Bible Question:

What do you say when you catch your pastors lying over and over again? They have lied to other pastors and they admit to it very jokingly. They continue to lie to the members and visitors. This “pastor” continued to borrow money from my husband who was new to Christ and behind the backs of the members “ripped” them apart. We have confronted the pastors and they have turned on us, after they said we could talk to them regarding anything we had on our hearts. We were building up the youth department when the “pastor's” wife came and tore it back down. The pastor knew it and did not address it until we called him on it and then he admitted it. Suffice to say that after we poured thousands of dollars into the ministry they encouraged the members of the church (mostly all from one family) to turn on us too. My husband was devastated, and hurt. He is not able to get over how violated he felt by these folks. How does God view that?

I have heard some people say, “Oh stay here, that is God's will for your life, and you shouldn't talk about God's anointed ones” (I have heard this from great ministries). “People that leave have a problem submitting.” This pastor confessed to us he was not called by God but he felt pressured to fulfill a need for his family. He confessed it Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning he said to the church, “I was called to pastor this church.” Six years have now passed and they are struggling to keep afloat and to pay the bills. The church members are now just his family, mother, sister, nieces, son, nephew and 6 others. They said the anointing is so strong in there that it keeps only special people in there. They are all physically sick, live in unbelief, and fear. How can a church operate under those conditions?

I need clarity. I know what the Word says, but how can these big ministries make such statements, and not be conscious that there are cons disguised as men of God. How can you stay if you have an adulterous affair with a pastor, or you are a minor who was molested, by the pastor. They just trust that a person is a man of God. In this area there are many churches with pastors who are homosexuals and lesbians. Where are the true men and women of GOD?

Bible Answer:

In order to answer your questions, I have assumed that your statements are correct. You have presented three questions which are answered below.

How does God view that?

It is common today to find pastors, bishops, priests, and other men of the clergy who are serving themselves and not God. There are several reasons this happens. There have always been many members of the clergy who are not Christians. God warned us that many people would really be “false Christians” and not real Christians. This was illustrated in Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seed (Matt. 13:1-30). It is not uncommon for pastors to become Christians after years of ministry. Jesus predicted that many would be in Christian ministry and yet they would go to hell (Matt. 7:21-23).

The apostle Peter warned us about some of these men when he wrote,

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them . . . many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;and in their greed they will exploit you with false words . . . having eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed . . . (NASB) 2 Peter 2:1-3, 14

Did you notice Peter’s comment that the characteristics of a false prophet or false teacher include: “follow their sensuality,” “exploit you with words,” “eyes full of adultery,” and “heart trained in greed.” These are marks of a false teacher. There are many who are like this. It does not depend on what they say. Actions DO speak louder than words.

How can a church operate under those conditions?

Simply: a church in this condition is not what God desires for a church. Just because a man or a woman claims that God has chosen him/her to speak for Him does not mean they are telling the truth. They may really believe they are. Listen to what God said in the Old Testament about false priests.

Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy from their own inspiration, ‘Listen to the word of the LORD!” (NASB) Ezekial 13:1-2

O Israel, your prophets . . . see falsehood and lying divination who are saying, ‘The LORD declares,’ when the LORD has not sent them; yet they hope for the fulfillment of their word. “Did you not see a false vision and speak a lying divination when you said, ‘The LORD declares,’ but it is not I who have spoken?”‘” Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, “Because you have spoken falsehood and seen a lie, therefore behold, I am against you” . . . (NASB) Ezekial 13:4-8

There are many who want to speak for God and hope to speak for God, but God is not speaking through them. That is why God gave us 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Peter 2; 2 John 9-11, and Jude. These individuals speak confidently and boldly. A common mark of a false teacher is one who claims to have a corner on the truth. Since when? God says that He gave us the Bible so that each of us can know the truth. God also gave us spiritually gifted teachers, but none of them can claim to have special knowledge and to be the only true person who knows the true meaning of scripture.

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. (NASB) 1 John 2:20

Where are true men of God?

God has some of them here and there. In the book of Revelation, God tells us about seven churches which existed about A.D. 100. Revelation 2-3 describes these seven churches. Five of the churches are rebuked by God because they are willing to tolerate 1) false doctrine, 2) a lack of love for God, 3) sexual sins, and 4) spiritual laziness. There were only two churches which were good. Two out of seven! It is hard to find a God honoring, Bible teaching, godly pastor. Recently, a pastor said that God is more interested in our love than in our holiness. That is simply not true. One who loves God will pursue holiness. One wonders if he is struggling with sin in his own life.

Conclusion:

God has His men spread throughout the world preaching His Word. They may not be great speakers or be very charismatic. But He has His faithful men throughout the world preaching and teaching His Word. A series of previously answered questions may be of interest about when one should leave a church. There are several answering questions about pastors and their qualifications (Question 415 and Question 435). The other group of questions are about a sinning leader (Question 142, Question 143, Question 181, and Question 275).