Saturday, March 25, 2017

Qualifications For A Pastor

by Unknown

The Bible specifically speaks about the qualifications for those who will lead a congregation of people. These qualifications have been the same for almost 2,000 years. Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of these qualifications as the “senior pastor” of the Church.

(Titus 1:6, 7; 1 Tim. 3:2)

This is the overarching, summarizing characteristic. You will find similar (but not identical) lists in First Timothy and Titus. Living a life above reproach is the first requirement in both lists and Titus repeats it. The other items on the list explain what “above reproach” means. If we peruse the two lists, as well as First Peter, we find 17 qualifications of an elder who is above reproach.
  1. A pastor must be devoted to his wife; one-woman man (Titus 1:6; 1 Tim. 3:2). The pastor’s marriage illustrates Christ’s love for His church—His bride (Eph. 5:22 ff.). A Pastor must love his wife exclusively with his mind, will and emotions and not just his body.
  2. A pastor’s children must be in submission, though not perfect (Titus 1:6; 1 Tim. 3:4-5). If a man does not know how to manage his own family, he will not know how to take care of God’s church. The first flock for a pastor is his own family as Pastor Dad. A Pastor’s qualification for the church starts in his home management as he leads them up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).
  3. A pastor is a faithful steward (Titus 1:7). Here the term used is overseer (Greek episkopos). It is not another office, but a functional title of the elder. It is what he does. He is a steward, a manager of God’s resources and Jesus’ flock. He takes responsibility, but not ownership.
  4. A pastor must be humble — not arrogant (Titus 1:7). A pastor must constantly demonstrate the gospel by admitting when he is wrong and assuming responsibility and restoring relationships.
  5. A pastor must be gentle — not quick-tempered (Titus 1:7; 1 Tim. 3:3). No man will be of any use in the kingdom that is quick-tempered. The difference between how Jesus demonstrated anger is that He was angry at the abuse of others in the name of religion and the dishonoring of God. We get angry at how it affects us.
  6. A pastor must be sober — not a drunkard (Titus 1:7; 1 Tim. 3:3). This is not just overindulgence in alcohol but is idiomatic for any behavior that fuels addictive responses.
  7. A pastor must be peaceful — not violent (Titus 1:7; 1 Tim. 3:3). A pastor is prone to inflict violence through his words. He is to be a peacemaker.
  8. A pastor must have financial integrity — not greedy for gain (Titus 1:7; 1 Tim. 3:3; 1 Peter 5:3). A pastor is to be upright in his financial dealings and not accused of pursuing money over the kingdom of God.
  9. A pastor must be hospitable (Titus 1:8; 1 Tim. 3:2). A pastor’s home is to be open for others to enjoy. A pastor’s home is not a heaven on earth, but rather a place of ministry.
  10. A pastor must be a lover of good (Titus 1:8). A pastor genuinely loves what is good. He does not just think he should love it.
  11. A pastor must be self-controlled (Titus 1:8; 1 Tim. 3:2). Self-control is a characterization of every area of a pastor’s life: diet, time, mouth, exercise, relationships, sex, and money.
  12. A pastor must be upright (Titus 1:8). He has integrity in his relationships and in how he treats others.
  13. A pastor must be holy (Titus 1:8). His life is devoted wholeheartedly to Jesus externally and internally.
  14. A pastor must be able to teach (Titus 1:9; 1 Tim. 3:2). All of the other qualifications are character qualities. This is the only ability-based requirement. He is to be able to teach sound doctrine, not just be able to communicate in an excellent manner. His teaching can be to one or two, to twenty, to a hundred or to a thousand. Most of the churches in Crete were house churches. The elders were to defend the faith once delivered to the saints against the numerous false teachers that arose.
  15. A pastor must be spiritually mature (1 Tim. 3:6). Positions of authority without spiritual maturity lead to the trap of pride. When pride grows in a man, sin abounds.
  16. A pastor must be respectable (1 Tim. 3:7). That does not mean that everyone must like him or even appreciate him. It means that there is no credible witness to an ongoing sinful behavior.
  17. A pastor must be an example to the flock (1 Peter 5:3). Elders are examples of biblical expressions sexually, time management, marriage, parenting, worship, relationships and any other way. A pastor should be someone your sons could pattern their life after and the kind of man your daughter should marry.

What would you do if an elder violates one of these requirements? 1 Timothy 5:19-20 warns us not to accuse an elder flippantly. Matthew 18:15-18 gives us the steps: 1) Go to the elder alone, 2) If still unsatisfied, go with another person, 3) If still unsatisfied, let the greater eldership know. If accusations are verified and the elder remains unrepentant, rebuking that elder before all is the next biblical step.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Why Does Truth Matter So Much?

Society needs to be allowed to speak the truth, and society needs to speak the truth. Always. No matter what.

You and I are humans, just as were the Nazis. Just as with the Nazis, you and I are capable of committing great atrocities against our fellow human beings. Look inside yourself and be honest with yourself. You know it is true. So how did regular everyday people suddenly become capable of committing such great atrocities? They stopped speaking the truth. They stopped believing the truth. They were not allowed to speak the truth.

When truth is silenced, as several groups are trying to accomplish today (and succeeding), you eventually tell yourself all sorts of little lies to comfort yourself in what you are doing. Those little lies eventually become bigger lies. Soon, you have lied to yourself to much that your conscience is seared. You could do things to your fellow man without even blinking an eye. And you would tell yourself another lie to cover it up. How can this happen? Because you weaken your character through sins of omission.

When society is built on lies, terrible things happen. All you have to do is look at history to see examples of it. Russia. Germany. There is no shortage of examples. We can see the exact same thing happening today. People are buying into all the little lies that pretty soon previously otherwise gentle people will start to become violent in ways they never would have believed possible. They will do things they never before dreamed capable. Why? Because the truth was stifled, silenced, and suppressed. It became illegal to speak truth about or against certain things. If you do not use the truth, you will lose the truth.

Even professing Christians who are not saturated with the truth, thinking on the truth, and comparing all things against the truth, will eventually find themselves committing acts against their fellow Christians that they never would have perceived of doing prior. Especially those associated with the N.A.R. (New Apostolic Reformation) cult movement of Charismania. Do not be naive. Do not be stupid. Truth matters!

How To Discern False Teachers

How can you recognize a false teacher? The simple answer is that, "You will know them by their fruits" (Matt. 7:16, 20). But that answer assumes that you have any amount of discernment about yourself to understand right from wrong and recognize truth from error. Nowadays, that assumption is just reaching. Long-time professing Christians are starting to be unable to tell right from wrong. Discernment is practically non-existent because the average church-goer does not spend any amount of time in God's Word. If you are not saturated with the truth, thinking on the truth, and comparing all things against the truth, how are you to recognize when subtle false doctrines creep in?
This does not merely apply to authors, speakers, and/or Bible teachers, but also to the music artists you listen to. You should always evaluate those you associate yourself with. Do not merely examine what they say, but examine what they do. Anyone can say they are a Christian, but is it exhibited in their everyday life? Research their teachings and habits in three main areas: their doctrine and hermeneutics; their ministry partnerships and associations; and their lifestyle or behaviour. Are they biblically sound? Do they endorse, partner with, or associate with false teachers? How do they conduct themselves in their everyday life?

You should also consider the fact of whether any problems in these three areas are current, ongoing, and unrepentant, or if there were issues of sin in these areas in the past that have since been repented of and corrected. Remember, even the godliest person is still a human being who sins, as well as a Christian who learns God's Word and grows to maturity over the span of their lifetime. The issue is not whether a person has sinned in these areas—something we are all guilty of from time to time, but whether the person knowingly persists in sin, or is teachable, repents, and avoids sin when it is pointed out to them.

You can test to see whether a person is a false teacher by using the following three criteria:
  1. They cannot currently and unrepentantly be living in any type of sin (e.g., cohabiting with his/her girlfriend/boyfriend or living as a homosexual).
  2. They cannot currently and unrepentantly be partnering with or frequently appearing with false teachers in violation of 2 Corinthians 6:14.
  3. They cannot currently and unrepentantly be teaching false doctrine.
(I modified and put into my own words a couple things Michelle Lesley had to say to women in regard to how she determines whether to recommend a female Bible teacher, speaker, or author, because I agree with what she said and it can be applied all around.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Warning For Christian Women


Be careful what womens' books you are reading and what womens' ministries you are following. Many of these women are either directly influenced by the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) cult movement or are influenced by women who are directly influenced by the NAR cult movement. If you do not believe me, there is a dear Christian woman named Michelle Lesley who has addressed many of these concerns in a couple of her blog entries: Do You Recommend These Teachers/Authors? Part 1 and Do You Recommend These Teachers/Authors? Part 2. Regarding female authors and Bible teachers, she writes:
Generally speaking, in order for me to recommend a teacher, speaker, or author, she has to meet three criteria:
  1. She cannot currently and unrepentantly preach to or teach men in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12, nor can she currently and unrepentantly be living in any other sin (for example, cohabiting with her boyfriend or living as a homosexual).
  2. She cannot currently and unrepentantly be partnering with or frequently appearing with false teachers in violation of 2 Corinthians 6:14ff.
  3. She cannot currently and unrepentantly be teaching false doctrine.
Avoid associating yourself with the womens' ministry She Reads Truth. Despite the claim on their website, these women all have agendas that have to do with so-called "social injustice." Another dear Christian woman named Elizabeth Prata wrote a couple blog entries on this group of women and the dangers of being associated with them:

Even popular Christian musicians are falling in line with the world and its corruption. Nichole Nordeman, a Christian singer whom I used to enjoy listening to, divorced her husband a couple years ago (though she did not give any details as to why they were divorcing), and has since been very vocal with her support of Jen Hatmaker's embrace of homosexuality in the church. It makes me question whether she is a Christian at all, because she sure does not know the God of the Bible or His Word, because homosexuality is condemned by God in His Word.

Christian women, especially stay-at-home moms, are most susceptible to being influenced by false messages in Christian music because, if they listen to "Christian" radio at home, they are the ones being targeted with particular songs and particular sales. If the radio station plays songs by Bethel Church, Elevation Church, Gateway Church, Hillsong, Jesus Culture, Planetshakers, etc., they are subtly being introduced to false doctrine. Not just women, but men included, need to be careful what books they are reading, what music they are listening to, and what ministries they are following. There are more and more of these being produced in order to seduce God's children away from the truth. We need to be on our guard. We need to be in the Word and we need to know the Word.

Here is just a small list of women to watch out for and avoid:
  • Jennifer Kennedy Dean
  • Lisa Harper
  • Rebekah Lyons
  • Raechel Myers
  • Shauna Niequist
  • Jennifer Rothschild
  • Susie Shellenberger
  • Sheila Walsh
  • Amanda Bible Williams
  • Jennie Allen
  • Lisa Bevere
  • Rachel Held Evans
  • Heather Lindsey
  • Anne Graham Lotz
  • Kelly Minter
  • Jen Hatmaker
  • Lysa TerKeurst
  • Beth Moore
  • Christine Caine
  • Victoria Osteen
  • Joyce Meyer
  • Priscilla Shirer
  • Ann Voskamp
  • Bobbie Houston
  • Margaret Feinberg
  • Bianca Olthoff
  • Sarah Jakes Robers
  • Charlotte Gambil
  • Paula White
  • Sarah Young
  • Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth (Not considered a false teacher, but should approach her stuff with caution.)
  • Kay Arthur  (Not considered a false teacher, but should approach her stuff with caution.)

A Manifesto of Christian Discernment

by Steven Kozar

We will maintain a healthy skepticism towards all the big-name leaders in the church. No matter how famous a Christian celebrity might be, we refuse to be gullible just because someone has become a "brand name."

We will check everything any pastor/teacher says against God's Word, and when it comes to the most powerful, multimillionaire "Super Pastors," we will assume the worst until convinced otherwise.

We refuse to be impressed or motivated by storytelling, drama and entertainment. God and His written Word is the only acceptable focus of a worship service--not the manipulations of men. We will not tolerate idiotic stunts in order to "bring the unsaved to church." We will not tolerate false humility and claims of direct revelation from any pastor/teacher. Any pastor/teacher that claims to hear "something new" directly from God will be immediately disqualified. No second chances.

We don't need you.  We understand that you need a constant influx of new and gullible listeners, but we refuse to participate. 

A pulpit and a microphone should only be used to direct attention to Christ, not towards a pastor who loves the attention of an audience. A large church platform does not give any pastor the right to amass power and enlarge their bank account. Pastors must tell the truth, all the time--not just when it advances their career.

  • Stop telling people "it's all about Jesus" when you actually talk more about yourself and your ideas. 
  • Stop bragging about how much you're doing for God. 
  • Stop bragging about how great your church is. 
  • Stop bragging about how you started out with just a few people meeting in your living room and "now we have (x) number of people coming!" 
  • Stop bragging about the guest speaker--he's a sinner, too. (We know you just want to get invited to his church so you can make a pile of money.)
  • Stop bragging about your best-selling book. 
  • Stop bragging about your celebrity friends.
Pastor, you're a sinner that deserves God's wrath, just like the rest of us. Jesus took the punishment we deserve upon Himself to set us free from sin and death; you didn't do anything. Either tell us about the true Gospel or we will go elsewhere, with zero regrets.

We are all on equal footing; no pastor should be getting rich from his parishioners.
  • You are not a rock star, you're a servant of Jesus Christ.
  • You are not a CEO, you're a servant of Jesus Christ.
  • You are not a motivational speaker, you're a servant of Jesus Christ.
Any pastor/teacher who misuses the Bible should be removed from ministry. Period. We realize that this rarely takes place, but we will work towards that goal, as much as possible.

  • Stop taking Bible verses out of context to support your own personal agenda. 
  • Stop spending so much time putting on a good show each Sunday that you're not studying the Bible. 
  • Stop emphasizing leadership skills as if you were running a large corporation; you're cheapening the church and starving your sheep. 
  • Stop using marketing gimmicks and promotional tricks to imitate a genuine work of God. 
  • Stop apologizing for the Bible while you pander to newcomers who aren't being told the full story of their sin and need for salvation. 
  • Stop embarrassing us by trying to be cool, relevant and modern. Just preach the Word.
  • Stop thinking that nobody will show up if you don't tickle people's ears to get them in the door. 
  • Stop relying on musicians to create a fake "Holy Spirit;" you should be more concerned about the Biblical training (and eternal fate) of these musicians rather than just using them as part of the Sunday morning "show."
  • Stop giving motivational speeches that promise success in the name of God.
  • Stop telling people to tithe in order to get God to do something. God is sovereign.
  • Stop using tithing as a false promise of guaranteed prosperity to your parishioners and as a means to fill your own wallet. If you didn't have such an expensive "church" to run, you wouldn't need so much money.
  • Stop manipulating people--start serving them.
  • Stop pointing to yourself--point to Jesus.
  • Stop referring to your own thoughts and ideas--start referring to God's Word alone.
  • Stop putting people under the burden of the Law--point people to the freedom that only the Gospel brings.
In Conclusion, 

We will seek out the pastor who faithfully serves God and proclaims repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus' name. God's Word alone will be our guide. It will be our joy to serve faithfully under a real, Biblical pastor, no matter what. God help us all, in the great name of Jesus.

Titus 1:7-11  “For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.”

James 3: 1 "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness." 

Titus 2:1 “But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.”

2 Timothy 4:1-4  “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

2 Timothy 4:16  "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

Romans 16:18  “For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.”

2 Corinthians 2:17  “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.”

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Itching Ears

When asked why Hillsong is so successful, Brian Houston said, "We are scratching people where they are itching." Does that not sound like something straight out of Scripture? "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts they shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;" (2 Tim. 4:3). The reason all these mega churches and campus churches are so "successful" is because they are telling people what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear. They are attempting to make these people feel better about themselves just so that they can go to Hell on a greased pole. They make these people twice the inhabitants of Hell than they themselves are. They are wolves in sheep's clothing and they are leading millions astray. But we should not be surprised. God's Word told us this would happen:
"But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth." 1 Timothy 4:1-3

"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these." 2 Timothy 3:1-5

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths." 2 Timothy 4:3-4

"Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation."" 2 Peter 3:3-4

"Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us." 1 John 2:18-19

"But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, "In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts." These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit." Jude 1:17-19
These "churches" are merely Synagogues of Satan. How is it that churches that faithfully preach God's Word remain significantly small, while these churches have hundreds of thousands of people in attendance every Sunday? That alone should set off a red flag. When three quarters of your year's Sundays are spent giving messages on "tithing," there is something wrong. When your "message" is about how rich you are (while your congregation is poor and struggling), there is something wrong. When you are claiming to have a word from the Lord and you are doing a whole bunch of wacky nonsense, there is something wrong. Where is God's Word in any of this? Where is the faithful expository preaching that adheres to context? If a Christian is going to walk into a mega church or a campus church, make sure you know your Bible well! Make sure you have discernment from the Holy Spirit! Pay attention to everything that is said and/or done and hold it in comparison to the Bible. If it does not match up, leave that church immediately!

Gender Identity

Do you struggle with gender identity?

I have the solution!

It is so simple that you will think to yourself, "How could I have been so dumb not to have seen it before?"

Are you ready for it?

Okay, here it is...

Look in your pants!

"The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately
wicked; Who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9

How in the world does someone "struggle" with their gender identity? What is to struggle with? If you are confused as to your gender identity, look in your pants! It is not hard to figure out. The boy from the movie Kindergarten Cop said it best: "Boys have a penis. Girls have a vagina." It cannot get any simpler than that.

There are some idiots out there (yes, "idiots" is the proper word) who claim that biological gender is merely "a construct." What?!? Really? Biological gender is "an idea" or "a theory"? What rock did these fools crawl out from under? That is as stupid as the philosophy that attempts to argue that we are not really here; we just think we are.

People who struggle with gender identity suffer from a mental disorder, the same as every other person who struggles with sexual identity. Transgenderism is just a variant form of homosexuality. Pederasty, bisexuality, pansexuality, polysexuality, omnisexuality, ambisexuality, transsexuality; they are all variant forms of homosexuality.

Just because you are mentally confused and "feel" that you are a balloon trapped in a man's/woman's body does not make you a balloon. If you are a Caucasian, you can identify yourself as a seven-foot tall African all you want, but that does not make it true. There used to be a simpler time when people who insisted on living in "realities" that were not real were committed and institutionalized for their mental disorders. Now, society caters to their every fantastical whim.

Jesus made it quite clear as to what genders there are: "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE" (Matt. 19:4). Jesus also made it very clear as to God's law regarding marriage: "'FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate" (Matthew 19:5-6). Anything outside of this is not a marriage! There is no wiggle room here. Jesus upheld heterosexuality as the only acceptable form of appropriate sexuality. You are the biological gender you were born as. Again, to quote the boy from the movie Kindergarten Cop, "Boys have a penis. Girls have a vagina."

A true Christian speaks the truth! Any professing "Christian" who accepts, approves, and condones of homosexuality, gay "marriage," or transgenderism is NOT a Christian, NOR are they loving in the least. A Christian speaks the truth, no matter how much it might hurt a person to hear. Genuine Christians are to be truth tellers. They should use the pronouns "her" and "she" when referring to those God made female, and they should use the pronouns "him" and "he" when referring to those God made male. Anything else is to bear false witness against our Creator and those who are trying to mutilate their flesh and be something that they are not and will never be.

Any person who professes to be a Christian and tosses their support in with homosexuality, gay "marriage," and transgenderism: (1) is a liar; (2) is not your friend; and (3) does not love you. You should not trust these individuals and you should avoid them. They are wolves in sheep's clothing. A person who loves you and is your friend will tell you what you need to hear; not what you want to hear.

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful
are the kisses of an enemy." Proverbs 27:6