist clergy sexual abuser database and safe reporting and investigation system...and many others, some of which I've blogged about here.

But lack of financial transparency is one of the worst examples of this cowardice.

SBC pastors, especially those in the mega churches, are notorious for not telling people the details on how money is spent, especially when it comes to their compensation. Their total compensation is a closely guarded secret that only a few trusted men in their inner circle know. When pushed hard enough (by pesky reporters), they will only declare what they DON'T earn, or compare themselves with the average of other like pastors, or say things like "I don't make as much as you think I make"...but never, ever, ever, do they tell their church members their total compensation.

Often these same non-transparent pastors love to ask for money, and special offerings, and use the "tithing" doctrine to guilt folks into giving a minimum of 10% of their gross income, undesignated, to their church - else they're "robbing God" and stopping God's blessings, and incurring more frequent car repairs and doctor visits. The non-transparent pastors love to ask for dough, but not so much do they like to explain how it all is spent.

The sad thing is the lack of financial transparency at local church level and within our agencies ultimately hurts the institutions. It might help the leadership maintain a higher compensation package and lifestyle, but it ultimately hurts the institution's revenue sources. Transparency breeds accountability, accountabily leads to trust, and trust will allow more people to give knowing their dollars are used wisely.

Homer Lindsay, Sr. of First Baptist Jacksonville had a saying that many of the modern-day Baptist big-wigs ought to heed. Lindsay used to say:

"Trust the Lord, and tell the people."

Unfortunately today the saying seems to be: "Trust the Preacher, and don't tell the giving units".

I believe the cowardice of non-transparent preachers and church leaders is a much bigger problem than the cowardice of anonymous critics.

And our churches and the convention are paying the price.

53 comments:

Lydia said...

"Everywhere else in society we do value feedback, even anonymous criticism - painful as it might be at times - from pupils and customers and employees. But not in the preacher's world. It is sin and must be rooted out."

Excellent point! Many corporations have implemented a form of 360 degree feedback loops. These thin skinned pastors would not last 5 minutes in such an environment! It is ALL anonymous and those under you are evaluating their leadership...anonymously!

In this environment, it is not considered a sin at all. As a matter of fact, it helps to keep leadership accountable. Everyone knows that power corrupts over time...I sure hope Caleb does not learn that the hard way since he seems to covet power and authority over others in the Body so much.

Dr Who said...

WD,

My friend Doug said this several years ago concerning a pastor he exposed in a website statement and your post reminded me of what he said then.....

"Church Leadership has not revealed to the church body the facts as they are known related to the events in this resignation situation. There have been numerous meetings where facts have been shared with various leaders of the church body, but not to the general church membership."

They chose who they allow on the "Inside" very carefully. "Inside" information to a Preacher is thought of as "Biblical" to these men.

But man do these guys have much to hide. I guess those within the Baptist Mafia do follow their disciples well.

O know for a fact that after some deacons meeting are ended this statement is used

" Remember, what was said between these walls stays here, -- or else"

The "or else" is what scares many men!

And then there is........"the Rest of the Story"

Anonymous said...

Point of disagreement!

The greatest cowardice is the failure that MOST of the pastors of OUR DAY fail to truly proclaim the Gospel of God's gift of salvation through Jesus Christ Alone, by Faith Alone though Grace Alone! This is especially true in Mega Churches Examples include: Rick Warren, Andy Stanley TD Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Jesse Duplantis, Benny Henn, the TBN Crowd, and Joel Osteen.

By choosing to avoid topics like Repentance, Hell, and Sin, (while promoting everything but these) they totally castrate the Gospel into Classical Liberalism IE FOGBOM-the Fatherhood of God, and the Brotherhood of Man through their ignorance/neglect of the Gospel Message.

Their 2nd greatest failure is in regards to Openness and Transparency especially in finances and in moral failure.

With that,

I am

Bill Mercer

Romans 5:1

Anonymous said...

BTW, keep up the good work WD!!


Bill

Romans 6:23

Caleb said...

Sigh...Here we go again.

Anonymous said...

Lydia said:
"Excellent point! Many corporations have implemented a form of 360 degree feedback loops. These thin skinned pastors would not last 5 minutes in such an environment! It is ALL anonymous and those under you are evaluating their leadership...anonymously!"

I agree wholeheartedly - the corporate businesses regularly give employee's checklist to "anonymously" evaluate their department head's management skills. Most pastor's have no clue on how the corporate world really works and would as you say not last 5 minutes - look at how some of the "thin skilled pastors" have responded on this blog! They live in a very protected environment.

Anonymous said...

It's easy to understand. These pastors walk around like mini-Kings in a kingdom they believe their talents as "franchise players" have built. Constantly they are told how great they are, how great the sermon was, how much they are loved, and that they are "God's man" and "deserving of double honor" and they tell others that "God told me..." when they want us to do something. They are spoken to in our "prayer voices" and shown respect that is due a judge, like standing in their presence and not arguing with their decisions. At least you can appeal a judges decision. And if a judge has ever been criticized anonymously, I have never heard even ONE, whine about it.

So maybe the only time they hear the "truth" or real constructive criticism is from an anonymous source who wants to get their point to the pastor without being blackballed and outcast. So instead of heeding the anonymous email, they attack the writer.

These guys are pathetic and I encourage everyone to inundate them with anonymous letters, emails and blogs. We know they are reading.

Don't coaches, athletes, entertainers, preachers, lawyers, doctors, business leaders, politicians, ALL get criticism? But NONE of them whine about anonymous criticism. Hmmmm. Little boys with big egos sure is descriptive of these millionaire baby preachers. Waaa Waaa Waaa. I got 100 encouraging emails today, all signed, but one was anonymous and asked me about a land gift and nepotism. Waaa Waaa Waaa. Find out who that was and "shut em down." Waaa Waaa Waaaa

Bojac said...

We have all heard of hypocritics. Seems to me we have that problem here. As u say watch the "leaders" want openess unless they are required to be open themselves. I have pastored sbc churches (7) for the last 48 yrs. I was ss proud to acknowledge my connection with our local associations as well as national. I was present at the largest convention we ever had ib Dallas 1985. Then I thought the purging may be neccesary as I felt we could benefit from it. I too, felt there was too much liberalism in our seminaries. Now i must confess even though I still pastor and support sbc co-op and mission programs i am very disappointed in what we have come to. I must admit were I to start a new work it wuld be independent and free from the double minded activities of our leaders today. Well must stop and save my sermon for Sunday. Bojac

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:02 excellent thoughts. What is more disturbing is how these high flyers fire staff and pretend that the personnel were called by God to a new position. Also, how they send their subordinates out to dismiss another believer because they dislike their personality or because that person has their NUMBER. You will never get transparancy from these fellows. They are ministers in name only. Main reason people are staying home reading their own bibles and holding on to what little cash they have left in these hard times. Pray that God will remove them from office and replace them it could break out a revival.

Anonymous said...

Here is my proposal: I will stop reading blogs calling for transparency when pastors either 1) stop asking for more money OR
2) be transparent about how ALL the money is being spent.

Mac Brunson will not, and can not, do either.

So..., blog on!

WishIhadknown said...

Caleb,
Thank you for your response to my post and all I am asking for is your impressions. It helps me gain clarity.
Thanks

Junkster said...

For Caleb...

WishIhadknown said...

WD I agree with you that there is a greater need of accountability and transparency from certain pastors and church leaders. Our Public and Elected Officials salaries and expenses are all public record. Shouldn’t our Church leaders at least match the same level of transparency and accountability as any elected official or Federal, State or Local employee? Also, other not for profit organizations have to report salary information with their 990 filings, which are also public record. Can Churches actually show less integrity?
Responses please.
For the record, I think my pastor, if asked, would allow his salary to be disclosed but he is so genuine and transparent that I do not see it ever becoming an issue.

Anonymous said...

when lions are feeding it is a survival act. The feeding lion is not open to suggestions. They are not open. being a coward is a demonic act of survival. large church need to be in survival mode to survive regardless of hidden coffers of gold and silver. Jesus, our savior, did not record transparency but maga church embraces the idea.

Anonymous said...

"Then I thought the purging may be neccesary as I felt we could benefit from it. I too, felt there was too much liberalism in our seminaries. Now i must confess even though I still pastor and support sbc co-op and mission programs i am very disappointed in what we have come to."

I supported it, too. And it was not 10 years into it, the narrowing of what was considered liberal was more political than it was theological. I saw some very good people thrown under the bus for daring to question the greats who took over. And they surroundednm themselves (still do) with sycophants who parrot their every word. It is sick.

Mussolini would have been proud of them.

Anonymous said...

Our church's treasurer's report is published each month. It records how the offerings are spent for the past month. I guess I thought all churches did that. My wrong!

I'm now reading "Radical:Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream," by mega pastor David Platt--a very disturbing book.

Anonymous said...

FBC WD,
WIth all the hate that you and many on here keep spewing towards pastors, namely Dr. Brunson, I simply have one question: How can you in any positive way feel good about your Christian witness? Seems to me that you have been dragged into the very arena you say you despise.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I reject your characterization of this blog as "spewing hate" towards Brunson or anyone else. It is not. This blog has called for transparency and accountability of many leaders in evangelical Christianity, starting of course with FBC Jax and Brunson when the blog started. Unfortunately, to criticize and call for truth and transparency is equated to "hate" by prominent people in the SBC.

Anonymous said...

FBC WD,
You have done far more than call for transparency and accountability. You have created an atmosphere that smears men who have submitted to preaching the Word of God. Pastors are by no means perfect people and unfortunately there are those whose stumbles have disgraced the calling.
However, anointing your views as the threshold by which all pastors should be judged is simply unfathomable. Have you been called by God to this special service? If not, then I would argue you cannot have an adequate understanding of what the calling entails. Rather, you choose to criticize something you do not understand fully.
I do not know Dr. Brunson, but I highly doubt he deserves the slander that you have brought to his doorstep. If you hate it so much then go to another church. That is a far more respectable choice that the one you are currently engaging in: the tearing apart of your current church family.
Your shouting has reached its crescendo. You sir, have become the very wolf you say you are attempting to fight off. In this process, you have become a stumbling block to other brothers and sisters as they have joined your pack. You say you do not agree with my characterization of "spewing hate" on this blog.
Brother, I challenge you to go back and really read some of the things you have posted and others have posted and then come back and try to say with a straight face that no hate is being spewed. I do not believe the Holy Spirit would lead you to say that. Hate may not have been your original intention but it has become the current fad. I plead with you to cease with this nonsense. I pray God changes your heart. Blessings on you and your family and blessings on FBC Jax.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Unfortunately, to criticize and call for truth and transparency is equated to "hate" by prominent people in the SBC.

And apparently by quite a few not-so-prominent people, too. Troublemaker!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - I have a religious blog that expresses my concerns for FBC Jax, and for evangelical Christianity as a whole. And I have more to say, and I'll continue to say it. Deal with it.

I've never "annointed" my views to be any standard. I express my views, plain and simple, and provide others the opportunity to agree, and those to disagree as you are doing to me now.

You ask if I have been "called to this special service". Huh? What special service? I have a religious blog. Unlike pastors, I won't claim to speak for God. I speak my views here and allow others the same opportunity. If you don't like them don't read, or come here and tell me how wrong I am. I'll give you the venue.

Slander on the doorstep of Brunson - I've heard that before. I won't bother replying to your accusation. You really need to read my story.

I would recommend that you read more of the blog, because apparently you missed the part of my story that involved subpoeans, trespass papers, Brunson calling me a sociopath and mentally unstable in the newspaper, and a deacon's resolution and a first amendment lawsuit. FBC Jax is not our current church family as you imply as we have trespass papers on file at the sheriff's office for "church misconduct". But that does not diminish my concern over what happens there at my former church home of many years, and elsewhere in the SBC.

And no hate is being spewed. Just hard-hitting analysis and criticism. Again, you call that hate, but that is your right.

But glad you're reading. Again, go back and read my story from November 2008 through April 2009 on this blog, and you might have a better perspective of why this blog is popular and why I blog about matters in the SBC.

Blessings to you too.

Anonymous said...

Sir, what you are doing is simply wrong. It that simple. Yes, it is hate. Know that I am praying that God will change your heart.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I disagree. But thanks for expressing your views, and I appreciate the prayers.

New BBC Open Forum said...

My 10:18 comment was in response to Watchdog's 8:56 comment which, at the time, was the last comment visible.

However, I'd like to thank anon 9:41 for the perfectly timed example. That was perfect.

New BBC Open Forum said...

You ask if I have been "called to this special service". Huh? What special service?

Based upon anon 9:41's next sentence...

If not, then I would argue you cannot have an adequate understanding of what the calling entails.

I think s/he meant the calling of "pastor."

Anonymous said...

"FBC WD,
WIth all the hate that you and many on here keep spewing towards pastors, namely Dr. Brunson, I simply have one question: How can you in any positive way feel good about your Christian witness? Seems to me that you have been dragged into the very arena you say you despise."

September 17, 2010 8:32 PM

===============================

Mr. Rich has been a positive witness to thousands on this blog. I ask you, does Mac Brunson and the former judge feel good about the testimony they have dragged into the public arena because of their Christian behavior? I think not!

Does Mac Brunson feel good about the Christian behavior of certain choir members that they had to ask to leave the church? I think not!

Mr. Rich has done nothing but speak the truth and I applaud him for hanging in here - sorry but no anger or hate has been written by any of us, only the truth has been spoken.

Anonymous said...

Let me ask a simple question. How does one truly know that they are called of God? I would like to hear some pastors express their views whereby we can understand the true calling of God and I don't mean "I felt the call or my wife told me I should theory". Anyone thats a pastor please submit your thoughts as it would be appreciated. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

From years of experience let me say a few words why some pastors are cowards. When they were young 6-12 they stayed out of fights. As a matter of fact they would tell you that they do not fight. They might throw something at you in class and then put their head down pretending it were not them. As they grew older they really believed they were something special since they didn't fight. Their mothers told them they were special and they believed it knowing all the time they were not special but just like everyone else...a dirty rotten sinner. As they matured they made a point out of becoming something really special and did everything they could to achieve "their goal" not necessarily Gods. They used their underlings to do the hard work while they stayed "special". By this I mean real mininstering..visiting in homes, helping the poor and needy, calling on hospital patients, not concerned with their incomes, homes, vacations, cars, etc. They consider themselves "special" because they have a title such as Senior Pastor, Bishop, whatever. Now that they are in the position it is very difficult to come down. Its called humility and most that are in this category still don't have the guts to come down to our level (filthy rags at our best) as that would be cowardice in their eyes.

Anonymous said...

The comments that have followed mine have simply proven my point. Yes, hate is being spewed. Everything from the questioning of a pastor's calling, (to whomever asked for a description, I would simply say that a calling to be a pastor involves a significant move by the Holy Spirit in one's life, moving that person towards surrendering to that call. It is a tug on your heart that simply will not go away.) to trying to make a joke of a pastor's entire life including his childhood years. Very distasteful. UNfortunately, I expect nothing less as a poor reputation has most certainly been established on this site. Some of you are very sad people that you would resort to these disparaging tactics.

The Other Tom said...

So Mr. Anonymous said in the midst of all his whining and fussing:

"I do not know Dr. Brunson, but I highly doubt he deserves the slander that you have brought to his doorstep."

this leaves us with two possibilities:

1. Mr Anonymous is lying through his teeth and really is a Brunson hack, or;

2. Mr Anonymous really has no idea of what he is whining about.

In either case, his scribblings are nothing but a waste of good bandwith.

Lydia said...

"Have you been called by God to this special service? If not, then I would argue you cannot have an adequate understanding of what the calling entails. Rather, you choose to criticize something you do not understand fully."

Anon, you would be considered a coward on other SBC pastor type blogs for being anonymous.

All true believers are "called" at some point in their walk to serve the Body. What you are attempting to do is to make "pastor" special and set apart from the other believers in the Body. You are not alone...this has been done for centuries.

As another commenter on another blog reminded me:

Frank Viola has a cash reward out for anyone who can find the typical church pastor in the pages of scripture. Hurry and claim your reward!

Lydia said...

The comments that have followed mine have simply proven my point. Yes, hate is being spewed. Everything from the questioning of a pastor's calling, (to whomever asked for a description, I would simply say that a calling to be a pastor involves a significant move by the Holy Spirit in one's life, moving that person towards surrendering to that call. It is a tug on your heart that simply will not go away.) to trying to make a joke of a pastor's entire life including his childhood years. Very distasteful. UNfortunately, I expect nothing less as a poor reputation has most certainly been established on this site. Some of you are very sad people that you would resort to these disparaging tactics.

September 18, 2010 8:50 AM

This is the new totalitarian niceness. They get to decide what is hate. Just call it hate...never engage in content. That only displays someone who cannot think and back up their position.

Now read this closely:

"(to whomever asked for a description, I would simply say that a calling to be a pastor involves a significant move by the Holy Spirit in one's life, moving that person towards surrendering to that call. It is a tug on your heart that simply will not go away.)"

Every true believer has the indwelling Holy Spirit and is "called" to serve the Body in some function. Our commenter here does not know this because he is busy making himself more special so he can be "set apart" from the pew sitters. And that is the problem. He becomes the "Holy Spirit" for others in the Body. So, they do not grow spiritually past him. If they did, he would lose his position. Very sad and has NOTHING to with the early church.

It is a man centered religion and has nothing to do with the Body of Christ where ALL in the Body function.

Anonymous said...

I'm with anon at Sept 17 4:46 PM:

I've never served as a pastor in a church where my salary wasn't in the monthly financial report. When I was a young, naive youth minister's assistant, I served a church that had a massive block "personnel" that was reported, and it bothered me.

The total of all the compensation I receive is reported every month. How I spend some of it is not, since I don't think it's that much anyone's business whether I spent it on groceries or gas to get to grocery store, but that would be the only way it could be more transparent.

Of course, I'm pastoring one of these small churches that are apparently insignificant these days, but I'll cope.

And I share your concerns about pastors that can't take criticism or aren't transparent, and see the problem it's extending into Baptist life in general. Even tried to be a part of a group seeking to change that in Orlando, but that met with predictable results.

Anyway, many pastors are as frustrated as you are, and some of us blog it out, others just decide to act like independent churches and ignore the morons among us, since there is nothing, for example, that I can do to remove pastors that aren't fit for it.

But many of us are trying to find a better way, and most of us actually do listen to our people. And, for the record, I read anonymous letters. Western society, you don't know it's anonymous until you get to the end, that's where the signature is (or isn't). I don't respond well to name-calling though, so just telling me I'm an idiot doesn't help. Explain my shortcomings. And explain how we can cross the anonymity so I can explain myself or apologize if appropriate.

Anyway, my 2 cents worth. I'm sure there's some fault to be found in it, but it is what it is.

JD
And yes, that's semi-anonymous. I'm trying to agitate inside the SBC system to help fix our issues, but if it's clear I post/read here, I'll be stuffed in a housecoat and bunny slippers and ignored.

Anonymous said...

Lydia,

Please realize that many "typical church pastors" are striving to fulfill what they see Scripture saying about Biblical role of being a good shepherd and teacher, while also fulfilling the extra expectations that churches have evolved over the years. I don't take up space in a church office and print newsletters because it's in the New Testament, I do it because the church expects/asks me to do so.

As to the CEO-system or the "I'm better than pew-sitters" nonsense, that's not there either and needs to go. But realize, much of the modern-day pastor "job" is because of what churches have asked for over the years, and we're trying to do it. I was a bi-vocational pastor until the church got frustrated with me not fulfilling those man-added roles and asked me to leave because I wasn't at every possible church member illness, every community activity, and on the phone or in homes hours on end, since I was at work, supporting my family in corporate America, and trying to also fulfill what I understood to be my calling.

So, can you find the role? No, you can't find it, not as practiced. Who do you blame? Pastors that take it and churches that expect it. The American church has, as a whole, distanced itself from Scripture. You also can't find such things as church buildings in the Bible, or church activities beyond Bible study, prayer, communion, and eating together.

For that matter, blogs and books aren't in there either. Scrolls are. Life changes, and you adapt based on Scriptural principles, and strive to do better walking with Jesus today than you did yesterday. Sometimes, it looks different because your understanding and mine are different. Aren't we supposed to allow each other the freedom to be different?

JD

Lydia said...

Hi JD. You make some great points!

"So, can you find the role? No, you can't find it, not as practiced. Who do you blame? Pastors that take it and churches that expect it. The American church has, as a whole, distanced itself from Scripture."

A HEARTY AMEN! Yes, I also blame the pew sitter who continues to want to be fed but never wanting to feed others so they never study deeply. But most can only handle milk which is why we are where we are. They would rather pay someone else to read the Word and tell them what it says.

" You also can't find such things as church buildings in the Bible, or church activities beyond Bible study, prayer, communion, and eating together."

True. And some of these things have become idols. And some of them keep us from being in the community as salt because we are too busy at our one stop church which includes everything from sports to their social life.

"For that matter, blogs and books aren't in there either. Scrolls are."

the bigger picture is COMMUNICATION methods. Letters were the method in the 1st Century. Blogs are 21st Century.

" Life changes, and you adapt based on Scriptural principles, and strive to do better walking with Jesus today than you did yesterday. Sometimes, it looks different because your understanding and mine are different. Aren't we supposed to allow each other the freedom to be different?
"

It is not about the freedom to be different but what is the truth of the Word? There are many who do not allow the freedom to be different such as CBMW who are making comp a salvic issue.

The truth of the Word is what is important. Not position, power, authority among humans in the Body.

When I researched the man made "roles" within what is called the church from church history, it was chilling to read. We should take a step back and stop reading our traditions into the Word. They are not there. The Body is a living organism. Not an org chart. It is made up of believers who are all growing spiritually. Some mature spiritually past a long time "pastor" and could possibly pastor others. We have made it into an "office" (the word added by translators) instead of a function of a spiritual gift.

It is sad what has happened. But I see signs of hope. Many are figuring this out and leaving the dead institutions.

Personally, I think the American church is a huge mission field.

Anonymous said...

"Personally, I think the American church is a huge mission field."

Absolutely. But it's also the toughest one, because having a church membership is like being inoculated against a disease: you get just enough religion to keep you from catching the real thing.

The self-righteous of Jesus' day, the Pharisees, were almost impossible to convert, while the "sinners" flocked to Jesus. Nothing has changed.

And if people harden their hearts long enough, God will "give them over". The fact that people have long loved to be spoon-fed, and the feeders have long loved to dish it out, has invited God's judgment on both. We all have what we wanted: a king to rule over us, and willing subjects to keep royalty in high fashion.

Is it time to stop trying to witness among the pseudo-saved? Is it time to "come out of her, my people"?

Anonymous said...

Lydia and JD: Appreciate your comments! Mr. Whining-Holier than Thou---your comments are typical of the hierarchy that have taken over most of the SBC/churches today. What you don't get is your "I am special and you simple church critics are dirt", is ruining your own venue. I have been blessed to have had some really fine preachers as my teachers of the Word, in the past. And I believe there are some now, somewhere. But, that is the problem. I know what a real preacher sounds like and how one behaves. Throwing people out of a church. Embarassing him and his family is not conducive to behavior becoming a pastor. Nor is going behind a members back and destroying them from within the church. I don't believe Jesus would do any of this. As I see the problem, the pastors have removed themselves from the people. They have redefined their position as one of shall we say "semi-royalty". Exactly the opposite from what our precious Lord intended, if my reading of the Word is accurate. Preachers are neither royal, nor are they "special". We are ALL sinful humans. None of us deserve the precious gift of Salvation that (if one is truly saved), has been given us. The Blood of Jesus Christ covers our sins equally. I believe in the Preisthood of the Believer. None of us are worthy. But, all of us (saved) are blessed equally. The Throne belongs to Jesus and Him alone. Some try to sit on His Throne, others approach it on their knees. Sometimes people destroy their own work, but usually always blame others, as they can't see their own failures.

Eccl. chp.1 vs.2: "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher,vanity of vanities; all is vanity".

Lydia said...

"Absolutely. But it's also the toughest one, because having a church membership is like being inoculated against a disease: you get just enough religion to keep you from catching the real thing."

So true. And over time, the hardness of heart sets in. And,the person they are listening to week after week is usually focused on maintaining his position therefore we hear either feel good sermons or morality works sermons or tithe sermons. In the seeker world, it is entertainment sermons with a few proof texts thrown in. At least 2 big laughs per sermon is required.

In some churches if they preached the negative truths of Christianity, the pews would empty and they would have no income.

In others, the pastor is heralded as some sort of David whose every word must be obeyed. The pew sitters feels more holy by following the human they think has special anointing.

Many pastors today resemble the priests of the OT as Israel became so corrupt and man centered. And we know what God had to say about them....if you don't, start reading!

Anonymous said...

Eccl. chp.1 vs.2: "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher,vanity of vanities; all is vanity".

September 18, 2010 4:46 PM

ANON: WELL SAID!

WishIhadknown said...

Hey Lydia, being one of the best scholars I know, I was wondering. Is there any scriptural basis for this “call to be a pastor” I hear so much about? My Bible tells me we are all called and that the choice to be a pastor is exactly that, a choice.

Lydia said...

Hey Lydia, being one of the best scholars I know, I was wondering. Is there any scriptural basis for this “call to be a pastor” I hear so much about? My Bible tells me we are all called and that the choice to be a pastor is exactly that, a choice.

September 18, 2010 10:46 PM

I am no scholar, I just love to read and study. I don't do anything any other person who can read can do themselves.

Well, first of all, we must define pastor. It is only mentioned once and we are given no model's of "pastor" in the NT ekklesia. Can you name one single pastor mentioned in the Epistles? Why not? I would think we would hear stories of their special calling and anointing in the Epistles to the churches. After all, each NT church had a senior pastor, right? (wink)

We do not see any "authority" given to any of the functions at all. Even when talking to the elders in Acts, Paul shows they are AMONG the flock...not over them. It has to be this way or Paul would be refuting Jesus Christ in Matthew.

There is a difference between those who are local church and those who travel church planting, etc. Paul stayed at Corinth church the longest...18 mos, it seems. Some he stayed as short as 3 months. Some were planted by folks we hear mentoined once such as Ephrapras (sp?)

What was Paul? An Apostle? What does that word mean? Did he teach? Did he preach? Did he pastor at all?

It helps to define what these functions are. Here is the only place pastors are mentioned in the NT:

10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

But NOTICE WHY some are given these functions: To equip, to serve and edify the Body. There is no authority involved...ONLY SERVICE to others.

Does that sound like a static job description to you?

continued...

Lydia said...

The rest...

But over in Corinthians we see spiritual gifts are given to all who have the indwelling Holy Spirit:

4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same[b] Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills."

So, do we match up the gifts with a function? What could that mean? It could mean there are quite a few pastors in each Body. AND, we should PRAY that MANY pastors emerge as they grow spiritually. Because a pastor is a servant that guides a new believer.

Do you think only one person in the Body is given the 'word of Wisdom' to share? OH!!! How we stifle the Spirit by PAYING one person to be these things to us. Paid professional Christians...it absolutely defies the meaning of the New Covenant!

If truly saved and growing in Holiness, all belivers are "called" to function in the Body or evangelize or plant new churches, etc.

Why would Peter describe us as a Holy Priesthood? What would his idea of a priest be? He did not say some are priests and some are laity. There is NO laity in the New Covenant as believers in Jesus Christ.

" Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy."

Anonymous said...

Lydia: Pure perfection, however you are picking on the established Laodicean pastors who desire to Lord it over the people that they "know it all" and that they are the "authority" and that they and they alone deserve the tithe that binds them all together. I wouldn't be surprised if some pastor comes on here and blast you for taking exception to the modern day marvel...Sr. Pastor....they hear from God while we mortals have to hear it from them alone. Great job you and others are doing to expose these false shepherds.

Lydia said...

"Lydia: Pure perfection, however you are picking on the established Laodicean pastors who desire to Lord it over the people that they "know it all" and that they are the "authority" and that they and they alone deserve the tithe that binds them all together."

You know what I have come to believe? The "institutional system" is evil. It is a huge sin trap for those going into ministry. And it is not always about money and fame. It can be as simple as wanting to be admired, important, special or be set apart from the other sheep. I think the problem starts early in seminary. I have come to think of them as cemetaries. (I can understand going to learn Greek or Hebrew but the rest is dangerous. Systematic Theology is killing us)

Even small church pastors can fall into this institutional trap. But the Body does not grow spiritually because of this man made system.

If you read as many "christian" blogs as I do, you start to see a pattern emerge from these pastors and pew sitters. Some follow Mohler, some Piper, some Grudem, some Patterson, some Caner, some Akin, some Spurgeon, some Gill, etc, etc.

It is exactly what Paul warned against in 1 Corinthians.

May we all pray and study on our own. Jesus promised all of us the best teacher: The Holy Spirit.

John Wylie said...

Lydia I agree with a lot of what you said, and I would add some follow Zens and Viola.

Anonymous said...

Lydia you are right. What happens in the world happens in the church.In the business world people do everything they can to suceed running over/down their fellow employee to climb the corporate ladder. When they get to the top they are still trying to obtain just one more dollar (someone said this years ago and I do not recall his name). In the institution of the so called church you have man also reaching out to do the same thing, obtain a title (mega, Sr Pator, whatever). Just because a man is in a church does not necessarily mean that he leaves his physical senses behind. All too often he carries with him the flesh. Paul said it so aptly "the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak". Now I know that there are Spirit filled pastors doing the work of the Lord and they do get overlooked, however I do believe that a lot of those that start out on that narrow road get a sample of flesh and then it goes full blown. Like an alcoholic the first drink leads to another to another and then they become drunk. They failed to hear the warning bells and became numb to their senses. For some there is NO TURNING BACK and that is where they remain and it is such a shame not only for them but for those that listen to their message.

Lydia said...

Lydia I agree with a lot of what you said, and I would add some follow Zens and Viola.

September 21, 2010 12:24 AM

That would be a bit hard to do since neither are in the modern day pastor or even seminary prof roles.

What is to follow? Every single person should test everything and both Viola and Zens make that clear in their writings. They can be challenged and disagreed with because they do not set themselves apart by being a paid professional Christian.

Anonymous said...

WD - I was with you until the very end.

While I have no disagreement with your premise about transparency, your climactic example of using Homer Lindsay as the model for transparency as it relates to openness on salaries humors me. As a once long-time member of FBCJax (and quite an insider I'd say), I don't ever recall hearing him share his salary. Few people love Dr. Lindsay more than I, and even he knew that some things don't need to be shared by 20,000+ members and the newspapers.

I'm guessing you know something I don't or at least can't remember?

John Wylie said...

Zens and Viola are obviously seeking a following. If we quote Mohler, Piper, or Criswell we are men followers, but the same doesn't apply to Zens and Viola? Some posters quote Zens and Viola like they're quoting scripture. They might as well say "I'm of Zens, I'm of Viola". It's exactly the same no matter how self deprecating they present themselves to be.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Hi Anon - the quote was from Lindsay Sr not Jr, and I never was a member under Lindsay Sr, way before my time. I don't mean to imply that either Lindsay is the picture of transparency, just wanted to quote the Lindsay Sr. axiom as our mega pastors could use a huge dose of transparency and humility. Certainly Lindsay Jr. didn't speak of his salary, but I've heard from credible sources who tell me he refused large salary increases, lived for decades in his modest home, didn't seek fame and glory thorugh the preaching circuit and books and trips.

And I could go on to compare Lindsay Jr. to the current trends of opportunistic mega church pastors, but I won't here. Lindsay Jr. was the antithesis of the modern mega church pastor. In fact, I wrote a post on that a few months ago, using a clip from Anthony George.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog: Either Lindsay could have been Pres. of the SBC. Only one problem, they were called to be pastors of a local church. They were not interested in politics and administration of a group. They would have been bored to death. All they were interested in was winning folks to Jesus Christ. This is something you seldom see anymore these days. And it is getting worse by the hour.

Anonymous said...

Comparing Lindsay Sr., & Jr., with todays megas is like like comparing apples (Lindsays) to lemons (megas). Or, diamonds to glass. They were the real deal. No one around today comes anywhere near them. And no I don't worship men, I just observe them. It's easy after being around the "real deal" to spot the opportunistic phoneys.

Anonymous said...

Yes Watchdog and both Dr Lindsays visited prospective new members each and every week. Thats how the church grew and really there were folks at home on Tuesday nights. And get this gas was less than a dollar a gallon. And in proportion that was as much of a percentage of income as gasoline cost is today.