IF YOU do not know a tortoise very well you may mistake it for a turtle or a terrapin. But these are distinct reptiles even though they are all chelonians.
Similarly, there are many pastors ministering in the world, but not all of them work for God; many are servants of Satan. A baby Christian may find it very difficult to distinguish between them, but a mature believer easily can.
One thing which is worth-noting is that no one can do ministry truly, faithfully, committedly and in the fear of the Lord without being called by God. A person who is divinely chosen and sent by God will have the innate desire to do the will of God. Other ministers may look at his works and say that he served the purpose of God in his own generation.
That was the story told of David. “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers…” (Acts 13:36). Genuine Christian leaders commit themselves to serving God's purpose, considering that God watches their works and marks them. They also remind themselves that God will, on the last day, reward everyone according to their works.
People, therefore, must see beyond physical appearance, oratory skills, theological education and large followers in determining who a genuine pastor is. I emphasised in a previous edition that Christians should not follow pastors blindly, dumbly and ignorantly, but knowledgeably. It is important that a proper investigation is conducted into the calling of a pastor to understand the message and assignment God gave to him.
A vigilant Christian knows that a pastor who does not uphold the deity of Christ Jesus, has no specific divine message and assignment given to him, fails to regard Him as the Saviour of the world, refuses to participate in the preaching of the message of the birth, ministries, death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus exposes himself as a fake and false minister who has sneaked into the Church to exploit unsuspecting Christians.
There is no doubt that many false apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors/bishops and teachers have sneaked into the Body of Christ establishing churches, supposing that they are serving the purpose of God. But they are self-styled ministers who called themselves without God's involvement and approval.
Thus, they have no specific message and assignment from God for unique ministry that agrees with the sound knowledge of Christ Jesus.
When you meet any person who claims to have been called into ministry to function either as an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor/bishop or teacher, ask him to disclose the exact message and commands God gave him during his call. And find out if he constantly ministers within the mandate of his calling.
False ministers who do the bidding of the devil started sneaking into the Church since the days of the early Apostles. They distort and twist the truths of the gospel of Christ to deceive people to take their money. They have great appetite for the acquisition of worldly goods. They are carnal, earthly-minded devoid of the Holy Spirit.
Paul, the apostle, therefore, wrote extensively about these false ministers. For instance, in his letter to Titus, Paul draws attention to false ministers whom he describes as insubordinate, empty talkers, deceitful teachers, who teach lies for money. “They must be silenced. By their wrong teaching they have already turned whole families away from the truth.
SUCH LEADERS ONLY WANT YOUR MONEY” (Titus 1: 11, NLT).
The book of Jude also informs that, “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:4).
The Bible says false ministers deny Jesus Christ. They disown Him. They are ruled by the same evil spirit that influenced Judas Iscariot to betray the Lord Jesus Christ for money. But this does not mean false pastors do not mention the name of the Lord in their ministrations. They do. In fact, they freely mention the name of Jesus Christ in their prayers, teachings, preaching, counseling and conversations.
They do this without problems because the Bible does not forbid people from mentioning Christ's name. This is why I stated earlier that people should see beyond pastors' ministrations and physical appearance. We should find out if a pastor abides in the doctrine of Christ Jesus and faithfully follows Him or not.
To deny Jesus Christ is to reject his teachings and ordinances. It is to refuse to follow Jesus Christ by not abiding in His Word and example. It is to refuse to teach what He taught, preach what preached and walk the road to the cross which He commanded us to walk in. By their fruit particularly in the area of teachings we can easily know them.
“FOR SUCH men are deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as the angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds” (2 Corinthians 11: 13- 15, ESV).
False pastors deserve to be exposed and criticised just as the Lord Jesus Himself disapproved pastoral irresponsibility. He criticised and condemned six of the seven pastors who were in-charge of seven churches in Asia Minor for condoning the works of the devil (Revelation 1, 2, and 3).
By James Quansah