Ignoring Scripture

Was the Apostle Paul serious when he wrote that church elders must be above reproachThe public exposure of gross sin among many church leaders has become all too common, and often we discover that their more egregious faults existed even before they entered the ministry.

Bible Reading - Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash
[Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash]

Almost as bad are the committees that select men for the ministry despite knowing about their proclivities before appointing them, yet they do so all the same.

In part, these sorry situations develop when elders, pastors, and ministry boards ignore clear teachings found in the New Testament.

I understand the desire to recruit preachers and prophets that speak well and draw crowds, but eloquence and sex appeal are no substitutes for sound teaching and holy conduct.

In the rush to place charismatic and popular individuals in the pulpit, cooler heads do not always prevail. Doing one’s due diligence becomes an inconvenient irritant all too easily discarded for the sake of church growth.


But the Apostle Paul teaches us that an “overseer must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate,” etc., and he needs to be above reproach in the church AND the surrounding non-Christian community.

Of course, none of this is rocket science. You do not take a man with a track record of sexual sins, intolerance, financial improprieties, or mental abuse and elevate him to lead God’s flock - (1 Timothy 3:1-7).

I am not talking about difficult or ambiguous passages. You do not need the gift of discernment, an angelic visitation, or a trip to the “third heaven” to understand this straightforward principle. Just read the plain text of the New Testament.

Take another example, this one from one of today’s leading “prophets.” Jesus declared that no one EXCEPT THE FATHER ALONE knows the day or hour of His Son’s return.

It does not take a doctorate in languages or theology to understand that the one and only exception to the statement of Jesus is God, period, and end of discussion. Not even the “Son of Man” knows the day, hour, “season,” or the “times and seasons” of that last day, yet many prophecy preachers presume that they do!

Nevertheless, our erstwhile “prophet” writes that “Jesus didn’t say the last generation would not know” the timing of that event. Talk about false logic, arguing from the Lord did not say!


Unfortunately, sledgehammer hermeneutics is now the modus operandi of the end-time Prophecy Industry. Just keep pounding the round peg until it “fits” into the square hole!

The examples can be multiplied quite easily. One reason why too many church leaders wander so far off the biblical ranch is that they ignore and even reject plain scriptural passages and sound principles of interpretation in the pursuit of deeper “spiritual” experiences, power, popularity, or packing the church building full every Sunday.

In Galatians, Paul instructs the church that if anyone, even an “angel from heaven,” proclaims a gospel different than what they received from him, “let him be accursed!” Strong words. Perhaps he is only using hyperbole for effect. But if not, well, his words call for God Himself to curse the offending individual!!

Sadly, all too often today, the practice is to ignore and push Scripture aside whenever it inconveniences someone’s latest vision, spiritual fad, pet doctrine, etc.

The results of ignoring Scripture are never good and doing so is shortsighted and foolish. And I write this as someone who spent years in Pentecostal churches and continues to believe in the gifts of the Spirit.

And it grieves me to say it, but the problem is especially acute in the Charismatic Movement where reliance on the apostolic tradition preserved in the New Testament has been replaced by an ever-increasing emphasis on the experiential, the metaphysical, the emotional, and the mystical.

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