" When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."
Still today, Jesus has compassion for the crowds - the crowds at many mega churches especially, who are like sheep without a shepherd.
Later today I will start a series of posts to shine a light on pastors not performing their most basic job functions as described in the Bible they preach from. Many take huge salaries and live a jet-setting, glamorous lifestyle, but they don't even earn their pay when it comes to their most important job functions as described in the pastoral epistles. They call themselves the "under shepherds" of the flock, with Jesus being the "chief shepherd" - but they are failing miserably.
You've probably heard your pastor tell you of the "pastoral epistles", one of which is the letter of Paul to Titus. In the first chapter there are qualifications and responsibilities of "overseers" or "elders". As I start this series of posts on "slacking shepherds", I want to highlight some verses from Titus 1:
"For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain...holding fast to the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. " Titus 1:5-9
Baptist pastors like to preach about the "wine" part (and the "husband of one wife" part in verse 6 to justify prohibiting women from serving in leadership positions), but how many mega church pastors do what they do, invite who they invite into their churches, for the purpose of attracting nickels and noses? How many of these pastors expose their congregation to strange or false teachings that are either non-biblical, or have little to do with the actual proclamation of the gospel, to entertain people? How many of these pastors invite men in to speak to further their own interests and careers? We're going to look at those who do these things contrary to their biblical job description, and thus I call them "slacking shepherds."
Paul goes on:
"For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain...for this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith" Titus 1:10-13
So Paul says a pastor should silence and rebuke those teachers who teach for sordid gain, or are empty talkers, or who teach Old Testament law. Instead, many of these pastors are more interested in silencing and rebuking their critical sheep than they are about rebuking their fellow preachers who are misbehaving. As Paul points out, shepherds should not be handing their pulpits over as a platform for these men to teach, and they should rebuke them if they happen to make inroads to their church.
Sadly, many pastors today are not so much interested in just teaching the bible week by week to their sheep - they are interested in bringing in "speakers", entertaining their congregations, even inviting teachers of questionable character and doctrine. Some even using their pulpits for sordid gain.
We will start off later today looking at "slacking shepherds", looking again at Robert Morris of Gateway Church who has now made inroads at a prominent Southern Baptist Church with his false prosperity tithing doctrine.
H/T: Chris Rosebrough - Fighting for the Faith, September 21, 2011