Far too many professing Christians are just as mean and nasty as any unchurched person you will ever find--maybe more so. A sizeable portion of our professing Christians today are gossiping, slandering, backbiting, nosy, meddlesome, temperamental, mean-spirited, authority-hating, self-absorbed, whining little babies. They walk around with a chip on their shoulder just daring anyone to knock it off. If given the opportunity by gullible followers, they will destroy any church and any pastor they can.
Truly, the words of Saint Jude apply to huge numbers of professing Christians today: “Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.” (Jude 1:8, 10 KJV)
As a veteran pastor of over four decades of ministry, I have both seen and tasted the bitter caldron that these “Christians” have poured upon unsuspecting souls--all in the name of God, of course. I will take an educated guess and suggest that somewhere between one-fifth and one-fourth of all of the churches in America are splits off of an existing church because of the bitterness and discontent of a few troublemakers within the church. The damage done to pastors’ families by these vultures is incalculable.
I know a pastor and his family that lived in a church parsonage (pity the pastor’s family that is forced to live in a church parsonage) who, upon returning from vacation, found all of their furniture and belongings on the front lawn and new locks on the doors. I know pastors who have been falsely accused of all manner of impropriety by hateful, vicious church members. Pastors’ wives have been held up to the most vile and venomous attacks imaginable. I personally know of dozens of preachers’ kids that refuse to attend anybody’s church today because of the abuse they saw their parents go through at the hands of these “good Christians.”
And it seems the more dedicated a pastor is to truth, the more vicious are the attacks against him. The panty-waist, ear-tickling, stand-for-nothing pastors have the largest and most devoted followings. But put a real prophet in the pulpit, and in no time there will be a “Creek uprising” against him. In fact, many of these bigger corporate churches are comprised of church wolves who, after devouring a good patriot pastor across town, will flee to the wolf’s lair of the corporate church--under the safety of the corporate pastor--along with other wolves.
Of course, these carnal Corinthian Christians prey on the spiritually immature and gullible within the church. They put on the mask of piety, spirituality, and “love.” But the goal is to undermine the pastor’s work and hopefully (in their minds) drive the pastor out. They have the façade of an angel, but in reality, they are the instruments of Satan to divide and spoil the church. “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
Do you want to know why so many good pastors don’t seem to have the energy to engage the freedom fight? I’ll tell you why. Most of them are up to their armpits in discontent and disruption. It’s very hard to be a shepherd and watchman when you find yourself being forced to be a cross between a spiritual firefighter and babysitter. Most pastors spend the vast majority of their workweek putting out church fires that are started by spiritual arsonists and changing the spiritual diapers of spoiled, bratty Christians. It is the most exhausting work on the face of the earth. Help lead the charge for freedom? Are you kidding? It’s all these pastors can do to lead a peaceful church business meeting.
When we talk about the Black Regiment pastors of Colonial America, remember that those pastors had the dedicated, unflinching, dynamic support of their congregations. Those people loved their pastor; heeded his spiritual counsel; prayed for him; encouraged him; stood beside him; supported him and his family; and treated him and his family with tender loving care. When a pastor is loved and supported in such a way, he is free to courageously stand as a watchman and shepherd over the souls of men and over the liberties of his community. Take that away, and the pastor is reduced to a state of sheer self-preservation. It’s hard to lead an army from a cave.
There is no question that we need a revolution of liberty in this country. But like it or not, there will NEVER be any kind of lawful, lasting revival of liberty without the approbation of Heaven--and without the instruction, inspiration, and leadership of God’s men. The unchurched patriots reading this can scoff at what I am saying all they want: it doesn’t change the truth. Without men such as John Leland, John Witherspoon, Jonas Clark, Joab Houghton, James Caldwell, et al., there would never have been men such as George Washington, Patrick Henry, Sam Adams, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson, et al. And without the faithful and dedicated men and women within the churches of those Black Regiment preachers, there would never have been a Black Regiment to begin with.
Angry, self-willed, rebellious, hate-filled Christians are not only a curse to their pastor and church; they are a curse to liberty itself. They are doing the devil’s work of subverting the work of God (including the work of liberty) within the church and, therefore, within the community and country. Sitting home and sending out a barrage of hate-filled emails is doing NOTHING to restore liberty. Hate will NEVER win hearts and minds. And that’s what’s happening: we are losing the war for the hearts and minds. And one of the biggest reasons we are losing this war is because we have supplanted and destroyed the one position that is most necessary to winning the war for the hearts and minds: the courageous and inspired patriot pulpit.
The congregations of Jonas Clark and John Leland did not agree on everything no more than Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson agreed on everything. But they understood the Natural and Biblical principles of liberty enough to be able to fight together for the cause of freedom and independence. Before they ever won a War of Independence, they won the hearts and minds of the colonists with the love and understanding of liberty and Law.
Without the undergirding principles of Law and love, there can be no RIGHTEOUS indignation. Hatred and bitterness against evil is meaningless without love and affection for righteousness. And if Christian people are filled with hatred and bitterness against the most fundamental spiritual principles of truth and honor within the church (and tons of them are), how in the name of common sense can we expect the world around us to successfully engage in something as complex as political liberty within a nation? Without the undergirding principles of Law and love, there can be no approbation of Heaven. And without the approbation of Heaven, there can be no lasting liberty.
Before we will ever have a revival of genuine liberty within our nation, we must have a revival of genuine spirituality within our churches. And that will not happen until churches get really serious about learning and applying the immutable principles of Law within their own hearts. And that includes the Law of God relative to the way Christian people treat their pastors and one another. In the church, there is plenty of room for disagreement, but no room for division.
What is missing from the hearts and minds of so many professing patriots (Christians and otherwise) is old-fashioned humility. We refuse to hold ourselves accountable. We refuse to be taught. We know it all. We are never wrong. And if we are, we would never admit it. We refuse to submit to lawful authority. Bullheaded, stubborn, self-righteous people are totally unqualified to fight a freedom fight. They don’t even understand the meaning of the word freedom, much less understand how to wage a righteous, disciplined, and honorable fight to preserve or reclaim it.
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8 KJV)
And as far as our civil magistrates are concerned, here is God’s standard: “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” (II Samuel 23:3 KJV)
Unfortunately, there is very little humility or fear of God being demonstrated in the lives of most civil magistrates or citizens--including Christians. Perhaps the last serious--and truly humble--candidate for President of the United States was Congressman Ron Paul. But he was ultimately rejected by proud, war-thirsty Christians within the Republican Party. Sadly, most proud people are not even capable of recognizing true humility when they see it. It is so foreign to them; they don’t even know what it looks like.
“Judgment must begin at the house of God.” How are we going to fix the White House if we cannot even fix the church house?