PART 9 THE CHURCH OF GOD OR CHURCH OF MAN
PART 9 THE CHURCH OF GOD OR CHURCH OF MAN
THE BIBLE RATING OF A PASTOR
Are you ready to take a look at what I believe will help you tremendously in your walk with God? Now that you’ve found God, or rather, that He has found you, you need to be in the right place with the right leadership where you’ll have the opportunity to become in your experience all that God has made you to be at salvation. In order for this to happen, you’ll need some direction. You’ll need a plan of action and a manual.
With these thoughts in mind, what I’m going to leave you with is a spiritual checklist that will help you make an informed decision when you attend church as to whether the leadership is being used by God in accordance with scripture declarations. Earlier in this study, we talked about what constitutes the calling, being qualified by the Spirit, foundational teachings, qualifications for the office, the ordination of a pastor, and his responsibilities. Unfortunately, in most cases, it’ll be next to near impossible to contemplate whether this process was followed biblically when attending any church unless if the teachings from the pulpit clearly indicate that such was the case.
So, what I’ve decided to do is take the ingredients from what we’ve already discovered in this study and present them in some kind of order. In certain instances, I might add some clarifiers (disclaimers) by letting you know what wouldn’t qualify. Are you ready to read this checklist, make a copy of it for yourself, bring it to church, and use it to identify godly leadership? All I know is that I’m ready to do so. And by the way, if there were certain credentials that aren’t clearly verifiable, then these won’t be included.
So, here we have it. It has been a pleasure to provide these scriptural standards for both of us to look for in the church hierarchy no matter when and where we attend any church. This will help us make a more knowledgeable decision as to whether the varied requirements for someone to be ordained to an office position in the church has been taught, implemented, and evidenced in the lives of those who are being considered for ordination or who’ve already been appointed
As you listen to the teachings of those in authority, check those boxes which substantiate the spiritual standards listed. After a few visits to the same church, you should have a clear idea as to whether the pastor or any leader in the church evidences godly criteria. This should give you ample information on whether to remain in said church or go somewhere else. God Bless! Here we go. Are you ready?
- Is the pastor born again?
□Has the pastor repented (having a change of mind; to turn from one’s evil ways) of his sins and believed in Jesus, which will cause the Holy Spirit to be received into their life? John 3:5; Acts 17:30; 2 Thessalonians 2:13
Disclaimer (the denying of a claim)- DON’T CHECK THE BOX! Those in leadership claim that the receiving of the Holy Spirit is obtained by water baptism, good works, belief in someone else, or by obedience to the many dos and don’ts of the faith.
- Is the pastor qualified by the Holy Spirit?
□Do they reveal His graces of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, etc. in their everyday lives?
What substantiates that they’re at least trying is found as to whether they’re teaching the congregation to recognize sin, confess it to God the Father or to whom we’ve offended, and recover (replacing it with scriptural perspective)? Ephesians 2:18; 1 John 1:9; James 5:16; Galatians 5:22-23
Disclaimer: The confession of sin is made to someone in leadership.
Godliness is achieved by trying to improve one’s behavior through good works, rules, rituals, or ceremonies.
- Does the pastor teach the assembly the foundational truths of the faith?
□The Trinity – one God exists in three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each one has identical essence but different personalities. 1 Corinthians 8:6; Hebrews 1:8; John 4:24
Disclaimer: There’s no Trinity. There’s one God who doesn’t exist in three persons.
□Jesus, who pre-existed time, left heaven, was born of a virgin, God incarnate, deity (possessing a divine nature), lived a sinless life, died on a cross paying the penalty of sin and forgiving the whole world of it, rose again after three days never to die again, and ascended into heaven. John 1:1; John 1:14
Disclaimer: Jesus is a teacher, prophet, and maybe even the Son of God.
However, he’s not God the Son or God incarnate.
□The Holy Spirit is another member of the Trinity. He’s a person. He’s deity. John 15:26; Acts 5:1-4
Disclaimer: The Holy Spirit is the life force of God. He’s not a person.
□The Father is the final member of the Trinity who is both a person and deity. John 5:16-18; John 4:34
Disclaimer: The Father is the supreme almighty god.
□The gospel of repentance and belief, by which an unbeliever will receive the Holy Spirit, is preached. John 7:37-39; Ephesians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Romans 8:38-39; John 10:27-28; Romans10:13-15; Acts 8:36-38; Acts 16:30-32; Romans 3:10
Disclaimer: A child born into a Christian family is a Christian. A child’s parents can repent and believe for them in regard to salvation.
- What are some of the qualifications for those who seek the office of a pastor?
Those who are already ordained should abide by these spiritual conditions.
If not, then church discipline should be imposed.
Of whom no charge of immorality…is alleged.103 1 Timothy 3:2
His life is a representation of his doctrine in morals.104
Immoral behavior would include incest, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, prostitution, lesbianism, polygamy, and adultery. 1 Corinthians 5:1; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Romans 1:26-31
Disclaimer: God’s love supports all sexual relationships as long as they promote His kingdom.
Whether in heart, speech, or behavior [they’re] occupied with everything contrary to strict morality.105 Romans 1:18
□The husband of one wife
Validly divorced people who remarried were considered married to one spouse.106
Divorce is allowed if one of them is an unbeliever and they decide to leave the marriage.
Divorce isn’t allowed if both are believers and the one who leaves remains unmarried without engaging in an extramarital affair. 1 Timothy 3:2
□Given to hospitality
Addicted to works of charity. 1 Timothy 3:2
□Apt to teach
[Emphasizes] accuracy of words and a love to study. They delight in research to validate truth.107 1 Timothy 3:2
□Not given to wine
Drinks wine in moderation, but not to excess.
Not someone who wounds with the [tongue], that is, who is guilty of slander (a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report108) or of outrageous reproaches (to blame or discredit in disapproval).109 1Timothy 3:3
Able to take criticism without reacting. 1 Timothy 3:3
□Not a brawler
[Uses] a peaceful and inoffensive approach110 involving various issues. 1 Timothy 3:3
Not desiring the office of pastor for the sake of its financial gain. 1 Timothy 3:3
[Doesn’t] apply their minds to dishonest and unlawful gains.111
□One that ruleth well his own house
[Manages (cares for; concerned about)] his own marriage and home [which indicates the] ability to oversee a local church.112 1Timothy 3:4
The pastor cannot be one thing at home and something else in church.113
□Having his children in subjection with all gravity
His children not only obey and respect him but are respectful toward others. 1 Timothy 3:4
Disclaimer: Has children who lead a wicked and scandalous life.114
□Must have a good report
Has a good reputation or testimony from the brethren and those (unbelievers) outside the church by being upright in his business dealings, paying his bills, and evidencing good morals.
Must be true and just and honest in his dealings with his [fellow men,] and so live that they cannot say that he has wronged them.115 1 Timothy 3:7
- What are some of a pastor’s duties?
□They’ll give instruction in the Christian faith of truths already revealed and written down.
1 Corinthians 12:28-29
Disclaimer: There’s new revelation. God unveils new truth to them that’s contrary to what is contained in the completed canon of Scripture.
□They instruct by reproof [rebuke)] and admonition (a warning or mild criticism to correct some fault116).117
□The elements of his teaching should include honesty, sincerity, and purity of motivation.118
The manner [in] which a message is delivered insures respect, in character, opinions, [and] deportment119 (conduct).
Nothing said is [rash] or reprehensible, or that can give [offense] or cause the ministry to be blamed.120 Titus 2:7
□They shouldn’t corrupt or vitiate (to impair the quality of121) the morals of others.
Everything in his teaching was to be such as to make men purer and better.122 Titus 2:7
Provides instruction that will be useful in correcting all [that’s] deficient123 in the lives of each and every member of the church. Ephesians 4:12
Brings the church into not only having the correct and precise knowledge of Christ but also experiencing His power so that each believer becomes a perfect man, i.e., a spiritually mature man, where everyone becomes fully mature with the sum of the qualities which make Christ what He is.124 Ephesians 4:12
Disclaimer: Their doctrines interrupt internal prosperity.
They [teach] self-chosen doctrines that consisted in an inadequate view of the Person and Work of Christ, and their relation to the problem of human sin."125
Entices new converts by encouraging fleshly desires that promote excessive and uncontrolled morality.
Sexual acts other than lawful marriage are presented as legitimate expressions of Christian freedom. 2 Peter 2:2; 18-19
Accepts false teachings which promote the leadings of passions and indulging in carnal propensities.
Bad doctrine usually starts with bad conduct, and usually with secret sin.126 1 Timothy 1:18-19
□All that they taught and did was for financial profit.
They acted like celebrities and not servants.
They "lived it up" at the expense of their followers, and (true to human nature), their followers loved it!127 Titus 1:10-11
They [acted] dishonestly and criminally toward their fellow believers. The word dishonestly means to act fraudulently (by trickery… or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage128). Romans 13:10
□They bring forth a message with special assistance by the Holy Spirit and in some instances in the form of [categorical (topical) instruction and explanatory (verse by verse) teaching129]). Acts 13:1; 1 Timothy 5:17
They provide an explanation of the [Scripture] passages that are read, making their meaning and relevance clear to the gathered congregation.130 1 Timothy 4:13
□Their oversight (a spiritual and physical guardianship131 of the assembly [includes seeing] their needs and [providing] what they require). 1 Peter 5:1-2
□Their authority is expressed from the influence of reason, persuasion, and example.132 1 Peter 5:3
Disclaimer: They exercise an unreasonable use of power with wrong motivations.
They’re those, who like little kings or dictators, constantly shout orders over the body of believers.133
They operate under the influence of ambition, or from the love of power or popularity.134
Involved in I worship, probably intended here to express atheism, polytheism, and idolatry of every kind.135 Romans 1:18
□[Trains] the believers, given in their care, in the art of winning souls and of teaching and preaching the Word.136 Ephesians 4:12
Wow! What do you think? This is a good start, isn’t it? I think that this is a good outline. It’s not an easy thing to sort out what churches provide spiritual food and which ones don’t.
What I’m going to try and do over the next few chapters is leave you with three articles that I hope will help you to be able to identify three types of churches even further. The first one I’ll call the church of man.
106IVP Bible Background Commentary.
112The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.
113The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.
123Jamieson, Faucet, and Brown.
126The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.
127The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.
131Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament.
133Adam Clarke's Commentary.