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Thursday, June 10, 2021

The Failure of Christian "Leadership"

In my brief lifetime on this planet (I'm 60), I've witnessed a number of very public failures of many so-called leaders of the Christian Church. Unless you've been living under a rock for the last twenty years, you've heard about how many Catholic priests have sexually molested and abused children, men and women over the last fifty years and beyond. A friend also recently forwarded me a couple of articles dealing with Russell Moore's revelations about sexual abuse and racism within the ranks of the ministry of the Southern Baptists. Banned by HWA continually reminds us of the failures (past and present) within the ranks of Armstrongism. We are reminded too of the dramatic fall of Jerry Falwell Jr last year, and the equally sensational fall of past televangelists Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Baker. And let's not forget the fantastic personal fortunes which some of these "pastors" have accumulated as a consequence of their ministries (e.g. Joel Osteen).

Why? Why all of these spectacular failures? I believe that these failures are directly attributable to some false notions that these leaders and their flocks have absorbed over their years as Christians.

Perhaps the most important of these is the notion that pastors/ministers/priests are entitled to more respect, honor, wealth, power, deference and Divine forbearance than other Christians. In other words, these guys are special. God reveals things to them that "He" doesn't reveal to the average Joe. God wants these people to dress in fine clothes, live in beautiful houses and receive the respect and adoration of their flocks. And, when they sin, God is more willing to overlook their failures because of the work they are doing for "Him." So many of these folks and their sheep have swallowed hook, line and sinker the notion that pastors/ministers/priests are part of a spiritual elite that rightfully stands above everyone else in the Church!

They have forgotten (or rejected) the notion that Christ saw leadership as being a servant of others. They have forgotten that Scripture teaches that MORE is expected of leaders, not less! They have forgotten that God expects them to lead by example and makes plain that "His" leaders are NOT supposed to impose burdens on others which they are not willing to shoulder themselves. They have forgotten that God said that they were entitled to make a living off of their ministry, but that "He" NEVER envisioned anyone getting wealthy off of the gospel! They have forgotten that the mantle of leadership was designed to help and assist others, and that God NEVER intended for it to be viewed as an entitlement or office of prestige.

Yes, Scripture informs us that God has worked through individuals in times past, but it was always intended to accrue to the benefit of the people at large - NEVER to the individual being so used! Moses was commissioned to give the people of Israel God's laws and lead them into the Promised Land. And, when he failed to give God all of the credit for what was accomplished, he was punished by not being allowed to himself enter that Promised Land! Likewise, Christ and his apostles were persecuted and killed because of their service to God's people. John wasn't given the Revelation of Jesus Christ for his own glory and aggrandizement - He was given a message for God's people. Individuals have been used to serve God and "His" people - They have NEVER been commissioned to serve their own interests!

Finally, as was related on Banned by HWA, there is only ONE mediator between God and humankind: Jesus Christ - no one else is necessary! The Holy Spirit imparts its gifts to everyone who receives it! Yes, some folks love titles, recognition, praise, glory and monetary rewards, but God demands humility and service. Do any of our modern leaders compare to Paul and Silas? And, yet, Scripture informs us that the Bereans were diligent to verify that what they were speaking was the truth! Hence, it is high time that Christians disabuse themselves of these false notions about leadership. If we don't, we should all get ready for more spectacular failures and greater antipathy from those outside of the faith! 

1 comment:

  1. There have been child molesters and other forms of evil people in the splinters of WCG. I've seen a lot of non-Christian attitudes and things that would make you think they're not God's people, although some of their literature has valuable information that they don't fulfill.