THE  BOOK


HE  GAVE  GIFTS  UNTO  MEN


by Kenneth  E.  Hagin


Chapter  13



Different Church Structures


Who  is  an  Elder?



….. In my hometown when I was a boy, one of the churches split over the question, "Who is an elder?" and "What constitutes the office of an elder?" One group left the church and built another church, and they chose businessmen to be elders to run the church. They thought that was correct church government.


They started out with a congregation of more than one hundred people, and after several years, five people were left in the congregation!


You see, businessmen don't have the anointing on them to stand in the pastoral office. 


An ordained minister — a man who was called to the pastoral office — pastored the other church in town. That church kept growing until they outgrew their facilities and had to build a new church building. That kind of growth says something about correct church government!


When Paul addresses elders or pastors in Acts 20:28, he is talking about people who are called to the pastoral office. Preachers and teachers of the Word are spiritually equipped to feed the flock of God the Word. These elders were not businessmen who were put in charge of the church.


It is unscriptural to put businessmen who are neither called or anointed as spiritual overseers in a local body, or to have a board of elders made up of businessmen. 


In terms of the local church, an elder is pastor — a preacher or teacher of the Word— not a businessman who has been appointed to be an elder in the church.


Businessmen can be helpers or deacons, and very often their financial and business expertise can be a great assistance to the pastor. But businessmen have no anointing on them to stand in the pastoral office. They have no anointing on them to spiritually oversee the church of God, nor do they have an anointing to feed the flock of God with the Word.


Only someone who is equipped by the Holy Spirit to stand in a ministry office — the pastoral office — can be an elder (in the spiritual sense of the term), an overseer, or a bishop. A businessman doesn't have the anointing or the spiritual equipment to stand in a ministry office.


You see, scripturally speaking, every pastor is an elder. Actually, every ordained minister is an elder, whether he is an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher. Eldership is not a separate office from the fivefold ministry.


That's the reason the Bible teaches that we are not to take a novice and put him in an office of authority or in a ministry office. We are to wait until he proves his ministry and gains some spiritual maturity and experience before he is ordained to full eldership in the Body of Christ.


It's important that ministers should reach a certain age, maturity, and experience in ministry before they are ordained, because ordination is the act of officially recognizing that a minister has attained to full eldership in the Body of Christ. 


Eldership is not for those just starting out in ministry or for spiritual novices.


Of course, people can buy ordinations from fly-by-night organizations. Many do that and call themselves "ministers." But that doesn't make them ordained ministers of the gospel! They are just spiritual babies playing church. 


No, ministers and ministries must first be proved. And ministers need to study to show themselves approved (1 Tim. 3:10; 2 Tim. 2:15). Also, the Bible gives certain qualifications for ministers (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:6-9).


[AND  GOING  TO  SOME  “THEOLOGY  COLLEGE”  AND  TAKING  4  YEARS  OF  THEOLOGY  AT  AGE  18  TO  22,  DOES  NOT  MAKE  YOU  AN  ELDER  OR  PASTOR;  IT  TAKES  MUCH  LONGER  THAN  THAT,  TO  FULFIL  ALL  THE  REQUIREMENT  PAUL  PUT  DOWN  TO  TIMOTHY  AND  TITUS  FOR  THE  ELDERSHIP  MINISTRY.  THEY  SHOULD  FIND  THEMSELVES  A  CHURCH  WHERE  THEY  ARE  JUST  MEMBERS,  FIND  SECULAR  WORK,  MARRY,  HAVE  CHILDREN,  PROVE  THEMSELVES  AND  THEN  BE  RECOGNIZED  BY  OTHER  ELDERS  AS  CHOSEN  BY  GOD  FOR  THE  ELDERSHIP  MINISTRY  -  Keith Hunt]


So the apostle, prophet, teacher, and evangelist are all elders in the Body of Christ because they are ordained to the full-time ministry. And a pastor is most certainly an elder in the Body of Christ because he shepherds the local flock.


Plurality of Elders


People have fought small wars on the subject of eldership and church government. Some teach that a plurality of elders — a board of elders — must govern the church in order for it to be a true New Testament church.

 

But nowhere in the scriptures do you find a structure where a board of elders dominates the local church, and tells the pastor and the congregation what to do.
That kind of structure is not in the Scriptures?


[TRUE,  YOU  CANNOT  FIND  A  “BOARD  OF  ELDERS”  SEPARATE  FROM  THE  ELDER/S  OVER  THE  LOCAL  CHURCH,  THAT  HAVE  AUTHORITY  OVER  THE  ELDERS  OF  THE  CHURCH.  SUCH  A  STRUCTURE  IS  NOWHERE  TO  BE  FOUND  IN  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  -  Keith Hunt]


Some people ask the question, Is a plurality of elders scripturally correct? 


It depends on what they mean by that. If by a plurality of elders they mean that several ministers of equal authority should run a church, the answer is NO.


[HERE  THE  AUTHOR  IS  WAY  OUT  IN  LEFT  FIELD,  VERY  WRONG!  WE  SEE  CLEARLY  FROM  ACTS  20: 17,  PAUL  CALLED  FOR  THE  ELDER S…. WITH  AN  “S”— MORE  THAN  ONE  ELDER  IN  EPHESUS.  

SO  ALSO  PAUL  TOLD  TITUS  TO  ORDAIN ELDER S…. PLURAL  IN  EVERY  CITY (TITUS 1:5)  -  Keith Hunt]


Anything with two or more heads is a freak. You couldn’t have five elders or pastors with equal authority running one church! It would be impossible.    


[NOT  A  FREAK  AT  ALL,  THIS  IS  JUST  MAN’S  SURMISING,  MAN’S  IDEA,  NO  SCRIPTURE  BACKS  UP  SUCH  A  TEACHING.  WE  FIND  PETER  INSPIRED  TO  SAY  TO  ELDERS,  THAT  THEY  SHOULD  ALL  SUBMIT  TO  EACH  OTHER,  TO  BE  HUMBLE,  FOR  GOD  RESISTS  THE  PROUD (1 PETER 5:1-5).  WHAT  MAY  SEEM  IMPOSSIBLE  TO  MEN,  EVEN  A  FREAK,  TO  GOD,  AS  IT  IS  WRITTEN,  NOTHING  IS  IMPOSSIBLE  FOR  HIM;  THROUGH  THE  POWER  OF  THE  HOLY  SPIRIT  ALL  ELDERS  CAN  SUBMIT  TO  EACH  OTHER.  WHEN  SPIRITUAL  ELDERS  OR  PASTORS  ARE  CALLED  OF  GOD,  THEY  ARE  ON  THE  SAME  LEVEL  PLAYING-FIELD.  ALL  ORDAINED  TO  THE  MINISTRY  BY  GOD  ARE  EQUAL  WITH  EACH  OTHER.  PAUL  IS  AN  EXAMPLE  THAT  PROVES  THIS.  HE  WAS  NOT  ONE  OF  THE  TWELVE  APOSTLES,  HE  WAS  CALLED  LATER,  AFTER  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  CHURCH  GOT  STARTED.  NOW  BY  READING  GALATIANS  CHAPTER  ONE  AND  TWO,  IT  IS  VERY  EVIDENT,  VERY  CLEAR,  PAUL  COUNTED  HIMSELF  NOT  ONE  WIT  OR  BIT,  BELOW  ANY  ELDER  IN  THE  CHURCH  OF  GOD.  SO  IT  MAKES  NO  DIFFERENCE  AS  TO  “TIME”  WHEN  A  MAN  IS  CALLED  BY  GOD  TO  BE  AN  ELDER,  HE  IS  NOT  ONE  STEP  LOWER  THAN  ANY  OTHER  ELDER  THAT  WAS  AN  ELDER  BEFORE  HIM  -  Keith Hunt] 


But if by plurality of elders, people mean that the senior pastors is the overseer of the church, and he has assistant pastors helping him, the answer is YES, that is scriptural. 


[THE  TRUTH  OF  THE  MATTER  IS  THAT  NO  SCRIPTURE  IS  PRESENTED  TO  BACK  UP  THE  AUTHOR’S  CLAIM.  AND  FURTHER,  YOU  CANNOT  FIND  ONE  VERSE  IN  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  THAT  USES  “SENIOR  ELDER”—— THERE  IS  NO  EXAMPLE  WHERE  A  “SENIOR”  IN  LONGER  FUNCTION,  IS  TO  BE  ASSISTED  BY  ELDERS  WITH  LESS  TIME  IN  THE  ORDAINED  MINISTRY,  HENCE  CALLED  BY  MEN,  ASSISTANT  PASTOR—— SUCH CHURCH  GOVERNMENT  CANNOT  BE  FOUND  IN  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  -  Keith Hunt]


That is not a leadership having two heads, but it is a plurality of eldership. The associate pastors have their input, but the senior pastor make the final decision. Someone has to be the main shepherd of the local church.    


[AGAIN  MAN’S  IDEA  OF  TWO  OR  MORE  HEADS  OF  SOME  FREAK,  CANNOT  WORK—— NONSENSE  TO  SUCH  AN  IDEA!  SOMEONE  DOES  NOT  HAVE  TO  BE  THE  MAIN  SHEPHERD  OF  THE  CHURCH  AT  ALL!  THEY  WORK  AS  A  TEAM  WITH  HUMILITY  AND  SUBMITTING  TO  EACH  OTHER,  AS  PETER  DIRECTED.  THE  DECISIONS  OF  THE  LOCAL  CHURCH  DO  NOT  HAVE  TO  BE  MADE  BY  ONE  MAN.  IN  FACT  THE  BOOK  OF  PROVERBS  SAY  A  THREE  OR  MORE  STAND  CORD  IS  STRONGER  THAT  ONE  STAND.  AND  THERE  ARE  ALSO  COUNTER-BALANCE  WITH  MORE  CHECKS-AND-BALANCES  IN  PLACE.  SADLY  NOT  ENOUGH  CHURCHES  HAVE  ENOUGH  QUALIFIED  ELDERS  TO  HAVE  PLURALITY  OF  THEM  IN  ALL  OF  JESUS’  CHURCHES  ON  EARTH  TODAY - Keith Hunt]


If a pastor has a small congregation, he can usually retake care of the people, and he doesn't really need any more elders or associates to help hi. But the pastor ought to have enough sense to know when he needs associates to help him.


[EVEN  IN  SMALL  CHURCHES  IF  POSSIBLE,  THERE  STILL  NEEDS  TO  BE  MORE  THAN  ONE  ELDER  GUIDING  THE  FLOCK  OF  CHRIST  -  Keith Hunt]


Some churches call their associate pastors elders. Others call them pastors, shepherds, or bishops. We have Scripture for all those terms. God may even raise up someone from a pastor's own congregation to help him, who is called to the fivefold ministry and is a faithful worker in the church. However, he cannot be a novice in spiritual things.


[USUALLY  OTHER  ELDERS  DO  COME  FROM  WITHIN  THE  LOCAL  CHURCH;  THEY  SHOULD  NOT  COME  FROM  SOME  COLLEGE  WITH  ONLY  4  YEARS  THEOLOGY,  AND  HAVE  NEVER  PROVED  THEMSELVES  OUT  IN  GENERAL  SOCIETY,  OR  AS  A  MARRIED  MAN  WITH  CHILDREN  -  Keith Hunt]


Some people teach that the Early Church had a plurality of elders as their church government. They cite the passage in Acts 20:17 where Paul addressed the elders at the church of Ephesus as an example of plurality of eldership.

But, you see, that church was the only church they had in Ephesus at that time. There could have been many members in the church by then, and it may have taken more than one person to oversee it. The same thing was true of the mother church in Jerusalem. When, you talk about plurality of elders running a church, you have to take into consideration that the church in Jerusalem was the only local body to begin with, and it was a large church.


[AH  THE  AUTHOR  SEES  ACTS  20:17  AND  HAS  A  CLEVER  WAY  AROUND  THE  FACT  OF  ELDERS.  THE  JERUSALEM  CHURCH  WAS  NO  DOUBT  A  LARGE  CONGREGATION;  OF  EPHESUS  WE  KNOW  NOTHING  AS  TO  HOW  LARGE  IT  WAS;  IT  IS  OBVIOUS  THERE  WERE  ENOUGH  SPIRITUALLY  MATURE  MEN  TO  HAVE  ELDERS.  TODAY  GOD’S  PEOPLE  TEND  TO  BE  SCATTERED,  MANY  ARE  NOT  LARGE,  MAKING  IT  NEAR  IMPOSSIBLE  TO  HAVE  ELDERS,  SOME  ARE  SO  SMALL  THEY  HAVE  NO  ELDER  AT  ALL,  THEY  MUST  RELY  ON  HEARING  MINISTERS  ON  CD - DVD - LIVE STREAMING;  NOW  AND  AGAIN  A  SERMON  FROM  A  VISITING  ELDER  -  Keith Hunt]


It would certainly take more than one pastor to oversee all these people, wouldn’t it? They had to have a plurality of elders to adequately minister to all the people.


[THE  AUTHOR  IS  STICKING  WITH  “LARGE”  CONGREGATIONS  FOR  HIS  ARGUMENT;  SURE  ENOUGH  MORE  THAN  ONE  ELDER  WOULD  AND  SHOULD (IF  JESUS  CALLS  OTHERS)  BE  IN  A  LARGE  CONGREGATION.  BUT  PAUL  TO  TITUS  DID  NOT  QUALIFY  HIS  STATEMENT  TO  TITUS  TO  ORDAIN  ELDERS  IN  EVERY  CITY.  THE  BOTTOM  LINE  OF  TRUTH,  IDEALY  THERE  SHOULD  BE  MORE  THAN  ONE  ELDER  GOVERNING  A  CONGREGATION  -  Keith Hunt]


We do the same thing today in our larger churches, although we do not necessarily call them “elders.” We call them assistants or associates. 


[AND  SO  GETTING  SO  MUCH  CORRECT  IN  HIS  BOOK,  THIS  AUTHOR  NOW  GOES  OFF  TRACK.  NOT  ONE  VERSE  USES  THE  TERM  “ASSISTANT”  OR  “ASSOCIATE”   ELDER/PASTOR.  IF  YOU  ARE  AN  ELDER  YOU  ARE  PART  OF  CHRIST’S  MINISTRY,  AND  SO  ON  EQUAL  FOOTING  WITH  ALL  OTHER  ELDERS  IN  JESUS’  CHURCH.  THE  TRUE  CHURCHES  OF  GOD  AROUND  THE  WORLD WILL  ALWAYS  GIVE  HONOR  AND  RESPECT,  TO  ALL  OF  JESUS’  MINISTERS,  AND  THEY (THE  PEOPLE  AND  ELDERS)  WILL  KNOW  THE  ELDERS,  ARE  ON  THE  SAME  LEVEL;  THEY  WILL  KNOW  THERE  IS  NO  “AUTHORITY”  STAIRCASE  THAT  ELDERS  HAVE  TO  CLIMB  -  Keith Hunt]


But in a small church of a couple hundred people, a plurality of elders is not usually necessary.


[ONCE  MORE  MAN’S  IDEAS,  MEN  MAKING  UP  CHURCH  GOVERNMENT;  PAUL  TOLD  TITUS  TO  ORDAIN  ELDERS  IN  EVERY  CITY;  HE  DID  NOT  QUALIFY  THE  STATEMENT  BY  LAYING  DOWN  SOME  QUANTITY  OF  “APPOINT  ELDERS  IN  A  CONGREGATION  OF  OVER  200  HUNDRED."  HERE  IS  WHERE  CLEVER  DECEPTION  CREEPS  INTO  A  BOOK  THAT  HAS  GIVEN  FORTH  TRUTH  UP  TO  THIS  POINT,  BUT  AS  THE  AUTHOR  HIMSELF  HAS  SAID,  MOST  ERROR  CONTAINS  A  LOT  OF  TRUTH,  OTHERWISE  IT  COULD  NOT  DECEIVE.  ARE  YOU  SEEING  HOW  THE  AUTHOR  HIMSELF  HAS  FALLEN  INTO  HIS  OWN  PIT  OF  DECEPTION.  PEOPLE  CAN  READ  SO  MUCH  TRUTH,  AND  THEN  BEGIN  TO  BELIEVE  EVERY  WORD  SAID,  WITHOUT  THINKING.  I  SAW  IT  HAPPEN  WITH  HERBERT  W.  ARMSTRONG——  SO  MUCH  TRUTH  PEOPLE  BEGAN  TO  AUTOMATICALLY  BELIEVE  EVERYTHING  HE  WROTE  OR  SPOKE;  THEY  DID  NOT  SEE  THE  ERRORS,  MISTAKES,  AND  OUTRIGHT  FALSENESS  OF  MANY  THINGS  HE  TAUGHT  IN  HIS  LATTER  YEARS.  SADLY  MOST  OF  THE  SPLITS  FROM  THE  WORLDWIDE  CHURCH  OF  GOD,  STILL  HAVE  NEVER  COME  TO  ADMIT  HWA  ERRORS  AND  CULT  TEACHINGS  OF  HIS  LATTER  MINISTRY  -  Keith Hunt]


Let me give you an example of the development of a plurality of elders in a local church. RHEMA Bible Church has been formally registered as a church since 1976. I taught there occasionally, as would others. But in 1985 we began the church with a full schedule of services, and my son, Kenneth Hagin Jr., became the official pastor.


[NOW  WHO  MADE  HIM  THE  “OFFICIAL”  PASTOR?  I  DO  NOT  SEE  ANY  SCRIPTURES  THAT  SHOWS  PEOPLE  BECOMING  THE  “OFFICIAL”  PASTOR.  SUCH  “OFFICIALNESS”  IS  MAN  MADE.  IT  OF  COURSE  IS  VERY  POSSIBLE  AS  JESUS  RUNS  HIS  CHURCH,  THAT  THERE  IS  ONLY  ONE  ELDER  TO  SHEPHERD  THAT  LOCAL  FLOCK,  BECAUSE  JESUS  HAS  NOT  YET  CALLED  ANOTHER  MAN/MEN,  INTO  ELDERSHIP  IN  THAT  CONGREGATION  -  Keith Hunt]


As the pastor. Ken is the head of the church; I'm not. He is my pastor. Even though I stand in the offices of the prophet and teacher, I don't have a thing in the world to do with running RHEMA Bible Church; I'm not part of the pastoral staff, nor do I help govern the Church; I just sit on the pew with everyone else and enjoy the services.


[WOW….WOW…. MEN  ORGANIZING  A  LOCAL  CHURCH  IN  THE  WAY  THEY  CHOOSE;  PLAYING  AT  CHURCH!  JESUS  WOULD  HAVE  ELDERS  PASTORING  A  LOCAL  CHURCH  -  Keith Hunt]


When RHEMA Bible Church began, Ken had three associate pastors, a youth minister, and a minister of music. As the church grew and developed, Ken added “children's minister” to the church staff.) That is a true plurality of elders. But we don't call it that; we call them associate pastors. The church is continually growing in numbers so that associate pastors were and are necessary to adequately minister to all the people.


[NO  THAT  IS  NOT  TRUE  PLURALITY  OF  ELDERS!  THERE  IS  NO  VERSE  IN  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  THAT  USES  “ASSOCIATE PASTORS”— THAT’S  MAN  MADE  IDEAS!  ELDERS  ARE  ELDERS  ARE  ELDERS  IN  CHRIST’S  CHURCH;  ONE  IS  NOT  IN  AUTHORITY  OVER  ANOTHER.  YOUTH  MINISTER - MINISTER OF MUSIC - CHILDREN’S MINISTER;  AS  THE  WORD  MINISTER  IN  OUR  TODAY’S  LANGUAGE  IS  USED  IN  RELIGION,  THIS  IS  A  VERY  BAD  TERM  TO  USE.  IT  GIVES  AGAIN  THE  CONNOTATION  THAT  THAT  PERSON  IS  A  “MINISTER”  OR  “ELDER.”  A  BETTER  WORD  WOULD  SIMPLY  BE  “LEADER”  OF  MUSIC,  LEADER  OF  YOUTH,  LEADER  OF  CHILDREN’S  CLASSES.  SUCH  LEADERS  MAY  HAVE  THE  GIFT  IN  THAT  AREA,  BUT  THEY  ARE  CERTAINLY  NOT  “ELDERS”  OR  “MINISTERS”  OR  “PASTORS”  IN  THE  CHURCH.  LOOK  UP  “MINISTER”  IN  THE  DICTIONARY…… BAD  DECISION   TO  USE  SUCH  A  MODERN  WORD  FOR  SOMEONE  LEADING  IN  MUSIC,  OR  YOUTH,  OR  CHILDREN.  IF  A  TRUE  ELDER  IS  USED  SAY  IN  YOUTH,  THEN  IT  WOULD  BE  FINE  TO  CALL  HIM  A  YOUTH  MINISTER.  HE  IS  AN  ELDER  WITH  NATURAL  ABILITY,  OR  A  GIFT  FROM  GOD  TO  BE  VERY  EFFECTIVE  WITH  YOUTH  -  Keith Hunt]   


On the other hand, when I pastored country churches, I really didn't need an associate. But when I did need help occasionally, I'd get someone else to help me. That didn't mean that person was supposed to come and run things; he was there to assist me. 


[COULD  BE  OFF  TRACK  HERE  ALSO,  DEPENDING  ON  THE  AUTHOR’S  MIND-SET.  IF  YOU  CALL  AN  ELDER  TO  HELP  YOU, THEN  YOU  ARE  CALLING  SOMEONE  WHO  HAS  AS  MUCH  AUTHORITY  AS  YOU— ELDERS  ARE  ALL  ON  THE  SAME  LEVEL  PLAYING  FIELD  IN  CHRIST’S  CHURCH.  AS  IS  PROVED  BY  THE  APOSTLE  PAUL  IN  GALATIANS  ONE  AND  TWO.  PAUL  TOOK  NO  BACK  SEAT  TO  ANYONE,  NOT  EVEN  TO  THE  FIRST  APOSTLES  OF  CHRIST.  IT  MADE  NO  DIFFERENCE  WHERE  PAUL  WAS,  IN  WHATEVER  CONGREGATION  ANYWHERE,  PAUL  WAS  IN  HIS  MIND (AND  HE  DID  HAVE  THE  MIND  AND  SPIRIT  OF  CHRIST)  EQUAL  TO  ALL  OTHER  ELDERS  OF  EVERY  FUNCTION  IN  THE  CHURCH  JESUS  BUILT.  NOW  IF  YOU  CALL  IN  SOMEONE  WHO  IS  NOT  AN  ELDER  TO  HELP  YOU,  THEY  DO  CERTAIN  THINGS  FOR  YOU;  THEY  KNOW,  YOU  KNOW,  THEY  ARE  NOT  A  “SPIRITUAL  ELDER” —— THEY  HELP  YOU  IN  WHATEVER  YOU  NEED  THEM  TO  HELP  YOU  WITH,  EXCEPT  SHEPHERDING  THAT  LOCAL  FLOCK  -  Keith Hunt]


What I'm trying to point out is that in many local churches today that have a pastoral staff, a plurality of elders has been functioning all the time. We've not called them elders Evan though that is their function in the local church. We’ve just called them associate pastors.


[IF  AN  ELDER  IS  AN  ELDER  IS  AN  ELDER,  THEY  ARE  ELDERS,  NO  OTHER  NAME  SHOULD  BE  ATTACHED  TO  THEM  AS  LIKE  ASSOCIATE…..  AN  ELDER  IN  THE  CHURCH  OF  CHRIST  IS  AN  ELDER,  SHEPHERD,  PASTOR,  TEACHER,  AND  HE  IS  ON  EQUAL  FOOTING  AS  ANY  OTHER  ELDER,  ANYWHERE  IN  THE  CHURCH  JESUS  BUILT  ANYWHERE  ON  EARTH.  GOD’S  PEOPLE,  ANY  PART  OF  THEM,  ARE  NOT  OWNED  BY  MEN,  THEY  ALL  BELONG  TO  CHRIST,  AND  ALL  THE  ELDERS  THAT  JESUS  HAS  CALLED  TO  BE  AN  ELDER/PASTOR/SHEPHERD  -  Keith Hunt]


False Pastors and Ministers


Yes, there are false pastors and false ministers. 


A false minister is someone who is trying to operate in an office when he is not called to that office. Anyone who is in the ministry for personal gain and doesn't have the people at heart is false. There are false pastors, just as there are false prophets and false apostles — or any other ministry gift for that matter.


False pastors are those in the pastoral ministry who are either not called to that office at all or who are putting themselves and their own interests before the needs of the sheep. A false pastor is also one who teaches things that hurt and divide his flock.


A good shepherd would rather die than see a church split or hurt in any way. But I have known some so-called pastors, especially years ago, who caused problems in every church they pastored. They put themselves before the people.


A person who does that doesn't have a shepherd's heart. A good shepherd puts the people before his own interests and desires, and he will sacrifice and give his life for the sheep, including protecting his congregation from false ministers and false teaching.


That's why a pastor needs to be careful about those whom he invites to preach in his pulpit. A pastor won't necessarily agree on everything of minor importance that other ministers preach. But there are extreme doctrines that tear up churches and hurt innocent people.


That's why a pastor should check up on ministers and find out what a fellow is preaching before inviting a minister to preach in his church. And he shouldn't just believe everything a traveling minister tells him about his accomplishments in the ministry either.


A pastor should see what effect traveling ministers have had on churches where they have preached — whether it has been positive or negative. Has a traveling minister been a blessing in churches where he has ministered? Or has he caused division and strife wherever he has preached? If ministers have torn up other churches doctrinally in the past, they are liable to leave a trail of churches in the same mess.


We need to remember that Paul exposed false ministers for the sake of the Body of Christ. He said, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them" (Rom. 16:17).


You see, we are not talking about exposing individual ministers just to hurt and damage their reputations. But a pastor has to be concerned with issues and sound biblical doctrine. He needs to protect his flock, and sometimes for the sake of his flock, he will have to expose error if it is dividing and hurting the local body……..


Usually ministers who cause trouble and divide churches are those who take the attitude, No one is going to tell me what to do! Or, No one is going to tell me what to preach about! 


But if a minister can't be a blessing to a congregation, he doesn't have any business preaching.

………………..


THIS  IS  THE  LARGEST  SECTION  OF  THE  AUTHOR’S  BOOK  THAT  I  HAVE  TROUBLE  WITH,  AS  I’VE  OBVIOUSLY  SHOWN  IN  MY  COMMENTS.  UP  TO  THIS  POINT  I  HAVE  HAD  LITTLE  TROUBLE  IN  AGREEING  WITH  THE  AUTHOR,  THAT  HE  IS  ON  THE  BUTTON  BY  WHAT  HE  HAS  BEEN  WRITING  ABOUT.


Keith Hunt