Son Of Thunder i come from a land down under, due south at the bottom of your work globes
| The Issue Of "Watchdog" Ministries !|
What are watchdog ministries? do they exist ? is it found in the Word? moreover is it biblical - and is it scriptural? hmmm.
Four (4) very valid questions indeed, in light of the fact over the last 2.5 decades of being in Christian circles i have personally met and come across these individuals - who to one varying degree and to another, who firmly believe and are persuaded - that they have this calling and mantle - upon their life. hmmm.
Have you not heard the expression by some who say im called to be a "watchman on the wall" like Ezekiel of old. Im raised up of God - to be this watchman - for him! hmmm.
All good and well - and more annointing to you in the Almighty if you truly have this role, but consider first that Ezekiel was set in that prophet's office and mandated personally by God himself - to be the spokesman and very oracle of God ... to the nation of Israel. hmmm.
In like manner also were men such as Jeremiah, Isaiah and manyother such names found amongst the pages of our - old testament. hmmm.
Moving on now - to cover some other aspects.
WHAT ABOUT WATCHDOGS -- WHO NAME NAMES??
Should we get into this? and who has this authority to be doing such? and can just anybody in the body of Christ for instance just rise up and establish a web-site that seemingly specializes solely in the - naming of names. Of preacher's they personally percieve to be in much error - and name and shame them ? hmmm.
The answer to this would be - by some (yes) and the main passages of scripture appealed to for doing this very thing - are taken from the first and 2nd epistles of Timothy. Where Paul gives out a list of around ten people's names that he feels - the need to caution Timothy about.
That said this was no arbitrary or random thing that the "divinely called" Apostle did ... meaning there was sufficient enough and warranted enough reason (in the Spirit) to ISSUE these cautions. Secondly these letters are addressed to timothy HIMSELF - well primarily they are. Thirdly these ministries were a proximiaty threat ... meaning they men were circulating around close by - and were a "present" and clear danger. That's something else to consider about the name calling thing, before we put pen to paper and write (Iow) these men mention for censor didn't reside in "down under" australia at the time or "up over" (the U.K) FOR THAT MATTER. No they were a "radius" and "close at hand" threat to the New testament Churches - established at that time.
Or To say it another way - their is a well known ministry that hails from new york city way, and the Snr pastor there - upon realizing another well known "platform ministry" was visiting the city where he resided and pastored - whom he considered - to be both injurious and potentially dangerous to the flock - due to certain manifestations of the Spirit he proports and practices - He was thus then named and censored. And so he cautioned the congregation ... best to stay away. ( have nothing to do with that man )
That said ~~ it was due to the fact that this man was coming to his city, and would be with-in close proxiamity to the flock - that God (graciously allows) him to "over-see". That this warning then came forth and was issued. hmmm.
Some would still contend - but yes he also named another well known charismatic ministry that was not visiting the city. yeah. So -so- much then for what your now teaching!! True but that other ministry and his wife - travel frequently to most of the states in America. And further to that that ministry holds to heretical doctrines such as "Jesus died aa a sinner on the cross, the ye are gods doctrine, the hyper faith & wealth, prosperity, and no (suffering tribulation) message" etc etc.
Severe heresies should be stood against - by all. But consider this man's popularity and that he also travels world-wide and has distribution bases set up in many of those countries also. So therefore he is iboth njurious and poses a threat on many levels to the world-wide body of Christ. And dersevedly named - also i might add. Incidently this man also practises the "now" well challenged practise of the "slain-in-the-spirit" experience.
A very very dangerous man (who warrants) cautions
"FINALLY WHAT ABOUT THE PERSONAL WATCHDOG"
Hmmm. This is a slippery ticket item indeed to address - to coin a phase that is. What by today's message then in my understanding of scripture ... is the personal watchdog? where are they? moreover ... who are they?
Go with me to 2nd Timothy and we will pick it up from there " Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him - according to his works ( actions and speech ). Of whom (timothy) be thou ware...why? for hath greatly withstood ( resisted )our words. Paul makes reference here to "our" and not just "his" words. HOWEVER NO DOUBT HE PERSONALLY buffeted paul and resisted him much. Because in the same breath (staying with context) he goes on to say " at my first answer- no one stood with "me" - but all men took off - and forsook me - paul. hmmm.
To my way of thinking, that is if im handling the Word "a-plumb" - and not wrongly dividing-up his word. An issue of contending for the faith had arose - and paul "made a stand" (jude3)as there many jews/ judaizers/ the concision, and many false apostles going about - teaching contrary to the doctrines Peter and Paul had handed down and delivered - to the churches. But this man ( alexander ) had stood in the way and resisted. Resissted their words - their preaching ... and in particular it appears that he resisted and attached himself to ONE paul. THE PERSONAL WATCHDOG syndrome. hmmm.
They often bear grudges, have a huge beef and bee in their bonnet, are anchored in bitterness, and often think it their job and personal calling in life - to watch and preside over you. hmmm.
I thought scripture exhorted us -- to get busy -- "working out your OWN salvation with fear and trembling". And Not to be hounding, subverting, troubling - and in some cases stalking and harassing others. hmmm.
When they launch -- you launch -- at them !!
Wot then -- are you somebodies personal watchdog? thinkest thou - you preside over an individual harassing and troubling both their mind and spirit?
Dear O' dear you need to be careful about this... you are going down a path that could open you up to some serious bondage and issues.
call to remembrance how 40 jews made a pact and an alliance together that they would neither eat nor drink anything ... until paul was killed. Thereby placing themselves under a great curse. How tragic. And all because they so desperately wanted to please other leaders and jews. Our praise is of God and not men. Paul said if i yet please men - then do i cease to be the servant of God. hmmm.
The personal watchdog is taking on a role that is foiled with barbs and razors that one slip-up on your part, might incur such loss of blood from that wound ... that one cannot be heaaled from.
I.e dathan and korah. i.e jannes and jambres
Paul told the thessalonians to rest with us. regarding those that subverted the new converts in Christ. saying with God it is a "just thing" to repay the same retribution -- that they were inflicting upon them.
Judges chapter one reads " adonibezek said, 70 kings having their toes and thumbs have i cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as i have done, so God hath REQUITED me.
THEIR IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DIS-AGREEING AND
being dis-agree(able) ( A VAST DIFFERENCE ) If you hate your brother your a liar, and the truth is not in you. How can you hate your brother whom you do see, and THEN profess in the same breath - to love God - whom you haven't seen. hmmm.
In closing you need to be very careful about "naming names" -- if you go down that track. If you mis-quote people and add words they never said - or put words in there mouth. You are technically bearing false witness. That's why paul said at corinth ... in the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established. And against elder's RECIEVE not an accusation - but in the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses.
| 2008/1/14 21:08||Profile|
| Re: Paul had a "Watchdog" Ministry|
Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly they are ravening wolves. .
Matthew 7: 21-23
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Matthew 24: v 4-5
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Mark 13: v 21-23
And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:
22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
Romans 16: v 17-18
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
II Corinthians 11:13-15
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Galations 1: 8-10
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
1 John 4:1
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Peter 2:1-3
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
2 Peter 2:18
For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
2 Timothy 3:1-7
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 4:2-5
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."
But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.
[b]The Importance of Sound Doctrine by A.W. Tozer[/b],
The Best Of A.W. Tozer, pg. 174-176, taken from Man, The Dwelling Place Of God
It would be impossible to overemphasize the importance of sound doctrine in the life of a Christian. Right thinking about all spiritual matters is imperative if we would have right living. As men do not gather grapes of thorns nor figs of thistles, so sound character does not grow out of unsound teaching.
The word doctrine means simply religious beliefs held and taught. It is the sacred task of all Christians, first as believers and then as teachers of religious beliefs, to be certain that these beliefs correspond exactly to truth. A precise agreement between belief and fact constitutes soundness in doctrine. We cannot afford to have less.
The apostles not only taught truth but contended for its purity against any who would corrupt it. The Pauline epistles resist every effort of false teachers to introduce doctrinal vagaries. john's epistles are sharp with condemnation of those teachers who harassed the young church by denying the incarnation and throwing doubts upon the doctrine of the Trinity; and Jude in his brief but powerful epistle rises to heights of burning eloquence as he pours scorn upon evil teachers who would mislead the saints.
Each generation of Christians must look to its beliefs. While truth itself is unchanging, the minds of men are porous vessels out of which truth can leak and into which error may seep to dilute the truth they contain. The human heart is heretical by nature and runs to error as naturally as a garden to weeds. All a man, a church or a denomination needs to guarantee deterioration of doctrine is to take everything for granted and do nothing. The unattended garden will soon be overrun with weeds; the heart that fails to cultivate truth and root out error will shortly be a theological wilderness; the church or denomination that grows careless on the highway of truth will before long find itself astray, bogged down in some mud flat from which there is no escape.
In every field of human thought and activity accuracy is considered a virtue. To err ever so slightly is to invite serious loss, if not death itself. Only in religious thought is faithfulness to truth looked upon as a fault. When men deal with things earthly and temporal they demand truth; when they come to the consideration of things heavenly and eternal they hedge and hesitate as if truth either could not be discovered or didn't matter anyway.
Montaigne said that a liar is one who is brave toward God and a coward toward men; for a liar faces God and shrinks from men. Is this not simply a proof of unbelief? Is it not to say that the liar believes in men but is not convinced of the existence of God, and is willing to risk the displeasure of a God who may not exist rather than that of man who obviously does?
I think also that deep, basic unbelief is back of human carelessness in religion. The scientist, the physician, the navigator deals with matters he knows are real; and because these things are real the world demands that both teacher and practitioner be skilled in the knowledge of them. The teacher of spiritual things only is required to be unsure in his beliefs, ambiguous in his remarks and tolerant of every religious opinion expressed by anyone, even by the man least qualified to hold an opinion.
Haziness of doctrine has always been the mark of the liberal. When the Holy Scriptures are rejected as the final authority on religious belief something must be found to take their place. Historically that something has been either reason or sentiment: if sentiment, it has been humanism. Sometimes there has been an admixture of the two, as may be seen in liberal churches today. These will not quite give up the Bible, neither will they quite believe it; the result is an unclear body of beliefs more like a fog than a mountain, where anything may be true but nothing may be trusted as being certainly true.
We have gotten accustomed to the blurred puffs of gray fog that pass for doctrine in modernistic churches and expect nothing better, but it is a cause for real alarm that the fog has begun of late to creep into many evangelical churches. From some previously unimpeachable sources are now coming vague statements consisting of a milky admixture of Scripture, science and human sentiment that is true to none of its ingredients because each one works to cancel the others out.
Certain of our evangelical brethren appear to be laboring under the impression that they are advanced thinkers because they are rethinking evolution and re-evaluating various Bible doctrines or even divine inspiration itself; but so far are they from being advanced thinkers that they are merely timid followers of modemism-fifty years behind the parade.
Little by little evangelical Christians these days are being brainwashed. One evidence is that increasing numbers of them are becoming ashamed to be found unequivocally on the side of truth. They say they believe but their beliefs have been so diluted as to be impossible of clear definition.
Moral power has always accompanied definitive beliefs. Great saints have always been dogmatic. We need right now a return to a gentle dogmatism that smiles while it stands stubborn and firm on the Word of God that liveth and abideth forever.
2 Timothy 3:1-7
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
| 2008/1/14 23:33|
I think that self-appointed "watch-dogs" like Wall Watchers or any other group can prove to be just as dangerous as the ministries they purport to hold accountable. The power to pronounce judgment can become more addictive and can produce controlling behavior with greater negative consequences than misuses of money! As a successful business owner of 34 years, I have seen danger in individuals wielding their personal opinions and judgments often motivated by pride to create far more serious issues than perceived financial in discrepancies of others. If we live by the sword then we die by the sword.
Not that there isn't a place for accountability and open communication to donors, and should be, but when any individual determines themselves to be the God-appointed judge, then they run the same risk if not greater of becoming "The King Who didn't Wear Any Clothes." To allow doctrinal issues into their ministry accessments signals that Wall Watchers is already in danger of error. Self-appointed scrutiny of others rarely stops with one area, but quickly spreads like a cancer. Even if Wall Watchers has a great understanding in the financial arena, are they theologians now as well? Who holds Wall Watchers accountable? If God doesn't want to separate the tares from the wheat until the judgment so that no wheat is lost in the transaction, do we not run a serious risk of damaging the church and its followers, and the world's view, with our own harsh judgments? In finality, every man and woman will give the greatest accountability on that judgment day. Until then, we should all operate our personal lives and ministries with "The Watcher" in mind.
What's the answer? I'm not sure. But I would encourage any who feel they have been appointed as a watch-dog or critical eye of ministries to also consider all of the difficulties in running a ministry, oversight of compliance with tax codes, regulatory bodies, employee issues, and tireless hours of work, in addition to the hardships and criticisms that ministry will produce, and be careful not to be guilty of "hindering" ministry in an effort to curtail abuses in ministry. Perhaps if a watch dog has never successfully operated a large ministry, they are not the person with the best perspective to "oversee" others' ministry. I have worked in both secular and ministry arenas, and certainly ministry in my opinion, requires the greater sacrifice.
I have personally yet to meet a minister who does it for money, although I'm sure they exist, but not nearly as much as some would have you believe. I'm also sure there are easier ways to make money than ministry. Sculpturally, we are told the workman is worthy of his hire and the minister of the Word is worthy of double honor (I Timothy 5:17). If a CEO built a company the size of Joyce Meyer's, even as a motivational speaker, they would receive greater compensation, without the Wall Watcher's or others' scrutiny. How sad, if we lost such leaders in the Body of Christ because we drove them away from the church with our judgments. The world applaud's such success in the non-Christian. As the church, we are "suspicious" of success and assume they must have done something wrong, since after all following God's ways certainly couldn't make someone successful (as if God has no clue about success and His Word is a book about failure)? Our pitch should be, "Come follow God and you too can be a failure like us!" Where's the watch-dog who seeks out failures in the church? We would never do that! But we are quick to go after success with vehement inidignation, as if to say, "Success and money are evil. Let us show you how to avoid both." My mom called it "biting your nose off to spite your face."
People tend to focus on finding fault with your success than praise of the many years of sacrifice of both time and money it took to reach such a level of impact and notoriety as that of Joyce Meyer. Criticism is part of the territory; it was for Jesus' ministry as well. Those who zealously found fault with his doctrine and financial holdings may have thought they were in the right. Perceptions can be so wrong! Opinions are one thing; judgment and publicly denouncing ministries is another! Accurate judgment requires great humility and a flawless person. I'm not sure any of us can play that role! :-)
| 2008/1/15 0:02||Profile|
| Re: Paul was and encouraged watchdogs.|
Now these verses are down-right scarey.
2Th 2:10-12 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; [b]because [u]they received not the love/agape of the truth[/u], that they might be saved. [u]And for this cause[/u] [i]God shall send them strong delusion[/i], that they should believe the lie[/b]: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
"The lie" are in the the preceding verses - 2 Thess 2:1-9
2Tim 4:1-4 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine, [u]for the time will come when they will not [b]endure/bear/forbear/suffer/hold onself up with [/b] sound doctrine[/u]; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
| 2008/1/15 1:52|
There has to be balance.
| 2008/1/15 8:11|
Yes, there certainly does have to be a balance.
Out of my 16 hour days, I spend about 1 hr on research. I already basically know where all the "religious" links are, so I may check one to three a day.
I just spent less than 15 minutes checking back on a site I haven't been to in almost two weeks.
It was this one -
Now, I'll go read the link that hmmhmm put up by T.A. Sparks. (the search for Sparks in google led me to SI almost 3 yr.s ago). And I met you on a discernment type thread. :-) Bless GOD!
I'm a former hippie bro. Ha! Since I was a child, I've only sought "peace & love" because I never saw it in any of the 5 homes I grew up in.
I know, if it weren't for the apologetic type people that the Lord had introduced me to when I first got saved - I'd be the first on line at places similar to the link above.
I Prefer to call Discernment Ministries, "Apologetic" Ministries btw.
The only problem is - in taking the stand for apologetics - I've found that in Christianity - that is where you're met with the least amount of peace and love from your Brethren, if you come against heresy or heresy promoters.
You can see which are endorsing this new "place" in that link - and as you know by now - that whole thread where that link was initially posted - is leading to this merge.
That is the end result of all you and I have seen of what was counterfeit in Christianity all of these years... a global 'religion'.
That is the direction 'all' heretical groups have gone or are heading to.
If I, just for one, only spend one hour out of 16 per day, to just know about the latest group or teacher or 'prophet' that is leading folks into this apostasy, just so that if someone new to Christ (as I was) needs to be detered, then I don't think I'm sacrificing too much for that cause. Some days are even worth 4 hours or more, if it will help one individual from falling into deep deception or the strong delusion.
"Love & Peace brothers."
| 2008/1/15 15:20|
Quote:Hi Brother Bill
I think that self-appointed "watch-dogs" like Wall Watchers or any other group can prove to be just as dangerous as the ministries they purport to hold accountable.
...judgment requires great humility and a flawless person. I'm not sure any of us can play that role!
Ther is some truth in what you say, and to be constantly be on a witch-hunt for heretics is wrong, and spiritually unhealthy.
[i][b]But can you be sure of being able to tell the difference between "Self-appointed" and "sent by God"?[/b][/i]
Instead of condemning those who do, (or at least are suspected of doing), evil in the church (as in Ezekiel 34) you seem to be condemning those who expose and speak out against them. Is there any basic difference between you and the latter - except that you condemn different things?
OT prophets who cried out against evil were accused of making false accusations, and/or stirring up trouble.
Paul "named and shamed" certain false teachers who were doing great damage to the Church. Was he wrong to do so? Many of his enemies would have said he was...
I don't think judgement necessarily needs "great humility and a flawless person", otherwise none of us would ever dare to say anything or anyone is wrong, in case we fell short! Humility yes, for one's own protection, (as in Gal 6, quoted below), but "flawless"???
The Church is [i]supposed[/i] to judge those who commit gross sin or bring in false teaching! It is a difficult and costly task, but it has to be done - in humility and care of one's own walk with the Lord.
[color=990000]1 ¶ Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one [i]in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.[/i][/color]
In 1Corinthians 5 (below) Paul gives specific instructions on how to deal with someone caught in gross sin. The same principle would surely apply to dangerous false teachings, (not mere disagreements over lesser points of doctrine, but teaching calculated to lead God's people far astray).
If the Church won't (in the Spirit of humility, guided by Him) deal with those in her midst who bring His Name into disrepute through idolatry, immorality, heresy and love of money, who will?
I'm not saying all those individual leaders who have been accused are guilty, although (at least re false teaching) there seems little doubt in many cases. Rather, I'm saying that, in the same way that there is a duty not to condemn unjustly without being sure of our facts, so there is a [i]duty[/i] to speak against those ministries and leaders who are proved to be far astray, in whatever area, bringing confusion to the Church and shame to the name of Christ.
[i][b]Do we have so little care for the flock as to allow the wolves to ravage them at will?[/b][/i]
[color=990000] 1 ¶ It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his fathers wife.
2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
7 ¶ Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. [/color]
Pretty harsh treatment!
| 2008/1/18 14:52|
| Re: PS|
...What's the answer? I'm not sure. But I would encourage any who feel they have been appointed as a watch-dog or critical eye of ministries to also consider all of the difficulties in running a ministry, oversight of compliance with tax codes, regulatory bodies, employee issues, and tireless hours of work, in addition to the hardships and criticisms that ministry will produce, and be careful not to be guilty of "hindering" ministry in an effort to curtail abuses in ministry. Perhaps if a watch dog has never successfully operated a large ministry, they are not the person with the best perspective to "oversee" others' ministry. I have worked in both secular and ministry arenas, and certainly ministry in my opinion, requires the greater sacrifice.
I have personally yet to meet a minister who does it for money, although I'm sure they exist, but not nearly as much as some would have you believe. I'm also sure there are easier ways to make money than ministry. Sculpturally, we are told the workman is worthy of his hire and the minister of the Word is worthy of double honor (I Timothy 5:17). If a CEO built a company the size of Joyce Meyer's, even as a motivational speaker, they would receive greater compensation, without the Wall Watcher's or others' scrutiny. How sad, if we lost such leaders in the Body of Christ because we drove them away from the church with our judgments.
...People tend to focus on finding fault with your success than praise of the many years of sacrifice of both time and money it took to reach such a level of impact and notoriety as that of Joyce Meyer.
Realised that you are speaking specifically here of some organsition I know nothing about, (haven't looked into that aspect) called "Wall Watchers", who deal mostly with financial irregularities of ministries... Is that right?
You may be correct in your criticism of this organisation, I don't know.
What I do know is that "love of money is the root of all evil".
Certainly "the workman is worthy of his hire", as you say. I wouldn't personally criticise anyone for that [i]alone[/i]. Different cultures have different standards of living that they find acceptable, or even necessary, to a person's ministry. Good standards of transport for example, and a comfortable bed each night, would help a travelling speaker cope with the stress of his life. A good sound system means that even quiet speakers can preach - instead of limiting the ministry to preachers who can bellow like bulls!
And who in our culture would have any respect for a speaker in rags? Even in Africa, where I worked for a while, folk wear their very best clothes to church, out of respect for the Lord, not to show off.
But, all too often, it does seem that successful preachers get drawn astray due to love of power, influence and financial gain. And when that happens, they usually go astray in other matters also. A christian leader faced with temptation to be greedy, or immoral, or avaricious will find a doctrinal way to justify his greed or lust or love of money. In order to salve his own conscience... And one with a lust for power, faced with decreasing crowds can fall into the deadly trap of opening himself (often without knowing it) to occult power instead of to the Holy Spirit. I've seen that for myself in certain speakers - horrible.
And the tragic thing is that often God's people "love to have it so", or can't even discern the difference!
Probably the best rule of thumb is to pray for these leaders at least 3 x as much as condemning them! :-)
Yet the flock has to be protected too, as far as possible.
It is for these, especially those who are also pastors themselves, that my personal burden is...
| 2008/1/18 15:28|
I suppose that there is a need, perhaps not for balance, but for truth. You see, the idea of balance seems to indicate that it is permissible for a believer to levy an accusation against someone (or a group of someones) without worrying much about the consequences. Balance also implies that two sides of a story are presented. Truth, however, simply looks [i]through[/i] the accused individual or group and looks at the factual heart of the issue. For instance, I feel that it is wrong to accuse Benny Hinn of being a covetous man. I certainly dont agree with much of his teachings, but I dont know if those teachings are based upon his own real convictions about his beliefs (as if it is an obligation to name/claim the things of this world), or if the root of his teaching is his lust for the things of this world. However, you can certainly raise issue about his teachings which seem to indict him on grounds of encouraging others to break the 10th Commandment. Then, a person should provide credible evidence (not rumor, gossip or suspicion) that demonstrates this issue.
The questions that need to be posed to watchdog groups are:
1. Is this information that you present undeniably true?
2. If it is merely an allegation, have you identified it accordingly?
3. Have you properly separated animosity from the accused to the accusation?
4. What is the outcome of revealing this information in the public? Are your motives pure?
5. What if your allegation is incorrect? Is any remedy offered?
I have a friend (who happens to be a former professor) who operates a watchdog ministry. He is a journalism professor (now in California) who has several books in which he exposes false teaching. His website, videos and books take a candid look at the claims of several ministries. He has been involved in several lawsuits in which he was sued by large ministries, but he has emerged victorious in every one.
This professor was the advisor for both the Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship student organization and the schools newspaper. He used to explain to both groups the importance of getting it right before getting it published. His key words were [i]just the facts, facts, facts[/i]. If the facts are correct, then you should present them from a truthful and graceful perspective. It is okay to publish allegations only as long as that information is distinguished as such (an allegation) and by providing the credible source from whence that allegation is gathered.
Many individuals who feel called to a watchdog ministry seem to go ballistic over anyone who questions their accusations or the evidence upon which their accusations are based. This should not be seen as a personal attack or an attack on a watchdogs credibility. Rather, it is a simple check on truth. If the information that a person provides within their accusation is undeniably true, then why worry? If the evidence is brought that presents the heresy is irrefutable, then it should be esteemed as such (but always remembering that there is another side to every story told). If it isnt substantiated by incontestable facts, then it should not be regarded as anything more than what it is accusation, insinuation, speculation, or rumor.
I know a minister in Cuauhtémoc, Mexico who told me that he was forced (along with the elders) to confront a gossip in his congregation. This woman had a habit of spreading everything she found out about various members of the congregation, members of the community, and even people in government. She dissected the messages of each speaker and Sunday school teacher, identifying the sinister motives for their messages. This went on for several years while the congregation was extremely patient with this woman. When she was finally confronted, the woman defended herself by claiming that she was not gossiping, but exposing evil. She actually thought that she was doing God a service by her work for the Lord. Upon pressing this woman for the sources of her many stories, she could seldom provide anything. She claimed that her true source was the Lord and her many years spent knowing the people in her congregation and community, as well as her inside information about the government. In other words, very little could be offered to substantiate her claims. The pastor and elders warned her that she needed to tame her tongue and to refrain from feeling a need to talk too much.
There is a definite need for watchmen on the wall. There is quite a bit of false teaching that is carried over the airwaves and amongst congregations each and every week. This is even more prominent in free speech societies. But I suspect that many of these supposed watchdog ministries focus far too much on motives and insinuations rather than the facts. In the Old Testament, a watchmen didnt need to digress about which army was invading the city. He didnt need to discuss the implications of the invasion. He didnt even need to question the rationale or raison d'être behind the invasion (conquest, judgment, etc
). He simply needed to sound the alarm. He should state the facts and leave it at that.
There is a need for exposing evil in the Church but that exposure needs to be clear, inarguable and above reproach. In other words, our watchmen (or watchdogs) need to make extremely certain that their facts are correct before they sound out the cry. Otherwise, the people will view them as either [i]the boy who cried wolf[/i], or worse, a [i]talebearer[/i]. Besides, in a sense, we are all called to watch. Jesus instructed us to watch for his coming. He gave us certain clues about the events that will transpire before His coming. Often, however, we turn our eyes onto our suspicions about the earthly fulfillment of those things rather than the Lord Himself (and His Word). Because of the nature of his duty, a watchman needs to live his life above reproach. As long as the watchman can correctly identify the facts of the situation (without adding 95% digression and/or speculation), then they are well-suited for their role. But when his alarm seems to simply mingle speculation, insinuation or rumor with a watchmans own particular beliefs, then the alarm sounds increasingly suspect.
There are some good watchdog ministries out there. There is even some good information available at ministries that I am not so keen on. I suppose that the key is to remain slow to speak even if it means placing our hand over our mouths at times. This sort of patience is difficult to do at times, particularly if we feel that we sense a cause for sounding an alarm. But we need to make certain that our alarm is based upon a real need to sound it, rather than as a means to sound off with what we know (or think we know).
Even if it doesn't seem like it, I always listen to the "watchdogs." Then, I check the validity of the information that they provide. I cross reference this with what I know of the Word of God and with what I know to be true.
| 2008/1/18 16:14||Profile|
| 2008/1/18 16:52|