Rating the Pastors

Back to the chart showing how pastors think about the job they are doing.

A more accurate rating should be: How well does your flock know the Bible, and how well do they live it?

Is your divorce rate, like so many churches, the same as the world’s?

Is your suicide rate, again as with so many churches, the same as the world’s?

Do your congregants use anti-anxiety drugs like the bread of communion?

Do the people with money have more influence and power than the poorer members?

Do you follow the whole of the Word, observing His holy days, His dietary guidelines, and His instructions for cleanliness? If not, why not? Have you instead been taken captive by philosophy and empty deceit according to human tradition, precepts and teachings and elemental spirits of the world and not according to Christ? (Colossians 2)

Are the discipline instructions in Matthew 18:15-20 followed in your church? Why not?

Jesus said that those who hear His words and do not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. How do we know our house is on sand? When the rain falls, floods come and winds blow and beat against the house, it falls down.

How many times has your “house fallen down” in upheaval and turmoil because of a pastor change? How many pastors do you know have fallen into transgression such as adultery and drug abuse?

Which is more common in your church, the fruit of the Spirit or works of the flesh? (Galatians 5:16-26)

Does your church look anything like the first century church?

Now how high does your pastor rate?

Do you think there’s a deeper meaning to the fact that diplomas are called “sheepskins?” As in, “wolves in sheep’s clothing?

Shadows and a Soft Heart

Following the whole of the Word of God is not about rules and regulations. It’s about a soft heart. A real believer cannot sit in judgment on the Word, calling some parts of it “shadows” and some parts “small things” not worth doing, and still claim to be following the big things. I’m sure Adam and Eve had a similar attitude when they decided that the dietary command concerning the tree of knowledge was a shadow, a small thing, and not worth doing.

Pastors Rate Themselves Highly

How would you rate a pastor? According to one study, “of eleven common activities that pastors undertake, a majority of Protestant senior pastors rated themselves as doing an ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ job in ten of [these] eleven areas.” Do you agree?

PastorsRateHigh

Bad Shepherds

We can learn a lot about leaders or shepherds from Bible examples (Jeremiah 12:10, 23:1; Ezekiel 34; Zechariah 11). The good shepherds are good because they stick with what God says no matter what. Jesus of course is the pattern for all good shepherds everywhere. They care for the flock so much they are willing to forego fame or compensation. They stand up to the bad shepherds; endure beatings and all manner of ill treatment. They deliver God’s Word unadulterated and straight with no bending and no pragmatism. The good shepherd cares for the sheep so much he directs them always to the safe pastures of God’s Word.

Bad shepherds (or prophets) care more for themselves than for the flock. God gave us the method for identifying them in Deuteronomy 13:1-5, Isaiah 8:20 and the like. If they tell us to go after other gods, they are false. If they do something that seems right or good (like a prophecy that comes true, a healing or a rising from the dead) but then tell us to go after other gods they are also bad. Going after other gods doesn’t mean just statues in the living room. It means to stop doing what God says and do something else. This is why Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden – they “went after other gods” when they departed from abiding in God’s Word.

Some bad shepherds are so bad they are referred to as wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15). The better the wool suit, the better they are at leading the sheep astray. The more they use terms in teaching that sound as if they come from the Bible the better their disguise. All they need is to mix just a little bit of error in with a lot of truth.

The bad shepherd slips up when he or she tells us in the midst of a convincing monologue or right after an amazing healing not to obey the commands of God. Or they don’t tell us TO obey the commands and instead direct us elsewhere. The better false teachers or shepherds are the ones who appear impeccable in their outward appearance.

The Biggest Liar

A clergyman was walking down the street when he came upon a group of a few boys about 10 years of age, surrounding a dog. Concerned that the boys were hurting the animal, he went over and asked them what they were doing. One of the boys replied, “This dog is an old neighborhood stray. We take him home with us sometimes, but only one of us can take him home. So we’re having a contest: whichever one of us tells the biggest lie can take him home today.” Of course, the Reverend was shocked. “You boys shouldn’t be having a contest telling lies!” he exclaimed. He then launched into a 10-minute sermon against lying, beginning, “Don’t you boys know it’s a sin to lie?” and ending with, “Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie.” There was complete silence for about a minute. As the Reverend smiled with satisfaction that he’d gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh. “All right,” he said, “give him the dog.”

Salvation by Love Through Love

One of the mainstays of whole Bible Christianity is the theology of salvation by love, through love. This is a slightly different way of looking at the twin opposing arguments of salvation by faith through grace and salvation by grace plus works. Salvation is by faith through grace for certain. The problem is defining “grace” and “faith.” So our version covers it from more of a whole Bible perspective. It includes grace and faith, and frames them and suffuses them with Love. He loved us by doing something (sending His Son) and we love Him by doing something (anything He says). Our love is more than sentiment or emotion, just as His was “more than a feeling.” Love gave the Law; love lives it.

Women and Clothing

Nowadays, some think that a woman should wear only long skirts, while it is okay for men to wear pants. The problem is, I couldn’t find any Scriptural reason for this. If it is wrong for women to wear pants (and I don’t think that it is) then it is wrong for men also. If it’s okay for men, ergo, it’s okay for women. It seems rather arbitrary to teach otherwise, and I hesitate to tell husbands that we get the luxury of picking and choosing what is modest and what is not according to our own limited sensibilities. If we are arbitrary in this, we come up with all sorts of inconsistent rules having no biblical basis whatsoever. Then we expect those rules to be binding on others, when only the Word of God is binding.

Think back to the time of Mt. Sinai, and the giving of the instructions on how to run a godly community (the Law). What were the people wearing? All of them, men and women, wore, as near as I can tell, robes. So in a sense, everyone wore long skirts. When we were given the command not to wear clothing of the opposite gender (Deuteronomy 22:5), how could people tell what belonged to one gender or the other? One way, I suggest, to tell genders apart was long hair on the women, and beards with shorter hair for men. But this is not legislated for us anywhere. Another way to tell must have been style or maybe even color differences which were clearly masculine and feminine. The mere presence of long skirts (since everybody wore them) did not serve to differentiate between the genders. There is no Scriptural warrant for teaching that pants are related to morality or modesty one way or the other.

People Husbandry through the Word article from Whole Bible dot com

One House

This is an article on the ‘one house’ concept as opposed to the ‘two house’ ideas. There are some people who teach that those who embrace God’s Torah and are not specifically Jewish are members of the house of Ephraim, while the modern Jew is of the house of Judah. This is called the ‘two house’ teaching. The association of ‘Gentile who loves Torah’ with ‘Ephraim’ is seen through a rather convoluted and spiritualized reasoning process to be part of the promise from God that He would reunite the ‘two houses’ of Israel that separated shortly after Solomon’s reign. According to the two-housers this is because Ephraim (the northern 10 tribes sent into exile a little more than a hundred years before the southern two tribes of Judah and Benjamin) is said to have dispersed into the world population and lost their identity. Judah is said to have retained their identity through the centuries and are today’s Jews. The modern day non-Jewish person who loves God’s Torah must be related somehow to Ephraim according to these teachers, either through genetics or influence. So the ‘two house’ teachings consist of recognizing these so-called ‘facts’ and working to bring the two houses together.

However, I think that the two house teachings are a distraction away from building the One House of God’s family, which I believe is also called the Remnant. The House of God has existed since the beginning, and consists of all those who love and obey Him. Instead of worrying about whether the house a person belongs to is part of physical Israel, the person who follows God ought to see themselves as part of One house already, regardless of whether they are Jew or Gentile. I think God has already united the two houses, because no one can tell which tribe they are from now. Except for possibly the Levitical genetic marker, all of the Jews are one nation. Two houses have already become One house by God’s power. God is the one who said He would do it, and it is almost completed.

Two Sticks One House Already Made by God