Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Breaking God's Standards

As an assistant pastor, and one aspiring to full-time ministry in the future, I watch older ministers. I try to learn from them, I ask them advice, I look and try and see what they're doing right that I should strive for and what they're doing wrong that I should avoid.

I'm sure many of you are hearing about Pastor Michael Guglielmucci, the Australian minister who claimed to have cancer, wrote the hit song "Healer" (which appeared on Hillsong's latest album), and has now been discovered to be a fraud. Pastor Guglielmucci doesn't have cancer, he is not terminally ill, or anything of the sort. For whatever reason Pastor Guglielmucci decided to lie to his family, congregation, and essentially the world.

The Australian reports that Guglielmucci's credentials have been suspended, awaiting the complete results of certain medical tests (the full article can be accessed here: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24216087-5006787,00.html)

Guglielmucci's family, friends, and congregation are in my thoughts and prayers right now. But there's a larger issue that needs to be addressed here. If we look at Titus 1:7-9 we find some qualifications for overseers:

"Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless–not overbearing, not quick‑tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.
Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self‑controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it."


Clearly Guglielmucci's actions violate this standard. I've heard pastors say "we're humans too, we make mistakes..." and I understand that. But as pastors; people whose actions either advance or damage the reputation of the Gospel, people appointed by God to leadership in the Body of Christ; there's a higher standard. God does demand more of pastors, teachers, evangelists, apostles, and prophets (basically, all who are called to leadership in the Church).

The philosophy that says "we all sin every day" is a lie; it's a cheap excuse that lessens the power and message of the Gospel. Christ gives us the victory over sin, sin has lost its power and death has lost its sting (see I Corinthians 15:54-58). Any pastor who teaches we can't live above sin is denying the power of Christ's sacrifice and resurrection.

I'm not saying we won't make mistakes; but the tolerance of sin as an everyday and common occurance inside the Church, especially inside the pulpit, indicates an atrocious philosophy being taught and lived in today's Church. We do have an answer to the problem of sin, and it's not like we don't know what it is!

Maybe our pastors don't know what the answer is, but allow me to quote the great Southern Gospel singer Joel Hemphill in explaining:

I claim the Blood Jesus shed on Calvary, those precious Blood stains were made there just for me. For all my sins, my sickness, and my pain, when I need healing I claim those precious blood stains".

As a Christian everything I do reflects on the reputation of the Gospel. It will either reflect poorly, or it will reflect well; but it will reflect. Don't you think skeptics watch and consider whether we're actually living what we preach? Listen, we can know every apologetic argument, evidence supporting our faith, and theological ism; but it doesn't mean much unless it reflects in our lives. I don't believe in having a theology that's just a paper tiger.

All of us will do well to consider how our lives reflect on the Gospel. Especially those of us in leadership in the Church. Today's Church faces enough problems, we don't need to add to that list.

God bless!
Joey

PS- While Guglielmucci himself lied about his condition, I listened to the song "Healer" and it is theologically sound; so regardless of the imperfect author the song itself is good.

7 Comments:

Blogger Lee said...

For whatever reason Pastor Guglielmucci decided to lie to his family, congregation, and essentially the world.

Well, if he now cannot make it as a pastor – he could always turn his hand to politics :)

Lee

Fri Aug 22, 05:29:00 PM 2008  
Blogger sweetswede said...

Well, if he now cannot make it as a pastor – he could always turn his hand to politics :)

Lee


ROFL!

It's an election year too...

Fri Aug 22, 07:52:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Lee said...

Only in America would they want the elections to last all year.

A month is long enough for me – aren’t you bored of it already?

Lee

Fri Aug 22, 10:24:00 PM 2008  
Blogger sweetswede said...

Only in America would they want the elections to last all year.

A month is long enough for me – aren’t you bored of it already?

Lee


All year? More like 2 years, in high school I was answering extemp questions about the present presidential election (that would be like February and March of 2007).

I'm not really bored, I'm a political freak. I woke up to a text message at 3:00AM this morning so I could see who Barack Obama picked as his Vice-Presidential running mate (and I don't even support Obama).

In one of my extemporaneous speeches I addressed the topic of the length of the upcoming election; and I said one of two things would happen:
1. People who love politics, like me, will become enthralled with the whole thing
2. The majority of the country will just ignore it/get bored by it until the very end.

Pretty much what happened.

I must ask if we agree politically though? I guess in Australia I'd lean towards being a liberal.

God bless!
Joey

Sat Aug 23, 05:39:00 AM 2008  
Blogger Lee said...

All year? More like 2 years

Yeah, I wasn't counting the 12 months to pick the person to run in the main election race - Oops.

How much money was wasted to pick Obama? Why couldn't they just agree to work together?

I must ask if we agree politically though? I guess in Australia I'd lean towards being a liberal.

I'm not an Aussie (yet) so cannot vote over here - the last time I did vote was in the UK and it was for the lib dems if that helps.

I don't 'follow' any one party since I rarely agree 100% with any one party.

Not really thought about my politicall opinions though - I just vote for who I think is right for my town and country.

Lee

Sun Aug 24, 06:13:00 PM 2008  
Blogger sweetswede said...

Yeah, I wasn't counting the 12 months to pick the person to run in the main election race - Oops.

How much money was wasted to pick Obama? Why couldn't they just agree to work together?


I think close to 100 million American dollars (for both Hillary Clinton and Obama); that doesn't even account for the Republican side. The Save Darfur Coalition has a bi-yearly budget of $450,000 (actually that may be the budget for the entire year). Needless to say, I didn't donate to any political campaigns, though Save Darfur saw a few dollars from me.

I'm not an Aussie (yet) so cannot vote over here - the last time I did vote was in the UK and it was for the lib dems if that helps.

I don't 'follow' any one party since I rarely agree 100% with any one party.

Not really thought about my politicall opinions though - I just vote for who I think is right for my town and country.

Lee


Oh my gosh, I actually agree with you in regards to not "following" one party. I did register with a specific party but I'm certainly not voting that way this year (or in the foreseeable future).

I'll be looking up the lib dems... doesn't mean a whole lot to me.

God bless!
Joey

Sun Aug 24, 06:30:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Lee said...

I'll be looking up the lib dems... doesn't mean a whole lot to me.

They are the '3rd party' in the UK - since they have next to no chance of getting into power they can promote ideas that seem good, but probably not practical in real terms.

I mainly voted for them with the idea of keeping the other 2 parties on their toes and hope they (the main parties) would pick up on some of the good ideas the Lib Dems promoted.

More importantly – being the 3rd party, their main policy was to change the voting system in the UK which I dislike since it means a party with 40% of the vote can have 60% of the MP’s in parliament.

The Lib Dems would replace this with proportional representation – everyone’s vote counts...

As I mentioned, I cannot vote in Australia and so have not been following politics that closely over here. I think Rudd (our Prime Minister) is a bit of a wet lettuce and only said what the people wanted to hear... typical politician really.

Lee

Tue Aug 26, 07:27:00 PM 2008  

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