Tag Archives: pastors

Evangelicals Flying Blind

The NAE's next project: Revising the Ten Commandments

The NAE’s next project: Revising the Ten Commandments

Prominent on the list of things we didn’t know we needed is the new code of ethics for preachers released this year by the National Association of Evangelicals. It appears evangelical pastors have been flying blind, without any sort of guidance as to Christian behavior in the pulpit and church offices.

Leaving church ladies at the mercy of pastors gone wild.

The new code also means I’ve wasted hundreds of dollars on Bibles and commentaries that — judging by the NAE — provide no real structure for living a life that glorifies Christ.

Dang! Where did I put those receipts?

Until now I’d assumed external offenses are handled quite nicely by criminal law and internal offenses governed by the Bible. That’s what I get for practicing theology without a divinity degree.

Luder Whitlock, former president of the Reformed Theological Seminary, explained in a Christianity Today interview, “Clergy intend to do the right thing, but…when you have a world that’s swirling with change like ours and so few people know the Bible well, it’s all the more imperative to come up with something like this.”

In other words, the Bible might have been comprehensive enough for nomadic tribesmen who followed a smoke signal instead of a GPS signal, but not modern iPhone man. But if these people “don’t know the Bible well” what are they doing in the pulpit?

Helping God out when it comes to rules and regulations is nothing new in ecclesiastical circles. I belong to a church that was so strict Jesus couldn’t be a deacon. You see the Lord and Savior was also a drinker and it was forbidden to imbibe.

But even our canonical rule writers failed to stay current. So it came to pass that one could smoke crack with Mayor Barry and be a deacon in good standing, but one “easy pour” Miller and you’re out.

However, I remain convinced the Ten Commandments, Golden Rule and the New Testament will cover any modern eventuality. The NAE cites pastors involved in extramarital affairs (7th Commandment), sexual assault (7th & Golden Rule) and financial fraud (8th & 10th Commandment, Golden Rule). Expanding our search we find pastors guilty of homosexual abuse of minors (7th, 1st Corinthians 6:9, Luke 17:2), visiting prostitutes (7th and 1st Corinthians 5:1), tax fraud (8th & 9th Commandments), stealing babies (8th & 10th Commandments), assault (Golden Rule) and misrepresenting credentials (9th Commandment).

So where are the loopholes?

Pastor Joel Hunter, who signed the code, told the Washington Times: “There’s a need that we’re reminded of when we see pastors living unethical lives. We want to raise the level of accountability because apparently some pastors believe they’re a law unto themselves.”

A statement that sounds remarkably like the boastful Pharisee in Luke 18:10–11: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.”

Pastors are already held to a higher standard. In James 3:1 it says, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” Not a verse you hear too often from the pulpit since it puts a real damper on Sunday school teacher recruitment.

It just goes to show somewhere, someone is pouring the foundation on a new Tower of Babel every day. Codes like this were only a matter of time after churches started developing “mission statements.” If the Great Commission isn’t your mission, what is?

Too many Christian leaders are slightly embarrassed by the Bible. They’ve forgotten their apologetics and simply apologize when it comes to the eternal Truth.

No wonder people are leaving the church. If the religious leadership doesn’t have enough faith in the applicability of the Bible to modern life to live by it, why should the congregation pay attention? Meanwhile the morals and tone of the culture at large continue a precipitous decline as Christians and pagans alike make it up as they go along.

The earnest people at the NAE with their new “code” are unfortunately contributing to the erosion of confidence in the Bible among their own believers and certainly among the secular world. Where does this quest for relevance stop?

For example, NAE is currently holding firm on homosexual marriage, but for how much longer? Biblical marriage certainly doesn’t conform to modern mores. If you can revise and extend the commandments, what’s to stop you from joining the Unitarians and revising marriage?

Paul tells us — pastors and parishioners alike — to “put on the full armor of God.” He certainly felt that “armor” was up to the challenge. I wonder why the leaders of the NAE don’t feel the same?

A Letter To All Members of Clergy in America

To all who read this, please share with your pastor, priest, or minister. They need to see this and understand their rights to speak as well as our rights to hear.

To all members of Clergy in America,
The moral, ethical, and societal situation in our nation today is dire to say the least. An out of control government that does not respond to the wishes of We the People is taking control of every aspect of our lives and implementing a dictatorial oligarchy. Freedom of speech/expression is all but gone unless that speech/expression espouses everything Godless, evil, and despicable.

What I am writing may or may not apply to you. If you are not one of the ones I write about don’t take offense but rather accept my thanks for standing for freedom and Christian values against an increasingly tyrannical government. If this does apply to you please take it to heart and think about what your position in society is, and how you are carrying out your calling from God. In writing this I am doing my best to fulfill my calling, my commission from God.

I find it disconcerting that members of the clergy are either on board with this governmental abuse of power or afraid to speak out against it. I don’t know where each of you stand on issues of government tyranny and the restrictions on preaching true biblical tenets but I do know too many either agree with what the government is doing or have been intimidated into silence on the most important issues facing America today.

I see history repeating itself in horrendous terms. I was born shortly after World War II and clearly remember the situation that led to the Holocaust. When Hitler took over in Germany there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 churches in that nation. When he started his pogrom against the Jews there were only 84 pastors who stood up to oppose what he was doing. Most of those 84 were executed outright and others died in concentration camps.

Those who stood for the Bible and the values of God were martyred for their beliefs. Sadly, almost all of those who should have led the charge against Hitler’s tyranny sat on the sidelines to save their own skins and denied their calling for their own safety. This is not God’s idea of a shepherd, at least not to my understanding.

I see this happening again, in America today. I wonder why the leaders of the Christian community are silent. Pastors John Hagee of San Antonio and Robert Jeffress of Dallas are a couple of the more outspoken critics of what is happening but I know of very few others who are standing for true Christianity. It seems very few other clergy members have the courage to defy the perversion of the 1st Amendment and are willing to exercise the most important freedom guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. I realize I only attend one church but I see and have contact with thousands of people through the internet and my impression is that I am right on the button with my comments.

I know that there are several reasons why pastors won’t speak out. I have heard it said that if they speak out against government overreach and truly preach on the more controversial biblical principles, such as that against homosexuality or pre-marital sexual activity, that people will leave because they don’t want to hear that message. The churches could collapse from lack of donations so they have to be careful what they say from the pulpit in order to keep the attendance and money flow coming. If this is the reason a pastor won’t speak out my sadness deepens. Some fear the possibility of “hate speech” charges being brought if they speak out against immorality. I have also heard it said that they can’t preach certain things because of the “separation of church and state”. If this last point is your concern, let me educate you a bit.

This quaint little phrase is not in the Constitution. The 1st Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…..”. It says freedom of RELIGION, not freedom of WORSHIP as has been the latest propaganda coming from the White house and Obama’s minions. The term separation of church and state came from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury, Connecticut Baptist Association in 1802. The state government of Connecticut was trying to establish a denominational control over their state, trying to establish a Church of England style worship, and make it mandatory. The Danbury Baptist group asked Jefferson for help and he told them, in a two page letter, that no government entity can establish such a rule due to the separation of church and state. In 1947 Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black turned 8 words from that two page letter into a decision that totally perverted the meaning of the 1st Amendment. Freedom OF religion suddenly became freedom FROM religion, well freedom from public Christianity anyway.

The government and the courts have turned this perversion into a “no public expression of Christianity” edict. This position doesn’t carry over to Islam, atheism, or any of the many cults in existence today. Atheism has been acknowledged as a religion by the courts but only Christianity is held to the standards of no public displays of faith. When Christians see the clergy accepting this government position and doing nothing they assume the government and the courts are correct because they don’t know what the Constitution says. That Americans have no clue what their founding document says is sad enough in itself. The fact that their church leaders have no better understanding is even worse.

I am saddened when the activism I see from clergy is that of calling for government control of everything. “Ministers” and priests are out in the public eye decrying our freedom and demanding that the government give what doesn’t belong to them to those who refuse to help themselves. Jesus himself said that the man who does not work should not eat. These same clergy members preach hate from the pulpit but are excused because their message is politically correct, and against Christianity. Jeremiah Wright, Michael Pfleger, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton all stand out in public preaching hate, racism, divisiveness, and dependence on government. They need to be countered by true men and women of God who will preach the true message of the Bible, not the message of some pseudo-god they worship.

Our nation is going down the sewer of Godlessness and our clergy are allowing it to happen. Most of the members of your congregation are not going to be as outspoken and forward as I am. Most of them probably know very little, if anything, about their freedom or their heritage. They look to you not only for spiritual guidance but also for the courage to get out in the community and be seen, to stand up for their rights and the freedom given to all of us by Almighty God. It is up to you to teach them about the Christian heritage of our nation, and to be proud of that heritage instead of hiding it in the closet.

Freedom doesn’t come from government or from a document. The Declaration of Independence says; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Our founding fathers recognized God as our creator, our benefactor, and our ultimate judge. If we continue to turn our backs on God, our founding documents, and our responsibilities as American citizens we will soon find ourselves living under a brutal dictatorship that will not allow any public Christian worship at all.

It is your responsibility as leaders appointed by God Himself to stand up for the Christian heritage of the nation He designed with His own hand. We the People, Christian and non-Christian, need for you to take on the tough part of your commission from God and lead us back to the promised land, a proudly Christian America.

I submit this in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, in faith, with the responsibility given to me by Almighty God to honor His work and not let it die from neglect.

Bob Russell
Claremore, Oklahoma
March 25, 2012