by Pastor D Green
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:28–31)
When trouble comes in a church, is it always the fault of church members? Is the pastor always the victim? I’d like for the reader (whoever that might be) to consider the question very seriously. I am writing this as a pastor who loves the church God has placed me in, and I know there are times when trouble comes in the ministry. Pastor long enough and you’ll find it to be true.
However, we have to understand that not all pastors are obedient to the Lord and His Word. We need to realize that not all pastors love the people of God like they should. Notice the wording in Paul’s warning to the Ephesian elder, there in our text as he gives the image of men coming in as grievous wolves seeking to devour the flock. He speaks of them as men who would arise, speaking perverse things, and drawing followers after them. Now I understand that could be a person in the congregation or a man in the pulpit, but we must admit it could be a pastor.
Peter warned in 2 Peter:
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 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.” (2 Peter 2:1–3)
Since pastors are to be “apt to teach,” it is possible that the heretic in the church could be the pastor. Sadly, I have seen it where the one(s) who call out the heresy are labeled the troublemakers in the church. That’s one reason I recommend a church insists that the sermons be recorded.
John wrote about a troubling pastor in 3 John:
“I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.” (3 John 9–10)
Diotrephes made sure that John did not come to the church there, and he seemed to rule the church with an iron fist! Certainly not the kind of pastor that a man ought to be.
“Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.” (1 Timothy 5:19)
The Bible is clear a charge against the pastor of a church is serious. It should not be received except by two or three witnesses. That was in Paul’s day. Fast forward to today and some of the brethren believe in the infallibility of pastors. Sounds ridiculous, and they will deny it, but their actions speak much louder than their words for they will not hear the truth though there be 14. True story!
My point in this short blog post is to remind the reader that pastors are men same as everyone else and it is possible that the problem in a church might be the pastor, even if he insists it isn’t. Don’t take just one side of a story. Trouble within a church is not always the fault of the membership. The pastor is not always the victim. He sometimes is, but not always. The Bible was true when the ink was still wet, and it is true today. I’ll stand there, even if few will stand with me.
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:13–15)