It’s sickening. Every time I turn around, I read or hear about another Catholic diocese being sued for the sexual sins perpetrated by a Father So-n-so on an altar boy. That’s not the most sickening part. What’s worse is the way their brothers and sisters – even the Non-Catholic variety - smear them and sneer at them, very few running to “cover their nakedness” the way two of Noah’s sons did while the third intended only to expose their drunken, naked father (Gen 9:23).
I’m reminded of Adam who, after he sinned, tried to hide from God because he, too, was naked (Gen 3:10). God asked Adam, “Who told you that you were naked?”
Today, Adam’s answer would likely be, “Well...my Church…my ministers…my mom…my friends...the local news…everybody knows and they won’t stop reminding me!”
As I turn around in the other direction, I hear about Non-Catholic ministers being caught in sexual sin, too, hands caught in the cookie jar, things like that. Today, I read an article about Todd Bentley and how he’s being called a “Pathological Liar” by former staff members.
I keep hearing the words of Jesus from John 8:7, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” If I may, I would like to add, “Let him cast the NEXT one, too!”
You see, I know better than to expect Pastors to live lives without error. As long as we walk the planet in these Earth Suits, we’re prone to sin. ALL of us. In fact, we’re GOING to sin and there will be consequences.
Thankfully, those sins were forgiven by God when Jesus died at the cross; it’s we humans who keep ghoulishly digging them up. Our Christian leaders are imperfect people who need a Savior just like the rest of us. God, in His mercy, provided them with one.
I’ve looked at the dismal statistics pertaining to those who minister among us. I contend that it’s long been the fault of The Church as a whole for expecting one individual to go to the mountain for the rest of us so that he can bring a life-changing message from God. Shame on us for ever putting a person in a paid pastoral role and expecting perfection from them. Where’s THAT New Testament example? When I read about the brief tenure of the average Baptist preacher (18 month or so), I cringe. When I read that most pastors admit to being poorly prepared by their seminary training for their pastoral ministry, it saddens me.
Can you find a Biblical example of the early church gathering to hear one man speak for an hour each Sunday while they sat passively in rows listening to him?
Can we find any example of his wife being the leader of the woman’s ministry?
Can we find any model of that couple spending all their time baby-sitting a bunch of grown-ups all week, counseling them, putting out all their emotional fires?
No! I’ve often said that, if we were to pluck an early Christian out of history and stick him in the congregation of some megachurch, he would wonder these four things:
1) Why are we seated in rows listening passively to that man talk?
2) Why is he dressed differently than most of us?
3) Who is that “Jesus” guy he keeps talking about?
4) Where’s the food?
Think it not strange when your human leader is caught in sin. They’re only human and performing a spiritual job that God never intended. Sadly, he’s being held to an ungodly higher standard and it’s not fair. We’ve place him in a fish bowl, paid him to be there, and we watch every move he makes, as if to “catch” him. Trust me, even when you DON’T catch him, I promise you, he’s sinning. If you were a fly on the wall, you wouldn’t like what you see at one time or another. Whether it was the way he talks to his wife and kids, the wine he has with his meal, the curse word he mutters on the freeway, something at some time would bother you terribly, I assure you.
I’ll never forget the minister who admitted that, while he was teaching on the gifts of the Spirit on Sunday, he was going to tow the party line of his denomination and say that speaking in tongues was not for today. In truth, he admitted that he wasn’t so sure.
Another minister admitted that he would rather serve as a Workplace Chaplain but he had a job to do and, well, maybe after he retired.
Yet another pastor admitted to having a man-pleasing spirit, doing everything he could to make all parties happy and ultimately coming across as a liar to somebody.
I won’t bore you with the statistics but, from alcohol and chemical addictions to viewing pornography and marital infidelity, these people who are serving in the elite, unbiblical role of “Pastor” are miserable. They’re friendless, feeling ungodly pressure in every facet of their lives, and desperately seeking validation through something or someone. I saw popular Pastor Rick Warren on TV this weekend and I could bet that many Christians concluded that there must be sin in his life (yes, most assuredly, just as there is in their own lives), judging by his portly stature.
As far as the traveling ministers, like Todd Bentley, are concerned, God’s gifts are without repentance. He won’t take away what He has given. I believe that applies even to Lucifer himself. Where ministers are concerned, Christians seem content to kick ‘em while they’re down, making sure that heavy measures of guilt and shame will keep them there.
Consider this: If we expect our Pastors – individuals filling an office rather than working a Biblical job description - to be pillars in the Church, guess where Satan needs to focus his attack if he intends to inflict the greatest damage on The Church? That’s right, fire all the guns at those man-made pillars.
To the woman caught in the act of adultery, brought before Jesus by the religious people, after He made that comment about “casting the first stone,” He said to her, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
See, we can line up with the Accuser of our brethren, or we can side with Jesus.
Now, can we get on with building the Kingdom rather than continually tearing it down….pleeeeeeease?