Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain," and, "The laborer deserves his wages." Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. -- 1Timothy 5:17-20 (ESV)
"If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. -- John 15:18-19 (ESV)
The mess down at Relentless Church is starting to smell pretty relentless. It is long past due to have a serious conversation about money and the office of pastor. One of the results of the purpose driven church model is the creation of cult of personality pastors who are such gifted speakers that they are soon in high demand. This of course is not only because of their speech-craft but because they compromise the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Do you think 50,000 people pack into Lakewood Church because Joel Osteen preaches the Gospel? Just the opposite. People flock to Osteen because he scratches their itching ears. Paul Washer once quipped that Osteen was not a false teacher as much as he was God's wrath upon those willing to sit through his sermons. Such direct bluntness is sorely needed in these end times as many struggle to come out from under such bad teaching.
Speaking of Osteen, this week we are again dealing with his former Associate Pastor, John Gray. If the old expression is true that where there is smoke there is fire, then John Gray's world is ablaze with scandals and unforced errors that reveal the depravity in the heart of a hireling.
"The Holy Ghost said this to me so I'm going to speak it out, that there is severe weather coming to the region this spring because of all of the climate change and issues," Gray said. "Whether you understand all the science behind it or not, or agree, I heard the Lord say, 'I want you to make sure the house is covered so that when storms come people can come in here and be covered. Just in case you were wondering where your money is going, it's going into these buildings," - John Gray
Yeah John, did the Holy Ghost say anything about asking the sheep for 250,000 dollars when you are already living in a 1.8 million dollar home they provided for you for free? Did the Spirit of God point out how fake you look asking for nearly the exact amount of money you just spent on your wife's Lamborghini? I am not even going to get into the salacious stories of affairs, which Gray denies by saying they were "emotional not physical." Apparently he never read where Jesus says that our adultery starts with how we look at someone. Despite these denials, the woman who claims to have been his mistress responded with voice mail recordings and in depth bedroom banter that I do not need to rehash because even without it John Gray is disqualified from being a pastor.
Let us deal with the topic of money in a pastorate position. People love to selectively quote that the laborer deserves his wages but they ignore all of the surrounding context found in the first set of key verses. Who is this laborer that Paul is speaking to Timothy about? He is the one that "labors" in teaching and preaching as we see in the previous verse. He is held to a higher standard of judgement in that the blood of his listeners is upon his head and because of that he is due double honor. Let us not lose sight however that the laborer must labor in teaching and preaching the Gospel. John Gray does not preach nor teach the Gospel. An adherent of Osteen, Gray preaches a prosperity and self-help gospel devoid of sin and repentance and he routinely twists scriptures by reading you into the bible where you do not belong. So while the laborer is worth his wages, John Gray is not a laborer in teaching and preaching. He is a hireling and that explains why he has a hireling's mentality when questioned about such matters:
"This year got on my nerves, and I'm so ready for 2018 to be gone. I'm so ready for 2018 to be out of here." -- John Gray
"I have other streams of income, and I use that to bless my wife, not from (financial) sources the church provided,"
"First of it all, it wasn't a pastor that bought the car. It was a husband that bought the car. Get that in your spirit, I'm a husband first -- don't confuse what I do with who I am. What I do is I pastor God's people. Who I am is a husband and a father, and I'll do anything to honor them and I won't ask permission from anybody to do it. No man should." -- John Gray
"I have created and been patient my whole life for this moment -- I'm 45. I'm supposed to wait until I'm 70 to live my best life? And my best life is seeing my wife happy." -- John Gray
Yes, 2018 that saw his affairs revealed, his Lamborghini purchase decried, and his staus as a hireling exposed got on John Gray's nerves. I do not hear a whole lot of repentance in that statement. I hear a great deal of arrogance and victimhood but no sense that what he is doing is even mildly inappropriate as a pastor. Then we see the compartmentalization that most purpose driven pastors operate under. Osteen defenders point to the fact that he draws no income from Lakewood but that is a gross distortion. Who do you think buys his books? Who buys Gray's books? Why does John Gray have a television show on Oprah's network? Everything Gray has is a direct result of the church. The shameless hireling admits that he is not a pastor first! We are not the ones confused John. You claim God called you but you treat the office you are in as a temp job for a staffing agency. Beloved, the pastoral office is not something to be taken so cavalierly and haphazardly. It is not a regular 9-5 job. Do you take care of your family? Of course but the notion that the sheep of the Lord entrusted to you takes a back seat to anyone is simply not supported in scripture. The last quote here is a direct shout out to Joel Osteen and his mega hit book -- Your Best Life Now! Beloved if this is your best life then by definition, you are going to hell. Also the notion that your best life must involve $200,000 cars and 2 million dollar homes while asking the poor people in your church to fork over another 250K in addition to their tithes speaks to the mind of a true reprobate hireling. A true man of God could not do that without being severely convicted by the Holy Spirit. To further the unseemliness, Gray pretends God told him to ask for the $250K because "storms" are coming. Please. What is truly sad is to read the comments attached to the secular article written about this incident, and there were plenty. People saying this is why they won't go to church. Other's correctly discerning that he is lying about hearing from God. Beloved the witness for Christ is eviscerated by hirelings pretending to be pastors and we need to separate from them. He then topped it off with this:
"The work must continue. This is not a plea for money, it's a plea for partnership, so we can be what we're supposed to be." -- John Gray
No John, this is a plea for money. You can dress it up anyway you like but the world can see through this sham even if those in your church refuse to. So what do we have beloved. A new senior pastor involved at a minimum in an "emotional" affair that led to so much internal condemnation he bought his wife a $200,000 luxury car to mend fences. This while living in a near 2 million dollar mansion paid for by the sheep. When asked anything about this he gets emotional, defensive, and angry. At this point does he seek the Lord's face? Does he fast and pray? Does he willingly submit to counseling or even a sabbatical? No. He asks the congregation for an additional 250K to "partner" with him to fix the roof and lays the blame at God's feet:
"The Holy Ghost said this to me so I'm going to speak it out, that there is severe weather coming to the region this spring because of all of the climate change and issues," Gray said. "Whether you understand all the science behind it or not, or agree, I heard the Lord say, 'I want you to make sure the house is covered so that when storms come people can come in here and be covered.'" -- John Gray
So we are supposed to believe that God audibly told John Gray, as he is dealing with the affair on his wife to not worry about the 7,247 square foot house worth 1.8 million dollars he lives in. God also said nothing apparently about the $200,000 Lamborghini hush payment made to his wife. No, Gray wants us to believe that God told him to go beat the sheep until the money falls from their pockets so they can "partner" with him. Sorry John that was not God. Just like it was not God when you invited the wife of the previous pastor to guest preach last week and she threatened a local newspaper for covering this story by warning them that she "cuts people and has a knife in her pocketbook." You simply cannot make this stuff up beloved.
The sad thing is the 1.8 million dollar home is more than 10 times the value of the median home value in Greenville County yet the board voted to give it to this hireling because it "was needed to entice a pastor of Gray's caliber to relocate to Greenville." When using such carnal logic and enticements, you simply get what you pay for.