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"Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. -- Ezekiel 3: 17-18 (ESV)
The Purpose Driven Church model has created a generation of hirelings. People who sit in the pastoral role without the call, the ability, or even the basic decency to protect the flock God has entrusted to them. This is not surprising beloved as the Bible warns us exactly what a hireling is. He is not invested. He does not care about the sheep. He carries no rod to beat away those that would attack the flock. He carries no crook to guide the sheep correctly upon the straight and narrow path of the Gospel. Quite frankly, there is no fear of the Lord before him because if there was how could he read the key verses today and not repent immediately! Pastor! I have made you the watchman over the church! Whenever you hear my Word you must deliver it to them faithfully! The death to which God is speaking about is eternal and thus the message is the Gospel. In the days of Ezekiel, the message was to repent and obey the law but today we have a much better covenant! We have a covenant of grace and every pastor holds the keys to the kingdom of heaven in their hands. If they refuse to turn people from their iniquity then the blood of his listeners is upon his head. Before you go trying to make Old Testament excuses, remember that Scripture always confirms Scripture:
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. -- 2Peter 2: 1-3 (ESV)
Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. -- Acts 20: 26-30 (ESV)
For an overseer,as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. -- Titus 1: 7-9 (ESV)
Let us walk through these together. The Peter verses teach us a crucial but often overlooked comparison between the old covenant and the new. In the days of the old covenant, there was no Bible. There was no final revealed will of the Lord. Thus when He wanted to communicate directly to their king or to His people, He rose up a prophet through which to do so. So in the old covenant days, those that lied about what God has and has not said were considered false prophets. Peter is making a very important distinction here by saying just as there were false prophets in those days we will have false teachers as well. They will teach the Bible falsely. They will present a false Christ and a false gospel. Their heresies are destructive, in their greed they will exploit you, and they lead others to blaspheme the church of Jesus Christ. These verses are important to realize that while God was speaking Ezekiel in the key verses, He says the same thing today to those charged with guarding His flock. Just look at the Acts verses as we see Paul saying goodbye to the Ephesian Elders. Why does Paul declare he is innocent of their blood? Because he did not hesitate in proclaiming the entire counsel of God! That means the inverse is also true. Anything less than the full Gospel of Jesus Christ means you will be held to account as the watchman on the wall who did not tell the people what God has said! It is interesting that right after this declaration Paul warns us all that vicious wolves will arise from within the church itself to draw followers after themselves. The Titus verses remind us that there are actual qualifications to be a pastor within God's church and one of the most neglected roles is to rebuke those who present a false gospel. It seems most pastors today shy away from such confrontation for fear of someone shining a spotlight on what they preach perhaps. Either way, a pastor must be willing to confront what leads sheep astray or else he is negligent in his pastor role. I provide this scriptural background in order to address a recent correspondence sent by a local pastor to a congregant. It seems the congregant had sent a very nice email asking for an address so she could send the pastor a book she had read regarding Bethel Church in Redding California and also intimated that she would love to speak with him at some future point regarding it. Her email was sweet and caring and the mention of Bethel was only two sentences. His response however reveals the current state of far too many pastors in the church today. Let us reason together through the portion of the response dealing with the Bethel request. All personal information has been redacted. Keep in mind this is a real person and real pastor.
"As for the matter of Bethel church, there are some aspects of their understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit I don't agree with and I find Bethel's expression of what it means to be 'prophetic' hard to take." - Pastor X
Beloved, as many of you know, Bethel Church is a spiritual cesspool. It is led by some of the most egregious false teachers on the planet in Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton and Shawn Bolz. They claim the false manifestations of gem stones, gold dust and angel feathers. They originated the false "glory cloud" manifestation. They operate a school of the supernatural where for only four grand a year they will teach you the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Of course they cannot actually do that according to the Bible so be careful what spirit they are engaging you in. they embrace nearly every false teaching out there today from the NAR, Dominionism, prosperity, word faith and false signs and lying wonders. They have a "dead raising team" that has claimed 15 resurrections to their credit without a shred of proof. The infamous grave sucking heresy came from Bethelites. They preach God must always heal us and downplay the sufficiency of Scripture through a full embracing of experiential Christianity. Is that enough?