I believe men place other men, and quite often their own selves, into positions of leadership. Unfortunately, God gets blamed for a lot of things that He doesn't deserve. Now, He does allow a great deal of things, much of the time to test us, to see what is in our hearts. He obviously knows that already, but so that it might be revealed to us, usually to bring us to a place of recognition, humility, and repentance. In my view, these public mouthpieces are doing far more damage to the testimony of the Lord, to the Church, and how the Church and her Lord is represented to the world than compared to what we might perceive as our relative silence and lack of impact.
You will find many men, if not most, in the Bible, Jesus included, who could have been considered ministerial failures in light of this criteria, "Look how much they are doing for God in comparison to me!" Paul provides us with the Godly perspective of, "While we look not at things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, while the things which are not seen, are eternal." It's "the fruit that remains" which is eternal, that really counts. I have no doubt that even those who are tainted and who "preach another gospel" have often spoke a truth or a phrase that has genuinely ministered to an individual.. If it were true in the case of what a mule spoke to Balaam, why not a human vessel as well.
But, that is not God's best by a long shot. Many of these so-called "ministers" do not preach "The Word of God." What they preach is words of God. There is a difference, and a vast difference at that. Paul even made a distinction between those who preached the gospel out of "impure motives" as opposed to those who preached "another gospel." Though he sat in prison knowing that others were taking advantage of his situation, he nevertheless acknowledged that they were preaching the gospel, and because it was the pure gospel, the Word of God, he could still rejoice in that.
What he could never rejoice in was concerning those who preached "another gospel," to the extent that he declared, "let them be accursed!" You don't get any stronger language than that. Notice he didn't say, "Pray for them." Now, I am certainly not talking about those who truly have a "shepherd's heart." David had a "shepherd's heart," even an acknowledged "heart after God," and yet his human failings are as prominent as his character and victories. What is the difference? Those who set themselves up as "shepherds" and who do not have a "shepherd's heart" are only concerned with "feeding themselves." They are "hirelings" with no real concern for the sheep. There is little patience or mercy extended, in either Testament, for such as these.
Bits and pieces of truth and Scripture being used to tickle the ears of the masses is placing a stumbling block before the Church as Balaam was warned by the donkey in reference to Israel. Deep down, I believe these false teachers know what they are doing. In this respect, the emphasis of my concern and prayer is for the sheep who are being led astray by these false teachers and prophets. And if these so-called "leading preachers and teachers" are themselves deceived, it is because they have willed themselves to be deceived, if in fact, such a thing were possible. Jeremiah 23 and Ezekiel 34, along with a host of New Testament passages, clearly indicate God's view of these so-called "leaders."
Over the years, there have been many men, and women, who have truly ministered to me, and though I may disagree with some of their teachings and general views of how the Church should be, I nevertheless believe that they are preaching the Word of God. It is not mere "wrangling about words" or what I consider relatively minor points of doctrine. It comes down to a misrepresentation of Jesus Himself. Paul not only used the term, "another gospel," but also interchangeably with, "another Jesus." That is the crux, or the Cross, of the matter for me.
Read more articles by Fred London or search for articles on the same topic or others.