Saturday, July 7, 2012

Part 14 Fired for WHAT?

As a thriving megachurch, Bensalem Baptist has helped found a successful independent Christian school that was supported by several other churches. The teachers could attend any fundamental church that they wished. Now that it was dying, Bensalem followed a new policy with the Christian school: teachers who did not attend Bensalem were fired at the end of the school year.

And so a Godly young couple, both of them successful teachers, were fired for "immaturity." They demanded a specific charge, but were only told "immaturity." But they were hired by a Christian school in the next county, and he became their Sunday School superintendent. Two years later, he became their assistant pastor. A few years later, he became the pastor. And a few years later, a Christian newspaper ran an article on his church, as "The Fastest-Growing Independent Baptist Church in Pennsylvania."

Did he go back to the people who had fired him wrongly and claim that they had sinned against him? No, he wasn't immature enough to care what they thought.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Part 13

Jesus commands us to go to a brother who has sinned against us and present his sin to him. But in Egypt, Joseph didn't do this, and yet he successfully resolved the conflict with his brothers. Just as you can choose to forgive another Christian, you can choose whether  or not he has sinned against you. Joseph chose that God had used his brothers' evil actions for a greater good, and therefor, they had not sinned against him.

I was teaching at a successful Christian school when they got a new principal. On the first day of school, the principal informed the students that the teachers had been mistreating them, but he would put a stop to it. He assured them that although the teachers were their enemies, he was their friend. He proceeded to devastate the school, fired me unjustly so he could give his incompetent son a job, destroyed the excellent teaching staff, and finally quit in failure. He went overseas to a Christian school and failed there.

After a rough couple of years, I got a high-paying job at a paper mill. Twelve years after being fired, I learned that the teachers' miserly salaries had been increased 4% since I had left. I would have had to quit anyway. Fifteen years after being fired, I retired to Mexico at the age of 52, and God has blessed my wife and I ever since.

I found several of my former students on Facebook, and they were glad to hear from me. They are doing well, and God has used the efforts of the Godly teaching staff in their lives. Do I need to accuse the principal of sinning against me?

I found him on Facebook, laughed, and went on my way.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Part 12 Pain and Confrontation

Matthew 18:15 tells us:  "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother."

How do you go to a big-name preacher who got into a scandal, destroyed your church, or destroyed several families, and talk to him privately? Even the context deals with a local Christian who is in your same church as being the problem.

God's commands aren't burdensome, so here's the solution. Chose to forgive the person, and then choose to have a different attitude. I am on the pastors son's long list of victims. But while I worked for him, I was able to teach a large teen-age Sunday school class and teach Bible lessons in the church youth center.  I took the attitude that he had been working for me: he had organized a successful youth ministry, and that youth ministry had helped me succeed. He sinned against a lot of people, but he didn't sin against me.

Are you feeling pain because someone wronged you? Choose to forgive him, and then choose to have a different attitude. Remember that all things work together for good to them that love the Lord, look at the benefits you received, and move on.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Part 11 Dealing With Your Pain

Whether from a fallen preacher or some other source, many Christians suffer emotional pain over what happened. When they read self-help Christians books, they are usually told three things:

1) They need to forgive
2) Forgiveness is a choice. God's commands are not burdensome, Jesus' yoke is light, etc.
3) They are having pain because they have not truly forgiven the person. They keep trying, and they "forgive" over and over again, but the pain does not go away, so they are really refusing to forgive.

The second point is true: if you choose to forgive a person, you can. But the third point is false. If you chose to forgive the person, your pain is not due to unforgiveness. I am going to show from Scripture tomorrow that the third point is not correct.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Part 10 Dealing With A Fallen Preacher

Some fallen preachers do not go away, so you have two problems: how do you deal with them on the outside, and how do you deal with them spiritually? For the first question, we've already seen that "Restoration," the doctrine that having repented, the fallen preacher does not have to obey God's commands, is false.

Now we add Romans 2"1 "Thou that judgest doest the same things." If they fallen preacher is attacking his critics (some of whom are his victims), he is describing himself. The pastor's son is accusing his critics of being hypocrites. Whether or not that's true, he is describing himself. Shortly afterwards, he began marketing a crooked work-at-home scheme.

When you see this kind of behavior in a fallen preacher, you need to keep your distance.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Part 9 If You Think YOU Were Fooled...

As Jerry Falwell's "Old Time Gospel Hour" spread across America, he kept his organization totally honest and legal. And although he was not a charismatic, Falwell felt, for a variety of reasons, that he needed to save Jim Bakker's PTL Club ministry when Bakker's scandal broke.

Bakker would eventually go to prison on a variety of charges that boiled down to three main things:
1) fraud
2) excessive compensation
3) illegal accounting practices.

Believing Bakker's assurances that using donations for blackmail payments and offering lifetime partnerships that PTL couldn't possibly honor were the only two crimes Bakker had committed, Falwell assembled a team of honest Christian leaders to oversee PTL. And then Falwell began discovering a growing list of criminal activities as his people went through the financial records.

How could a man of Jerry Falwell's ability and Godliness have been so badly deceived that he brought other Christian leaders into the same mess? Falwell was Godly himself, and he could not see the sin that was right in front of him.

Brethren, Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, and an entire group of honest leaders were deceived by fallen preachers. It isn't your fault if you were deceived as well.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Part 8 Why You Were Fooled

Now I want to say something to comfort the victims of fallen preachers: it wasn't your fault. Romans 2 heavily condemns people who judge; the reason you didn't spot the phony preacher is that you're not committing the sins that the fake was committing.

Wikipedia actually has an article on evangelical preacher scandals, and two prominent names do not appear. Billy Graham's "Great Los Angeles Crusade" launched him into fame, and 25 years later, his entire staff was still with him. His standards of honesty are so effective that they have been adopted by other Christian organizations. Yet Graham regularly appeared on Jim Bakker's show, and he had Katherine Kuhlman with him in some of his crusades.

Why couldn't Billy Graham, a man renown for his integrity, not spot these two fakes? Because he himself is Godly, and he did not recognize the sin in their conduct. You weren't deceived because you were stupid; you were deceived because you don't recognize ungodliness. You didn't recognize ungodliness because you aren't ungodly yourself.