Shepherds v. Shearers
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
The Gospels and Epistles are clear in their warnings to saints. Our gravest threats do not come from the outside, but from the inside: specifically pastors and elders who have gone astray, not only committing deal-breaking sins, but concealing them.*
After my late-in-life commitment to Christ at 51, shortly followed by the Lord speaking to me on a treadmill (where He said AMTC's name would change to carry His Name), I was more than thrilled to learn our new purpose and direction.**
My greatest shock came from the response of Christians I knew. Basically, everyone advised against our bold name change, telling me we might lose the support of mainstream VIPs. They advised me to smaller, more incremental steps of faith.***
Since then, I've been chagrinned by the cultural conformity I've witnessed at many churches headed by famous pastors. Or silver-tongued televangelists pumping their big book sales. But didn't most of them begin with great fervor for Jesus?
Weren't they once shepherds, willing to lay down their lives for their flocks? Why are some now hirelings and shearers working mainly for bucks?
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Stepping out of the cultural norm, entering the fields of media, some might say you're controversial: going against the church's advice, leaving its boundaries of safety. But are those pastures full of good grass? Or more like junk food, producing gas? Beware the enemy from within, speaking or prompting bad ideas.****
To Be Continued...
* Christianity Today article about elders concealing the job-threatening sin of a legendary evangelist's famous grandson: http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2016/march/tullian-tchividjian-confesses-second-affair-coral-ridge.html
** My Treadmill Experience: http://amtcworld.org/mission/amtcs-transformation/
*** Well-meaning Christian friends advised me to say, 'AMTC is a Christian company' or 'AMTC is run by Christian principles.'
**** I am not by any means criticizing all churches, pastors or self-sacrificing elders. I love my pastor and I've met some extraordinarily service-minded ministers within churches. But I've also witnessed a lot of the opposite. Although it's not politically correct to police our own churches, the Bible is clear that we should. Painstakingly, God gave us the perfect Shepherd, by Whom we must measure our local shepherds. At a minimum, consider two ways: humility and lifestyle.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Bad Ideas series.