Monday, August 06, 2007

If I were the Devil…this is how I would attack pastors...

I am on vacation this week- getting some rest- to all my friends that say the devil never rests, you're right and that is why he is the devil; and by the way I don't want to be like him!

This article needs to be read by all. It will be posted in three parts becasue of its length-- read on.....
by Greg Stier

Part 1

If I were the devil I’d get pastors to build great big churches where they could teach nice things about a nice God. I’d make sure they avoided the dangerous God of the Bible. I’d get them to preach a whole lot about the patience and kindness of God and leave out his holiness and justice. Or I’d get them to preach about the holiness of God to the exclusion of his love and grace. I’d have them preach a one-sided message about a one-sided God instead of the breadth of who He is.

If I were the devil I’d tempt pastors to buy into a distorted gospel of prosperity. I’d convince them to preach a message of "God wants you to be rich" while much of the world dies of starvation. I’d take them deeper into a downward spiral of heresy and greed. Eventually I’d get them to empty the bank accounts of bent, old Bettys and blue collar Bobs to finance their Lexus-driving, $3,000 suit wearing, mansion-dwelling lifestytle of "holy" hedonism. I’d help them cloak their message of greed with a "whatever you donate to this ministry will be multiplied one hundred fold in your own bank account" giving promise.

If I were the devil I’d convince pastors to stay stuck in their old ways. I’d convince them in the power of tradition and tradition alone. I’d challenge them not to think outside the box when it comes to the way they communicate to this generation. I’d motivate them to preach purely theological sermons that were truth heavy and application light. I’d push them to make every week a creedal download with little to no practical application. If this approach didn’t work with pastors, I’d do my best to convince them to trash tradition and preach purely practical sermons with no theology at all. I’d sell them on the lie that it was all about their illustrations, their jokes and their five steps to whatever. I’d challenge them to do this without truly preaching the Word or teaching theology at all. The last thing I’d want them to do is do what St. Peter, St. Paul and St. James did: preach doctrine and application in a balanced way. I would never want these pastors’ congregations to realize how practical and relevant the Word of God is to their everyday lives.

If I were the devil I’d especially attack male pastors through sexual temptation. I’d start “innocently” enough through their thought lives. I’d remind them of that one drop dead gorgeous woman in their congregation who laughs at all his jokes and stares a little too intently when he preaches. I’d then slowly get him to quietly obsess over her and secretly wish that something happened where they could suddenly be together, alone. I’d convince him that it was okay to counsel her in private, that nothing was going to happen. And then I’d do everything in my power to make sure it did. For the pastors who didn’t fall for this more obvious strategy I’d use a secondary strategy of internet pornography. I would create an endless cycle of guilt and quietly seeking forgiveness from God to slowly rob the integrity and dignity from his public preaching and his private soul.

part 2- on wednesday


Ontario Emperor said...

Regarding the one-sided view of Christ - The problem starts early on. I was in a Family Christian store over the weekend (reminder to all: Christian bookstores are no substitute for the church), and I happened to notice that all of the childrens' Bible story books had practically the same picture - Jesus, holding a little lamb, surrounded by children. I began wondering why the childrens' Bible story books didn't show another scene, such as Jesus clearing the moneychangers from the temple. Easy - because such story books wouldn't sell. Positioning Jesus as a nice, gentle, innocuous man is extremely profitable. Jesus on the cross doesn't sell in book form (statuary is another story).

Of course, going to the other extreme isn't good either. Having a kid scared of hell without realizing the love of God benefits no one.

I haven't heard of Stier before, but I'm interesting in seeing what Stier says about reading the entire Bible.

Carter Schultz said...

I had the pleasure of meeting you several years ago at a conference. I pastor the eastern shore campus of liberty church in fairhope, al.
I loved your post today... can't wait for tomorrow's. Thanks for your powerful reminder. And actually, the statement that hit me the hardest was your intro: the devil never rests and I don't want to be like him. Unfortunately, I've had a front row seat the past couple of years to watch several fantastic pastors struggle with depression and burnout because there was no sabbath, no time for rest. It's so hard as a pastor to be deliberate about a time of rest because there's always so much "ministry" that needs doing. But thanks for the reminder that a life without rest is not a life lined up with God's rhythms.
Enjoy your vacation!!!

Pastor David said...

Ontario- good thoughts- thanks for comment.

carter- remember you- congrats on pastoring the eastern shore LC- you'll do great!