Skip to content

How Fallen Ministers Affect Our Trust in God

March 21, 2009

Todd Bentley

Todd Bentley

Copyright March 2009 (updated April 24th)

Just about every other year or so the Church finds herself embroiled in yet another shameful scandal.  Some famous minister or the other has been found engaging in some sort of sexual immorality or monetary impropriety.

Ted Haggard

Ted Haggard

The level of trust towards the Church plummets and the faith of many is shaken.  This provides its antagonists with even more ammunition to try to reduce the influence of the religion that was responsible for shaping Western Civilization into its current glory.  When faith in the Church is lost, society then sinks further into godless selfishness where survival of the fittest is the foundation for all law.  But the damage doesn’t just end there.

The fall of a Christian leader who swims within one theological stream appears to give those from other streams who oppose him a right to make an example out of him (and everyone else in his stream) in order to prove their point.  This lack of love between groups of Christians and for the fallen man, himself, only goes further to erode the world’s opinion of Christians.  This is the reason Jesus said that the world will only begin to recognize that we are His disciples and that He, himself, was sent from God when they begin to see the evidence that we love one another.

The topic of this article is to discuss the mechanics of trust and how Satan has tried to create hard-hearted skeptics through the break down of our trust since the Garden of Eden to destroy all hope of our having a powerful and intimate relationship with God or others for that matter.  However it is worth a short bunny trail for me to explore the solution to this problem of fallen ministers for just a moment.

Because Christian leaders are put on a pedestal, higher than say, a secular leader, simply by virtue of the Christian moral standard, they are often afraid to admit it when they have a moral problem.  Add this to the fact that their family’s livelihood depends on their maintaining that standard and you can see why they must suffer alone when they are struggling.  If Jesus says the world will recognize us by our love, then it is only logical that one solution to this problem is to extend compassion to Christian leaders so they are given room to be human.  This would include seeing them as people who get tired, who need breaks, who need support, and who have issues to iron out just like everyone else that may require some counseling and healing.  Only then will they feel they may be real enough to get that help.  As Jesus said, love is always the answer.  If the world were to see this, they might not be afraid to come to church!

The Heart of a Skeptic

Skeptical

Skeptical

Since it is Satan’s primary goal to disable faith by producing hearts full of suspicion and fear, it is easy to understand why the failure of any Christian leader might set them further back.  Fear and suspicion comes from our encounters with betrayal and abuse, as well as being lied to about what is true and what is not.  This causes a sort of blindness where matters of the spirit, truth, and faith are concerned.

The Apostle Paul tells us in II Corinthians 4:4, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God”

How God’s Enemy Tries to Win

Satan, the “god of this age” as stated above, hates his Creator and the one true God (created beings cannot be gods, but they can be worshiped as such).  As a result, he also hates those who are dearest to God’s heart, those made in His image, His children; mankind.  He does everything in his power to make God’s leaders fall because he knows he can, once again, wound and cast doubt against God within the skeptical hearts of men.  That is why it is so important for us to truly grasp what happened in the Garden of Eden at the fall of mankind.  A lot of people focus on the disobedience of Adam and Eve where sin is concerned, but they forget to take a look at the heart of the matter, which is trust in God.

The definition of sin is quite simple.  It means “missing the mark”.  For some reason we conjure up all sorts of heinous thoughts of sexual impurity and perversion when the word sin is mentioned.  If you disect the word and get past the myths, you may be surprised at what you find.  In deceiving Adam and Eve, Satan was able to cast doubt in the heart of man towards the Heart and Character of God.  In essence he said that God’s Word was false.  As a result of this deception from Satan, this lack of trust, Adam and Eve THEN chose a selfish path into temptation and got themselves cast out of God’s Presence.  Why?  Because we cannot continue a relationship with someone we don’t trust!  That is why a restored relationship with God only requires one simple step of faith, faith in his Word, Jesus.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 14)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  (John 3:16-17)

The previous two paragraphs (with their accompanying scriptures) is the key to understanding everything where God and man are concerned.  The fruit Adam and Eve were tempted by did not cause the sin of Adam and Eve, it was their lack of trust in God’s Heart and Word.

Before I go on to explain more about what lies at the heart of the failures of the Todd Bentleys and the Ted Haggards of the world, it is important for you to realize why Satan works so tirelessly at his task.

Mankind, that’s you and me, was supposed to have his kingdom on the earth.  However, when one king over throws the other in battle, he owns his territory.  Thus Satan was able to strip man of his authority, which was solely based upon His relationship to God and won dominion over the earth, thereby making him the “god of this world”.

However, Satan’s kingdom reaches even further than one might imagine.  It extends deep into our very souls.  Through his knowledge of the inner workings of man, Satan uses every opportunity he can to inflict pain upon mankind in order to take over territory within our hearts and minds.  Satan is well aware that he must fight for his legally earned territory by every means at his disposal if he is to keep it.  His greatest weapons are his lies (as seen in the Garden of Eden).  Therefore, we have nothing to fear from Satan but his lies.

Satan was responsible for telling Adam and Eve that man has absolutely no need of God and can do everything within his own power.  He tells us when life becomes too hard to deal with, all we have to do is turn to our vices and comforts to help us cope.  When we are threatened, we have our own strength our our pride, our hatred, our efforts and our knowledge to protect us from further harm.  In essence, he encourages us to set other things up as idols in our lives to give us a false sense of security while secretly enslaving us all the while.  As long as we cling onto our coping strategies, our independence, and fleshly comforts we will continue to believe we have no need for God!!!  That is the true temptation we face on a daily basis.  While appetite is involved, it is our lack of trust in the mighty hand of the Lord that brings us down.

During the time in the wilderness when God was building a relationship with Israelites after He had delivered them out of the slavery of Pharoah in Egypt, their appetites made them groan and complain.  After eating nothing but the supernatural bread “manna” that came down from Heaven every day, they hungered for some variety.  Rather than looking with love and gratitude at all God had done for them in providing the manna and delivering them from slavery and simply asking out renewed hearts of trust for some meat, the hard heart of unbelief caused them to complain, so God told Moses (Numbers 11:18-21, 23):

“Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it. 19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?” ‘ “

Even Moses’ faith was being stretched,

But Moses said, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’

The LORD answered Moses, “Is the LORD’s arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”

Then then the Lord brought a wind that made quail from the sea fall to the ground, three feet high and as far as anyone could see.  Nevertheless, the anger burned against the people for their lack of trust in Him and a plague fell on them (verses 31-34).  This was done in love… because God knows His people cannot survive the attacks of the enemy or bring light and life into their lives without their trust in Him.

Distorting the Truth of Our Identity and Purpose

Satan’s goal in all of this is to distort the identity of God in our eyes because he knows once we learn who God is and find out the true purpose for our lives that we will learn how to tap into the Power that will greatly reduce the size of his kingdom and the duration of his reign!  However, Satan doesn’t have any intention of giving up his territory!  Since he knows we are the key to advancing the Kingdom of God on this earth, he is always “on the prowl seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8).  He knows exactly how to knock our faith down and one of his favorite tactics is to bring down Christian leaders.   He knows that sheep need shepherds because they are basically blind.

The bottom line is Satan uses every means at his disposal to try to tell us either God isn’t real or if He is, He is angry with us or doesn’t care about our suffering.  As a result unbelievers will ferociously protect those things which give them peace or a sense of security no matter how false they may be.

John 3:19-20 “The light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”

The Light of the World

John 8:12  “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'”

Though we are born blind when we come into this world, we have an innate desire for truth, love, and light.  The drive to discover who we are and how we fit into the scheme of things is powerful.  If one isn’t completely jaded and cynical, one can’t help but be a little curious when a charismatic leader like Ted Haggard exclaims, “I once was lost but now I am found, ’twas blind but now I see!”

However, when a man or a woman like Todd Bentley comes along walking in the Glory of God, producing signs, miracles, and wonders, even the most cynical among us will raise an eyebrow and begin to wonder.  We wonder whether the Good News might actually be true… or at the very least, useful to us, especially those of us who are dying or crippled by some disease or the other.

Could God really love us right where we are?

We wonder whether we might actually be able to trust God’s Heart and Word, so we take a risk.  Trust is a risky thing.  Many of us get hurt when we open our hearts to someone who does not have our interests at heart.  When we begin to extend a bit of our faith out in the direction of these ministers, we are hoping they may be able to lead us to the same source of love and light that they say they have encountered.

Matthew 5:15-16 [Jesus said,] “‘You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.'”

Muck and Mire

Muck and Mire

When those who claim to have seen the light end up falling into the same muck and mire that everyone else in the blind world is struggling with, it gives the appearance that they were deceiving us and we become wounded.  The cynics believe these deceivers are out to gain power, become famous, or get rich… heck, maybe they were even trying to gain control over their followers to force them to drink poisonous Kool-Aid!  At best this gives the world the appearance that the leader did not have the light in him to begin with.  At worst, they believe that the Jesus this man or woman was promoting was merely a fairy tale.

Matthew 5:13-16 “[Jesus said,] ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

Ephesians 4:17-19 “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”

When Christians fall into the same trouble the world is in, unbelievers and new believers will use the disappointing acts of other Christians as an excuse to hang onto their old coping devices and stick with the only group of people they feel they can identify with (corner bar, gang, terrorist group, or country club).  When they see the hateful reaction of other Christians towards one of their own, they think, “Why should I subject myself to a group that will probably use shame to intimidate and control me?  Who needs that?  Besides this produces such sad results in even their leaders’ lives!”

While this reasoning may seem logical to the wounded, skeptical heart of man, it does not take into account all of the complexities involved.  Not every fallen pastor was a deceiver to begin with. However it is important to understand that though God may use others still in the process of their transformation to point us to the Good News of Jesus Christ, the integrity of God’s “Word”, Jesus, does not depend upon the actions of those who pointed us to Him, any more than the actions of one American leader reflect on the character or word of the president of the United States.  Our reassurance is this… the Heart of God is Good.  We see this in His efforts to reconcile with mankind through the death of His Son.  He loved the world so much that He came down in the form of a physical man, Jesus, while simultaneously residing on His Throne, to lay His own life down for us to prove His heart towards us is good.  He paid the penalty for our lack of trust in Him with His own blood so we would not have to face eternity cut off from Him in hell.  His heart is that of any human father who would gladly pay the prison sentence or capital punishment for one of his own children if allowed.  So, if you have been hurt or disappointed by a Christian, a church, or a minister, read about the Heart of God in the following scriptures to help restore your faith.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks fora fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:10-13)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  (John 3:16-18)

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (sounds religious, but “Abba” means “Da, Da” in baby language) The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:15-17)

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:1, 31-33, 35-38)

~Copyright March 21, 2009 by Tracey Nelson, M.Ed., author of Accelerated Transformation: Maturity, Intimacy, and Unity through Emotional Healing (see http:thespotlessbride.com) and founder of The Spotless Bride International Ministries. Permission granted to share this article if this paragraph is included. This article was taken from the blog called The Spotless Bride found at https://thespotlessbride.wordpress.com. Any images or movies obtained from the Internet are assumed royalty free due to the lack of credit given where they were found. If you own an image, it is this author’s sincerest desire to give credit. Please contact Tracey Nelson at songsofdeliverace@yahoo.com and she will gladly give credit, seek permission, and obtain a license when necessary.~

Advertisements
One Comment leave one →
  1. March 21, 2009 6:54 am

    This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: