Promises and Secrets

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A website for those not afraid to examine their beliefs, compare them to the real world, and make sure they fit.



So, if there are no arbitrary certification requirements for one to become a pastor, how do we know that their education is in accordance with the Bible?


Most pastors go to a seminary or Christian university or other school to learn how to shepherd flocks and teach them to grow in their Christian beliefs. They often obtain a Bachelor's, Master's, or even a Ph.D. in Divinity, usually specifically tailored to their own denomination's doctrine. Contrary to popular thought, there are no secular or government certification or license requirements to become a pastor.


Anyone can be a pastor

Just to clear this up from the beginning, this is posted on How To Become:

Are there any certification or licensure requirements?

There are no government certification or licensure requirements for pastors, but some denominations refer to to[sic] pastor or minister ordination as certification or licensure. To become certified or licensed by a church, one must meet that church's education and experience requirements.

So, right off the bat, to be a pastor of a church, you have to be trained in a manner approved by the denomination that hires you. Let's take a look at that. If you want to become a priest in the Catholic church, you have one set of requirements. If you want to become a Baptist pastor, you have to have a very different education. If you want to be a Mormon bishop (pastor), well, that's even different yet. This is not to mention Jehovah's Witness, Anglican, Lutheran, Reformed (Calvinism), Methodist, Seventh-Day Adventist, and a host of others.

Aren't they mostly the same?

Simply put, no. Some of these are so radically different from each other that it is difficult to even call them Christian. So, if the education system that puts out pastors for a denomination has few requirements in common with other denominations for becoming a congregation leader, then the pastors of today's churches are all taught something different.

Only one Bible, why so many denominations?

Of course, there are some commonalities just from the nature of education - reading and writing clearly in English, public speaking, the ability to glean the intended message from books and writings (evidently harder to learn than we would think), and providing therapeutic living advice. The differences come in the form of dogma and obedience requirements to remain a member in good standing of the congregation. However, you would think that one of those common things would be an accurate representation of the statements in the Bible. Notice that I didn't say "interpretations" of the statements in the Bible, but the statements themselves. A proper teaching of the Bible statements should bring the number of denominations in the world down to roughly, oh, let's say, two - one that believes in Jesus as the Christ (Christian) and one that does not (non-Messianic Jews).

But that is not what we see today.

Now, all these different teachings are reflected in pastor's sermons to the congregations whenever they gather. Since the results of the sermons and the fundamental beliefs vary so much in the different denominations, you get the idea that God must be very loose with what He expects from those who claim to belong to Him and follow His Son.

But, that is not the impression that reading the Bible gives us. God spent centuries trying to teach one people to introduce Him back into the world, a people that He chose to follow Him, and show the world exactly how to live by His standards. Instead, at different times, they have essentially turned their backs on Him and gone their own way, repented and returned to Him for a while, then turned away again. That story is half of the message of the Bible. The other half describes God's efforts to provide a way for men to return to Him through His Son. Remember that His effort is to have them return to Him, not turn to His Son and reject the Father. Here is where the true message is derailed by the pastors of today.

That's not in the Plan

The pastors today teach an extreme version of Replacement Theology. They teach people to turn to a softer, gentler Jesus, and to turn away from the Father by ignoring His commands. They are essentially replacing God the Father with this new Jesus. And this even after the real Jesus said that His mission was to glorify the Father (Matthew 5:16
16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

, John 12:27-28
27"Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name!"

Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again."

), not replace Him. Pastors today have just about taken God out of the equation, at least as far as obedience to His commands.

That thought doesn't fit into the plan of Jesus to hand over the kingdom to God (1 Corinthians 15:24
24Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.

). If most of the churches have abandoned obedience to the commands of God for the forgiveness of Jesus (against the advice of James 2:10
10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

), how can they think that they will have a part in the first resurrection? Have they forgotten that the dwelling place of God will be with men (Revelation 21:3
3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God."

) after "Heaven" (the Holy City) comes down to the new earth? Would you invite someone to live with you if they did not follow your house rules?

The pastors should preach all of Jesus' words, as in Matthew 7:21
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

But instead, they only preach that Jesus loves you and "forgives you no matter what you do". They should be preaching that Jesus loves us and, if we repent (Luke 17:3-4
3So watch yourselves. "If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying 'I repent,' you must forgive them."

), He forgives us for what we have done up to that point of confession. That is, if we repent and try to stay in the will of the Father. If we don't do that, then the pastors should be preaching on 2 Peter 2:20
20If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

and Hebrews 10:26-27
2626 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.


A rare sermon, indeed

When was the last time you heard a sermon about what happens if a person keeps on sinning willingly? 2 Peter 2:20
20If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

is a quick summary, but Hebrews 10:26-27
2626 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

is more explicit and to the point. It actually tells people they can't just go on deliberately sinning and expect Jesus to forgive them each time. Especially if they don't even try to find out what is identified as a sin (like many practices of the vast majority of today's "churches"), so they never repent or ask forgiveness. But then, if people are being told that breaking the law does not affect them, how can they worry about it? If you do not repent, forsake the sin, and ask for forgiveness, you cannot be forgiven.

The key word here is "deliberately", but I doubt if many "Christians" stop long enough to find out what sin really is (1 John 3:4
4Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

). So, according to John, even if you are told by your pastor that something is not sin, and the Bible tells you that it is sin, if you keep doing it, you are sinning willingly. And, if you buy that old line, "They won't be held responsible if they don't know they are sinning.", then you should read Leviticus 5:17
If anyone sins and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord's commands, even though they do not know it, they are guilty and will be held responsible.


But, that would mean...

Of course, giving a sermon like that would also require the pastor to list some sins, if he even still thinks Christians are even able to sin. You know, sins like breaking the laws of God - lying, stealing, murder, breaking the Sabbath, celebrating the pagan holidays, eating things He calls detestable (remember 1 John 3:4 above). Little things like that which few people define as sin even though the Bible is very clear about it. These are not disputable matters.

Not an accident

Nearly every church in America deliberately sins and encourages its people to do so. They filter out that portion of the Bible that they don't like or won't follow, and then claim it is for other people than themselves. You know, they say following commands is for "God's people", not us. Wouldn't it be nice if the pastors spent some time on the part of people's faith that may send them to hell because of their actions instead of where they have been told they are going? And, wouldn't it be nice if pastors would stop telling them that they are "going to Heaven" (which the Bible never says will happen), regardless of what commands they are breaking?

Nah! That won't happen. That would mean that pastors must care more about the fate of those they shepherd than the budget of the church or doing what everyone else does. Unless, that is, pastors have somehow convinced God to redefine His will to something other than what He specified in the Bible, but somehow forgot to tell anyone. We should be following His commands.

The hardest part for these unbelieving pastors would be to make people aware that God still expects us to follow the rules He set up for everyone, not just the Jews. Yes, unbelieving. They read the Bible as their anti-Semitic "church fathers" did, revising the Jewish parts by changing the meanings, not as Paul explained it. People don't want to hear that God meant what He said (2 Timothy 4:3
3For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

). That message is lost in today's churches. And the majority of the fault for that loss lays at the feet of the pastors.

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