Experts - Lifesavers from A Sinking Ship
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Are they making
a profit from
Do they flaunt their
1Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
There is nothing wrong with a pastor being paid for ruling well, or laboring in the word and doctrine. (NOTE: They labour in the word and doctrine, not in promoting their own ideas, giving good advice, or mixing psychology with the Bible.) They are worthy to be rewarded for their work. And, certainly faithful stewards that have spent much time in the word and in research may wish to sell their book.
Unfortunately for a whole bunch of the experts, there are a lot of "ministries" that are not specifically mentioned in the word of God. If these people really had to show clearly from scripture that they were worthy to be financially supported by the saints, they would be hard put to do so. Instead, they beg for money, sell books/music, give books away "free" for a "donation" of $20.00, ask for letters of appreciation for their radio program; and even, as we hear, will actually consult a list that names the churches where they can get the best offerings and "freebies." (That is an Independent Baptist list, by the way.)
2Peter 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
It has to be acknowledged that there are many people that are "in full time Christian service" simply because it is profitable. They can make a good living being an expert; or in some cases, they can give their budget a needed lift. While some might like to say that mostly Laodiceans are "in it for the money" (and there are surely many merchandisers among them), there are still altogether too many in Bible Believing circles.
Now, it should be noted that there are people that are making a living from their ministry that may not be dishonoring the Lord, and are really sincerely serving Him. They may still not be able to justify their ministry from the scripture, but they are not evil. But, remember that ...the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1Timothy 6:10 So, be aware of what is going on in their ministry and use caution if they show signs of looking too much for filthy lucre.
It is rather disgusting that there are some today condemning pastors or "full-time Christian servants" for working on the side when the Apostle Paul himself did so! Paul said, Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. Acts 20:34
As mentioned before, some ride on their parents' fame to a "ministry" of their own. These people grew up with Daddy and Mamma making their living being experts and/or taking offerings, and they do not know any other way to make a living. So, they get "called into the ministry," or "discover" that they are great writers and experts too; and they set off to make a living the same way their parents did. The daughters who do not actually do the same thing will too often marry men that are "called" into some work where they are making their living off of the saints. This is pathetic. Some of them honestly do not seem to have a clue how to make a living by working with their own hands; or worse, they may consider it beneath them. 1Thessalonians 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
1Timothy 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
We are to withdraw from those that suppose that gain is godliness. (Notice that they suppose gain is godliness. It is not.)
Of course, we can see the blatant flaunting of such things in "blab it and grab it," prosperity gospel people. These folks boast of their wealth and give the impression that since they have so much money or such a large kingdom, they must therefore be right with God and this is "the Lord blessing" them. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Sad to say, this mentality is not only creeping in among Bible believers and Independent Baptists, but in some cases has come in boldly and set up permanent residence.
My dad actually saw a broadcast in which Jack Van Impe said that before, when he preached as he used to (the gospel), he did not get so many letters but that now, since he has switched to prophecy, he gets many letters. What he was admitting, without realizing it perhaps, is that now he gets a lot more letters, which raises the number that come with money in them! $$$ You see by his own admission that he preaches prophecy for gain and is equating that gain with godliness. He is making merchandise of the Christians that support him.
If you have never seen a fund raising drive on TBN, you have missed one of the most idiotic, crass displays of greed available. I have seldom seen anything more disgusting that was supposed to be "Christian". On the particular episode that I saw footage of, Benny Hinn was boldly declaring that he didn't want to wait till he got to heaven for his gold. He wanted some down here! Of course, we selfish, greedy listeners were supposed to part with some of ours to make this happen. Ahem!
I once read a newsletter type publication for youth from a KJV only, Bible believing, Independent Baptist. In it he stated that Jesus' seamless coat (John 19:23-24) was so valuable that the Roman soldiers cast lots for it. He went on from there to say that we should wear "nice clothes", etc. Now the kids can justify that high priced garment they wanted which their parents were determined they couldn't afford. "Pastor said it we should dress expensive like Jesus did!" I wonder if it never occurred to him that maybe the Roman soldiers were smart enough not to rip up something like that. What good would it be then? Could it be that that was the reason they cast lots upon it? (Not to mention that it was a fulfillment of prophecy.) The Bible doesn't say where He got the seamless garment either. His mother, a relative or one of the women that ministered to His needs may well have woven it for Him. Why assume that Jesus spent a lot of money on it? Because that is a great starting point for preaching the prosperity gospel, that's why!
The Gain of Fame
There is another kind of gain. Though some of it provides considerable financial benefits, the expert will point out only the outward thing and not actually mention the monetary side of it. This is the following (people) and the real-estate. They will boast of the people that "write in," the size of their Bible college, the number of churches they spoke or sang in, the membership of their church, the size of their church building and property, how many missionaries they support, how many busses they have, how many kids they have straightened out, how many parents they have helped, how many marriages they have rescued, and so on and so forth. Many Bible believers have fallen into this sin, and it is disheartening how often we can hear people boasting of this sort of gain as a sign of their godliness or to "prove" that we should listen to them. These gains do not prove an expert or ministry is "of God." The Bible says, Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. Luke 6:26 And again, For who hath despised the day of small things?... Zechariah 4:10
Look at Jeremiah, I can only recall two godly and devoted
men who stood with him - Ebedmelech the Ethiopian eunuch (Jer. 38), and
Baruch his scribe. Yet he was a prophet sent by God and wrote a
considerable amount of revelation! And, what about Paul who said in
2Timothy 4:16, At my first answer no man stood with me,
but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid
to their charge. And, in 2Timothy 1:15,
This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me;
of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. This doesn't sound like success
in numbers to me, and I'm guessing that most of the letters that came in
from Asia wouldn't have made a good "broadcast" to encourage listeners to
"support" his ministry.
Gain, either of money or of fame, in an earthly ministry does not prove godliness!
Pensacola Christian College is very proud of the kingdom they are building on earth and have spent a fabulous sum on it. Especially notice in the link above the Crowne Centre gallery. This building is obviously the "crown jewel" of their kingdom, or perhaps we should call it the throne room. (By the way, the lighted white obelisks out front in pictures 1 and 4 should give one pause to consider. Does no one in authority there know the heritage of that symbol?) Also, note the fourth photo - a night scene, in which my husband and I both noticed how the top part of the stained glass windows on the front resembles an African or heathen mask of some sort. The seventh picture shows the huge chandelier in the lobby, which I assume is the one that has generated so much controversy. I have heard that it did not cost as much as some people claim, but just looking at it I can tell it cost way more than a conscientious Christian should have spent on such a bauble of decor. How many African or Indian church buildings could have been constructed for the price of this show piece? It all reminds me of that Dutch Reformed type mentality that my family has observed that "if you've got it, flaunt it, because it shows how good God is." This is a far cry from the Lord Jesus who said when He was living on this earth, ...Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. Luke 9:58