CRITICISM OF PASTORS
Why are Pastors and Christian leaders criticized?
These days we see many attacks on many Christian Leaders in Nigeria.
Sometimes the attacks are so vociferous that many of us begin to wonder whether the noisy clamor is still about Christ.
Well The Open Pulpit is not here to judge whether the attacks are justified or not justified. We are confident that the righteous Judge, the King of kings judges rightly both the accused and their accusers.
FOR THE ACCUSED
For the accused the Bible says if your ways please the Lord, he will make your enemies to be at peace with you.
"When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
So if I continue to stand accused by enemies, I will consider my ways for as long as the Lord has not shut their mouths the way He shut the mouth of Miriam and Aaron who criticized Moses."
If you read the account in Numbers 12, you will notice that Moses was described as very humble, more than all men. It will be very difficult to liken many of our Christian leaders to Moses, when it comes to humility.
The avalanche of superlatives that are brandished all over the place makes one wonder if it is still about Christ. We hear of biggest congregation, biggest auditorium, the richest, the most popular, the most powerful, the most anointed, the most influential, etc.....The whole terrain is beginning to look like rat race.
It is as if some churches are in competition with one another. So much opulence amidst abject poverty. Of course the criticisms and accusations will continue. However there is the misconception that all the visible, powerful, rich, opulent, aircraft flying leaders represent Christianity in Nigeria.
I am confident that the Lord does not look at many of these people as representing His church.
NOW FOR THE ACCUSER
The same Bible in the same book of Numbers, chapter 12 speaks the mind of God concerning accusers. God says if there was any prophet among the children of Israel, He makes himself known to him in a vision and speaks to them in dreams. But for Moses, His case was different;
God testified of Him as faithful; and God says He speaks to Him face to face; Even plainly, and not in the dark.
God then queried why the accusers of Moses were not afraid to speak against His servant Moses?
Now this is my perspective, If any man of God says, Thus says the Lord and He is lying against the Lord, which one is my own there. It is a matter of time, God will separate Himself from that man.
Many people may be wondering why God has not pulled leaders who represent Him out of ministries. It is very simple. We gain wisdom from the parable the wheat and the tares.
The parable is told in Matthew 13:24-30
The master went to plant wheat; but in the night the enemy went there to plant tares. Both wheat and tares were growing together. The servants wanted to uproot the tares; But the wisdom demonstrated by the master is very instructive.
"But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ”
The wheat, genuine leaders will be gathered into His kingdom; While the fake and leaders will rot in hell, unless they immediately begin to repent and change their ways.
Matthew 7:21-23 tells the story of pretenders to the throne of God.
“Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Well, social media May appear to give us a good weapon to criticize, our flesh may provide a good content; freedom of speech may also empower us; But let us check what the Bible teaches in 1 Corinthians 10:23-24. "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being." Many of the accusers go into error by assuming that the rich, the popular and the influential Christian leaders represent the church of Christ in Nigeria.
No they don’t. They are in the minority. There are millions of less privileged people who cry unto the Lord daily. They cry in their affliction! They cry in their persecution! They cry in their state of poverty! They cry in sicknesses and diseases! As they cry, they also serve and worship God.
There is video I see that challenges me emotionally whenever I watch it. It is a video of a lady who has no legs leading worship in a village. There are many people like that in poor nations of the World who will always attract the attention of God.
To every popular, rich, influential Christian leaders, there are millions of unsung, unknown, uncelebrated sons and daughters of God who daily raise the banner of God and therefore attract His mercy and compassion. These are the unseen faces that truly define Christianity in many poor nations.
NOW ABOUT PASTORS
Yes many pastors out there have polluted and contaminated the pastoral calling. This is a shame.
There are many places some of us Pastors go and sometimes feel ashamed to be addressed by the title pastor! There are even people who look at you as if you are an armed robber or a yahoo yahoo fellow; It is not the fault of these people.
Pastors who continue to commercialize the gospel are to blame. In some churches their leaders deliberately arrange visitations and organize programs purely because of honorarium. Well every congregation knows quite well the type of pastor they have.
However some of us need to speak up in defense of pastors who are truly called by God. There are pastors who give more than they receive in ministry. There are pastors who have careers in academics, in the professions, and who remain tent makers like Paul, even as they lead congregations. To these lot we applaud and salute.
It does not matter how many fakes of anything may exist! We do not talk of a fake where there is no original. There are still pastors whose calling are still patterned after Christ. It is therefore not good to overgeneralize issues. So much so for that today.
Do remain blessed and stay safe.
Pastor (Dr.) 'Niran Fafowora