Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Real shepherds really repent

Recently a large group of Gay Christian church leaders of a certain "brand" (not named for privacy, but it’s a familiar kind of modern Christianity I'm referring to here) invited a number of us here locally to take part in its newest venture. They're attempting to build a new worship community, and offering all the things that normally attract people to church (even to the "unchurch" they say they're making this time).

Funny thing is, despite there being hundreds of spiritually hungry Gay Christians of this "brand" here (just that I know of), these church leaders are failing miserably even to come together amongst themselves, much less to attract other so-called "laity" to their endeavor.

How can that be?

Over the last three decades, these church leaders – counting themselves and each other "apostles", "pastors", "evangelists", "prophets", "worship leaders", and more – have, sometimes together and sometimes by themselves, run dozens of church groups. Most were in some kind of straight ministry for more years or decades before that. So, they more than know how to build and lead religious organizations.

Problem is, they don't know how to live as part of Jesus' church.

Like most of us, these church leaders' spiritual training began early in the legalistic, self-righteous, self-serving God-clubs that call themselves "Bible-based churches".

Like most of us, they absorbed translations of God's Word that twisted His meaning, ignored context, and only lived by certain Scriptures (while claiming to cling to all of it).
And like most of us, they learned how to be "church" and "church leaders" based on this false Christian, only-living-(a sorta)-Jesus-on-the-surface world.

The problem with all that is obvious. Especially for those who want to be church leaders, as they learn to:
  • Continually sing praises to and ask God for His healing,
  • but consume human filth,
  • become spiritually sick,
  • and then go out and convince others to also consume human-filth
  • while praising God and asking for His healing.
People in this kind of muck soon start thinking evil things are "normal" and "biblical". They start finding ways to ignore or justify things like lying, cheating, power-tripping, sleeping around, hurting and killing people, misrepresenting God for their own benefit, failing to speak up for Jesus' real way if it would cost them something, attacking and monitoring others for sin instead of oneself, and more.

And that's what these church leaders have demonstrated in too much of their "ministry" and "churches" in the last decades. And worse, they've yet to repent of any of it, which means that, whatever their intentions today – and it's a good bet that each and every one of them counts themselves as loving, godly Christiansthey are just as dangerous and anti-Christ now as they were before.

Jesus referred to this kind of fake God-living when He said:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one new convert; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. (Matthew 23:15)
This kind of "Christianity" has been mainstream for 1,900 years, starting when the Greek "saints" first began reinventing God's Word so it "made more sense" and was "better" than what Jesus and the first disciples taught. This more-human-and-less-real-Jesus "Christianity" rooted and branched out from there, so that through the centuries and even today all kinds of religious and secular "scholars", both Bible- and tradition-based, have continued to "improve" God's Word and His way so much that it really reeks.

And many of us – especially our leaders – are still up to our eyeballs in it.

But hey, if we've grown up in a vat of muck, we can't help having absorbed it into every pore of our body, right? And we probably can't be blamed for thinking that's the only right way to be a disciple of Jesus, since we've never seen anything else, right?


But if we're going to be a real follower of Jesus, and especially if we're going to claim to be one of His shepherds, we've got to get out of that filthy vat and let the Holy Spirit hose us off in the yard before finding ourselves a hot bath with a lot of real-Jesus soap, somewhere else.  

And that's what these, and too many other church leaders, fail to do.
Instead, like worldly leaders, they press for more limelight, more power, more gain, while refusing more and more accountability and openness. They do this again, and again, and again, all in the Name of the Lord.

That's what makes them not worth following – because that proves them to be false leaders.

Today, it really doesn't matter how much these local or any church leaders want to create a new worship community. It doesn't matter how deeply in their hearts they feel a "call" to do so. Until they clean up and correct the messes they've already made in their own hearts and in the lives of others, they are false prophets and anti-Christs, faking the love and miracles of God without producing the Real Thing.

And they aren't to be followed or heeded by any who love and obey Jesus.

Some will hate them for their falseness. Before God healed my heart now years ago, I certainly held my share of hatred toward false Christian leaders that hurt me growing up. And since false Christian leadership has been one of the biggest causes of personal and world suffering the world has ever know, it's easy to see why they're so easy to hate.

But hating isn't the answer. Not only because as Christians we are forbidden to hate, but also because hating them means denying that God will wants these people in His (REAL) kingdom – if they will only choose to let go of their sins and come.

As for so many things, love (even of those who make themselves our enemy) and prayer (even for those who don't "deserve" it) are the answers here:
  • Love of those who have sinned and need deep repentance – just as so many of us deeply sin in our own ways.
  • Prayer for those who think they have the real Jesus and the real Holy Spirit, but do not – so that they will not be fooled into thinking their "good works" in His name will be enough to get them into heaven.
This week, I'm praying:
  • That false leaders will find their false-humility and selfish vision as repulsive to them as it is to those they've hurt – and to God.
  • That those who've been injured by false teaching will come to recognize how different it is from the real Jesus. 
  • And that those that I've hurt and mislead in my own life will be revealed to me, so that I can also repent of and correct the wrongs that I've committed.
In Jesus' Name – Amen!


  1. For myself, false Christianity has been (and continues to be) a major stumbling block in my own spiritual journey. I know I've looked back on some of my own sins and thought to myself, "Wow, I can't believe I did that, why do I keep doing this?" before going off and doing it all over again. And growing in a country that is ever more embracing this false visage of Jesus has only made the journey even harder for me.

    It's very refreshing to see those leaders in His real church looking first and foremost to themselves in order to correct and repent of their own faults -- may it inspire me and others like me to do the same.

  2. Hi Chris!

    The false way to be for God has always been with us. The Jews 2,000 years ago believed they had it all right and Jesus had it all wrong, for example. They had God Himself standing before them and they lectured and persecuted Him for not understanding God!

    Today we also face false ways of being for God, and you're so right in that this false way is just everywhere now, in our faces, in our minds, and in our hearts, if we aren't careful.

    Another reason it's so vitally important - and required by God as told us in the New Testament - that our leaders be among those who know and stand for the right way, no matter what.

    But Jesus also requires us who do not count ourselves as leaders to sift out what's Him and not really Him, and to go only with Him. It's so easy for us to just hand over what God requires of us to another human being, as if we can get out of being responsible that way. Doesn't work that way!

    So thank God that He is merciful, and knows that we aren't perfect and never will be, and always forgives and welcomes us back when we realize we've gone down a wrong path *again*. He's truly awesome! :)