1. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, better known in theology as “lordship salvation,” is not popularly accepted by American evangelical and Pentecostal denominations. Instead it is a watered down easy-believism with a hint of antinomianism. Any pastor who tries to preach at length on the subjects of Hell, repentance, the cross, the Holy Spirit, and obedience to New Testament commandments, is probably going to be persecuted by church leaders instead of encouraged by them.
2. Prophecy, healing, and deliverance are looked on with skepticism by church leaders. Rather than encouraging such experiences, they do their best to keep people from falling into such fanaticism. These gifts and ministries are so abused, they say, that it is not worth risking public embarrassment or damaging someone’s life over it. So, it is avoided because they fear these things. Not only that, but there seems to be a lack of genuine knowledge or information about how these miraculous gifts are used, because of the gross negligence of the subject by pastors due to these fears. 1 Corinthians 14 and James 5:14-15 are relegated to the pages of historical theology, to the study of movements like the faith cure movement or the Azusa Street Revival–to “back in the day” when those things used to happen. But they can happen today if we had more risk-taking pastors who didn’t fear the repercussions of opening their churches up to these ministries. All they would have to do, is let people in their churches hear from God and share what they heard, pray for healings, discern evil spirits, and pray for their expulsion. This last one, casting out demons, being considered as the most odious, improper, and ill-mannered of such ministries.
3. Anti-theological attitudes seem to prevail with pastors, even with those who went to seminary a long time ago, or recently. They looked on their theology, their seminary courses, as a chore. They hated theology and in-depth Bible study. And whenever you have a guy like that, a theological nut, come into your church: and by golly, he wants to TALK ABOUT JESUS, well, the pastor tends to ignore him and shun him. Maybe he’ll cool off eventually, they think. But they never do, because the Holy Spirit makes him keep thinking about these things; and the very man who is supposed to be his buddy in such matters–the pastor–never comes up to the plate and fulfills that task. He’s too busy thinking about sports, or church administration, or his family like everyone else.
4. Anti-evangelistic attitudes are also prevalent with pastors. These same pastors that hate theology, and hate talking one-on-one with parishioners about God, the Bible, and Jesus, also despise the idea of doing evangelism activities, like going to the town square and doing street preaching, or open-air meetings. They hate the idea of preparing care packs and handing them out to homeless bums on the street. They hate food pantries. They hate homeless ministries. They hate really anything to do with evangelism, because they hate the Gospel, they hate theology, and really actually hate people.
5. Profanity is becoming more popular with American pastors. I’ve noticed this in the past year or so. When I gave my life to Jesus in 1999, thankfully I had a friend who asked me not to cuss when I was around him; and this had a huge impact on me. Colossians 3:8: “Now you must also rid yourselves of…filthy language from your lips.” But I’ve heard some youth pastors and others use the d-word in the pulpit, “what the h-word” in the pulpit, and another say, “There’s nothing wrong with cussing. Words in the apostle Paul’s time were not the same as words in our time.” With relativism, it was argued, that words change their meaning over time, so Scripture can’t really condemn the f-word, the s-word, the d-word, and the a-word, because it never condemns them specifically. But yes it does! If it’s considered “filthy language” today, it would plainly fall under the category of Colossians 3:8, Ephesians 5:4, and Matthew 12:36. Today, you can’t tell the difference between some of these younger pastors, in relaxed contexts, and a cussin’ soldier.
6. Arrogant, cocky authoritarianism. This problem goes all the way back to the Puritan movement, the reformation, and the time of Jesus. This has always been the most obvious characteristic of the Pharisees. If the other points I mentioned don’t appear to be obvious, then sooner or later, if you get involved in any church ministries; and you are in communication with a pastor or second-level church leader, I promise that you will encounter these spirits of control and pride operating in him or her eventually. If he has already demonstrated a hate for the true Gospel, charismatic ministry, theological conversations, evangelism, and people who don’t cuss–then why should we be surprised if he’s also a total jerk? Melanchthon’s Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Pt 19, says:
The cruelty of the bishops is the reason why the canonical government, which we greatly desired to maintain, is in some places dissolved. Let them see to it how they will give an account to God for dispersing the church. In this matter our consciences are not in danger, because since we know that our confession is true, godly, and catholic, we ought not to approve the cruelty of those who persecute this doctrine. And we know that the church is among those who teach the Word of God aright.
So, when people ask me, “John, how come you’re not in the ministry?” I would like to answer them, “I’ve tried many times; and in many different churches. I have seen these problems in every one, with every pastor. It is hard to preach the Gospel, it is impossible to do charismatic ministry, it is impossible to make theological buddies of and talk about the Bible with pastors, rarely will you find a Ray Comfort pastor that likes open air preaching, many pastors cuss and watch uncensored movies with profanity and partial nudity, and most of the time pastors are arrogant, bossy jerks. So, why do you ask me, how come I’m not in the ministry right now? Can you really blame me?”