What qualifies you or anyone who believes they have a call to the Ministry of the Gospel? Or what qualifies a person to preach? Or what qualifies someone to be a spiritual leader? Or what qualifies anyone to become a member of the professional clergy? Do we in fact have churches across America with pulpits full of Biblically unqualified people? I maintain we do and I want to blow the whistle of the Holy Ghost. It’s time we begin to examine from a Biblical and not a traditional or denominational angle who is or is not qualified to be in spiritual leadership in our churches. Everything I say in this series will be direct from the word of God. None of it is my opinion. I have had to examine myself. I submit we are all qualified to share the light of Jesus in our lives with others but we are not all qualified to be placed in positions of spiritual leadership over fellowships, denominations, or churches.
Early in church history there were efforts made to “Certify” that some people were qualified and some were not. Paul the Apostle himself dealt with people in ministry that taught things he did not agree with. You can read all about it in 2 Corinthians 11. He called them “so called apostles”. It was an argument Paul was having over qualifications for leading others. Then there was the Church in Galatia. Some people, probably with genuine intent at doing what they believed was good and even scriptural, had come to the Galatian church and taught all forms of bondage. Paul was hard on the Galatians. He in essence said, “Who messed with you, how in the world could you believe THAT”?
Even in the very early church the description of how, when and what should be done in the church with Gentile believers. There was not a platform of agreement. They fought like cats and dogs. There was a showdown. They worked it out but it didn’t disqualify people for disagreeing.
So, does disagreement theologically mean that one person is qualified and another is not? I don’t see early Church people “Excommunicated” for having disagreement about theological issues. Yet in the human created world of the church of today particularly in America we have a platform of compromises watered down to the lowest common denominator of theology we all agree to agree on more or less that allows one person to be “Certified” and another not to be. The tenets of the denomination become a false Idol that must be bowed to or you are set aside. This dear reader is not the way it was in the Church of the first couple hundred years after Jesus. It isn’t the way Jesus wanted it. We have made a mess of things by maintaining artificial boundaries around church leadership in America with insipid detailed disagreements regarding nothing at all. Majoring on minors while the world goes to hell.
So, what QUALIFIES or DISQUALIFIES anyone for being called in the service of Jesus in particular in an official even in the role of Clergy? Are there people leading churches, in ministry, accepted, who are Biblically unqualified to lead? How do you know? What do you do if you are in a church or lead a church without qualifications?
About this issue the word of God is NOT silent. There are plenty of instructions to Christians about who is or is not qualified for ministry and more important the ministry of the clergy:
1. They must be born again, saved, redeemed, believers in the Lord Jesus as virgin born, crucified and risen again as full and complete payment all our sins PERIOD. Any requirement to believe Jesus plus anything as a requirement for salvation is a cult. This is one of the first and most important barriers. According to surveys of ministers in North America a much larger percentage than you might believe who are called pastors, preachers, ministers who mount the pulpit in churches in America don’t even believe this. It’s a case of the blind leading the blind. UNQUALIFIED
2. They must be convinced of the upside down nature of the kingdom Jesus preached, that they must be servant of all to be first. Many church leaders see the position they have as one to be served by others. They ride around in big limos; they have fancy houses, chic clothes, big salaries, and the best parking places at the Church.
A pastor I loved dearly used to say that the most spiritual parking spaces were those at the far end of the parking lot leaving the rest for visitors. What was more important is even though he was the pastor of a very large church of thousands he never moved out of the house he lived in when it was a church of a few hundred and he always drove an old Buick and parked far out in the lot. No big shot parking place for him. Those who want others to serve them because they are the Bigshot Bishop, UNQUALIFIED. Those who see themselves as servant of all, QUALIFIED.
3. This person must not be living in obvious public sin, sexually, financially, in lifestyle, or relationally. So, then the question is, who decides what is sin or not? For that one has to go again to what the word of God says. Sin is sin. The reference above talks in broad terms but without straining at a gnat there are some obvious disqualifiers.
If a person is a practicing homosexual he or she is unqualified (one million Episcopalians believing otherwise doesn’t change a thing). Period.
If a person consistently is involved in fraudulent business practices that causes others to suffer loss, Unqualified; if a person is involved with more than a spousal sexual relationship without repentance, unqualified; if a person is a drunken carouser, picking fights, violent, unqualified; if a person is constantly creating division between people by gossip, slander and lies, unqualified; and the list goes on. We need to examine what the BIBLE (not a denomination) defines as disqualifiers. A good place to start is the sins is laid out by the 10 commandments and sin as is defined by Jesus and in the Epistles, particularly in Romans.
I look at the warnings of Jesus in the end of book of Revelation when he describes those who will be thrown into the lake of Fire that was created for the devil and his demons. We must disqualify anyone who exhibits the characteristics of those exhibiting those practices without any repentance and preclude ever putting them in spiritual leadership positions. They would only lead the flock they are put in charge of (most likely by some denomination) down into the lake of fire with them.
Sadly that is not the case. We have many who are leading churches who are lake of fire bound. If we used just this ONE measure a large percentage of pulpits would be vacant tomorrow.
This is not as it should be and it’s a stench in the nostrils of God. Time to turn it around. More tomorrow.