I’d like to start this segment by telling a story from my own life. During my High School years, I had a youth pastor at my church. He was a lumbering half-hillbilly, half-hoodrat, giant of a man who loved to come over to our house to have Mama’s fried chicken (and what he used to call Mama’s “rootin’-tootin'” baked beans). During one of these visits, I told him of my desire to possibly teach and preach God’s Word one day, amongst several dreams to that effect. I asked him how I could do that without compromising the integrity of God’s Word. This was done during the late 80’s and early 90’s, and amongst all the PTL scandals and other such craziness going on back then (oddly enough, the firstfruits of some of the craziness going on today). He sat and thought for a minute, then chuckled and said something I’ll never forget:
“Tommy”, he said, “It’s simple. You gotta Preach the Word and Eat the Bird!” He then explained what he meant. What he was trying to say was this: You just be as integritous to the truth of the Word and as sensitive to the Voice of the Lord as you can be. The Holy Spirit takes care of all the ministry after that. Remember, it’s not “your” ministry to begin with, “your” followers. It’s you merely being as submitted as a vessel to the Holy Spirit’s power as you can be. He operates through you, you can’t do it on your own. Never forget where you came from, no matter where you go and what you do or who you stand in front of or who people think you are, because that’s not who you really are, anyway. Who you really are is who you see in the mirror today. And, nothing but nothing lets you remember that better than coming home for a meal with the family.
I never did go into full-time ministry, instead choosing to go into the military and then to start a family. I did become in ministry serving in the office of elder and home church leader. I also served in my father’s ministry. He had a 5 year Children’s ministry, where he ministered to up to 10,00 children, not including the parents and older relatives thereof. And he didn’t do it by acting rich and making them envy him. He had money, but he used it to help those families and minister to them where they really lived. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care, and that’s how Dad conducted his ministry. Reaching out to those kids and families where they lived. But the lesson stuck with me. It’s one that a lot of so-called “leaders” of the Christian world would do well to learn. Men such as Joel Osteen. Now a lot of people are all up in arms and have strong opinions one way or another about the man. All I know is what I see. And this is the point. A lot of people don’t watch TBN or the Church Channel or DayStar. They don’t know who Joel Osteen is. But they know who Larry King is, and they know who Oprah is. When the Pastor of one of the largest, richest, and most influential churches in America goes on national television and radio and says things like, “There’s more than one way way to get to God…(John 14:6)” or “There’s more than one way to get to Christ…(Acts 4:12)”, or, “Only God knows whether gays are getting into Heaven…(Romans 1:26)” , or, “Buddhists are our brothers…”(all clear false hoods according to Scripture), than that’s a problem! Here’s the rub: You’re the only “Jesus” that some will ever see, to quote a favorite Christian song of mine. How many people, with a national platform like that, did he lead astray? And then he puts out some lame written apology, probably printed in the newsletter of his own church, and somehow that’s OK?
I’m not some big critic of the man himself. He’s a man like any other, albeit a rich man (and that’s not a bad thing). I know he preaches some nicey-nice, feel good, name-it-and-claim it, blab-it-and grab it Gospel; putting him in the category of folks like Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, and Jesse Duplantis (all under federal investigation, I might add), at least in my book. That’s not preaching from the Word of God, that’s preaching from the Reader’s Digest, or one of Oprah’s books, or some self (note: “self”)-help nonsense. That’s what Oprah believes, from that little self-help guru she keeps the press from ever seeing or getting their hands on (if you haven’t noticed, I’m not a big Oprah fan. Just wait…). He flies around in his private jet, preaching the “Gospel” in the biggest stadiums, wining and dining every pseudo-religious kook with a TV or book deal, and gets his face in front of a TV camera every chance he gets. Now I wouldn’t have a big problem with this at all. In fact, I would probably be a BIG fan of his myself, if for once he would just stand tall in front of all the cameras with the AMAZING opportunities God has given him and say, “Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and the only way to get to God. REPENT!” Call sinners to repentance! Do what God has called you to do! You can do it in all the love that Jesus has for them, but by all means, speak the truth of Scripture. PREACH THE WORD!! And, it wouldn’t hurt to maybe go home, eat dinner with the family, and maybe study Daddy’s notes and figure out what you’ve done wrong. Might even give you some backbone, too.
Another Texas renegade from the true Gospel is TD Jakes. Now, to me personally this is a MAJOR disappointment. Because; during the time I was learning all these life lessons, while others were embroiled in scandal, he was one of my genuine heroes of the Faith. Old country preacher from West Virginia, jumped up in the pulpit and screamed the Gospel like a wild man. Uncompromising, fearless, and strong. Preaching the truth of God’s Word with the power of the Holy spirit dripping off every shouted word. Now look at him. Another Oprah Whore (a term I reserve for people who bow their knee to the Oprah regime, like Dr Phil, Rachel Ray, and Dr Oz…), buying into the crap she believes, preaching some black liberation theology straight out of Jeremiah Wright’s notes, and toting big-name Hollywood stars around in his pocket like Tyler Perry, Kanye West and others (BTW somebody ask that pastor in New York how well his tweets with Justin Bieber are working…). Again, I don’t have a problem with that, and even less than I have a problem than I have with Osteen, because I know at least TD’s capable and does reach out to the people and does it right. I don’t have a problem with Tyler Perry donating a million to his ministry, nor laying hands on him. I do have a problem with this being in agreement with people who stand proudly for false religion and sinful action! Will the REAL TD Jakes please stand up! Some of us still look up to you and would like to continue to do so proudly!!
Now the Scripture is quite clear about false teachers. It says in Galatians 1:7-9 – 7which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!… Pretty strong words from the Scripture.
And about false prophets, in Jeremiah 23:16 – This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.
And from the New Testament (Brit Chadasha for all my Messianic and Jewish brothers) Romans 16:17 – I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.
This is how I see it. I’m done with arguing these points. I’m not going to bash these men in public. I still respect their office, even though by the Scripture, it has been tarnished. I see it like this: If they repent and teach the truth, so be it and let them be restored to full faith in the Body. If not, they’ll be exposed. Period. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, their misdeeds will not stay secret for long and their folly will be made apparent to everyone.
Now I said in the title that there would be one who has escaped the noose. I’m speaking of Benny Hinn. Now, I’ve not always been his biggest fan. Quite the contrary. He’s been embroiled in scandal, including leaving his wife for another (female) minister. He’s done wrong, yes. But; he’s since publically apologized, been reconciled with is wife, and came out preaching the Gospel stronger than ever! This to me is a shining example of what Christ can do with a man who chooses to humble himself. A lesson these other men would do well to learn!
Well, it’s suppertime. I’m gonna go eat with the family and begin celebreating the Shabbat!
Love and Blessings,