By: Shawn Bogemann
I came across a television show the other night which caught my attention. Within the first few minutes I was disheartened at how many people looking for the truth were being deceived by these “pastors” who were preaching a prosperity message void of how to obtain salvation. I was even more saddened that these “pastors” were driving cars that cost more than congregants houses, wearing suits that cost more than an average family in their congregation earns in a month, and used titles to emphasize their importance.
Was this the example which Christ demonstrated for us? Was this what was demonstrated by the early church or the Apostles? Let me first address the pompous attitudes and lack of Humility exhibited by the “pastors”. Matthew 23:12 (KJV) And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. The word “exalt” (ὑψόω) in the Greek means to elevate above another or to lift up. These “pastors” clearly elevate themselves above the other members of the congregation and have no Biblical understanding of the command to serve others. At one point, prior to preaching a sermon, an entourage of people catered to one preachers every need as he “meditated” prior to the sermon. Christ says in Matt 23:12 that men like this will be abased (ταπεινόω), which means to be brought low or humiliated. These men who teach error and exalt themselves over others will have to give account at the judgment, and at this point will be humiliated and brought low. On earth they may be exalted and living in luxury, but in eternity they will be eternally in torment. Mark 8:36 (KJV) For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
These men do not preach a true Gospel. They have turned their ears from the truth and many of them are promoting a “New Age” Gospel. The Bible addresses men like this: 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (KJV) 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. Part of this New Age Movement is a departure from Book, Chapter, and Verse preaching for a feel good sermon, refusal to condemn sin, a universalist “all is good” approach to salvation (Cosmic Humanism / Post-modernism), and a belief that anyone who claims a belief in Jesus (whether mere man or Messiah) is a Christian. Again, although disgusted and saddened, I am not surprised because of Peter’s warning in 2 Peter 2:1 (KJV) 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.
The preachers we see in the Bible would have never lived in such a manner, condoned the doctrines being taught, or allowed people to remain in a lost state so as to not offend the sinner. Their actions demonstrate the true state of their heart. They are more worried about their million dollar homes and cars than they are about their own souls or even yours. After seeing just a few minutes of their worship services and sermons I am convinced there is not even one Christian in these assemblies. Unfortunately, the majority of these people attending these worship services are sincere, but have been sincerely deceived. Many may be angered by that statement, but the Bible gives a pattern for worship which these "pastors" are not adhering to. John 4:24 (KJV) God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Many people complain about programs on television today which have scantily clad actors, foul language, and are obscene in nature. I agree with them. However many of these "religious" shows on television today are just as bad yet fly under the radar as educational religious programming.
Acts 20:29 (KJV) For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.