Greed in the Pulpit

Late night musings... I've grown increasingly saddened with the greed of so many prominent pastors. They cast a stain upon the gospel with their profits from their unbiblical teachings. Most pastors that I know have chosen to make sacrifices to serve the Lord in ministry. Yet there remain some whose influence and marketing machinery shines so bright that people miss the falsehood in what they say.

Some might say that I'm envious of their wealth. Really, I'm not. The Lord has more than blessed me with the provisions needed for life, and with that I am content. What concerns me is not other people's status, but whether I might displease my Lord. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," and I do not see enough fear of God in pastors today.

When I read accounts from single moms who are barely able to stay afloat financially leaving churches where the extravagant pastor belittles those who don't (or can't) tithe (i.e., give 1/10th of their income to the church), I wonder if Jesus will have anything to say about this on the day of judgment. These pastors are either ignorant of the biblical teaching of tithing (such as the fact that the poor were not required to tithe, not to mention that tithing is a canceled part of the law that has no bearing on those who follow Christ) or they knowingly do not teach these truths to God's people out of fear that it might cause a decline in offerings.

There are many other signs of greed in the pulpit, but my favorite one is this: A megachurch pastor signs a contract with a Christian publishing company. He writes a book (or uses a paid intern as a ghost writer). The pastor's church buys many thousands of copies of the book so it appears on bestseller lists, which generates more fame and money for the pastor and more sales of the book through Christian bookstores. (The church can do this because it keeps the financials away from the flock and in the hands of a chosen few who are selected by the pastor. Those who question this practice are dismissed as unsubmissive troublemakers, even though Scripture is quite clear with regard to the principles of financial accountability.) The pastor's radio or TV ministry then "gives" the book away for those who make a sizable donation to the ministry. The pastor ends up making money twice on the same book! Genius!!

The greed is really a coverup of the real sin. Modern psychologists call it narcissism. The Lord calls it pride.

Greed in the pulpit is not solely in the realm of the megachurch pastor. Pastors of every walk of life must caution themselves against the temptation of interpreting Scripture wrongly for the purpose of increasing offerings. Faithfulness to God's Word is more important than a sizable paycheck.