There’s something that has been gnawing on me lately, and that is: Why are those rabbis/pastors/preachers/teachers who have somehow “fallen from grace” still out there pastoring/teaching? And please don’t give me this, “Well, everyone makes mistakes” stuff! Those folks are “shepherding” us; they aren’t supposed to be out there KNOWINGLY committing sins and feeling entitled to remain in their posts as rabbis/pastors/preachers/teachers. (Sins such as: committing adultery, getting divorced, lying, stealing, ending up with legal troubles, making endless false prophecies and constantly apologizing when they don’t come true, or constantly harassing the congregation to “give all they have” so the congregation leader can live a lavish lifestyle, etc.)
We all know someone like that, but nobody ever speaks up about it. My husband and I attended one congregation that fell apart because of adultery in the leadership; and we also left the next congregation because the rabbi was a control freak who tried to run everyone’s life, and he also didn’t mind breaking Shabbat. (He liked to go out to eat with some of the members after each Shabbat teaching – and he laughed at me when I asked him once if we weren’t breaking Shabbat by committing commerce and causing others to work.) Needless to say, the more we “learned and grew” in Scripture over the years, the LESS tolerant we became of leaders who didn’t mind bending the rules….
Regardless, I’m appalled at the lengths people will go to, to forgive their respective “shepherds” – mumbling excuses such as, “Well, he said he’s sorry. Yes, he’s twice divorced and he knows he’s made many false prophecies and admitted he was wrong in some of his teachings, but he’s sorry. He’s trying!” Or, “Okay, so he messed up and got in trouble with the law, but so what? We all make mistakes! Give the guy a break!” Or, “Yeah, I know he likes to gossip sometimes and I know it was awful of him to do so on his Friday evening radio show, but so what? We’re all guilty of gossip! Bottom line, he’s really a nice guy.”
Pastors/rabbis/preachers/teachers are to be above reproach, doing their best NOT to sin – and they’re definitely NOT to go around sinning on purpose because just they think they can get away with it. They’re supposed to KNOW better! If they don’t, then they aren’t qualified to be pastors/rabbis/preachers/teachers and they need to move over and allow someone to step in, who is! To remain behind “the pulpit” when one is guilty of purposeful transgressions is ARROGANT and PRIDEFUL!
Making excuses for transgressions and being "tolerant" is how homosexuality ended up becoming "the norm!"
Scripture tells us what YHWH expects of HIS rabbis/pastors/preachers/teachers:
1 Timothy 3:1 Here is a statement you can trust: anyone aspiring to be a congregation leader is seeking worthwhile work. 2 A congregation leader must be above reproach, he must be faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, orderly, hospitable and able to teach. 3 He must not drink excessively or get into fights; rather, he must be kind and gentle. He must not be a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, having children who obey him with all proper respect; 5 for if a man can't manage his own household, how will he be able to care for God's Messianic Community? 6 He must not be a new believer, because he might become puffed up with pride and thus fall under the same judgment as did the Adversary. 7 Furthermore, he must be well regarded by outsiders, so that he won't fall into disgrace and into the Adversary's trap.
Peter quotes Leviticus 20:26 when he says: "...do not be participants again with those former lusts with which you lusted when without knowledge. But you be Set Apart in all your conduct, as he is Set Apart who has called you. Because it is written: “Be you Kadosh even as I am Kadosh.” (1 Peter 1:14-16). I see nothing wrong with holding our spiritual leaders to a higher standard. Men (and women) cannot be pastors/rabbis/preachers/teachers when they are not fit to be in the presence of YHWH due to their intentional sins.
1 John 1:8 and Romans 3:10 tell us that we ALL sin, while 1 Corinthians 11:1 tells us to be imitators of Y’shua haMashiyach! We are in a fallen world where bad things happen and we are sometimes prone to sin. Nobody is perfect. But to make excuses for our own sins and/or to condone the sins of others – especially our leaders – makes us guilty of twisting Scripture to suit our own bellies. If we make a habit of this type of behavior then there is only one word to describe us: Hypocrites.
What we need is Watchmen!
Ezekiel 3:17-21 (CJB) "Human being, I have appointed you to be a watchman for the house of Isra'el. When you hear a word from my mouth, you are to warn them for me. 18 If I say to a wicked person, 'You will certainly die'; and you fail to warn him, to speak and warn the wicked person to leave his wicked way and save his life; then that wicked person will die guilty; and I will hold you responsible for his death. 19 On the other hand, if you warn the wicked person, and he doesn't turn from his wickedness or his wicked way, then he will still die guilty; but you will have saved your own life. 20 Similarly, when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and commits wickedness, I will place a stumblingblock before him- he will die; because you failed to warn him, he will die in his sin; his righteous acts which he did will not be remembered; and I will hold you responsible for his death. 21 But if you warn the righteous person that a righteous person should not sin, and he doesn't sin; then he will certainly live, because he took the warning; and you too will have saved your life."
Y'shua's disciples faced the same issue in their day...
Matthew 9:35-38 (CJB) "Y'shua went about all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and weakness. 36 When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were harried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His talmidim,"The harvest is rich, but the workers are few. 38 Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out workers to gather in His harvest.
I certainly agree that those that don't have their own house in order should not be teaching others. I would also point out that 1 Timothy 3, where your text says "congregational leader" actually refers to a bishop or elder, not a pastor/rabbi type person. Scripture shows us that the church body is to be made up of elders who know and live the Word that teach the congregation and build up more elders. The first century church had no head other than Christ and the idea of a congregation being led by one individual pastor is a man-made idea. Yeshua told his disciples not to let anyone call them Rabbi since He was THE teacher (Matthew 23:8).ReplyDelete
Your stance certainly applies to anyone that would be an elder or leader.
119 Ministries has a great teaching on the subject of His model of the church: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpFGOjRDirM
I'm new to reading your blog and look forward to digging through your previous articles.
Oh yes I agree with you thanks for sharing I will check out the video.Delete
Oh this is what I have felt for so many years. Glad someone is willing to speak up against these people who fall in leadership than act like it is nothing. And the dumb sheep that just let it go. Thanks for this article. YHWH expects leaders to be an example.ReplyDelete