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HeavensRoad.com (my new website) is now online

Even Worse, These Men HINDER the Gospel

Do These Men Even Preach The Gospel?

Has God Really Commanded That Pastors Be Paid?

Pastor Appreciation Day?

Answering the Question: Should I Confront My Pastor?

Imposters in the Pulpit

What's On The Menu? You! - Examining The Shepherd Sheep Error

Are We Saved By Faith, By Works or Both?

Can a Struggle With Sin Keep Us From Heaven?

The Critical Doctrine of The Resurrection

Youth In Peril

Was The Apostle Paul an Authoritarian?

Black Clothed Cult?

Is There A Good Church in Your Area?

Is Baptism Required For Salvation?

Should Pastors Be Salaried?

Exposing The Silencing of Women Error

Can A Woman Be A Pastor?

Does God Put Us Into Difficult Situations For His Own Purposes?
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Articles

I hear from Christians all over the country and some in other parts of the world. Not surprisingly, the same question or variation of the question keeps coming up: Is there a good Christian fellowship in my area? First, the bad news: Unfortunately the answer to this popular questions is usually no. Why?...

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As I have already pointed out previously, there is famine of genuine fellowship today. One of the main reasons for this is because most professing Christians either start out in a cult disguised as a church or choose to join one and follow the wacky unbiblical teachings of control-based leaders instead of simply trusting and obeying what the Bible teaches...

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This is an edited letter that I sent to a legalist who wrote in asking me to join forces with him on a project that promotes Bible reading. He included a long list of his unbiblical legalistic views. Here is my (edited) response:

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Before I share the letter I sent, let me first mention that rampant legalism is possibly the worst affront to Christian liberties that we face today. From time to time I get emails from people asking me to visit their websites and lo and behold almost invariably they send me to some legalist freedom-stealing pit of condemnation and fear. I grieve for the Christians who are ignorant of what the Bible really teaches and are foolish enough to buy into the errors of these often well-meaning people...

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Many Christians within home church circles and even in some institutional church circles incorrectly believe that the key to solving problems caused by an errant one-man pastor is to spread that power and authority out over a small group of elders so that no one individual has “too much” power. This is typically called “elder rule”...

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A woman recently wrote in who had been struggling with leadership issues in her church. She asked that I give more information about how I came to the conclusions that I reached on this subject. Among other things, she wanted to know if my conclusions came from materials other than the Bible, and what Scriptures influenced my decisions.

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Many if not most churches today have substituted a false version of real Christian friendship, an empty acquaintance-level counterfeit in place of the close relationships that we see in the Bible. This mockery is exactly what Satan wants and is what many Christians settle for and maintain. It is no wonder that Christians are constantly betrayed by those who they thought were their friends.

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There is a huge deception in the church today on the subject of leadership. The concepts of “lead”, “leader” and “leadership” as defined by our culture and as we know them in our society are not remotely found in the Bible regarding men controlling the church of Jesus Christ...

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There are numerous examples in the Bible where we see Christian churches meeting in homes, but yet there is not one single example in the Bible where we see Christians meeting in any kind of building that was specially built for any church related reason, let alone for their comfort and convenience. There is also not a single example anywhere in the Bible of Christians renting or building even modest buildings for church meetings, let alone huge palatial facilities, ornate cathedrals or sprawling multi-building “campuses”...

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A dear sister wrote in asking if it is possible that God puts us into difficult situations (such as an abusive workplace) for His own divine purposes. She was wondering if maybe she has also been placed by God at an abusive church, thinking that maybe she should stay there until she has a clear leading from the Lord to depart. Here is my answer…

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This is one of those so-called “difficult” subjects that few Christians want to tackle for fear of offending someone in some camp somewhere. But this is really not a very difficult topic at all for anyone who understands that all authority in the church is vested in Christ and never in any man or woman. 

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There is much controversy within certain circles in the church today regarding whether or not a women can speak in assembly. In fact, we see very little balance overall on the topic of the role of women in the church. Instead, we basically see two extreme polarized views. There is one camp that believes a woman can be a tyrannical authoritarian pastor (which not even a man is allowed to be) and there is another camp that believes that a woman should not be allowed to even mumble a word in a church assembly. Neither view is correct.

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It is absolutely not the church's obligation to financially support a pastor or elder. This is a very popular tradition and misconception based on misinterpretations and misapplications of various Scriptures and often leads to gross financial abuse...

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Water Baptism is an outward sign of an inward commitment, but baptism is not required for salvation.  Sadly, some legalists completely and utterly misinterpret and misapply the Scriptures regarding water baptism and so they promote a very dangerous false teaching that baptism is required for salvation. This is a heresy...

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I regularly get emails from Christians asking if I know of any good churches in their area. This is probably the number # 1 question that I receive. Sadly at present I cannot say that I currently know of or can recommend any church anywhere, let alone in someone’s specific area, that regularly teaches and rigorously upholds the true Gospel along with the biblical anti-authoritarian message of loving watchman elders not controlling leaders...

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My response to an email from a reader...

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An associate pastor recently wrote in asking for help with a challenge that he received from someone who claimed that the Apostle Paul was an authoritarian. The person who brought the challenge asserted that this is justification for church leaders to therefore also be authoritarians because they are simply following by example...

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Youth groups and children’s programs have become some of the main attractions and promotional marketing engines that drive Christians to bad churches and tempt them to stay captive to those assemblies. Such programs are commonly used as powerful attendance magnets that work very well in drawing unwary people, usually entire families, into unhealthy congregations run by authoritarian dictators...

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Today most professing Christian churches celebrate the resurrection of Christ. This is not a bad thing at all. Of course Christians should recognize Christ’s resurrection every day not just one day a year. Nevertheless, for some, recognizing Jesus’ resurrection one day a year is better than none.  Regardless of the celebration or recognition of this monumental event, we must always believe in the resurrection of Christ every day...

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A dear soul wrote in and shared of the sad event of her adult son’s recently passing and she asked me if I thought he was in heaven. She explained that he died of an accidental overdose and described him as having a strong belief in God, as loving Jesus, carrying a Bible and a book of psalms. From how she described him it seems likely that he didn’t just carry those books, but also read and studied them and yet was still struggling with sin. Here is my reply, which has been edited and slightly expanded for this article:

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You asked, “Are the (following) verses implying that one must obey the word of God in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, and that even if we believe but do not follow we are damned?”

No, the Scriptures you cited (see below) are not saying that there are some works that we must do in order to be saved or that there is some mistake that we can make where we could lose our salvation (or that the presence of sin means that someone claiming to be a Christian is not saved to begin with). No, this is simply not true.  The old saying is “By faith alone in Christ alone.” And this is just as true today as back then, and it will always be just as true...

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The Bible paints a wonderful loving picture of the Christian’s relationship with Christ by using an analogy to shepherds and sheep. This provides a simple way that the church can understand and relate to the love and care that a faithful shepherd has for his sheep and the innocent undoubting trust that the sheep have for their shepherd. A search of the Scriptures for the words shepherd and sheep will bring up an abundance of pertinent verses. Ps 23:1, John 10:1-16, 1Pet 2:25 are just a few of the many examples.

 

Sadly, due to some very bad teachings and bad practices that are commonplace in many churches today, a lot of Christians miss the symbolic nature of the shepherd-sheep analogy and apply it almost literally in the area of pastoral authority. This misconception degrades congregations to a subservient and almost animalistic level because it elevates pastors to supreme masters who think they are allowed to corral, control and even devour God’s people for the purpose of furthering their manmade agendas.

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There is a rash of well-meaning teachers today who have gone way beyond that which is biblical and have clearly jumped the gun in claiming to be pastors when in fact they are not. They have failed to be patient and have failed to wait on God to further their teaching ministries His way, as He would see fit and in His timing. In addition to declaring themselves to be pastors, most of these teachers have built so-called “churches” for themselves (or have taken over an existing church) so that they not only have a built-in audience to teach to, but also have a lucrative source of donation money and volunteer time. This gives them an unfair advantage in furthering their private ministries as a teacher and this seems to be one of the most common results of a desire for gain and a hunger for power within the church.

Nevertheless, some of these men are truly gifted teachers (on some theological subjects), but because they are not genuine pastors (or elders, a synonymous term), they have no right to take on that role as well, regardless of how much they want it or how much they think there is a legitimate “need” for them to do so. Therefore when it comes to being a pastor, teachers who are not really pastors and yet stand in the role of a pastor anyway are imposters in that role plain and simple. And, because these men are at best only teachers, they leave the church starving for genuine pastoral care.

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Readers sometimes write in and ask me if I think it is a good idea for them to have a meeting and confront a controlling pastor regarding his abusive behavior. These readers hope to facilitate a type of “intervention” where they can attempt to show such as man the error of his ways and try to motivate him to repent and change. Although this may sound like a worthy endeavor, there are some very important reasons to not do so unless you are properly prepared. Consider the following...

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A man recently wrote in saying that he had a run-in with the lady at his church who takes the initiative to arrange “pastors' appreciation”. He expressed opposition to her (and rightly so), but because she quoted Scriptures that seemed to support her view, he said that he did not know how to answer and was at a loss for words. He said that this woman used three Scriptures: 1Thess 5:12-13, Hebrews 13:17 and 1Cor 9:14 (two of which were quoted from questionable Bible “translations”), to try to justify her view.

[Note: “pastors' appreciation” refers to the all-too-common ritual in the modern church where a special (and often large) offering is taken for the Senior Pastor and sometimes includes associate pastors as well who generally only receive a much lesser portion of the proceeds divided among them. Depending on the church, this event may take the form of just an offering or may also include one or more of the following: a full blown special “service”, gifts (from cakes to cars), awards, special guests, entertainment and/or emotional pleas and “testimonies” to loosen wallets and open pocketbooks. Regardless of the form, this often manipulative and exploitative event is probably most commonly referred to as “Pastor Appreciation Day”.]

Here is my response (edited and expanded for publication):

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Has God really ordained or commanded that pastors be paid, let alone receive a regular on-going salary? Well this is what most pastors tell us that the Bible teaches. Or, in reality has God granted that Gospel-preaching Christians have the right to financial or material support from the church but only if necessary?

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This article can also be titled “Has God Really Commanded That Pastors Be Paid? Part II” (This is a continuation of Part I, which should be read first in order to establish the background for this article.)

Now for the most important question: Do these men even preach the Gospel? One thing that is also conveniently overlooked within many professing Christian circles is the fact that 1Cor 9:14 applies exclusively and therefore ONLY to those who “preach the Gospel”. Let us review...

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 This article can also be titled “Has God Really Commanded That Pastors Be Paid? Part III”

Not only do droves of so-called pastors who expect to be supported by the church not preach the Gospel (or more importantly the real Gospel), even worse they HINDER The Gospel by their financial shenanigans and other abusive nonsense...

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Please note: my new website Heaven's Road is now live and online. The current web site you are viewing (Truth Guard / Christian Liberties) is an older site that runs on older technology and so it cannot be easily upgraded. So while I do plan to keep this older site online indefinately as an archive and public resource (since it has achieved high search rankings for many topics), I do not plan to add any more content here. For my latest content, please visit www.heavensroad.com or www.heavensroad.org. Either of these domain names will take you to the new web site.

Thank you,

Paul Howey

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