In an earlier post (Authority pg 2,3), we talked about the “ideal” shepherd leader or pastor of a church. This brings us to the following question: what is not biblical leadership? To answer this question, we must look at Ezekiel in chapter 34.
Ezekiel was asked by the Lord to prophesy against the unfaithful shepherds of Israel. “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock…” (Ezekiel 34:2-3) These “shepherds” were not faithful to what God had asked them to do. They were all about self-gain.
It is unfortunate but we see this same thing happening in the apostate church of today. We see pastors who look only for self-gain and not to their first responsibility of feeding the flock the true word of God. These pastors pander to those in the church who give generously so they (the pastors) are financially rewarded. These pastors seldom preach true gospel but only superficial “feel good” messages. Such shepherds are more concerned about feeding and clothing themselves than what the flock truly needs.
As we continue, we will give more reasons on why this happens in the apostate church. These posts will deal with government control and an apostate educational system. Both of these things are symptoms of the apostate church.
Shepherds looking for gain, pastors with degrees and church leaders under the control of the government are all symptoms of the apostate church in the last days. True shepherds are not guilty of any of these things. They are faithful and loyal followers of Jesus Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. They preach the Word of God as they are guided by the Holy Spirit.
Let me clarify a couple of things, a pastor with a degree may not be a bad thing but he will preach the way his school has taught him. That may not be according to scripture. In this case is this pastor being guided by what he has been taught or by the leading of the Holy Spirit? There are exceptions but normally “learned behavior” is what will be the result of how a pastor teaches. He also is tied to his Alma mater with sometimes invisible strings that sway how he thinks and teaches scripture. Many times he is also subject to peer pressure which influences what and how he teaches or preaches.
I must also clarify another facet of the degreed shepherd, especially if he has a doctor’s degree. He is subject to two things that sway his thinking. 1) If he has a Dr. degree, he will normally look for a “church” that can afford to pay him a high salary. (How many preacher’s with a Dr. degree do you see pasturing a small church? Point Taken?) 2) Most pastor’s with a Dr. degree must maintain certain teaching standards that follow his Alma mater’s requirements or he may lose his degree! His degree ties him to man-made controls and he must not run afoul of what they demand for his degree.
Most man-made pastors fear their denomination or their ruling Alma mater rather than God. In doing this, they violate God’s Word as in Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding:” They have more fear of man than they do of God.
Church leadership also includes those laymen who work behind the scene in denominations who many times make rules for churches and pastors to follow depending upon how they interpret their denomination’s beliefs. Many times these laymen are businessmen or have specialty degrees that make them authorities in certain areas of denomination beliefs. How many of them are required to be Holy Spirit led believers? If the Holy Spirit does not lead them then who does? It is man-made philosophies or academic rules that they follow most of the time. Who or what they believe in is very seldom questioned.
Again, these things are symptoms of the apostate church. Such unbiblical leadership in a church or denomination is anathema to all that Jesus taught his disciples and how the Apostles carried out the preaching and spread of the Gospel. It is no wonder that churches of today are failing and the preaching of pastors has no power to attract the lost.
In many denominations, there is a subtle control of that organization by government overreach. Legal requirements and politicians exert too much control over what the “church” does and how pastors preach their powerless understanding of God’s Word. All of these influences weaken the way the church teaches and preaches scripture. Much of this is due to the influence of the 501(C)(3) requirements. More of this in the next section on the IRS.