1 Jn. 2:16
To be a "pastor" of a "church" or an "overseer" on staff at a "church" or denominational (sect) headquarters requires that the man in that unScriptural position and office sublimate some aspect of his spiritual nature in Christ to deception. He must think himself a cut above, especially gifted by God to "minister" to the people, and he is affirmed in those ideas by all the adoration, adulation and emulation he receives each week from all the well meaning people who attend his "church."
When and if such a man exits the "church," it will be very easy for him to underestimate how difficult it is for him to be a real person again after having been a "pastor," especially if he has invested many long years into his notions of "church." Purging that leaven is more work than one would think - and more painful than most can endure. Perhaps what is most overlooked is that all the "church" did was focus on the outward - "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" ( 1 Jn. 2:16; top ) - and the inward transformation into the likeness of Christ was not only abandoned, it was scorned. But the inward way is the real following after Christ and it is this error that is perhaps the hardest for any "church"-ite, especially for the "pastor" as the wrongful head of the "church," to overcome.
There simply could not have been the clergy/"pastor" classification for so many centuries if the deceptions did not reach deep into the depths of the fallen human soul. The demonic chose this particular error as one of their most viable schemes to prevent the purpose of God (to call out from the dark world His own family) from being enacted. Many "pastors," especially in the Western world, surely suffer from "dad issues" with their own fathers or operate as "pastor" according to some childhood vows they made to "be significant" in some way or other - and most are likely to deny there is any problem whatsoever in this area! The people who follow "pastors," too, must surely have issues that need addressed as they desire, even require, their "pastors" to be things no man could ever possibly be. This article is not about finding fault - though many will assume it is - it is about finding solutions and stopping aberrant, spiritually destructive behaviors. It is about overcoming deep, dark schemes against humankind so that we might escape the darkness and shine brightly with the light of our heavenly Father in a perverse and corrupt generation.
There are a host of subtle behaviors that will manifest in an ex-"pastor" that will demonstrate he's not as free of the "church" paradigm as he might think he is. And please, keep in mind these are subtle behaviors brought about by centuries, even millennia of clever deceptions worked on men who have negligently and carelessly stepped into a place reserved for Christ and God alone. Also, many of these are sins that are common to mankind - it is just that the "pastor" error tends to build off of these sins and to cause men susceptible to these sins to gravitate to the "pastoral" office.
These things run deep and are practiced quietly by men of honorable intentions and sincere (if mistaken) love for God (at least their own idea of God). This list is provided, not so that we can condemn the man but so that we can aid in his liberation from these schemes of the devil designed to ensnare his soul and to stumble those who would listen to his words. Also, let it be noted that no two "pastors" are exactly alike in these traits, some having more in one area and less in another, and some may actually have overcome one or a few of these traits but possess the others in observable measure - that is, they are observable if you can actually get close enough to the man to see through the nearly impenetrable mask they keep securely in place for all to see. Don't be surprised if you are unable to see through their mask easily.
- The "pastor" is outwardly perfect, has no flaws, no weakness - but refuses to examine his own inward mess of conflicting contradictions. The "pastor" is invincible and impervious to deception until someone questions or challenges him. So he remains standoffishly distant so that no one will find out the truth - which he knows all too well but still must keep up the outward appearance of spiritual perfection and that "aura of infallibility." That is, they outwardly profess "I've not arrived yet" but they also want you to be sure to come back next week to hear how he knows that of which he speaks. In truth, the leftover "church" "pastor" may be the most dangerous man to any assembly or gathering because he has extensive knowledge of the Bible but he is not as submitted to the Spirit and will of the Lord as he presumes himself to be.
- If someone is sinned against, there will be a conference among clergy (or those deemed as superior specimens of "spirituality") but there will be no direct confession made to the one sinned against. Damage control - touting "credentials," "shooting" the messenger, etc. - are as useful out of the "church" as they were in.
- Conversations with the "pastor" have definite up and down direction, feel and orientation - a conversation between equals, especially man to man, is offensive to many a "pastor." The "pastor" will have a "Sit at my feet" mentality engrained into him and will see any other person with greater insight than himself as an affront and challenge to his insecure place as "top dog" and "pack leader," neither of which can be found in the New Testament except by other names by which they are condemned!
- "Pastors" often work for God - the people expect them to do all the work and the work just must get done (at least in their own opinion) so God must expect them to do it too. Almost foreign to them is the notion that God ought to be working through them - though those who know this truth will be careful to say God is working through all that zeal and energy they bring to their work for the Lord.
- Anyone who speaks straight up and straightforwardly is considered rough and ill-mannered (almost all young prophets experience this) and they are told their message needs to be "tempered." In the "church" that translates into "They need to tone down their message so the best-paying customers aren't chased off." One "church" "pastor" even told a young man speaking the truth about the tithe in the New Testament (that it can't be found), "You need to be here a lot longer than this to preach messages like that!" Sure, stay under the "pastor" long enough and you won't be able to even hear, let alone preach the true word of the Lord any more! But out of the "church," when a leftover "pastors" speaks of "tempered" messages it really means "Tone it down and tolerate the sins of others because you're pointing out stuff I've not dealt with in my own life." Sometimes, when it comes to the "pastor's" messages, one wonders which meaning of "temper" one should use to describe his rantings!
- The "pastor" must be in control of that which he perceives as his. Gifts cannot be freely given but recipients must be involved in "pastor"-"approved" activities that accomplish purposes the "pastor" can agree with and exercise some form of control over. Giving is a matter of "handouts" not "hand ups." Small pittances go to "jobless, lazy beggars" (in the "pastor's" opinion, that is). "Get a job" or "Get a better job" is considered wise counsel under all conditions. The "pastor" simply cannot extend a helping hand that could accomplish some true work of God because "the Lord's work," which is a cleverly distorted thing in itself (see below) is not something a poor or needy person could possibly do - if he needed the "pastor's" help, it couldn't possibly be "the work of the Lord" (as the "pastor" defines that specialized term). Only "pastors" can do "the Lord's work" - even when this is not believed, it is presumed that no one could do "the Lord's work" as well as the "pastor" can. The "pastor" will probably always give something (but not what the Lord wants given or what the situation requires) just so he can look like the "good guy" and the other guy look like an ungrateful piece of trash. This is the ugly version of this perversion - many "pastors" do not participate fully or even at all in this aspect. Note well those who do.
- "The Lord's work" (as it is defined and practiced by the "pastor," that is) is something separated in their thinking from their life. That is, it is a separate compartment with different rules and agendas and it is not simply a part of the river of living water that flows from the innermost being. "Ministry" is something one does to perfect strangers and it is not the simple overflow of one's life with God to one's spouse, one's children and one's neighbors and acquaintances. "Pastors" in the "church" can often spend more time on people they don't know than on their own children and family - leftover "pastors" still give higher priority to others than to those closest to them.
- In the "pastor's" life there are literally two streams of power - the power of God that leads to salvation and the power of the demonic that leads to error and death - and the result is often what can only be called a "spiritual schizophrenia." The man is peaceful and serene when he believes himself in the public eye - but he becomes strongly angry or impatient or sarcastic or rude in his unguarded moments. Some "pastors" ridicule the idea of the demonic or mislabel what truly is the demonic so as to dismiss and avoid the real work of the demonic, a work which includes themselves.
- The "pastor" keeps his opinions about you to himself. Though he may judge you as the worst idiot on earth, he will continue to speak to you about the things of the Lord. That is, until you begin to disagree with him and point out his hidden flaws or stop attending his "church" or meetings.
- The "pastor" will also profess to love you but this too is only so long as you agree with him or attend his meetings. The leftover "church" "pastor" (unlike the true shepherd of the Lord's flocks) won't really lay down his life to the Lord for your sake. The "pastor" loves to feel like he's in control and he will often display more love for his personal treasures, toys and gadgets - in truth, he simply does not love the people. His hypocrisy in claiming to love is denied by his stuff that he hoards and collects and is common across denominational lines and in every form of "church" - institutional, mega, house "church" or any combination thereof.
- The "pastor" doesn't really love the word of God (he loves the words but not God's intent) and he doesn't really love people (though he strives toward a better humanity!). He loves his own ideas of what he thinks God is and what he thinks God is about and he loves to feel like he's doing something good. But he doesn't examine himself or these things closely enough to see whether or not he's actually doing these things in spirit and truth or in flesh or soul and in error.
This list is by no means exhaustive. But any man who has made his exodus from the "church" who once held any kind of "pastor's" position but who cannot recognize that he clearly does these kinds of things is doubly dangerous. He has failed to see what it was he fled from and he is an open vessel for further works of our demonic enemies. Such a man who cannot admit to the presence of these things (when they are patently obvious to others with adequately developed spiritual maturity and discernment) is in no position to lead anyone anywhere. He needs to sit down at the Master's feet and unlearn the ways of his religious flesh, relearn some corrupted things, learn some new things and simply wait for the Lord's leading and direction. Those who attend meetings or who interact with an ex-"pastor" who stubbornly refuses to step down from his self-exalted position and spend time at the Lord's feet should run and not walk to the nearest exit.
Let he who has ears hear.
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