When Generals Become Clowns
By Steve Cooper
The first shovel is thrust into the ground, breaking turf for the new church. What a holy experience! It's ceilings will be very high to give a sense of reverence. It will be decorated exquisitely and have pews and pulpit of the best woods. It will be awe inspiring! There will be many nice offices to facilitate the professional staff.
Once completed the pastor must work hard to make sure they can make the payments on both staff and facility. This becomes his responsibility, the gauge which tells everyone if he is doing a good job serving God. It takes a great deal of money to run church like this, but the churches in America have adapted.
Here is a quick story, in a nutshell, to help show how they have adapted: it is actually more of a peanut shell. Many years ago when my children were young, we took them to the zoo. The zoo had a peanut dispenser where you could buy peanuts in the shell to feed the monkeys. Many people were also purchasing them to feed to the polar bears.
The bears were across a mote and fairly close, so with a good throw you could deliver some peanuts. One polar bear saw that people had some tasty nuts for him and he sat on his rear with his hands up in the air in a cute, sort of pathetic pose. Somehow he had discovered over the years just what pose resulted in the most nuts flying his way.
I threw a peanut to him and scored a direct hit; it landed on top of his head. The poor bear sat there looking around to see what had happened to his prize, still with his paws in the air. He looked so ridiculous I felt ashamed for him. Here was this amazing, majestic creature who could have torn me limb from limb in the wild, begging like a little poodle for a morsel of food.
This same picture is true for pastors, especially televangelists, who over the years have learned what brings in the bling. There is one televangelist who goes on about his childhood and how his family didn’t have enough money to buy crayons, so he only had some broken ones. His lesson is about how he began giving and now has new boxes of crayons scattered all over his house. He talks about how he gave away the money for a new suit and now has a closet full of expensive suits that he has never even worn. You are supposed to give this pastor a piece of your income so these money showers happen to you too! A lot of people must be moved by this because the same show airs over and over again; he is quite wealthy.
This pastor is very good and convincing at getting people to give, like the bear, having honed his appeal over the years. Also, like the bear, there is great power in the truth of the gospel he knows and claims to revere. With it he could help bring light to a nation, but he has become a clever beggar To various degrees, his clone is pastoring most churches in America. The pastor's feel they must, at all costs, keep the money coming in for the church building and monthly bills. They compromise to keep the people coming through those doors.
This desire for numbers and tithes has moved the church to create a very simple gospel indeed. They have cut away everything demanding that might keep anyone from attending church; thereby taking the teachings of Christ to their irreducible stupidity. Jesus talked about counting the cost, about a hand to the plow and branches without fruit; but no, this will never work. Over the years the pastors have learned to tickle the ears with this no cost, "gospel of nothingness," In this gospel, a person merely says a magic prayer and that person is set for eternity; if they were sincere the day they said it. Living a life of debauchery after this magic prayer simply makes them a backslidden Christian.
The truth is that Jesus will not become your savior unless He is also your Lord. He is Lord and savior. He cannot be your Lord unless He is your savior and He cannot be your savior unless He is your Lord,
Did I come to God and ask Him into my life, laying my sins at the cross? Was I filled with God's presence that very moment and remain so until this very day? Yes. I committed my life to Him as I took His gift. Anything else is nothing.
The spiritual leaders of America, the generals of our faith are, for the most part, clowns. According to Dr. Dobson, over 40% of our pastors are addicted to pornography. Only 2% of the church population has ever shared the gospel outside of the church walls. The biggest audience of MTV is church going children.
The warning is chilling when we read the words of Jesus telling us that on judgment day many. will say to Him, didn't we know you? He warns that His answer will be, to many, that He never knew them and that they must go because they chose a life of sin over His service and goodness.
Pastors, it is not your job to entertain; you are not a clown. It is not your job to pay for a church building, to keep people from being offended at the gospel, or even to get them to become Christians. You have one job from God; to tell the truth - Nothing else. Speak the warnings they need to hear against abortion, sexual sins, love of money. Tell them, or face them on judgment day as your congregation walks away form Jesus, rejected. On the other side, just speak the truth and you will turn our nation back to God. Like the bear, you have great power.