Not All That Sounds “Spiritual” Really Is

Incredulous.

That describes my reaction when I heard the renowned TV preacher say it.

He isn’t among the materialistic media personalities who propagate a prosperity gospel in order to line their own pockets.  His sermons accentuate sin, the cross, and a need for repentance.  That’s why his remark surprised and disappointed me.

“A few of you have inquired about how our church is governed,” he announced during a worship service.  Then he exclaimed, “Our church has three board members: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.”  He explained that the direction of the church and operational decisions are determined by staff who are called by God and anointed to lead it.  “And if you don’t like it, you can leave the church,” he intoned.

Sounds spiritual, doesn’t it?  But my perception is that his pronouncement cloaked crass conceit.

Yes, a church needs strong leaders who are visionary, who see the big picture of why the church exists, and who make hard decisions not acceptable to all members.

But…

Even vocational leaders whom God has called, gifted, and mightily used in the past are still sinners.  I’m afraid of leaders who aren’t held accountable by a larger body or group.  Though there is room for variety in forms of church government, I cringed at his pronouncement because it fails to acknowledge that God can speak through people who don’t boast titles or ministerial training.  He appears blind to his need of others’ input, to his own need of daily grace that is sometimes funneled to us by members of the congregation.  A grievous implication of the indwelling sin of believers is the predilection toward self-sufficiency and pride.

Should leaders hear directly from God?  Of course.  Yet there’s a tension between a direct line to Him and the inescapable call to interdependence, as seen in verses such as Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another.”

I wish this TV preacher had heard and heeded the late pastor and author Ron Dunn, who said, “The greatest hindrance to usefulness may be the fact that you’ve been used.”

Even if I had been sitting on the front row the day he said it, I would have exited the sanctuary immediately.

Am I overreacting?

0 thoughts on “Not All That Sounds “Spiritual” Really Is

  • Good word, Terry. I fully agree. We have too weak a theology of “total depravity” when it comes to ourselves (and too strong a concept of it when it comes to others, perhaps). We expect others to judge us by our intentions, while we judge others by the actions (and assume the worst intentions, more often than not). The Word of God calls us to do the exact opposite — to submit to others and to check our motives, thoughts, and actions, and beware being self-deceived, while forgiving others for what offends us.

  • I would have most certainly voted with my feet. I have a similar story; a pastor in the Middle East proudly gloated over the statement made in a North Carolina church that those who don’t tithe are dead beats and need to be removed from the building. I made an appointment to talk with this pastor during the week. During that appointment I made it crystal clear that he would not see a red cent from my accounts.

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