One of my posts on 28 April, was entitled COVID-19 Is a Slow-Motion 9/11 in it Pastor Sam Rohrer of the American Pastors Network set forth 10 definitive needs every “Christian” must understand and live by after choosing to serve the Lord. I thought I would look at each one individually over the next two weeks.
Before I went to Chattanooga; we looked at the ‘Church’ is disobedient, lethargic and asleep. Today in Part 4 we will examine:
Be aware that 70% of the pulpits in America are occupied by ‘hirelings.’ (Hirelings refuse to warn of spiritual danger and the wolves — John 10:12-13)
According to W. E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, a hireling, as used in John 10: 12-13, “expresses, not only one who has no real interest in his duty, but one who is unfaithful in the discharge of it; that sense attaches always to the word rendered ‘hireling’.”
Where is the troubling information coming from – First I am not sure where the 70% figure comes from. I can make a reasonable assumption that with many so called mainstream churches moving pastors on a regular (2-3 year) schedule and between Barna and Lifeway estimates of 250-1700 pastors leave, transfer or switch ministries monthly; the percentage does not seem outrages.
What are the consequences for “believers?”
First we must establish what is the Elders/Pastors role as it pertains to our text:
Note that v.14-15 Jesus goes on to say that He is that Good Shepherd that knows His sheep and they know Him (have an intimate relationship) and He is willing to sacrifice His life for them.
Elders/Pastors that fail in preaching the unfeigned Gospel reap dire consequences. Brother Guy N. Woods has this comment in his Commentary on the Gospel of John, page 211:
Individual and organizations abound which prey on people in the name of religion whose sole purpose is the personal profit they derive. And, the church today is not without those who feel no obligation to defend the truth against false teachers and godless philosophies and who flee at the first approach of such in their congregations because they love the “peace’ and tranquility they enjoy, being in perfect harmony with denominational bodies round about. All who thus do, whether elders, preachers, prominent members or obscure ones, are hirelings in the sense our Lord used the word in this allegory.
We have all seen them, folks I call floaters, because they float from one church to another usually they are selling something, or want to be something and are looking for the right church to prey upon.
Today that lack of shepherding oversight is most evident (and most troubling) by the Biblical Worldview so called “Christians” have. The following is from an APN article:
With over 70% of all Americans claiming they are Christians..The most incredible changes relate to how Americans view the Bible. These insights come from the first annual nationwide worldview survey conducted by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, titled the “American Worldview Inventory 2020.”
“A biblical worldview, by definition, is based upon belief in and application of the truths, principles and exhortations contained within the Bible,” Barna said. “However, the results of the American Worldview Inventory point out that the changes in perceptions and acceptance of the Bible have facilitated the continuing decrease in the incidence of a biblical worldview in America.”
Barna noted that research suggests that more than eight out of every 10 Americans own at least one Bible. As many as four in 10 adults claim to have read the entire Bible. Two out of every 10 adults say they read the Bible on a daily basis.
“Clearly, the Bible is a book with a broad presence and substantial influence in the U.S.,” Barna said. “As would be expected, the AWVI survey revealed that peoples’ beliefs about the Bible are directly correlated with whether they develop a biblical worldview.”
* 41% believe the Bible is the word of God and contains no factual or historical errors; 14% of those have a biblical worldview. While that percentage is low, it is more than double the national average.
* Among the 13% of adults who believe the Bible is the inspired word of God but contains some factual or historical errors, only 2% possess a biblical worldview.
* 23% possess a positive view of the Bible but do not believe it is the literal or inspired word of God, or that it is completely accurate. (They see it as a “holy book” of religious teachings or as a valuable guidebook for societal development.) Less than 1% of these people develop a biblical worldview.
* 13% are indifferent to or dismissive of the Bible, citing it as merely a descriptive narrative of how its authors viewed the ways and principles of God, or as an unrealistic book of fables and myths. Not quite 1% of the people in this category hold a biblical worldview.
* The remaining 9% of the general public do not know how to describe the nature or value of the Bible. About 1% of that segment has a biblical worldview.
“Describing these data differently, only half of the nation’s adult population (54%) believes that the Bible is the word of God,” Barna said. “Even fewer—just four out of 10 (41%)—believe that the Bible is totally true in all of its empirical and historical statements. Stunningly, when comparing the current data with that from 2000, there has been a 21 percentage point decline in the proportion of adults who believe the Bible is the word of God (from 75% to 54%) and a 17-point drop in the number who believe the Bible is without error (from 58% to 41%).”
Those last sentences I highlighted are more than adequate proof, that there has been a dramatic decline in the pure Gospel message being preached and defended from pulpits by men dedicated to the ministry, called by God for said purpose.
I pray that we will all pray for a revitalization of Pulpits across America.
Develop a healthy fear of God. (Have no other god before Me—Exodus 20:1-6; Obey God, serve Him and fear Him—Deuteronomy 13:4; Rehearse history and teach of God’s power so your children learn to fear God—Deuteronomy 31:13; It is whole duty of mankind—Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
Re-embrace the biblical authority of Scripture. (All Scripture is profitable for life and living—2 Timothy 3:16: Living it establishes a person’s path—Psalm 119:11)
Know that the ‘Church’ is disobedient, lethargic and asleep. (Christ’s warnings to the seven churches and to Laodicea—Revelation 2-3; Revelation 3:14-22)
Be aware that 70% of the pulpits in America are occupied by ‘hirelings.’ (Hirelings refuse to warn of spiritual danger and the wolves—John 10:12-13)
Be bold to identify and call out the false prophets in the wolves among us. (Christ warned of the false prophets and wolves—Matthew 7:15, Matthew 10:16, Matthew 24:24; Jesus warned of mass deception in the last days—Matthew 24:4-5)
Understand that national blessing or national judgment hinges on the actions of the remnant. (“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”—2 Chronicles 7:14)
Accept the reality that persecution is coming and is normal for the believer and those still standing for truth. (All who live according to God commands will suffer persecution—2 Timothy 3:12; the enemies of truth will persecute you—Luke 21:12; John 15:20)
Discover that the preparation for prayer and meeting God’s requirements for prayer is far more important than the act of praying. (God demands a broken spirit and obedience before sacrifice—Psalm 51:16-17; God demands we pray His way: No unconfessed sin—Psalm 66:18)
Realize that the continuance of freedom is a result of God’s blessing, which hinges on obedience and conformity to God’s commands. (Don’t forget that all blessings came from God and if you forget and become ungrateful, God will replace blessings with bondage—Deuteronomy 8:1-20, 1:19-20; 30:1-20)
Understand that the choice for president or other elected leaders, while critically important, is secondary to repentance toward God and the choice for God. (Obey, and I’ll make even your enemies to be at peace with you—Proverbs 16:7)