Pompous Coveters and the Scum of the World

        The majority of churches and ministry organizations are profit based. It is never called that, of course, but facts are facts.

         The IRS as authorized by Congress has allowed for this through 501c3’s by requiring churches and ministry organizations to possess this designation so donations can be tax deductable.

         As a result, church members and those who donate to ministries are now conditioned to expect the benefit of a tax deduction for their donations, and three very bad things, intended or not, have resulted:

(1) Donators will not give if they don’t get a tax deduction.

(2) Donators perceive ministries and churches that do not offer tax deductions as illegitimate.

(3) Government, including the IRS, has become intricately entwined within one’s charitable giving with full records of all transactions.

         And because of all this, churches and ministries become quasi government-sponsored entities with government issued charters and many requirements that must be met to be compliant, including all the legal ramifications inherent in such enterprises.

         Imagine the Lord Jesus jumping through all these hoops for the right to attend to His ministry. Imagine the early Church going through all this. In reality, early Christian communities were almost all illicit (unlicensed) according to Roman Law and state dictates, and had no official organizations that are required today.

         Maybe that’s why the Lord Jesus and the early Church never built church buildings or ministry centers, or became entangled in government regulations, and kept ministry lean and quick and transportable and FAST. They traveled LIGHT! 

         The really bad thing about current conditions is that the majority of Christians want it this way. Those who run such organizations demand it be this way. Power and fear of bucking the government have gone to their heads. Some of these Christian leaders are downright vile and disgusting in their attacks on fellow Christians and New Testament formats, and will have a special place at the judgment.

         But the bottom line is MONEY. Since most churches and ministry organizations are “for profit,” though classified by the government as “non-profit,” they are still run almost exactly as any business. But instead of providing a service or commodity in return for money or profit, they provide a service in return for donations. In other words, the money is not earned, but is given.

         However, regardless of semantic gymnastics, the donations still consist of money and are thus, profit.

         And there’s a LOT of profit. And many of the leaders of these organizations have become enriched. And they employ in some cases hundreds of people. And these people look at their ministry positions as jobs the same way everyone else does theirs.

         The worst offenders are probably some television ministries simply because they require gargantuan amounts of money to function. Hence, they see no problem having telethons and other ridiculous money-making operations to gather funds. According to their view, their ministries are obviously much more important than most ministries and churches, and they have no problem whatsoever prostituting themselves for money. Their arrogance is off the scale.

         “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” [Acts 20:33-35]

         Since it is more blessed to give, and if giving is the means of receiving, then why don’t all the preachers begging people for money (“You’ll be blessed!”) simply start GIVING money so they can be blessed?   

         I know it’s a bummer, but individuals can’t have telethons. They have to go to work to earn a buck. Smaller churches and ministries can’t go on television or the radio and beg for money either.

         But the big boys can hire, and I do mean hire, professional ministry shysters that specialize in getting people to fork over their money.

         Therefore, another form of replacement theology has transpired: The Lord Jesus is not King. Money is King. And I think the Lord said something about not being able to serve both.

         Here’s an idea: Instead of making it the priority to invest in lands and buildings and mega-church complexes and ministers living like kings or at least living comfortably on donated money that only they get to have while everyone else must slave away, why don’t we do what the Lord did and invest in people.

         We hear it all the time that a single human being, from a Christian point of view, is more important than the entire Universe. The Lord did not die for Christian mini-kingdoms and self-righteous fiefdoms and the few who sit atop the many man-made pyramids and the shoulders of others.

         He died for people. All people. His Blood can cleanse anyone of sin.

        People are the priority.

         But the people are not getting the money. The majority of the money is going elsewhere. Much of it is wasted.

         It’s all fine and good to have facilities to help meet the spiritual needs of people, but humanity lives on the ground. We have house payments and rent payments and car payments and utility payments and we have to buy food.

         So we go to church. Great. But what good does a prayer do at church if it is not followed up by helping people where they live?

         “Well, I’m sorry. But we have only so much money to go around. And we certainly can’t be just giving money to people to help them out.”

         Really? Well, where do you get your money from Mr. or Mrs. Church or Ministry Leader?

         Freely you received, freely give. [Matthew 10:8]

         Speaking of which, many ministers do exactly that. I have a friend who was an official church pastor for many years and he also had a fulltime job. If that’s not giving what is? The vast majority of those working with the Lord Jesus in the world today look nothing whatsoever like what we have come to see as official Christian ministers. Some of these require donations. And for all ministers who the Lord has blessed with donations, there is not a problem, but I would think that every single one would show the proper humility and gratitude instead of projecting an arrogant, superior-minded entitlement attitude, as some do.

         Some ministers will demand your money and take a chunk of it for themselves but can’t see helping someone else out in the same way. What this means is that in their mind only a few select chosen ones are worthy of handouts, I mean, donations.

         For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. [1 Corinthians 1:26-29]

         If anyone cares for a little truth, there is no Levitical Priesthood in the community of the Lord. The Lord never invented a clergy class. The Word of God declares that we are a kingdom of priests, in that EVERY real Christian is a priest and the Lord Jesus is the only High Priest.

         Part of the lack of this truth stems from poor Bible translations. For example, the KJV translators (400 years ago) made a critical error when they wrote the following two verses:

         And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. [Revelation 1:6]

         And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. [Revelation 5:10]         

         The actual Word of God never said we are kings and priests.

         IN THE LORD’S KINGDOM, THERE IS ONLY ONE KING!

         This translation error has been corrected by some Bible versions but much damage has already been done and traditions die very, very hard.

         The real and correct translation, in this instance according to the NASV95, is as follows:

         And He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. [Revelation 1:6]

         “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” [Revelation 5:10]

         So again, we are a kingdom of priests.

         The following passage from Peter, which includes clear OT references, corroborates this truth:

         But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. [1 Peter 2:9-10]

         And furthermore, the brilliantly sarcastic tone of none other than the apostle Paul is illustrated in the following passage regarding those who are unclear on the concept and wouldn’t know true humility if it smacked ‘em in the face:

         For who regards you as superior?

         What do you have that you did not receive?

         And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

         You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you.

         For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.

         We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ;

         We are weak, but you are strong;

         You are distinguished, but we are without honor.

         To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty,

         And are poorly clothed,

         And are roughly treated,

         And are homeless;

         And we toil, working with our own hands;

         When we are reviled, we bless;

         When we are persecuted, we endure;

         When we are slandered, we try to conciliate;

         We have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.

         I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.

         Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. [1 Corinthians 4:7-16] [1]   

         Maybe if the guy on the stage appeared a little more like the apostle Paul, the people in the congregation could appear a little more like the guy on the stage.

         Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we may appear unapproved. For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth. For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete. [2 Corinthians 13:7-9]     

         © 2013 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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Posted on August 5, 2013, in Real Christianity and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. This blog post went on quite the anti-televangelist rant! 🙂 lol. I appreciate the thoroughness of your perspective. Honestly, it has given me some wonderful food for thought! Thank you!

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  2. Strong words RJ. We will do well to consider them and weigh them in the scales of Scripture. I’ve a strong feeling that somewhere not too far down the road we’re going to find out where our loyalties lie as the day soon approaches when to keep tax deductions some will have to choose between truth and compromise. As I heard on the radio today, we should spend/much time in prayer now that God will give us strength and conviction to stand for His Word no matter what lies ahead. Real Christianity (cool) may soon be back in style… or out. Thanks for your courage to say what we need to hear good friend. Blessings.

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    • Thanks Mike, for what might be called a “weighty” comment. And we certainly have some heavy times coming up. But on the flip side, the future is bright. The community of the Lord will continue to grow and mature, and part of that growth and maturity will involve some difficult but very necessary decisions in order to adapt to “what lies ahead.”

      It was God who invented the process so clearly illustrated in Scripture of going through seemingly ever-smaller portals and more restrictive corridors in order to advance, which require greater spiritual strength and ability, which can only come by the power of His Holy Spirit.

      But it is certainly never close to being impossible to achieving our objective or fulfilling our mission as long as we do what the Lord said, stay in close contact, and continue to follow Him. In fact, as you well know, it actually gets easier the stronger the Lord is in our life, and more fulfilling.

      Onward.

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  3. AMEN! Great post RJ! And I especially liked… “So we go to church. Great. But what good does a prayer do at church if it is not followed up by helping people where they live?”

    Although I am attending a church [now] that really does practice what it preaches [community & the people therein], it has been a long time coming. Oh sure, there have been many who have called themselves a “community church” & said they “L-o-v-e” the community & have a burden for the people in it, yet fail to venture out passed their four walls into it to assess even one’s need.
    I have often thought, “If we as a church have this and that and we say we have love, but no one around us knows it, do we?” Or, even if I give it all away and I do it all without love [or from the heart], where is the profit? [1 Corinthians 13] As I’d looked around the sanctuary and didn’t see there who I should or who could be, I felt that remaining where I was… was wrong. I know where I am so shouldn’t I help those who are lost?

    THANK YOU RJ once again for a GREAT READ! GOD BLESS!!!

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    • Thank you, Julie. As you know, there is a difference between “church” and “community of believers.” A community is just that—a common unity of real believers who obey the Lord and care for one another. “Church” is often just a grouping together of non-relational people in the same location—almost always an institutional building. Some are both, but the Biblical model is clear. The early believers met primarily in homes, and loved and served the greater community around them.

      Be blessed!

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  4. I am screaming “Oh yeah!” Love your soap box RJ. God Bless you…

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  5. Wow, I loved that article. Man this site really “tells it like it is”
    Thank you so much, totally non compromising!

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  6. Hi RJ. If the coming national and global economic meltdown happens soon, things will change drastically within the “Body of Christ.” At that point, the church that we read about in the book of Acts will return. The church in Acts is the one that “healed the sick, raised the dead, cleansed the lepers and cast out demons” (Matthew 10:8). I long for that church to be “raised.” It has been sorely missed, at least in North America.

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    • Thanks for reading and for your comment, Scott. Whether or not we have an economic meltdown, the Great Awakening will continue taking place. Of course, such an economic event could be a catalyst of sorts. The Lord has been preparing His people in North America for a few decades now for what He wants to bring and for what His people have been praying for, but the enemy has also been getting ready.

      For example, the same way the devil worked through Herod in the killing of the innocents as a way to kill the Lord, he has been working through abortion in wiping out roughly one third of the American population in the last forty years. That’s staggering. One wonders how many believers would have come out of that group for such a time as this. So it could be the enemy’s plan to continuing destroying the economy in an attempt to stop the Lord’s people.

      But it won’t work. It never does as long as believers stay close to the Lord. Persecution of any and all kinds only serves to make the Lord’s community stronger and more numerous. Sadly, most of the persecution has come at the hands of “Christians” who refuse the Lord’s new movements and wineskins. As you see persecution growing stronger here, know that great spiritual things are happening and coming forth.

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