Put Not Your Trust In Men (Psalms 146:3)by Van Robison
As believers in Jesus Christ, one of our
greatest faults has been that of placing faith in
pastors. It is the "pastors" who claim to have healing
ministries, revivals, outpourings, anointings, direct
contact with God, truth, and pastors generally lead
people to believe that they are a cut above normal,
average, or ordinary Christians. Many Christians have
learned through bitter experience that the world is
full of preachers, pastors and so-called prophets who
are no more representatives of Jesus Christ than a
charlatan. The Internet is inundated with websites
dealing with spiritual abuse and the experiences of
seekers of God from the backgrounds of many different
churches. There are websites by ex-Mormons, ex-Jehovah
Witnesses, ex-Catholics, ex-Baptists, ex-Pentecostals,
ex-Church of Christ, ex-Worldwide Church of God and
many more groups, for anyone who is curious enough to
look at these resources. There are also many websites
that expose many different cult groups that are in
existence because of personal spiritual abuse from
pastors and churches. Spiritual abuse is not uncommon
and is very widespread. It comes not only from cult
churches, but even from so called "mainstream"
churches and pastors.
This is no minor issue, but rather it is indicative that placing faith in religious leaders can often times lead to very disappointing and sometimes very bitter experiences in life. As a former member of a cult group for about twelve years, I learned from first hand experience how easy it is to be caught in a web of deceit. The group I was associated with was authoritarian and a hierarchy. My faith and confidence was misplaced, because I was led to believe that God was represented by men who proclaimed they had authority from God over all church members. Unfortunately, members of cults are led to believe that their salvation and eternal life is in danger if they step outside of the boundaries of supposed human spiritual authority.
Being led astray can happen to anyone and has happened to countless millions. No deceived person knows they are deceived, unless or until somehow their eyes are opened to see what they did not see. My personal disappointments with churches and pastors, does not include just the cult church I was once associated with, but also other churches and their pastors and from personal experiences and church attendance. At one time years ago I attended two Benny Hinn "healing crusades" for which admittedly I was very caught up in the emotion of those events. I will never forget the time at one of those "healing crusades" when a young child, who had been severely burned and scarred on the face and body and horribly disfigured, was passed above the heads of people standing below the platform up to Benny Hinn. I expected a supernatural miracle, which never happened and I was sick at heart to the depths of my being over it. Of course I wondered, "Why?" A multi-millionaire lady my wife and I know personally and whose home we have been in many times in past years, initiated a "healing ministry" in our local community. A man who attended her "healing ministry" and who also had cancer, marched across the stage of one of Benny Hinn's "healing crusades" and proclaimed that he was "healed". He died shortly thereafter.
Several years ago, we attended the world famous "revival" in Pensacola, Florida at the Brownsville Assembly of God Church. We visited there twice during the time very large crowds of people were coming in from all over the world. At one of the church meetings, I noticed a man in a wheel chair who was very incapacitated and desperately needing a miracle. In my heart and mind, I thought "if this is a real revival" then this man should be supernaturally healed, but he went out the same way he came in--a twisted body. At this "revival" a great deal of money was taken in, and in doing research on the Internet from news sources and so forth, I discovered that the main preachers and leaders of this church and revival made a great deal of money and consequently purchased homes and properties worth a substantial amount of money. There was also a split with top leaders in this church, which caused a division among the church members and eventually the senior pastor resigned after being their pastor for many years. From what I read from Charisma Magazine, the next senior pastor also resigned after a short period of time. It would be an understatement to say that the lives of hundreds of church members were significantly impacted by all these issues.
Even though it took many years of my life to come to where I am now in my relationship with Jesus Christ, my personal thinking like anyone else had been shaped by those experiences as well as by reading and reading and reading the teachings of Jesus Christ, and by the gift of the Holy Spirit later in life. I find it glaring to see many false preachers who are money-hungry charlatans and television preachers who are so far off the deep end away from real truth that it simply leaves me disgusted. It is not only the television preachers who do not represent Jesus Christ and the truth, but also countless other preachers of megachurches, denominations, cults, and even small churches of this world. Pastors are not infallible human beings. They are not Jesus Christ. And they are often in error on various teachings and in living in a world of false authority over church members. Almost all so-called pastors want all the free money people are willing to give them, and so many of these "leaders" don't know what it is to earn a living for their families like real men do. All their money is welfare money.
We all place faith in human beings in varying degrees, but doing so often leads to very sad disappointments in life. I personally no longer place faith in "pastors", and like politicians and lawyers, I prefer to just skip on down the road and listen to the birds in the trees singing their songs. I see Jesus Christ outside of church walls and outside of this thing people call "church." The most disappointing of human beings is often human leaders, whether religious, political, human governments or otherwise. The only sure source of total trustworthiness is Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.