So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. (1 Kings 19:19)
Okay this post is going to be a little off the beaten path – even for my blog – but I’ve been thinking recently about the OT practice of “passing one’s mantle” – or anointing – on to a disciple, follower, son, etc.
Why is it that so many “Christian ministries” – so called -, whether they are the mega-million dollar enterprises like Osteen’s Lakewood Church, Billy Graham Ministries, John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church, and Robert Shiller‘s Crystal Cathedral – or be they small time, small town country churches – seem to be run like a family business? Many churches are operated as though they were the family used car dealership, and upon closer comparison the houses of praise are often seen to be even less reputable than their pre-owned automotive counterparts.
Oftentimes Auntie Rose and Uncle Bob are the church treasurers. In the case of Osteen’s Lakewood Church in contravention to scripture the wife is the “co-pastor” – or should that be co-pastrix? – and the business is handed down from father to son (or to the daughter who retains her maiden name in some bizarre hybridized hyphenated fashion) so that the “family” can retain their meal-ticket. Isn’t this how the mafia operates?
What gives? Is this the manner in which Christ’s church is to function in accordance with scripture? Isn’t this just blatant, rank nepotism and a shameless exhibition of the lowest form of financial expediency? It’s like some sort of bizarre, deranged, yet legally sanctioned Ponzi scheme wherein the pastor and his staff become enriched while the congregation, well…“Gawd has a wunnerful plah-yun fer yer life”…I guess they’re getting exactly what they deserve, and precisely what they’re paying for.
But I digress. Seriously folks, is the NT church designed or encouraged to make pastors of the sons of pastors, or are pastors called by God Almighty? Is the church of Christ the construct of men, or is it the effectual outworking of the power of God?
As you can probably tell by this point I’m more than a bit dubious about the latter days priesthood of the professing church and their nasty little predilection for nepotistic mantle passing.