Disqualification of Public Servants and Bishops

by Rick Stanczak, administrator of "Likeminds" list, e: stanczak@cwix.com

We all have character flaws—including me! Character flaws usually are a private matter, becoming public on a "need-to-know" basis when one’s flaw could adversely affect—hurt—another person if that other person was not warned to be wary of it.

The issue with our "ministerial champions" is not their character flaws per se, but if they go to great lengths to hide their personal reality so they can continue to be regarded in a high esteem by others who put them on a pedestal and follow them as leaders—giving them great adulation and financial support. This kind of influence must be satisfying to their egos and very addictive. How dangerous!

An overseer (bishop) of the brethren is to be held to an even higher standard!

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil (1Tim 3:2-7).

If one does not measure up to these standards, he cannot serve in a position or capacity that influences many brethren. Notice that "of good behavior" and "a good report of them which are without" in the above qualifications is talking about one’s reputation as an honest upright man of the highest moral and ethical character that would truly be above reproach. Do you think this "good behavior and good report" is even considering one who habitually breaks the letter of the law? No! These good reputation requirements are looking at even finer nuances of righteous character. So how is it that we CGers so willingly ignore these standards??

Another issue to consider is all the harm we CGers do to both ourselves and the persons we idolize. By idolizing we are "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" so to speak by feeding the human weaknesses of our champions to the point where repentance is next to impossible. They deceive themselves into believing that God’s work just can’t go on the same without them, or that God needs them, or the brethren just can’t get by without them. The reality is that God does His work and does not need anyone, and the brethren must look to God or they won’t be His work.

The "champion" is self-deluded into feeding his own ego, and will go to great "sincere and humble" measures to convince his following that God is using him for a special purpose, and that anyone who bothers to examine the facts about one’s disqualifying sins is a tool of Satan attempting to discredit a holy messenger from God. An unhealthy co-dependence is built between the champion and his followers as the champion promises some deeper mystical insight and experience, and the followers long to believe it to fill their own spiritual voids. When these cultish relationships are formed, common sense and plain Scripture seem to readily be ignored by the insiders. Those caught up in the personality cult can’t think straight anymore.

So how did the early disciples, the "fellow servants" of God, act when folks started looking to them with adulation? They totally shunned it!

Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand (2Cor 1:24).

Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therei: (Acts 14:14-15).

For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me (2 Cor 12:6).

Likewise, if anyone including an original apostle acted contrary to plain Scriptural teaching, that person was confronted and even strongly rebuked if the situation warranted it. Only false ministers acted as if they were above criticism and the law.

I wrote unto the church: but Diotre phes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God (3Jn 1:9-11).

I’ve learned to take all "ministers" including "tape ministers" with a grain of salt. It is still my personal responsibility to "prove all things" from Scripture and to follow Christ. If any man thinks he’s special or above the law, I choose not to even listen to that man anymore because I can discern that the underlying spirit is wrong.

We are all brethren, fellow workers in the Lord, priests in the Royal Priesthood! We are all to serve one another, which is Jesus’ definition of leadership by self-sacrifice for the needs of others.

Scripture has clear criteria for those chosen for public service. If someone is found not to be qualified, they either must step down from public works or are noted publicly as men to avoid. It’s not complicated. We are to walk by the Book.

Would that we were all really small in our own eyes and could accept the rightful consequences of our actions. Nobody is indispensable no matter how important they think their public "ministry" is needed. Disqualified overseers can still serve and personally grow, just not in the public domain because of breaking the public trust. So why ignore simple Scriptural criteria and insist on pushing a man back up into the limelight? Perhaps for entertainment value, or yearning for a king?

We are to follow sound doctrine, not with itching ears seeking exciting divergences. We are to walk by faith, not by sight. We are not to judge by appearances, but with right judgement. We are to seek God’s still small voice, not be moved by human theatrics.

Yet this generation, too, looks for a sign, and is thus ripe for lying signs and wonders. &