Stupid Pastor Tricks-How You're Getting Fooled

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The Juvenilization Category of Tricks: 

  • The "Turn to your neighbor and say..." trick. Mr. Mega Pastor, we are no longer in the second grade, and we shouldn't be treated as such. This is just a way to force people to agree with you.
  • The "end every other sentence with AMEN?!" trick. Amen is not a question. You are putting that word at the end of your sentence because it forces people to agree with you, as they shut down any critical thinking.
  • The "make your church look like a children's TV Show" trick. Mr. Mega Pastor wants his followers to revert back to adolescence in order to instill obedience. But just how far will he go as he belittles his audience? How about this far:

                         Or how about this far:

                          Or how about this far:

  • The "my expectations of you are so low that I'll repeatedly insult your intelligence in order to hold your gnat-like attention" trick. Mr. Mega Pastor thinks most people are pretty stupid and need to be treated as gullible spectators. Worse than that, he thinks God needs the church service to be an adult pre-school in order to accomplish His will on earth.
  • The "listen to me repeat a catchphrase as if it were a Bible verse" trick. Because he needs these people to remember something, but he just can't seem to fit an actual Bible passage into his frantic yet meandering 45-minute speech...

 

The Cult of Personality Category of Tricks:

  • The "we started this church in our living room 6 years ago and look at what God has done!" trick. You bought a mailing list, hired a graphic artist and a web designer, you mailed out a slick postcard to 10,000 people that made promises & claims that your church can never deliver, but you're giving all the credit to God? Don't blame this thing on God.
  • The "aw shucks, can I just talk about myself for a while longer?" trick. You are trying to act humble but it's only working on the truly gullible.
  • The "our church is really great, and just in case you don't know how great it is, I'm gonna talk about it some more" trick. Why is it so important to continually prop up your church? You're not a pastor, you're a salesman making a pitch.
  • The "I don't have time to read the Bible, but I've got time to talk about sports/TV shows/personal stories/jokes/useless drivel..." trick. Everything that happens in your sermon is by your design, and you're deciding to cut out God's Word to make more room for yourself.
  • The "here's a really catchy name for my new sermon series that I'll keep repeating (I hope it gets me a book deal)" trick. We get it: without a new book you've got nothing to sell at the merchandise table when you go on the speaking circuit.
  • The "we are just so blessed and honored to have Pastor Whoever He Is with us today!" trick. And if you suck up to him enough, you'll get a speaking invitation at his (much larger) church.
  • The "watch me do that dramatic... pause... just like Rob Bell or Andy Stanley" trick. This is just cheap theatrics, and you've cheapened the house of God by pretending to be profound.
  • The "let me show you how cool and relevant I am while I pretend that I'm not trying to be cool and relevant" trick. Again, this only works on the truly gullible. You're really scraping the bottom of the barrel, aren't you Mr. Mega Pastor? (And Mr. Cool Music Guy on the worship team, maybe you should look into joining a cover band to satisfy your need for attention.)
  • The "let me brag about my luxurious lifestyle in front of the struggling people who paid for it" trick. You're not setting an example of success, you're taking money from people who will never live out the fantasies you sell them in the name of God.

 

The Super Spiritual Category of Tricks:

  • The "I hope you don't notice that I'm just making up this prophetic utterance" trick. If you want people to believe that God is speaking through you, shouldn't you construct sentences that actually mean something? How ridiculous can these "prophetic words" get? This ridiculous:
  • The "this is gonna be the year of acceleration! (or breakthrough, or increase, or visitation, or whatever...)" trick. Don't worry, after you make your New Year's proclamation you've got 11 months of useless blathering to distract everyone from your vague, yet false prediction.
  • The "I can make outlandish claims without any authentication" trick. Why does every supernatural event that you mention occur in some remote country... without cameras?
  • The "my Bible fell open and this is the verse that God showed me" trick. Wait a minute, is this a Christian church service or a tarot card reading??
  • The "I had my sermon all planned out but God gave me something different at the last minute" trick. Wow, we've never heard that before...
  • The "something REALLY big is coming... (eventually)" trick. How many decades have to pass before you finally cancel this ambiguous, confusing and useless "word from the Lord?"
  • The "healing service that's actually just a guy telling stories about all the healings he supposedly did somewhere else" trick. Lucky for this guy, the people who come to get healed are usually so desperate and confused they stay the whole time anyway. When they don't get healed they often blame themselves, too.
  • The "watch me talk very very fast, as if the sheer quantity of my words equated to Godly wisdom" trick. I suppose if you slowed down everyone could see that you're not really saying anything.
  • The "shift in the atmosphere" trick. Is this the Christian Church or an episode of Ghost Hunters?
  • The "Holy Spirit Tourette Syndrome" trick. Really? That's supposed to be the result of the Holy Spirit?? 

 

  • The "don't put God in a box" trick. This is how you turn the sovereign God of the Universe who has revealed Himself in His Holy Word into your own weird little creation. 
  • The "Law of Attraction" trick. Well, if you don't want to preach the Gospel from the Bible, I guess you might as well steal ideas from Oprah...
  • The "God spoke to me, so you pretty much have to believe whatever I say" trick. Don't worry, hardly anyone will notice that this is exactly how all cults get started.

Stay tuned for more Stupid Pastor Tricks!

 

-This article by Steven Kozar

Francis Chan: "God Might Kill You If You Criticize Church Leaders"

There's a recent video sermon from Francis Chan which has eerie similarities to a cult leader indoctrinating his followers. His basic argument is this:

  • God told the Israelites not to speak or act against God's temple in the Old Testament, upon penalty of death.
  • In the New Testament, people are now the temple of God. 
  • Therefore, we must never speak or act against God's temple-His people.
  • Rick Warren, Mike Bickle, and Mark Driscoll are men of God who should never be criticized, because Francis Chan knows them personally, and they have good hearts.
  • If you speak out against these "people of God," Chan wouldn't be surprised if God took your life, because that's what He promised in the Old Testament.

In this sermon, Francis Chan merges and tangles two different topics into a frightening blend of confusion; on one hand he talks about people who gossip and complain about their fellow believers, but on the other hand, he talks about all doctrinal differences as if they were mere preferences. While his comments about gossiping apply to personal relationships, his comments about unifying with everyone who claims to "love the Lord" are very concerning to anyone who takes the Bible seriously.

Are you gonna bash Rick Warren? Are you crazy? This is a guy who loves the Lord. You may not agree with everything he does, but man I’m telling you he loves Jesus-everything I can tell, a supernaturally spirit-filled man.
— Francis Chan
Are you gonna attack Mark Driscoll? Are you gonna attack John Piper? Are you gonna attack Mike Bickle? Are you gonna attack some of these expressions in the body of Christ that may look a little different? I’ve met these people and I see their hearts and I hang out with people from these different denominations and I’m like ‘they love Jesus,’ it looks different to me but I can see the spirit in them, so we better be careful.
— Francis Chan
And I’m reading this and I’m like ‘God, how come more people aren’t dead?’ And here’s what I heard from the Lord: THEY HAVEN’T BEEN WARNED.
— Francis Chan
It’s gonna be the unity of the Church that’s gonna get the world to believe.
— Francis Chan
...And now He says ‘you’re that temple.’ And if anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. You wanna be on the right side of His protection.
— Francis Chan
You better not criticize any popular preachers who claim to love me, or I might have to ‘knock you off,’ (if you catch my drift)...
— Jesus The Mob Boss

Sorry Francis, but these are the thoughts and ideas of a controlling cult-leader.

 

Here are some passages from God's Word that tell us to be on guard against false teachers in the Church. Please notice that false teachers will appear to "love the Lord," and we are told to judge them by their doctrine:

Matthew 7:15-23  “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.'”

Matthew 24: 3-14; 24-25  “As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" And Jesus answered and said to them, "See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Vs. 24): For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. (25) Behold, I have told you in advance.”

2 Peter 2:1-3  “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

2 Corinthians 11:13-15  “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.”

Acts 20:28-31  “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”

Titus 1:7-11  “For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.”

James 3: 1 "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness." 

Titus 2:1 “But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.”

1 Corinthians 5:11-13  "But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of a brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler-not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those on the outside. Remove the evil person from among you."

Here's a much better sermon: The Sheep Judge Their Shepherds by C. F. W. Walther

Here's another helpful article on this same sermon/video: Lighthouse Trails

 

-This article by Steven Kozar