Thursday, November 1, 2018

Questions For Modern Ministers

Questions For Modern Ministers by Keith Cook

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears..." 2 Timothy 4:3

I have a few questions for modern day ministers, preachers, evangelists, and Christian workers. I will address each question to a particular style of expression of ministers on the scene in today's modern church culture. The category terms are used by the secular and religious media to describe certain types of ministers.

My reason for stating each category or type of minister in a general way is so we can see strengths and weaknesses, value and dangers, of each manifestation of leader without getting off on personalities and individuals. Character assassination is never "Christian" and should not be tolerated in any of today's ministers.

I do not have the right to correct or rebuke an individual without first going to the individual, praying with the person, and examining the scriptures in their presence in order to come to Godly conclusions and allow for restitution, resolution, and reconciliation. Then the Bible teaches that if the matter is not resolved then I am to bring it before the leaders of the church to try to go and do the same thing. Going public with my impressions and dislikes about another Christian is not Biblical. I fear much of our speaking on the radio, debating on the television, blogging on the internet, and publishing in books that names other Christians by name that we disagree with is counter productive to restoration and lasting revival in the church. Getting into camps and defending positions does not promote the Gospel but does cause division.

Here are my questions and observations:

1. Faith Healers

Is it really a lack of faith that keeps people from being healed or could it be that God gives mercy and grace even to those in sickness and health? What of the men and women mentioned in Hebrews who lived by faith, but had all kinds of misfortunes and even lost their lives? Could it be that the Bible teaches us to trust God in whatever state we live in? Wearing glasses, going to the doctor, taking medicine, praying for healing, and trusting God are all modern expressions of faith, not just being healed. Faith without works is dead. Presuming on God is not faith but folly. Hearing from God and believing the Word of God leads to faith and assurance.

Having preached around the world and seen God move others to faith in Christ as well as seeing God move in the area of healing has led me to understand the heart of those who have a gifting in the area of healing. I also know that there are millions of people who have faith, live right, are going to Heaven, who live their lives with certain infirmities and external situations that they have no control of. I have seen God heal the blind, provide funds, jobs, restore marriages and so much more. But I have also seen Him give peace to families who have just lost a loved one, comfort to those whose spouses never return, and deliverance by medicine and time.

2. Prosperity Preachers

Does it really make one more spiritual to be rich? Are God's riches for this world or are they spiritual in nature? The Bible teaches that God has a portion for each of us. God does not want us to live below the portion or provision He has for us, but this is not the same thing as claiming riches and demanding God provide desires and soulish impressions.

God does want to bless us. He wants to give us good gifts. His riches are everlasting and His benefits are astonishing. In Biblical times Jesus taught slaves how to live right even while being slaves. He did not promote slavery but did not tell slaves to just give all their money away and they will be a master too. He taught them how to live for God in whatever state they found themselves. He taught fishermen how to let down their nets for a catch that blessed them with great temporary wealth but then later asked them to give it all up and come follow him. He told them they would not have a place to rest, live a hard life, even loose their life. That does not sound to prosperous to me - yet it made them the richest men in history. Wow, God's view of prosperity is being in the center of His provision for us. What a great place to be. Knowing that God will provide is much better than trying to get rich and do it all on your own strength.

3. Relational Ministers

Just making friends for Jesus sounds good but does just being an example result in someone knowing the truth, hearing the truth and actually coming to faith in Christ. Jesus commanded us all to go into all the world and preach, teach, baptize, bless, help, and inspire everyone. God has given all of us friends, opportunities, and situations that are a part of His divine plan for reaching all mankind with the message of Christ. If we fail to share the good news and simply wait until they are inspired by our life they may actually already be in the next life that would be in Hell.

4. Bible Thumpers

Jesus used stories, parables, examples, and love to share the message of salvation. Just knowing certain passages and forcing them on people does not result in salvation. Many simply agree with the message in order to get away from the messenger. Beating people up in Jesus name is not Good News, it is spiritual assault and battery and can result in disillusioned adults who obeyed commands earlier in life, but had no joy and abandon the faith.

5. Social Gospel Advocates

Just sharing a cup of water in Jesus name will not get people into Heaven. You can clean up a life, heal a body, comfort an emotional being, and give a hand up to all who have a need and still end up with respectable, healthy, happy, educated, and emotionally stable lost people. You must share the rest of the story. Jesus came to save sinners - who even the most educated and blessed are counted as! It may sound old fashioned but it is part of the whole Gospel.

6. Motivational Speakers

Positive thinking and feeling good about yourself and having a healthy self-esteem are vital to being a well balanced individual but being positive does not negate the fact that we are not basically good people - we are by nature and choice sinners. At our core there is the proof of our real state. Left to our own devices we do not get better. Education, wealth, power and position do not guarantee goodness - only self-righteousness. It is not what I think that is important but rather what God thinks of me. Only in Christ am I complete. It is only by repentance and dependence on Him that I can soar on wings like an eagle. It is not enough to be inspired by devotional preaching and the politically correct socially acceptable tickling of my emotions and soul - I need the truth. I need to hear the Word! I need to know what God says about everything!

7. Intellectual Teachers

Boring a generation with our knowledge or getting rational consent to premises is not Biblical salvation. It is not the law or even our understanding of the Word that brings life. It is Christ, drawing us by the power of the Holy Spirit that brings us to a place of repentance and acceptance of the claims of Christ. The emotions, joys, and relationships of life are all a vital part of knowing the fullness of Christ. God uses the combination of the intellect, the power of the Word of God, the encouragement of the saints, the filling of the Holy Spirit, and the daily presence of the Lord to motivate us to live and mature in Christ. 

My wife, Joan, is a fantastic teacher of the Word. She spends over 40 hours preparing her lessons. She then is able to bring the Word to life. She is energetic, passionate, tender, and still very evangelistic and open to the moving of the Spirit. This kind of expression of the gift of the teacher is needed today. Not just the scholar who thinks they are better than others or knows something that most will never grasp. We need to know the Word, Share the Word, and Live the Word. Getting the Word out is so needed but not by Intellectual snobs.

8. Judgmental Prophets

Calling another minister a devil is not spiritual. Yelling at people as they enter meetings or screaming at them as they walk down the sidewalk that they are going to hell is not an effective way to win someone to Christ.

Knocking other forms of evangelism because they are fresh, modern, effective, or simply another way to get to the Word out is not Biblical. Jesus and the apostles used all forms of evangelism available in that day.

To some they shared one on one, others in small groups and some were relational while some were sensational.

Many shared with their families and friends while some dared go to the untouchables of their day.

God used mass evangelism, church programs, one on one, and divine appointments.

Some were challenged by Paul to look to the unknown God, whiles some were rebuked for being hypocrites. Some would say one method was "God has a wonderful plan for your life" and the other was "Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand'!  One would be consider a soft approach while the other more confrontational. God used both. He still does today. Neither way left out any of the essential elements of coming to Christ. God just used the Holy Spirit to lead the messenger in what to say and when.

We need to stop judging others and simply share what God leads us to share. Never tear down another way to share Christ to elevate your favorite or preferred way.

9. Sloppy Agape Messengers

"Just believe - that's all you have to do..."  "God loves you and will not send you to hell." " We all are working for the same thing." "All roads lead to heaven if you are sincere..." " Just pray this prayer and no matter what you do you are going to heaven..."

I have been to meetings where the speaker stood and shared story after story -  getting the crowd emotional and then at the end simply said pray this prayer with me and God will take you to heaven and your life will be wonderful from this night on. No more problems, no more worries" He never shared the gospel. There was reference to Jesus but not the penalty for sin, plight of sinners, condition of lost, God's way to salvation, need for Christ, benefits of faith in Christ, or steps to coming to real belief and trust in Christ.

There are no magic words that save. The sinners prayer is not magical - but calling out to God in faith believing in Christ with a Godly sorrow for ones sins and a total abandonment of one's whole being to God and trust in His leading does result in salvation. One does not have to say it right, understand it all, or feel anything, Yet salvation comes to them that really believe, repent, and call on the Lord.

10. Spirit Led - Bible Fed - God Called - Servant Leaders

I am sure there are other modern day expressions of ministers that I have left out. God wants us to have faith, trust Him for our portion, win all we have a relationship with, be bold, help the needy, inspire others to greatness, know the Word, not be polluted by the world, and really know what and in whom we believe. You see there is value to many of the personalities listed above - but there is also danger. Do not follow man but God. Put your trust in Him.

Preachers of the Gospel, teachers of the Word, modern day ministers - make sure you are listening to God and following His path for your ministry. Just because someone is on television, writes books, has a following are we to imitate them. We are to follow the Messiah, Jesus.  Some of my closest friends are great authors and preachers. They inspire me to go to Christ and learn from Him. They never take the credit or promote themselves. They would never want to take the Glory that belongs only to Christ. And we should never give it to them - but to Him!

God is looking for servant leaders to lead his people to the truth. He is calling many to serve Him in these last days. He is needing them to become men and women of the Book - the Bible and He is needing them to be led by the Spirit.

It is my prayer that all of us that call ourselves ministers of the Gospel would really get a fresh word from God and share it His way, at His time, with His Power. Oh, now is the time to do more, try more, and see more than ever before. We live in such a Godless and perverse generation. Let us do our part in being in Christ so that as watchmen we watch and warn just as in Bible days!

Daily Prayer Focus: Pray for a fresh Word from God today then ask God for the opportunity to share His Story with someone in need.

On The Go Prayer Focus: Keith Cook Crusades, Celebrations, and Festivals. God has given Keith the opportunity and privilege of sharing the message of Christ both stateside and internationally. During each opportunity, Keith presents a joyful and enthusiastic, yet powerful and clear presentation of the Gospel and a call to commitment to Christ.

Thank you for taking the time to pray for this important division of On The Go Ministries. For more information on any our ministries here at On The Go, you may send your questions to

On The Go Daily Devotion for November 1, 2018
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