Sunday, January 7, 2024

Ignoring Scripture

The public exposure of gross sin among many church leaders has become all too common today, and often we discover that their more egregious faults existed even before they entered the ministry. Just as bad are the committees and elders who select men and women for the ministry despite knowing about their proclivities before appointing them. Sorry situations of this sort develop when elders, pastors, and ministry boards ignore the clear teachings of Scripture.

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

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

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 or income potential.

Even worse are the investigators and apologists who work diligently to “restore” fallen but popular personalities to the ministry regardless of their egregious sins.

In contrast, the Apostle Paul wrote that an “overseer must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, and temperate,” and he must be above reproach both in the church AND in the surrounding non-Christian community.

Of course, this is not brain surgery. 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. However, this is symptomatic of a much larger problem, the downplaying of the importance of Scripture - (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 to understand that the one and only exception to the statement of Jesus is God, period, 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 to have knowledge that belongs only to God.

Nevertheless, our erstwhile “prophet” wrote that “Jesus didn’t say the last generation would not know” the timing of that event. Talk about false logic, arguing from what 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” one way or another into the square hole.

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

In his Letter to the Galatians, Paul instructed the church that if anyone, even an “angel from heaven,” proclaimed a gospel different than what they had received from him, “let him be accursed!” Strong words. Perhaps he was only using hyperbole for effect. But if not, well, his words call for God Himself to curse the offending individual and doom him or her to destruction.

Sadly, all too often, the practice of preachers, modern apostles, and pastors is to ignore and even push Scripture aside whenever it inconveniences their latest vision, spiritual fad, or pet doctrine.

The results of ignoring Scripture are never good and doing so is shortsighted and foolish. I write this as someone who spent years in Pentecostal circles and continues to believe in the gifts of the Spirit. Nevertheless, relying on dreams or angelic visitations for revelation and spiritual insight is no substitute for the careful study of Scripture.

It grieves me to say it, but problems of this kind are 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.

  • "Let him be Accursed!" - (If a prophet or even an angel from heaven deviates from or perverts the original Gospel, he or she is quite likely doomed to destruction)
  • Preaching Another Jesus - (Is Jesus still the Messiah who died on Calvary to save the world, or has he become a roaring Lion hellbent on taking vengeance on his enemies?)
  • Mysteries Revealed - (All God’s mysteries are revealed in Jesus Christ, especially in his death and resurrection)