My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. (James 3:1)
The professing church is brimming over with hirelings. What is a “hireling” you might ask, and how is it relevant to the question of the condition of today’s church? I’m glad you asked. Let’s see what the Lord Jesus has to say of the hireling:
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. (John 10:11-13)
As you can see, the Lord isn’t impressed with the hireling, in fact He disdains him and heaps contempt upon him. So what does it say about the state of the church when today’s denominational pipelines and seminaries are cranking out hirelings nearly as fast as Mattel cranks out Ken and Barbie? And isn’t there a parallel here between the plastic Christianity of these hirelings and their plastic toy counterparts? Why yes, yes there is; they’re both completely fake and without true life.
True life is the life imputed by the Lord of Hosts and is a thing which no man can attain to, it is the gift of God lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). Yet today’s plasticized Christian leadership equipped with their plasticized crosses shill for a plasticized, corrupted gospel that is powerless and ineffectual for salvation. These blind leaders of the blind send countless myriads of deceived followers home each week singing of a heaven they’ll never see apart from the change of heart, submission, and faithful obedience to Christ that are foundational to true salvation.
But believer beware! These hirelings and their faithful pulpit worshiping followers become simultaneously defensive and aggressive when their ear tickling meal-ticket appears to be threatened. If one dares question the status quo of their Nicolaitane constructs, rest assured that fiery darts of false accusations are sure to fly his way. All bets are off and all the stops are pulled when the hirelings are exposed to the bright light of inspired scripture. As they quickly scurry from the light they and their enamored followers will erect false defenses, twist scripture, and resort to absurd claims of spiritual authority or “contextual ambiguity” in their desperate attempts to maintain their deception at all costs. Not unlike the miserable, feeble old man hiding behind the curtain while pretending to be “The Great and Powerful Oz“, the spiritual charlatan will attempt to continue his masquerade even when the truth is standing in his presence and staring him squarely in the face. A particularly amazing example of this form of blind idolatry seems to surround Mark Driscoll.
Even when Driscoll muses about homo-erotic encounters taking place with Jesus Christ in heaven and shamefully imputes sinful sexual desire to the Risen Lord and Savior he is nevertheless tenaciously defended tooth and nail by his misguided apologists. It’s simultaneously stunning and saddening to me that professing Christians would mount a vigorous defense of a PASTOR, and UNDER-SHEPHERD OF THE LORD who employs scatalogical and vulgur language from the pulpit, who makes homosexual allusions to the ascendent KIng of Glory Jesus Christ, and who claims that the Righteous and Anointed One, the Eternal Son and second Person of the Trinity “wanted” (i.e. desired) to have “intimate relations” (i.e. sexual relations) with His own creations. Beloved this well established pattern of despicable behavior is shameful and ought not even be named among the church of Jesus Christ which he purchased by the shedding of His own, pure, sinless blood and His agonizing, humilating death upon a cruel Roman cross.
Sadly hirelings and their hangers-on are guilty not only of propagating error from within, but because they are no true shepherds they fail to fulfill their duty as under-shepherds of the Lord and defend their flocks from outside attacks as well. In such a miserable estate there is all manner of spiritual corruption, chaos and confusion. Such bitter spiritual fruit is inevitably manifest in the lives of those who draw close to the Lord with their mouths while their hearts are far from Him.
Thanks to pastors like Mark Driscoll and his erstwhile hangers-on, sycophants and shameless and/or clueless defenders – not to mention the high profile support, encouragement, speaking engagements, and platforms he receives from his big name, sin-enabling buddies like John Piper (who incidentally teaches the insidiously blasphemous lie that Jesus Christ was damned upon the cross) this is where much of modern “Christianity” (so-called) is headed folks; right down the gutter and straight into deepest cesspool of the lowest pit of hell itself.
Of the hireling A.W. Tozer well said:
A Hireling; No True Shepherd
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:6-7)
“It is doubtful whether we can be Christian in anything unless we are Christian in everything. To obey Christ in one or two or ten instances and then in fear of consequences to back away and refuse to obey in another is to cloud our life with the suspicion that we are only fair-weather followers and not true believers at all. To obey when it costs us nothing and refuse when the results are costly is to convict ourselves of moral trifling and gross insincerity….
Again, the pastor when facing his congregation on Sunday morning, dare not think of the effect his sermon may have on his job, his salary or his future relation to the church. Let him but worry about tomorrow and he becomes a hireling and no true shepherd of the sheep. No man is a good preacher who is not willing to lay his future on the line every time he expounds the Word. He must let his job and his reputation ride on each and every sermon or he has no right to think that he stands in the prophetic tradition.” SIZ, 146-147.
(A.W. Tozer; Tozer on Christian Leadership)
May the hirelings of our day quickly find themselves out of work and broken and repentant before the Triune One True and Living God, the infinite Creator and Judge of the universe.